The goal of this project was to create a 2-page spread demonstrating etiology, pathogenesis and clinical consequences of Cystic Fibrosis disease.
Cystic Fibrosis is a recessive genetic disease affecting only a minority of the population. It's cause by genetic mutations in the CFTR gene, which encodes a membrane protein that regulates the movement of water cross epithelial membranes of the lungs, pancreas, liver and reproductive organs. The malfunction of the CFTR protein in the lungs produces the failure of the innate immune function, leading to accumulation of pathogens and infection of the airways.
Prof. Shelley Wall
Dr. John Wong
University of Toronto
11 x 17 (print)
Maxon Cinema 4D
I conducted initial background research to develop a step-by-step written description of the pathological process. I developed a list of key questions focused on what, when, and where, that could help me visually descript the disease: what is the function of the CFTR protein? what are the consequences of its malfunction in the lungs? what are common pathogens that take advantage of these conditions? how does P. Aeruginosa become a chronic infection?, etc.
Finally, I conducted a media audit of other visualizations depicting Cystic Fibrosis. With this information I narrowed down all the elements that I wanted to include in my project and started thinking about possible layouts.
I conducted several studies to familiarize with the landscape of the airways, its structure and the disease progression. These were useful to realize the amount of detail that I wanted to include and the best ways to depict it. For example, I created a three-point perspective of the tissue cubes that was successful at depicting the disease process at a cellular level. However, it wasn't communicating clearly the location and the effects at the level of the bronchi's structure. Thus, I replaced it with three-dimensional cross sections of the bronchi and included two dimensional panels that showed the pathological process at the cellular level.
I initially created small and quick thumbnail sketches to experiment with different layouts. I selected on of them and undergo iterative revision based on instructor's and content expert's feedback. The biggest challenge was to include all the essential elements to effectively communicate different aspects of the disease. For example, I considered important to include the baby, not only to add a sympathetic human element but also to represent the genetic basis of the disease, and a small kid, to represent the rapid progression of the lung pathogenesis. When including them, I could also represent the progression of the disease at the organ level.
Before beginning rendering the illustrations that would compose the final piece, I researched pathological mucus color palettes. I decided to go with a complementary colour scheme for the final illustration that matched the orange/copper color of the bronchi with the greens of the mucus.
I chose a watercolour style to render this piece because of the calming effect they can have on the viewer and to add a more personal feel to the finished piece.