LA Tech VISTA: Where Students Create Sci-Art
The Visual Integration of Science Through Art (VISTA) Center at Louisiana Tech is dedicated to engaging students in working with clients to create impactful imagery that visually communicates complex topics in science and medicine. Since its inception in 2015, the VISTA Center has worked with over 100 undergraduate students majoring in studio art, graphic design, biology, chemistry, and biomedical engineering.
These students have created illustrations for university, community, and international partners. Student work hangs in clinics and is published in scientific journals and children’s books, and most recently has been on display at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum. Below are five images that represent the diverse work and background of our students.
1. Alaycia Moore - Drug Delivery
A graphic design major, Alaycia was given the task of communicating target drug delivery. Forced to illustrate something that is not able to be witnessed, Alaycia had to create a light source and color palette that would easily communicate to an audience. Her use of bright colors to designate healthy tissue and a helpful therapeutic, contrasts with the dark, cancerous cells being targeted by the drug-containing nanoparticle.
This image works even for those not familiar with the topic as they can understand the use of bright and dark as good and bad and begin to see the potential of this powerful therapeutic. Alaycia graduated from Louisiana Tech in 2017 and is currently a freelance designer in the Dallas, TX area.
Connect with Alaycia here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alaycia-moore/
2. Ron McKinney - Worrisome Waters
Ron was a studio art major interested in becoming an illustrator. Following other projects, Ron was asked to join a team to create and illustrate a children’s book. This book, Journey to a Better World: Worrisome Waters, aims to show children that they can be part of solving problems in their community.
Ron used his artistic talents and creative style to create a graphic novel where pictures complemented text and created a compelling and engaging narrative. Ron illustrated a second book in this series, Journey to a Better World: Bully Blues along with two books in collaboration with the University of Colorado Anschutz (https://a.co/d/dh9KxLW) before graduating from Louisiana Tech in 2022. Ron is currently an art teacher at I.A. Lewis Middle School in Ruston, LA.
Connect with Ron here: https://www.instagram.com/mcrondoart/
3. Anna Morris - Genome Editing
A biology major who began working with the VISTA Center late in her undergraduate career, Anna Morris used her talents in art and interest in medicine to create an illustration of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing.
This is an illustration at the molecular level, but upon closer inspection, Anna has also illustrated people. These people represent the societal impact that genome editing can have. Her ability to create imagery to communicate two different scales and the simultaneous intersection of science and society creates an impactful illustration.
Anna graduated with a BS in Biology in 2019 and recently completed medical school at LSU Health in Shreveport. She is currently doing her residency in surgery at the University of Arkansas Medical Center.
4. Morgan Roque - Mental Health
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, chemistry major Morgan Roque sought to create imagery that could help visualize what many were feeling. Her illustration of what filled our thoughts and how we might organize those items was a powerful message during the peak of the pandemic. We all had to attempt to identify ways to create structure and balance in our lives and her cluttered and organized brains communicate that in a way that is relatable and manageable.
Morgan graduated from Louisiana Tech in 2022 and is currently in medical school at LSU Health-Shreveport.
Connect with Morgan here: https://www.instagram.com/illustrationsbymorgan/
5.Megan Barr - Gene Therapy
Megan joined the VISTA Center as a junior majoring in Graphic Design. She quickly embraced the complex topics, working closely with scientists, physicians, and parents to ensure accurate, informative, and sensitive illustrations and even animations to help explain some of the gene therapy delivery methods being investigated for clinical trials. Her lighting in this illustration demonstrates the positive impact that gene therapy will have on those affected and is an on-going collaboration with the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST).
Megan became passionate about this project, highlighting her scientific illustrations in her senior exhibition and is pursuing her Master’s of Science in Biology at Louisiana Tech and looking forward to a career in scientific illustration.
Connect with Megan here: https://www.artstation.com/megan_barr/profile