Janet Iwasa is a research assistant professor in the Biochemistry department at the University of Utah. Her broad goal is to create accurate and compelling molecular and cellular visualizations that will support research, learning and scientific communication. Janet’s award-winning illustrations and animations have appeared in scientific journals including Nature, Science and Cell, as well as in the New York Times. Her work has also been featured on television and in museum exhibits. Janet was named a 2014 TED fellow and recognized as one of the “100 Most Creative People” of 2012 by Fast Company Magazine.
As a postdoctoral fellow, she created a multimedia exhibit with Nobel Laureate Jack Szostak (Harvard University) and the Museum of Science, Boston, and later worked on biological visualizations as a faculty member at Harvard Medical School. She received her Ph.D. in 2006 from the University of California, San Francisco for her work on the actin cytoskeleton in the laboratory of Dyche Mullins, and completed 3D animation training at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects later that same summer.
About 1 μm Illustration
1 μm (also: one micron, one micrometer) is one millionth of a meter. This is the scale at which subcellular and molecular structures become visible. Many of the visualizations shown on this site depict scenes at this scale.
1 μm illustration is owned and operated by Janet Iwasa. This site shows a subset of her work done over the past decade as an academic and freelance scientific animator/illustrator.
November 17, 2014
Foreign Policy’s Leading Global Thinkers of 2014
Janet is named one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2014 by Foreign Policy magazine.
October 27, 2014
Educational Resource Development Council Presentation
Janet will present her work to members of the ERDC at the University of Utah.
October 22, 2014
Contemporary Animation Society Interview
Took part in an online interview with members of the Savannah College of Art & Design’s Contemporary Animation Society.
October 21, 2014
Graduate & Advanced Lady Scientists (GALS) Seminar
FASB 303, 11am. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
October 9, 2014
The Pioneering Spirit at the University of Utah
Janet takes part in a commercial featuring U of U pioneers.
October 6-10, 2014
Janet led a 5-day 3d animation workshop for art conservators at the University of Evora (Evora, Portugal).
August 7, 2014
How animations can help scientists test a hypothesis
Janet’s TED talk at TED2014 is now viewable online!
June 15-20, 2014
Invited Talk: Gordon Research Conference on Lysosomes and Endocytosis
Proctor Academy, Andover, New Hampshire.
April 25-30, 2014
ASBMB Annual Meeting
Janet will be hosting a workshop on animation, presenting a poster and a short talk at the annual meeting for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) in San Diego. Please come and meet me at any of the following events:
Molecular Animation poster on Sunday, April 27 at1:15pm, D366.
Careers in Scientific animation talk on Monday, April 28 at 4:10pm, during the session on Career Choices.
Molecular Flipbook workshop on Wednesday, April 29th at 12:30-1:30pm.
April 22, 2014
Biologists help create epic films on a micro scale
An article about Janet’s work by Joao Medeiros in WIRED Magazine (UK).
March 17, 2014
Molecular Flipbook Beta 0.1 Launch
The Molecular Flipbook animation toolkit is officially launched during TED2014! Media links below.
Molecular Flipbook: A free, open source 3D animation toolkit designed for and by scientists
An interview with Even Orenstein from coolhunting.com
Tiny and beautiful worlds: Talking molecular animation with TED2014 Fellow Janet Iwasa
Janet is interviewed for the TED blog by Karen Eng
February 22, 2014
Invited Talk: TEDxWellesley College
November 19, 2013
Janet Iwasa is chosen as a TED2014 Fellow [link]
September 27, 2013
The artistic side of science
Janet is featured in a poster at the STEM Education Career Fair (Dulles Town Center, VA).
September 19, 2013
Invited talk: Structural Biology Interest Group, National Institutes of Health
September 9, 2013
Invited talk: 7th Horizons Career Fair in Life Sciences, Max Planck Insitute (Göttingen)
July 14-16, 2013
Workshop: The emerging intersection between the physical sciences and oncology
Attended a thinktank workshop at the Banbury Center at Cold Spring Harbor, sponsored by the USC Physical Sciences in Oncology Center.
March 18, 2013
Crossing animation with molecules creates a whole new field
A University of Utah Health Sciences blog post by Peta Owens-Liston describing Janet’s animation work and planned collaborations.
March 1, 2013
Scientist uses 3-D animation to study cells, viruses
Janet Iwasa is interviewed by Ed Yeates from KSL TV about molecular animation and her new project on visualizing HIV.
February 21, 2013
Molecular animation presentation at The Leonardo Museum
Janet Iwasa gives a public presentation about molecular animation during a month-long exploration of animation at The Leonardo Museum.
January 1, 2013
Janet Iwasa joins the Biochemistry Department at the University of Utah
December 17, 2012
ASCB Working Group: From Histograms to Animations: Effective Visualizations Makes Complex Data Clear.
This interactive working group session at the 2012 ASCB Annual Meeting focused on how to create effective data visualizations using a variety of tools. Janet Iwasa (co-chair), Graham Johnson (co-chair) and Bang Wong presented.
December 15-19, 2012
ASCB² Art Gallery at the 2012 ASCB Annual Meeting, curated by Graham Johnson and Janet Iwasa
: Interview with Graham Johnson (UCSF), about the ASCB² Art Exhibit at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology.
: President’s Column written by Janet Iwasa and Graham Johnson about the art exhibit and working group in the October 2012 ASCB Newsletter.
Fast Company: 100 Most Creative People
Janet Iwasa is listed in Fast Company Magazine’s 100 Most Creative People in 2012.
January 11, 2012
Invited talk: Bauer Forum, Harvard University
January 9, 2012
Invited talk: Williams College
September 17, 2011
Janet Iwasa Makes 3-D Movies about Molecules
An interview with Beth Lebwohl of EarthSky.
September 14, 2011
Biomedical Illustration: From monsters to molecules
Lok C. Nature. 2011 Sep 15;477(7364):359-61.
Scientific animators are borrowing tools from Hollywood to breathe life into cells and molecules on screen.
iBioMagazine: Animating Cell Biology
Janet Iwasa gives a video presentation on molecular animation for iBioMagazine.
April 17, 2011
Invited talk: EPFL (Lausanne)
April 13, 2011
Invited talk: Die Angewandte (Vienna)
March 28, 2011
Invited talk: Emory University
November 15, 2010
Molecular Animation: Where Cinema and Biology Meet
An article in the New York Times, by Erik Olsen, for which Janet Iwasa was interviewed.
June 19-23, 2010
Workshop: Visualizing Molecular & Cellular Processes with 3D Animation
Co-organizers Janet Iwasa and Filipe Santo Silva held an intensive five-day workshop at IPATIMUP (Porto, Portugal) to give participants hands-on training in 3D animation software. During the course, participants designed and completed a short scientific animation on a subject of their choosing.
May 24-28, 2010
NSF Ideas Lab: Innovations in Biological Imaging and Visualization
Participated in an intensive four-day workshop held by the NSF focusing on overcoming the challenges of the visual representation of complex biological images and data.
March 29, 2010
15th Annual Symposium on Biotechnology Education at the Museum of Science
Speakers Janet Iwasa (HMS), Gael McGill (HMS) and Bang Wong (MIT) described technologies used in modern scientific visualizations, such as 3-D animation software, that allow us to “see” what can’t be seen.
December 11, 2009
Invited talk: College de France (Paris)
December 11, 2009
Hollywood Gives Biologists a Helping Hand
A story in Nature News by Monya Baker covering the ASCB subgroup on 3D visualization (below).
December 9, 2009
ASCB Subgroup: Exploring Cell Biology at the Frontier of 3D VIsualization
Special interest subgroup session on visualization at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology, organized by co-chairs and speakers Janet Iwasa and Drew Berry.
ASCB Profile: Janet Iwasa
Janet Iwasa is interviewed for the ASCB Profile section in the monthly newsletter for the American Society for Cell Biology.
January 28, 2009
Visualizing Life’s Origins
Janet Iwasa is a guest author in Science Magazine’s Origins Blog.