Vesalius Trust Scholarship Awards

The UIC Biomedical Visualization program is proud to have five Vesalius Trust Scholarship Award recipients this year, who are all working on a diverse array of research. Read on to learn more about our winners and their research work:

Vesalius Scholar – Samantha Olson


I am honored to have my research, Visualizing Anatomy in Craniofacial Cleft Patient Education: Best Practices in Generating Comfort & Understanding, recognized by the Vesalius Trust. My animation about velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI), which details the pathology, the diagnostic nasal endoscopy, and the surgical options for VPI, is complete! Clinical testing will begin this week and the animation will be shown to pediatric patients and their parents at the UIC Craniofacial Center. In April, I will be presenting the results with my project team at the American Cleft-Palate Association annual meeting.

Research Grant – Michelle Lamont


I am creating an interactive application to visualize the intracranial cysts that occur when an individual contracts Neurocysticercosis (NCC): a disease caused by Taenia solium, a parasitic tapeworm. Currently, I’m creating 3D models of brains and cysts from patient CT and MRI data and designing a poster to educate medical students and physicians on the stages that the cysts progress through so they can effectively identify and treat NCC.

Research Grant – Mao Miyamoto


I am very thankful to be acknowledged for my research. My project provides digital training in basic lab techniques for introductory level college biology students before they enter the physical lab. My program is expected to enhance students’ learning experience by allowing them to concentrate on the science behind the lab instead of focusing on the technique. This project gave me an opportunity to pursue sound instructional design through the use of visuals, and I’m thrilled to present the project in the near future.

Research Grant – Eva Mae Natividad


I am beyond grateful that my graduate research has been acknowledged by the Vesalius Trust. My project, Multicultural Considerations to Promote Visual Communication in Cleft Lip Animations for Pediatric Patient and Caregiver Education, has enabled me to explore how to create a multiculturally inclusive animation for craniofacial patients and families about cleft lip repair. The UIC Craniofacial Center (CFC) sees a diverse patient population, and as populations become more culturally diverse, cultural competence in biocommunication will be necessary to effectively address diverse audiences and positively affect healthcare outcomes. One of the teaching strategies at the CFC that transcends multicultural populations is the use of analogies like the sandwich in this picture! With my team, I will get to share my research at the American Cleft-Palate Association meeting in Georgia this year.

Research Grant – Carrie Shaw


Currently, I am finishing up “We Are Alfred”, a virtual immersive interactive experience designed to educate and expose medical students to the aging experience.  In the experience, delivered on the Oculus Rift DK2 with Leap Motion hand detection, a medical student will embody a 74 year-old African American patient named Alfred and experience a doctor’s visit from the first person patient perspective.  The “We Are Alfred” project teaches medical students about the audiovisual presentation of age-related macular degeneration and high frequency hearing loss as well as introduces students to the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and the importance of recognizing audiovisual impairment versus cognitive impairment. Next week, medical education faculty and medical students will go through the “We Are Alfred” experience and give feedback on the user experience, user interface, and overall learning objectives of the project.


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