2022 AMI Online Salon

A Sandfly Bites and Leishmania Thrives

Project Details

  • Entrant Name:  Ryan Kissinger
  • Client: Dr Tiago Donatelli Serafim
  • Copyright: NIAID, 2021
  • Medium/software used: Graphite on Paper/Adobe Photoshop
  • Final presentation format: Journal Cover
  • Primary Audience: Biomedical Researchers and the Public

Project Description

In November of 2021 Dr Tiago Donatelli Serafim and a team of researchers from NIH published the most comprehensive review of leishmaniasis to date, fulfilling a pressing and unmet need by placing a spotlight on a disease that primarily affects low-income populations. Worldwide, leishmaniasis affects as many as 12 million people with 1.5 to 2.0 million new cases reported annually. Classified as a neglected tropical disease, leishmaniasis is part of a diverse group of tropical infections that are chronically underrepresented in biomedical research. When a female sand fly is infected with Leishmania, the bite results in egestion of a concoction of molecules and parasites that play varied and critical roles in promoting disease establishment. The central focus of this cover image is the inoculum, color coded to distinguish between the individual components. A vibrant and predominantly red color palette is intended to immediately draw the viewer in by evoking the dynamism of the immune response and the inherent danger posed by the Leishmania parasite. Leishmania promastigotes are depicted in green amidst a soluble green cloud of promastigote secretory gel, and a yellow cloud of saliva interspersed with purple microbiota and yellow exosomes. Later, neutrophils are recruited to the bite site depicted here in a struggle with an invading promastigote. Extravascular leakage of red blood cells also occurs, thought to play a role in controlling inflammation.