Meet Our Students
Click on our students’ names to learn more about them!
Class of 2019
+ CARMEN BURROUGHS
Thanks to my father, from an early age I was constantly exposed to different types of art and artistic opportunities. While my interest in creating art only grew as I got older, I found the science portions of my curriculum gaining my attention more and more as well.
After completing high school, I found myself starting my undergraduate career at East Tennessee State University, where I initially decided on pre-med with an interest in pathology. I thought I could always keep art as a hobby. After my first semester, despite enjoying my science courses, I found myself not having time to make artwork and missing it. My father suggested doing some more research into careers that might involve both art and science; this led me to a very quick google search result – medical illustration!
I looked into the current programs throughout North America and knew almost immediately that that path was the one for me. I switched my major over to a Bachelor of Fine Arts, which I completed in 2015 with a concentration in printmaking and drawing. Along the way I took several biology and health science courses.
It has been such a wonderful experience here at BMC so far! Along with various courses, I am currently working on my Master’s Research Project: a short 2D/3D animation on bat flight anatomy and kinematics for the Royal Ontario Museum.
+ AMY CAO
For a long time, I wasn’t sure how to harness and apply my passion for creating art. During my undergraduate years at the University of California, Berkeley, I majored in Integrative Biology because I saw the same beauty in the mechanisms of living organisms that I did in the brushstrokes of a painting. While exploring different fields within biology, I found scientific education especially worthwhile. For example, I worked at the Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology preparing animal specimens for museum curation and moved on to teaching other students dissection techniques as a teaching assistant. I quickly realized the vital role that visuals play in education, research, and science outreach.
Now, I am so grateful to be here in the BMC program, surrounded by incredibly hard-working and talented peers and professors. For my Master’s Research Project, I am making a 3D animation in collaboration with a Princess Margaret Cancer Centre lab on a newly-discovered mechanism involved in systemic lupus erythematosus pathogenesis. Ultimately, I strive to create visuals that communicate clear stories, inspire viewers, and convey the wondrous beauty of the scientific world.
+ JENNY CHIN
I grew up drawing cartoons in Vaughan, Ontario and eventually moved into realism while completing my bachelors of science in cell biology & immunology at the University of Toronto. I found that my undergraduate experience involved so much memorization without understanding that I realized I wanted to make my own visual tools to help students actually understand their studies. It is my goal to make engaging 3D cellular & molecular animations, and my Master's Research Project involves creating an animation that teaches undergraduate students about how microscopic scale is (sometimes inaccurately) portrayed in visualizations.
+ JULIA DEVORAK
My path to BMC has been anything but linear. As a young person with diverse interests and abilities, it can be difficult to know which educational and professional avenues to pursue– especially when you’re unaware of the existence of fields of work that combine your seemingly disparate interests! When it came for me to decide which path to take, I initially chose science over art and communications. I completed a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science at McGill University, then went on to conduct basic neuroscience research in the McGill Group for Suicide Studies and to pursue graduate studies in neuroscience. A need to satisfy my creativity, and not just my intellect, ultimately lead me away from a field I find so fascinating. It was then that I happened across BMC (a dream I didn’t even know I had!), and I began to actively pursue art again. I started studying classical drawing, and I also got involved in genetic epidemiology research to keep my curiosity at bay.
I couldn’t be happier to be a part of BMC, where I’m surrounded by talented and inspiring peers, and where I have the opportunity to indulge my creativity and intellect every day.
+ CONTESSA GIONTSIS
I used to view my life as a straight line; but as time went by, I realized that life is more of a zig-zag. You don’t always know where you will end up, but this can be good as it makes a person to choose what they truly love.
I have always loved to draw. I went to an art high school and completed their visual arts program. Once we started doing life drawing, I became very passionate about human anatomy. Eager to learn more about the human body, I completed an undergraduate degree in kinesiology at UofT. By this point, I was certain that drawing was a chapter in my life that I closed…until I stumbled upon the BMC program at a graduate fair. I did not expect to find a graduate program that combined two seemingly diametric disciplines which I both loved – science and art. I am humbled and grateful for having this opportunity to be a part of the BMC program. I am excited to learn new visual techniques that can help increase understanding in a variety of disciplines; and I can’t wait to break the boundaries of what we currently know about what visual communication can offer the world!
+ MAURITA HUNG
I previously completed my Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto, with a double major in physiology and pharmacology. I remained in the physiology department at U of T after graduation and obtained my master of science degree under the supervision of Dr. Christine Bear. Upon finishing up and writing my thesis, I came to the realization that I enjoyed spending time creating figures. I liked the challenge of conveying scientific ideas effectively through visual means, and my interests in scientific research began to merge with my newly discovered enthusiasm for art. I had previously taken art courses at the high school level but my focus shifted entirely to the science stream once I entered university. It was and still is intimidating for me to pick up art again, but nonetheless, I am excited to be a part of the Biomedical Communications program and look forward to improving my skills over the next two years.
+ MONA LI
According to my mother, I could hold a pencil at the age of one. Since then, I've been using visual media to tell stories and share ideas.
I received my science training at McGill University, where I majored in Honours Psychology. There, I discovered that what excites me the most about science is how its communication can change society. This brought me to BMC, where I leverage my visual problem-solving skills and scientific background in the multidisciplinary field of medical illustration.
For my MRP, I am combining my passions for storytelling and patient education. I will be making and evaluating a graphic medicine (i.e., comic) tool to teach about palliative care.
+ Yue (Shawn) Liu
Four years of undergraduate study at University of Toronto inspires me to pursue further study in scientific illustration, storyboarding and animation making. I developed ability in storytelling by using visualized illustrations during course presentations among human biology and microbiology courses. I am committed to the understanding and transformation of complex scientific concepts into interesting and interactive images that educate public audience. Thinking that many students like me are struggling with enormous challenges of difficult course work, I decided to write articles on a Chinese social platform (WeChat), which aims to share the basic scientific knowledge in a straightforward way by using the scientific illustration method among undergrads. Remarkably, many of the topics described by my cartoonized presentations propagated beyond student community into social media and became effective tools for popularization of science.
At this point, I feel the urge to advance my understanding of the biomedical communication, and improve my skill sets, as I recognize that the depth and breadth of my knowledge and skills are not enough for me to project significant impact without additional training in achieving high quality works (i.e. drawing and animation producing) with logical organization.
For my Master Research Project (MRP) topic: visual literacy in adenovirus transcription map, I would like to develop a teaching resource to help students in undergraduate virology courses understand how to interpret different sophisticated graphical representations of data relevant to their studies.
+ Shirley Long
I am a scientific storyteller and knowledge disseminator with a background in academia, healthcare, and visual design. While attending the University of Western Ontario to complete an honours spec. in human physiology and pharmacology, I co-authored several papers and worked on unconventional projects such as the Scinapse Undergraduate Science Case Competition. After graduation, I worked in private healthcare and made it my goal to study at BMC. An important lesson I've learned is that one of the greatest challenges facing science is making it accessible -- to students, lay public, patients, and and even to other scientists and physicians. I thus now spend my days designing visual solutions to address complex scientific communication problems. Suffice it to say, I am extremely excited to be a current student of the BMC program where I am surrounded daily by challenging projects and talented like-minded peers.
+ Bernadette MacNeil
+ Kimberly Nipp
One day, during a neuroanatomy lecture in my undergrad, I realized that I had spent the entire time thinking about comics and cartoons instead of paying attention to the actual material. What a life changing moment that was. I’ve always had a bit of my heart somewhere with animation and science. In fact, my undergraduate years were a cycle of studying neuroscience, and preparing art for comic conventions.
Somewhere in my second year, I began to work as a freelance illustrator and animator. At the time, I was devoted to researching the neurobiological mechanisms of antidepressants, but the thing in my life that brought me the most joy was drawing. Eventually by chance, I was connected with a professor in my neuroscience program who was also interested in the intersection between visual art and education. The next few years after that began to define my path. During my freelance career while working for this professor, I had the opportunity to try drawing for many different fields. I drew for education websites, made stop-motion animations for biochemistry courses, and created comics and illustration for other creative sectors. That’s when I began to think I could do this for a living, but where could I begin? Anyway, to be completely honest, I consulted the almighty google. “GOOGLE, how can I combine art and science for a career?!” I yelled into the void. Then this incredible program popped up in my search query, and the rest was history. I’m very glad to be here and learning among such talented and creative peers.
+ Avesta Rastan
Despite common belief, science and art are inextricably woven together. From a young age, I noticed patterns in nature: electrons around a nucleus like planets around a star, city maps like neural networks, blood vessels like tree roots. These patterns largely inspired my scientific and artistic interests. I received my BSc in Life Sciences with a minor in World Languages at Queen’s University, while pursuing art and graphic design on the side. I was unsure how to combine my two passions until, by a stroke of luck, I came across the BMC program.
As a BMC student, I’m incredibly excited to be learning at the intersection of science and art. With the unique set of skills developed through BMC, I aim to reveal the beauty of nature and inner-workings of the human body through stunning, innovative, and accurate visuals. For my research, I am working with talented scientists at the Hospital for Sick Children who have uncovered a new pathway for the spread of medulloblastoma, a childhood brain cancer. I am developing an educational 3D animation about the mechanism of spread and the future implications of this research.
In the future, I hope to be involved in a wide range of creative projects that utilize 3D animation, data visualization, and interaction design to improve education and to spark interest in the sciences.
+ Felix Donghwi Son
Having a painter for a mother, art has been always a part of my family life. And I spend my whole days in nature when I was a kid. Although my interest in art and science perplexed me, my curiosity in biology led me to pursue studying microscopic world. After three years of working experiences in pharmaceutical industry, I found out medical illustrator as a career. Finally, I am here in Toronto and learning medical art. I cannot be more than happy and fortunate that I am a part of this amazing society surrounded by such stunning artists and inspiring people. Having amazing support from classmates and professors, I am truly enjoying BMC life. Currently, I am expending my artistic creativity through learning cinematography, and realistic rendering skill set in 2D and 3D applications. Ultimately, I am wanting to pursue my career as a 3D medical animator and learn more about photography, and photo-realistic illustration.
+ Nitai Steinberg
Four years ago, one year into PhD studies in microbiology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel – I was browsing the internet when I stumbled upon the BMC website. I remember the immediate feeling I found what I wanted to do in life. Looking back, scientific illustrations and animations led me to choose biological studies in the first place. But I never thought about the people who made them. Being fascinated by biology, I was pursuing a scientific career, but deep inside I was always attracted to visual arts. Luckily, thanks to BMC, I learned that there is a profession that allows me to combine between those two sides of mine. It was a long journey since then, as I had to catch-up with drawing and painting techniques, and fighting fears and self-doubts, all in parallel to completing my PhD. I was thrilled to hear that I was accepted and feel deep gratitude to be here now. I am excited to study how to become a professional biomedical illustrator. On the very first day of the program I already had a strong feeling I found my place.
+ Colleen Tang Poy
For most of my childhood, I chose to saturate my life with arts extracurriculars. However, as much as I loved the arts from the side of the stage, I was equally as interested in the arts from behind the scenes—interested in the reasoning behind artistic and storytelling choices, and ultimately in how people think and react.
This curiosity of “how” only increased as I grew up and led me to complete an Honours Bachelor of Science at McMaster University majoring in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (Mental Health specialization), where I fostered my passion for art, science, and education by seeking out unique opportunities in research, teaching, and planning/student success in which art and science intersect. Through these experiences I recognized the importance of clear communication and good storytelling in both scientific and non-scientific contexts, and that I personally want to help the community at large by telling stories and helping others tell their own.
Luckily—thanks to a good friend—I found the Biomedical Communications program at U of T; I am unbelievably humbled and grateful to be part of the BMC community among such talented and warm individuals, and am thrilled to learn from them.
+ Rachael Whitehead
From growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I developed a love for nature and biological subject matter. Like many children, I loved to draw, but tended to focus on detail and accuracy while depicting the natural world around me. I also developed an interest in learning and describing medical related topics from spending time as a child around hospitals and doctors.
During my Junior year in high school, one of my teachers suggested looking into becoming a medical illustrator. Though at the time I had been toying with the idea of becoming an illustrator, it felt like a natural choice to focus my efforts on becoming a scientific illustrator, instead. I went on to receive a BS degree in General Biology and a BA degree in Painting and Drawing from University of Washington, Seattle. During and after university, I worked on a variety of illustration projects with a range of subject matter and clients. I enjoy illustrating natural history subjects and also finding new approaches to visually describing a scientific concept from neuroanatomy to paleontology. At BMC it is great working with a group of individuals who all share a passion for illustrating and communicating scientific and medical subject matter.
+ Tracy Xiang
After specializing in immunology at the University of Alberta for two years, I transferred to UTM. The decision was easy: UTM offers an undergraduate BMC minor program, and I desperately needed a pinch of art in my science education. The more about medical illustration I discover in the few BMC courses I took, the more I wanted to be a part of that community. After I’ve gained enough technical skills, I reached out to clinicians, researchers, and entrepreneurs from Toronto and Edmonton and worked on a series of communication projects. As a closeted art lover grew up believing that visual arts is not practical, my new school and new jobs lead me to come out to myself. I realized that both academia and industry have a place for not only people who discover the knowledge, but also people who translate that knowledge to those who need it.
Every day at BMC feels like the the first day, a mixture of nervousness, curiosity, and gratitude of being constantly inspired. My perspective on “what’s BMC” is still evolving, but if you ask me now, I introduce myself as a knowledge translator and science marketer. Could I be more? We’ll see!
+ Alexander Young
I graduated from the Integrated Science program at McMaster University in 2014 and found myself at a crossroads: I was interested in how visual content could be effectively used to enhance public scientific literacy; however, academically I had focused on research and animal physiology. I elected to take a year off and worked as a graphic designer–a long-time hobby, but one that I never imagined would meaningfully intersect with my academics. Before long, I found that my hobby was much more than that, and I became curious as to whether my interests were as immiscible as I thought. I began researching academic opportunities that merged science and art, stumbled across BMC, and immediately realized it was a perfect fit. From the programs focus on using emerging technologies in combination with traditional techniques, to the supportive Faculty and incredible talent of the students and graduates, BMC seemed like the ideal place to develop my skills as an illustrator, animator, and science communicator.
Currently, I am completing my second-year research project, focusing on the creation of 3D models for an in utero surgical simulation and research into how visual complexity impacts learner success.
Class of 2020
+ Jenny Bai
When I was in Grade 10, I wanted to pursue a career that combines science and art. So, I thought I should become an architect. By coincidence, my high school counsellor added Biology into my schedule. I decided to give it a try. Surprisingly, Biology became my favorite subject because it was so tangible and relatable. Upon graduation I was eager to further my study in life sciences; therefore, I came to the University of Toronto to study Pharmacology and Physiology. Although I enjoyed studying Life Sciences, I always craved visual arts. I frequently visited the AGO, took art history courses and drew during spare time yet that didn’t feel like enough.
In second year, my ROP professor had a chat with me about my career goals. When I explained that I was interested in Life Science and art, she suggests me to look into the BMC program. When I visited BMC’s website, I was stunned by the scientific artworks. Soon after third year, I started to prepare for my application.
Like many of my other peers, my love for life science and art, as well as sheer chance, had brought me to BMC. I am so grateful to be here to learn what I love, while being surrounded by other passionate people.
+ Sabrina Cappelli
Since I was young, I have had an interest in visual arts. I attended a high school with a regional arts program (RAP), which gave me the opportunity to further develop my skills as an artist in an enriched environment. While in the RAP program I was able to consider potential careers in the field of visual arts and found myself always drawn to scientific and technical illustration. In high school I also discovered an aptitude and passion for the sciences, particularly biology. However, I was conflicted as to which area I should focus on until I discovered medical illustration, which appeared to be a perfect combination of the two things I love most: art and science.
After researching this area of interest, I had the opportunity to meet two prior graduates of the BMC program who showed me their work and further inspired me to pursue a career in this field. From there I decided to apply for my undergraduate degree at UTM majoring in Biology and minoring in in Biomedical Communications with the intention of applying for the BMC Master's program upon completion. During my undergrad I also participated in an ROP (Research Opportunity Program) involving the Biology and BMC departments which gave me valuable insight into what the BMC master's program had to offer. Needless to say, I was very excited when I was accepted into the program and I am looking forward to learning and growing into a future medical illustrator.
+ Caitlin Chang
People around me have always been intrigued by my inclination towards drawing, given science had always been the focus of my studies. It never occurred to me that I could fulfill both of my passions, so when I learned about BMC, my heart soared.
BMC is an environment of growth: it is constantly adapting curriculum to emerging technologies; it encourages students to expand their talents; and it facilitates personal and professional development with its supportive faculty.
What a privilege to be a part of this culture of creation! In our pencils (or really, our tablet pens) we carry the power to inspire others to understand the beautiful complexities of our scientific universe. I am incredibly honoured to be here and am restless to launch forward with this community.
+ Farah Hamade
Drawing has always been a fundamental part of my life, not only for enjoyment, but as a way of understanding the world around me. Growing up I sketched daily, doodling between classes and in the margins of my notebooks. However, drawing was pushed aside as hobby, and I focused my attention on my growing interest in neuroscience. I remember reading Carl Sagan’s book on human intelligence while applying to universities and ending with more questions than answers. Feeling inspired to learn more, I decided to study Neurobiology at UC Davis, and minor in Studio Art. During university, I volunteered at a clinic where I loved working with patients and advocating for those who felt isolated in their health care due to a lack of resources targeting their needs. After graduating, I continued to learn more about the brain as a stroke researcher, using technology to visualize the different types of strokes affecting patients we worked with. When I learned about the BMC program, I was excited about creating illustrations and animations that would help bridge the gaps in medical knowledge. I’m happy to be part of this growing community of medical illustrators, and train alongside others who inspire me daily!
+ Stephanie Hung
+ Deniz Kaya
My path to medical illustration all started with a fly landing on my arm. I had received an offer for an internship in finance and something about it did not feel right. I drafted a letter to decline the offer, intending to sleep on it, but startled by the fly landing on my arm I flinched and hit send. I felt very relieved and I took this as a major sign that I needed to make a change.
At the time, I was doing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology combined with a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance. As I was applying for internships, I was just “going through the motions”. I needed my career to feel more fulfilling than what finance could offer me. Thus, I knew it had to involve art somehow. When I discovered medical illustration, I realized that it was the best fit.
I prepared for the Biomedical Communications (BMC) program by taking anatomy and science courses, and developing my draughtsmanship at the Academy of Realist Art. Now, I am grateful to be a BMC student surrounded by such wonderful like-minded individuals in an enriching environment with so much to learn.
+ Taeah Kim
I attended University of Toronto for my undergraduate to study Genetics in the Human Biology program. While I was passionate about science and pursued it even after a two-year hiatus after my first year of university, I never let go of my love for art. My study notes would always include drawings, and I would create art whenever I had time from school work. When I came across the Biomedical Communications program, I still doubted that science and art could be combined and turned into amazing educational tools for everyone. Yet I thought about how perfect the field was for me all throughout my undergraduate studies and found myself volunteering for things related to putting art and science together. Now that I am in the BMC program, I'm falling in love with the field more every day and I am so excited to keep learning the skills to become a great medical illustrator.
+ Hang Yu Lin
Growing up, I had always been told by peers and teachers that I should preserve an artistic element in my career path, despite my plans to pursue medicine. In art, I loved that each piece would present its own challenges of visual problem-solving, and that even static images can tell a story. When I discovered the field of medical illustration, I realized that I wouldn’t have to sacrifice art in a scientific career. Creating art, storytelling, contributing to science, educating others, and learning new things - all of these elements drew me in.
I studied Biomedical Sciences at Ryerson University while developing my skill in digital media. I also sought the opportunity to work for several research labs on scientific illustrations, and designed graphics for student groups at Ryerson. These experiences affirmed to me my goal of promoting art from a hobby to a profession.
I am ecstatic to have been accepted into the BMC program, and I look forward to expanding my skillsets and perspectives in order to become a professional biomedical communicator.
+ Janell Lin
I earned my undergraduate degree at Smith College majoring in Studio Art and minoring in Biology. During my undergraduate years, I enjoyed dwelling in the intersection between art, science, and technology. My interests spanned across a wide range including illustration, graphic design, and data visualization. With passion and training in the arts and sciences, Biomedical Communications seemed very appealing to me. It utilizes different skill sets to achieve a high degree of scientific accuracy, artistic vision, and creativity.
Now surrounded by talented peers, I enjoy every day of the BMC program. Although there is a lot of work, every day is an eye-opening and fascinating learning experience. As Frank K Netter said, “The making of pictures is a stern discipline. With brush in hand before the drawing board, one must be precise and realistic. The white paper in front of the artist demands the truth.” As I step further into Biomedical Communications, I become more certain that it is a field I greatly desire, admire, and excited to pursue.
+ Evelyn Lockhart
I am a Clinical Associate Professor of Pathology from the University of New Mexico Health Science Center who specializes in transfusion medicine and hemostasis. My work exposes me to new and emerging information, much of which could be clarified with quality imagery. My path to medical illustration started with a simple revelation: while the bridge between medical knowledge and visual communication is challenging to build, I want to be one of the builders.
I attended Interlochen Arts Academy where I studied theater design and production. My experience in special effects makeup carried over into medicine where I led blood loss estimation workshops using simulated blood. In addition, I collaborated on computer-based team simulations for postpartum hemorrhage at the Duke Human Simulation Center and worked as a moulage artist for educational videos.
My experience as a physician and educator taught me that illustrations are one of the most efficient ways of communicating. My goals for the program are to acquire the skills used by medical illustrators to improve my educational work in transfusion, hemostasis, and clinical team training. I am thrilled to be among such talented faculty and classmates in pursuing these goals, and I learn from them every day.
+ Miranda MacAskell
I’ve been passionate about both science and the visual arts for as long as I can remember, but for most of my academic career I felt like I needed to choose between them. In high school I was enrolled in a visual and digital arts program, but at the time I wanted to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. I switched to a science-focused stream in university and got my Honours B.Sc. in Biomedical Science at the University of Guelph. Although my degree consisted mainly of biology courses, I filled my electives with art history courses. During my summers, I worked for the marketing department of a large customs brokerage company developing their visual assets for print, web, and email. Working in a creative and communication-focused environment inspired me switched my career focus from veterinary medicine to biomedical communications.
I’m so excited to finally be part of a community that encourages my interest in both the arts and sciences instead of asking me to choose between them. I look forward to using what I learn through the BMC program to bridge the gap for others and make complex scientific and medical concepts more accessible.
+ Chloe Ng
Back in high school, we were once told to complete a survey online for our careers class that was supposed to match us to careers that were most suitable for our interests and skills. I remember that right at the top of the list for me was "medical illustrator". Being able to combine my two biggest passions into a career was almost too good to be true. However, being only a high school student at the time, it seemed like just a far-away dream.
With a career in science in mind, I ended up doing a Bachelor of Science at Queen's University majoring in Life Sciences and minoring in Mathematics, and subsequently a Master of Science in Physiology at the University of Toronto. Throughout my studies, I felt as if something was missing from my career, and the survey I did back in high school came back into mind. A quick search on the internet led me to the BMC program, and here I am today. I am honoured to be able to take advantage of this amazing opportunity as I continue to learn new skills and explore what it means to be a biomedical communicator.
+ Christine Shan
In high school, my favorite courses were human biology and visual arts. However, I was unsatisfied with how the art courses were structured. There was little focus on the techniques of realistic rendering and more focus on artistic expression and freedom. I wanted to make art that is both beautiful, engaging and serves a practical purpose. At that time, I didn’t know how I would find a job that could combine my interest in art and science. I thought it was more realistic to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia.
During my co-op placement in Quebec City, I worked as a research assistant and began to miss the stimulating visual world of science presented by the textbooks. I started drawing more and then discovered the BMC program during a web search. I realized my science education has been replete with visual images that have been critical to my learning. I knew immediately that this was the profession that I have been searching for and BMC offers a clear path to it. Now, I cannot believe that I have been accepted into this program and study along with such a fantastic group of classmates!
+ Su Min Suh
My curiosity for the arts and sciences was present at a very young age, when I had an urge to document the world around me through pencil crayons and coloured markers. However, it was my experience at the Credit Valley hospital that solidified my vision to become a Biomedical Communicator.
During my time at Credit Valley, the doctor diagnosed a mother with breast cancer. The hospital room was filled with confusion and fear as he explained the illness and possible treatments to the patient. As a volunteer, all I could do was watch and wonder, is there any way to make this process more comforting and clearer to the patient? How can one go about communicating scientific concepts, especially health care, effectively to varying audiences? I knew that the answer existed in Biomedical Communication and that I can resolve these issues by generating medical visualizations that are accurate/clear while demonstrating a gentler approach to reach patients about diagnosis and treatments. To pursue this goal, I earned my undergraduate in HBSc with a double major in Biology for Health Science and Art and Art History from the University of Toronto along with an Honours diploma in Art from Sheridan College. I’m interested in using 3-D animation to visualize Anti-Angiogenic Cancer Therapy for patient treatment education and to stimulate research growth in this field of treatment.
I am so honoured to have the experience of learning from the BMC faculty and my amazingly talented classmates who inspire me every day!
+ Lesia Szyca
I graduated from the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Education, at York University [First Class with Distinction, Hons. B. Sc., Maj/Min Biology & Visual Arts], and [B.Ed., Inter/Senior Biology and Visual Arts].
There I had some amazing opportunities and mentors including the chance to apprentice under Peter Von Tiesenhausen, where I learned about foundry and cast a sagittally dissected pig head. In my third and fourth year, I had the opportunity to participate in Cancer Research in a Crystallography lab. Eventually, I got involved in more research at York by creating figures for research papers.
After graduation and getting my teaching certification, I worked in a Bioinformatics Prostate Cancer Research lab, where they reconstructed the molecular evolution of prostate cancer in 200+ biopsy samples, in aims of developing a prognostic tool.
And now I’m here, studying alongside a brilliant class with various backgrounds, interests, and skills sets, in a collaborative workspace, tackling challenging, yet engaging assignments taught by talented, knowledgeable, and supporting staff. To top things off, our foundational medical education classes are taught by leaders in research, exposing us not only to the material but their respective fields as well.
+ Emily Taylor
I found out about BMC in 2016. At the time I was working at SickKids on a clinical engineering project and doing graphic design work. I had never heard of a program like it, and I was immediately fueled by a passion I hadn’t felt in my undergraduate degree in Chemical engineering at Queen’s University. I knew I liked design, and I knew I liked healthcare, but I couldn’t find a way to incorporate the two. I spent the next year working on my portfolio with the dream of using the content I created to make an impact. Today, I am humbled and excited to pursue my masters at BMC, to work with my talented peers and teachers, and to create meaningful work.
+ Felix Wieler
My fascination with the scientific world began early and was fostered by my family. Both of my grandfathers were school teachers and both shared a passion for science and the natural world. As a kindergartener, my aunt, a medical researcher, would explain medical images and experiments, including videos of laparoscopic surgery to me. The most read, loved and re-read books of my childhood were The Way Things Work by David Macaulay, a Gray’s Anatomy Colouring book and the DK Incredible Cross-Sections series. My interest in the foundations of of Bio-Medical Communications is something I come by honestly.
After high school I was interested in pursuing several creative, technical fields and began studying at the Toronto School of Art. It was here where I learned about the BMC program which led me to an Honours B.Sc. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. After graduating I spent time working to develop my traditional and digital art skills as preparation for BMC.
Now that I am starting my studies, I am excited about getting to participate in a program where my research, observation and understanding of the subject are integral to my practice. I see this program as an opportunity to cultivate my passion for science, technology, graphic design, visual art and interactive media. I am honoured to by the chance to study with peers and teachers who share my passion and hope to contribute to future innovations in the the art of science.
+ Vivian Yeung
The five-year old me had always carried two things no matter where I went: a pencil and a sketchbook. At school, fine arts was my favorite subject until I was introduced to biology. I became fascinated by the human body - how our appearances are predetermined by invisible helices that encode our genomic information, and how body systems work synergistically. Thinking that the two were mutually exclusive, I was torn between life sciences and fine arts when it came time to apply to universities. I eventually decided to major in Physiology at McGill University, leaving arts as a hobby.
My undergraduate curriculum provided answers to the questions I had regarding the human body and introduced me to other scientific fields. I developed an interest in Psychiatry and worked at a lab that focused on Alzheimer’s Disease research. The brain is inherently complicated, and I often made illustrations and charts to enhance my understanding of the topic. It was then that I realized that science and art complement one another.
I first discovered BMC in my third year of undergrad, and I knew that it was a graduate program I wanted to pursue. Although I have only been in this program for a short two months, I am consistently inspired by my professors and peers. I can confidently say that I made the right decision coming here.