8 November 2023
"It's a very high honor for me to have been selected for this prize. The research we're being recognized for, people worldwide in almost every biology and biochemistry laboratory use our chemistry in one way or another," said Dr. Caruthers.This autumn, Dr. Marvin H. Caruthers of the University of Colorado, Boulder, has won the inaugural Richard N. Merkin Prize in Biomedical Technology for developing an efficient, automated technology for synthesizing DNA. The ability to synthesize genetic information has ultimately changed the face of medicine and paved the way for the genetics revolution.The Merkin Prize, created by the Merkin Family Foundation and administered by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, recognizes technologies that have improved human health, and carries a $400,000 cash award. Nominations from around the globe were evaluated by a selection committee composed of eight scientific leaders from academia and industry in the US and Europe, as well as jury chair Dr. Harold Varmus, Nobel laureate."Dr. Caruthers' work demonstrates the type of technology used in the life sciences that impacts patients' care and has significantly advanced healthcare for millions, the purpose of the prizes," said Dr. Richard Merkin, President and CEO of Heritage Provider Network, one of the country’s largest physician founded and physician owned integrated healthcare systems.The logo and branding for this prize was proudly developed by MOTHandRUST.Nominations for the 2024 Merkin Prize will open in September 2023. Visit merkinprize.org for more information.
6 September 2023
“Usually, we shrink images to fit on a postage stamp. In this case, we have enlarged the images to postage-stamp size—that doesn’t happen often,” said Luke Grossmann, senior vice president of finance and strategy for the Postal Service.
These stamps are gorgeous! But they are not works of art per se; they were created for science. But by incorporating aesthetic appeal into the ways they present their research, the scientists behind these stamps have created images equally suited for a gallery wall as for a scientific journal.
The images taken of parts of the natural world that is so small that we cannot perceive it with our eyes alone. Microscopes and specialised photographic techniques are used to capture details of red blood cells, the feather of a macaw, a knotted strand of human hair, moss leaves, diatom shells, freshwater protozoans, an acorn barnacle, a moth’s antenna, the front foot of a diving beetle, neurons from a mouse’s brain, bone tissue from a starling, scales on the wing of a Madagascan sunset moth, a juvenile zebrafish, mushroom gills, the tongue of a freshwater snail, a blue button (similar to a jellyfish), mould spores, the legs of a barnacle, flame lily pollen, and the surface of a southern live oak leaf.
These "The Life Magnified" stamps are issued in panes of 20. Learn more at the USPS site.
I’ve managed to find them on eBay where the seller can ship to the UK for a reasonable price, though I must wait a month to receive them here in London!
19 May 2022
Medical illustration is a rather niche field, with an estimated 2,000 trained practitioners worldwide.
The majority of medical illustrators in the profession have a master's degree from an accredited two-year graduate program in medical illustration, of which there are only four in North America.
The first school of medical illustration was formed in 1911 at Johns Hopkins University.
Some medical illustrators are authors and co-authors of textbooks or articles in which they've made major contributions to the content.
In the past, the majority of medical illustrations were produced for professional use, whereas now there is a growing need for illustrations aimed at the lay public, in order for them to understand the state of their health and medical options.
Attorneys use medical illustration to clarify complex medical information for judges and juries in personal injury and medical malpractice cases.
Medical illustration created for instruction (surgery, anatomy, obstetrics and medicinal plants) first appeared in Hellenic Alexandria during the 4th century BC or early 3rd century BC on individual sheets of papyrus.
Leonardo da Vinci pursued his own anatomy book, and pioneered the use of cross sections and exploded views.
De humani corporis fabrica (The Fabric of the Human Body) of 1543 is probably the most well known book of anatomy. It profoundly changed medical training, anatomical knowledge, and artistic representations of the body, an influence that has persisted over the centuries.
Here at MOTHandRUST, we do create scientific illustrations (seen above) and we can work with specific medical illustrators when required.
25 September 2020As someone who runs a design studio, it is not uncommon to hold a design degree. However, I do have a neuroscience degree as well, and when people find this out, they always ask, “why?”The answer is simple: I planned to be a psychiatrist.So what happened? It was a really tough decision that weighed on me a lot, but finally I decided to apply to art school instead of med school. Then at least I'd never wonder "what if..." And if I really wasn't happy, I could always go back and apply to med school later.I never looked back. And I learned an approach to tough decisions: go for it and if it doesn’t work out, you can usually go back to where you were before. It was this thinking that helped make moving to NYC, Montreal, San Francisco and finally London, for work after graduation, a bit easier.I often give this advice to students, who may answer: is it not a big waste of time and money? It seems that so many want to know exactly where they are going, and then simply get there in a nice, efficient straight line. I'm not sure this is always possible, or even desirable. It is however, understandable. Uni is so costly these days. A tuition freeze and some scholarships meant my student debt was manageable, so I was lucky—the cost was well worth it.If for whatever reason, your path leads in many directions, in this new world of disruption and convergence, it does not mean a big waste of time or money. A diverse background always feeds into what you do later on. In my case, my design studio MOTHandRUST works with a lot of science clients, which means my background is an advantage. I lead science-related projects that I am genuinely interested and passionate about. It makes it easier for me to convey scientific ideas and findings in compelling ways. I can quickly understand and grasp the needs and vision of my science clients. I understand a range of audiences both inside and out of the organisation. Finally, I see the similarities between the Art and Science, not just the differences.
23 July 2020
We've always been interested in artificial intelligence here at MOTHandRUST. We've posted about AI exhibitions we've been to. When the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines based at MIT asked us to partner with them for a rebrand, we were thrilled (a crop of an early presentation seen above).In the studio (via Skype), we've been chatting about AI on and off quite a bit throughout lockdown, as multiple AI-powered projects are being used to predict, explain and manage the different scenarios caused by the health crisis.According to Wired, a 2019 study covering 19 countries’ artificial intelligence health care markets estimated a 41.7 percent compound annual growth rate, from $1.3 billion in 2018 to $13 billion in 2025!Below are some key thoughts brought up in our casual conversations...An early fascinating example of AI's role in spotting an outbreak:In the New Year’s Eve of last year, the artificial intelligence platform BlueDot picked up an anomaly: a cluster of unusual pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. BlueDot, based in Toronto, Canada, uses natural language processing and machine learning to track, locate, and report on infectious disease spread. It sends out its alerts to a variety of clients, including health care, government, business, and public health bodies. It had spotted what would come to be known as Covid-19, nine days before the World Health Organisation released its statement alerting people to the emergence of a novel coronavirus.
AI has already had many roles in the global fight against the coronavirus, as well as in healthcare in general. For example, it's well known that developing a treatment is costly. Very costly. A huge part of this cost is eaten up by the money and time spent on unsuccessful trials. But with AI, scientists can use machine learning to model thousands of variables and how their compounded effect may influence the responses of human cells. Beyond diagnosis and treatment, AI has the potential to make getting appointments, paying insurance bills, and making other medical systems and procedures more efficient and cost effective. The list of potential roles AI can play goes on and on.Data, data, data:A big reason for AI not being able to do even more is that we simply did not have the data to deliver the solutions. There are so many issues around data that need to be addressed: our health care systems generally don't give up information easily to train AI systems, there are the privacy regulations, the error-filled health databases, and the data gathered being organised it in a way that's not useful for machines and so on.A fascinating fact: the amount of medical data in the world now is estimated to double every couple of months or so.As we sort out all the issues around data, AI lags a step behind us. Yet we still imagine that it possesses more foresight than we do... However, we believe that next time round, things will be better.