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Beautiful tumours: biomedical illustrators capture top honours

"This really is a remarkable piece"

Kateryna Procunier's award-winning images of the tumour known as a vestibular schwannoma (image courtesy UTM)

Artists from the University of Toronto’s Biomedical Communications (BMC) program brought home top honours from the Association of Medical Illustrators’ conference.

A first-year graduate student and a faculty member from the University of Toronto Mississauga were both recognized at the AMI annual meeting July 23-26 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Kateryna Procunier, a first-year student in the Master of Science in Biomedical Communications program, won the “Orville Parkes Best of Show” award for her piece, “The Clinical Significance of the Formation and Growth of a Vestibular Schwannoma.”

“I didn’t believe it at first, and had to double-check the list of winners to make sure,” said Procunier.

The artwork depicts the four stages of progression and structural effects of growth of a vestibular schwannoma, a benign tumour involving the cells that insulate and support the vestibular nerve of the inner ear. The illustrations show how the tumour is formed, and the ear and nerve structures the tumour affects as it develops.

Procunier digitally painted the piece, which is intended for use in an anatomy textbook for medical students.

“This really is a remarkable piece,” said Nicholas Woolridge, director of the Biomedical Communications program. “It clearly explains the growth of a tumour in a complex, tiny space deep in the skull.”

Assistant Professor Jodie Jenkinson with her co-investigator, Gaël McGill of Harvard Medical School, received the “2014 Literary Award” for their outstanding article, “Using 3D Animation in Biology Education: Examining the Effects of Visual Complexity in the Representation of Dynamic Molecular Events.”

The editorial board of The Journal of Biocommunication selects the award winner from the scholarly articles published in the journal in the preceding year.

BMC graduate students and alumni also won in a number of categories at the Salon Exhibit that opened the meeting. Kateryna Procunier, Qingyang Chen, Natalie Cormier, Megan Kirkland, Man-San Ma, Brendan Polley and Andrew Tubelli and alumni Jerusha Ellis and Stuart Jantzen represented the BMC program with their winning pieces in multiple student categories.

Winners in the professional categories included U of T alumni Kate Campbell and Ian Suk, and BMC industry partners and employers of BMC alumni, Artery Studios, AXS Studio Inc., and INVIVO Communications.

Maeve Doyle is a writer with the University of Toronto Mississauga.