Second year Biomedical Communications graduate student Savanna Jackson was named the 2016 recipient of the Professor Stephen Gilbert Award for Excellence in Biomedical Visualization. Program director Nicholas Woolridge made the announcement Friday, December 16, 2016 after the annual Year End Critique. A committee of Biomedical Communications faculty selected Jackson’s piece Atherosclerosis from 42 submissions made by first and second year students in the program.
Jackson, who holds a bachelor of science in biology and a certificate in art and design, joined the Biomedical Communications program in fall 2015. She created Atherosclerosis for the course MSC2018H Visual Representation of Processes in Pathology taught by Professor Shelley Wall.
Jackson said that her goal in creating the piece was to capture atherosclerosis on both the cellular and gross anatomical level. “I wanted to demonstrate the highly complex cellular composition of an atherosclerotic plaque while also clearly exhibiting how the slow buildup of local cellular changes within a plaque can have large scale effects on cardiovascular health.” She applied a minimalist aesthetic to the text and background elements in order to provide contrast to the illustration’s intricacies.
“Savanna’s piece shows a classic pathological change in a tissue landscape over time and with an elegant integration of pictorial information and graphic design elements,” said Woolridge. “It is an excellent example of very clear illustrative storytelling.”
“When I saw my piece appear on the screen behind Nick, I’d describe my feelings as pleasantly shocked and incredibly honoured,” said Jackson.
Currently, Jackson is creating a 2D animation to explain her Master’s Research Project CANVIS: Citation, Annotation & Visualization Integration System, a web application that will allow medical illustrators to embed citation information directly into their visual media.
The Biomedical Communications program established the Professor Stephen Gilbert Award in memory of Professor Gilbert who passed away in February 2014. Gilbert, who taught part-time for 23 years in the Biomedical Communications/Art as Applied to Medicine program at the University of Toronto, was an internationally recognized medical illustrator and master of the pen-and-ink technique.
by Maeve Doyle