Still of HIV virus from The HIV Life Cycle.

Dr. Janet Iwasa from University of Utah gave a stellar keynote address on animating biology for the annual Molecular & Cellular Biology Training Program retreat on Friday, October 19. The major challenge for science communicators is to explain complex abstract concepts in a non-specialist manner. Whether it’s explaining the origin of life or how HIV infects the body, animation will revolutionize science communication, according to Dr. Iwasa. This form of visualization makes material tangible to a non-specialist audience and truly captivates their attention. Many students at the retreat were inspired to start our animation careers immediately, including myself. However, Dr. Iwasa offered sage advice — “Build yourself a comfortable little niche…Think about what skills you have now, and how those could be applied to a new discipline or area of research to create a unique niche.” Though this curbed my short-lived dream of becoming a world-famous biology animator, her material is freely available to download.


Author – Sydney Wyatt

Editor – Keith Fraga