The Illustrated Lab
Scientific Illustration by Jennifer Colquhoun

Animal Models for Human Birth Defects

Figures created for a textbook chapter looking into the use of stem cells and the pancreas. The chapter is titled: Animal Models for Human Birth Defects.

mice embryos, human embryos…

The Client: David Lorberbaum, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Sussel Lab, Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, University of Colorado, Denver

The Brief

To produce two figures to accompany a book chapter; one featuring the developmental biology of mouse pancreas plus human pancreas, and one detailing personalised medicine and gene editing for diabetic patients. The former panel was to feature a series of illustrations, from the first morphologic evidence of the pancreas through to the fully differentiated cell types. I suggested we showed these as a corresponding series of condensed steps for each animal.

Figure 2: Personalised medicine and gene editing

Figure 1: Human and Mouse Pancreatic Development

A Human and Mouse Pancreatic Islet

Pancreatic development in mouse on a cellular level

The Outcome

I worked with the client and undertook some extensive research to make sure that I could replicate the stages in each figure accurately. We opted for a more simplified, linear style since the images would be reproduced in print, with limited space, and went for a punchy, bright colour palette.

The Client’s Summary

I have nothing but positive things to say about working with Jenni on this. To broadly summarise, her work and efforts on this project blew me away. More specifically, her illustrations are gorgeous and exactly what we needed for the submission. I was worried about being too specific when describing what we needed, but she exceeded my expectations and quickly picked up a whole new subject in a very short amount of time. In addition to all of that, Jenni was able to incorporate all of our edits (big and small) while still meeting the admittedly short deadlines to get us exactly what we needed when we needed it. I also very much appreciated the open lines of communication (even though we are 6 time zones apart) and the clarity of those communications —these things combined made for a very smooth exchange of ideas, which ultimately led to a great final product. It was a pleasure working with Jenni and I hope we can work together again. 

David Lorberbaum, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Sussel Lab