2022 AMI Online Salon

A genetic trail to the roots of Alzheimer’s

Project Details

  • Entrant Name:  Sonya Amin
  • Client: Scientific American
  • Copyright: AXS Studio (artwork); Nature Publishing Group (copy), 2021
  • Medium/software used: Autodesk Maya, Redshift, Adobe AfterEffects, Phtotoshop and Illustrator
  • Final presentation format: Printed magazine illlustration 8.39 x 11.22 inches
  • Primary Audience: General audience; science enthusiasts

Project Description

In their mission to help millions of people living with Alzheimer’s, many researchers have turned their focus to gene studies to generate new ideas. This illustration focuses on insights from the study of two such genes: TREM2 and APOE4. AXS created a full-color vignette of a brain with early Alzheimer’s disease to introduce the disease hallmarks (amyloid plaque, tau tangles, and neuritic plaque tau) and three key cells (neuron, microglia, and astrocyte) to a general audience. The background microbiology is overlaid with didactic illustrations that show how allele expression contributes to disease hallmarks and influences cellular players, resulting in dramatic changes to the brain. We chose warm colors for the active players in the story to contrast against the background of cool neurons. The illustration was evaluated for colorblindness (using Adobe soft-proof) to make sure all active players pop.