Inaugural Art in Research exhibit showcases cutting-edge illustrations in biomedical research

Science is an art, but not all scientists are artists. To push our students to their creative capacity while showcasing their research, the Weldon School held its first Art in Research exhibit on September 24, 2021 in Martin C. Jischke Hall of Biomedical Engineering.

Nearly 30 Weldon School graduate students submitted images (photography, micrographs, illustrations, visualizations and renderings) that depicted their research, along with a description on how the image was created and how it represents the importance of research in their field.

Faculty voted on the top images in six catagories, and the following were selected as winners:

Best Microscopy

Title: Micro-Tulip Field
Submitted by: Hyunjin Lee
Contributors: Woohyun park (Dr. Chi Hwan Lee’s Lab)
Creation: Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of vertically ordered silicon microwires.
Caption: The image shows a vertically ordered array of silicon microwires (looking like a Tulip Field), which was created by using advanced microfabrication techniques in the Birck Nanotechnology Center (BNC) and imaged by a high-resolution Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). The graduate students used the tulip-like microwires for their application in minimally invasive ocular drug delivery, which has been recently awarded a NIH NEI R01 grant on Sep 2021.

Best Modeling

Sunrise, Sunset
Title: Sunrise, Sunset- Spatiotemporal Maps of a Mouse Heart Attack

Submitted by: Conner Earl

Contributors: Luke Schepers; Sydney Clark

Creation: This image was created in MATLAB from two 4D Ultrasound images taken prior to inducing a surgical heart attack and 28 days after the heart attack. The 4D Ultrasound images were taken using a VevoLab 3100 (FUJIFILM VisualSonics). The top images are polar plots of the mouse left ventricle depicting wall thinning while the lower images are spatiotemporal maps representing Green- Lagrange circumferential strain.

Caption: The images shown are representative images of a mouse heart before and 28 days after a heart attack. The upper left circular image is a polar plot that represents a healthy heart without any injury. The lower left plot represents the motion of the heart and the even, solid yellow line in the middle indicates healthy motion. The plot on the upper right shows where the heart attack occurred (blue), and the lack of yellow in the bottom right image shows how poorly the heart was moving. The image is meant to be a tribute to the sacrifice mice make in advancing the field of research and represents the "sunrise and sunset" of this particular mouse's life.

Best Rendering

Title: Looking Inside the Aneurysm
Submitted by: Sean Rothenberger
Contributors: Jiacheng Zhang; Pavlos Vlachos; Vitaliy Rayz
Creation: MRI data was collected at Northwestern University and processed using MATLAB. The velocity and error were calculated using in-house code and saved as images.
Caption: The image shows a cross-sectional view of MRI-measured flow entering a brain aneurysm. The image on the left depicts how quickly the blood is moving inside the artery and aneurysm. The image on the right is the error we calculate in the same blood flow measurements. Our research aims to use blood flow dynamics (left image) to predict aneurysm growth. However, we first must estimate the error in those blood flow measurements (right image) to make accurate predictions.

Best Hand Drawn

Nematode Caenorhabditis Elegans: Viewed through the Microscope and Re-imagined in Acrylic

Title: Nematode Caenorhabditis Elegans: Viewed through the Microscope and Re-imagined in Acrylic

Submitted by: Nissa Larson

Creation: The image was taken with my smartphone through the eyepiece of a microscope. The colored section was acrylic painted by hand and intended to align with the image. For reference, adult nematodes are approximately one millimeter in length.

Caption: This image, depicting nematode species C. elegans, was taken during my undergrad research with mentor Tian Qiu in Nathan Schroeder’s lab at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The nematodes shown are living on a specialized, peptone-free growth medium, as we believed that the normal growth medium may have been altering the amino acid analysis results in previous experimentation. Simple images such as this were taken to track and convey growth stages of the nematodes. Although they were largely drab in coloration, the nematodes daily lively action always brightened my day. I enjoyed conveying them in this manner.

Best Device Design

Title: Dream Waves

Submitted by: Hammad Khan

Contributors: Om Kolhe

Creation: Brightlight microscopy, ImageJ, Powerpoint, Illustrator

Caption: Cutting-edge technologies can enable exquisite understanding of the most complex organ in the human body – the brain. The building block of which is called a neuron. These neurons emit constant electrical waves to which provides the basis of how our brain coordinates activities. These waves change as a function of our own cognitive states. However, understanding the interactions of single and grouped neurons during various behavioral functions still require advanced technologies. Once such way is to develop scalable and flexible multi-electrode arrays in an attempt to record from groups of neurons during active – awake states, or inactive – dream states.

Best Anatomy and Physiology

Mapping of Human Brain Connectivity Using MRI

Title: Mapping of Human Brain Connectivity Using MRI

Submitted by: Antonia Susnjar

Contributors: Yukai Zou

Creation: The image was created based on Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) data, a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technique, collected at the Purdue MRI Facility using 3T GE Discovery MR750 scanner. DTI uses anisotropic diffusion to estimate the axonal white matter organization of the brain. The image above represents 3D reconstructed fiber tractography to assess white matter tracts. We used several open-source software such as FSL and MRTrix3, as well as customized MATLAB scripts.

Caption: The image depicts a 3D representation of white matter tracts connectivity in the human brain. The image was acquired with Diffusion Tensor Imaging, an advanced MRI technique used to assess complexity of the brain networks and dynamic changes caused by the range of neurological diseases or disorders. The technique described is used to monitor treatment responses for clinically diagnosed PTSD military veterans. In medical practice, DTI is used to detect brain damage caused by the ischemic stroke, seizures brain tumors, and multiple sclerosis.