2022 AMI Online Salon

The Brain-Eating Amoeba: Naegleria fowleri

Project Details

  • Entrant Name:  Keri Jones
  • Client: N/A
  • Copyright: Keri Leigh Jones, 2021
  • Medium/software used: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator
  • Final presentation format: 2-page spread in a scientific magazine
  • Primary Audience: research scientists, doctors

Project Description

Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba that poses a rare, but dangerous threat to humans, causing fatal primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. The illustration introduces the organism, including its life cycle, symptoms of infection, and methods of exposure. The river’s curve ties this introduction to the method of invasion at the anatomical and cellular levels. The amoeba’s path of travel and associated text boxes lead through the mechanisms of entry and destruction. Much research has been done to figure out these mechanisms. This image compiles it in an attractive visual summary. It helps educate doctors so they may consider primary amoebic meningoencephalitis a possibility if a patient presents with meningitis-like symptoms following recent exposure to warm water. It also shows researchers what is known about the infection and encourages them to see if more can be learned. The overall dark tone of the background creates an ominous feel to represent the scary idea of a tiny organism eating your brain. This contrasts with the pretty aqua color of the amoeba itself, representing how it is just an organism trying to live that happily takes advantage of an opportunity for food. All text and labels have at least a 7:1 contrast ratio and visual elements were examined in black and white. A young male is depicted as they make up the majority of cases. An African American child was chosen as part of the broader goal within the medical field to increase racial diversity in illustrations.