Weizmann PhD brings science to visual life in Australia

June 17, 2020

Science can be complex and often hard to ‘see’.  But a scientific animator’s skill can change that by bringing it all to life, not just for the scientist but the lay person too.

Weizmann PhD graduate, Ofir Shein Lumbroso, is in Australia, honing her skills to  become an important addition to the stable of global science illustrators as she goes through her year-long biomedical animator internship at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney.

Ofir completed her PhD at Weizmann about seven months ago and arrived in Australia in December 2019.  During her PhD Ofir completed a course in online illustration.  This fueled her interest and passion for scientific animation and helped her realise that ultimately, this was the area she wished to pursue for her career.  Her timing was right.

“It was during the last year of my last PhD that I saw the advertisement for the position at Garvan and I jumped at the chance.  After a few examinations and a long  application process, I was successful and here I am now,” she smiled.

Garvan and Weizmann have an extensive research cooperation program, including the Garvan-Weizmann  Centre for Cellular Genomics in Darlinghurst.

Ofir said that as a Garvan biomedical animator, a position funded by Sydney based Garvan-Weizmann partnership supporters Mr Bob Magid OAM and Mrs Ruth Magid, she is guided by Garvan’s talented molecular animator Dr Kate Patterson.

“I am learning from one of the best and it’s an exciting time. Once the year is over I hope to continue in a role as a scientific animator at the Weizmann Institute in Israel,” said Ofir.

One of her major objectives by the end of the year is not only to further develop her animation  skills, but to complete a scientific video about the evolution of the genetic mutation that causes autoimmune disease. This is based on the work of Dr Joanne Reed and Garvan’s Executive Director, Professor Chris Goodnow and there is a process to follow.

“The main goal of a scientific animator is to make science accessible while staying true to the most up to date research developments, which is a great challenge,” she said.

“Therefore a big part of the job is to conduct thorough literature reviews in the relevant fields before animating it.  After this, we then create a storyboard which contains the key messages about what to convey and visualise.

“It really follows the same principles as creating a television advertisement.  The whole process, finishes with an edit in post-production, a voice over added with music and relevant sound,” she explained.

The process is a thrill for Ofir as it covers many of her passions, including art.

“The most exciting thing for me is the fact that I can combine two passions in my life, science and art. Even in high school, I majored in science and art, so the combination always attracted me. I love the possibility of being able to communicate the magic of science through my animations,” she said.

What does Ofir think about her experience living and working at Garvan and in Australia?

“I’m having the best time at Garvan. In addition to the fun and welcoming working environment, I really appreciate the high professional standards and the quality of the research. It’s a great experience to be part of it,” she said.

“When it comes to Australia, it’s probably not the best year to visit, due to the bush fires at the beginning of the year and now COVID19.  But given the circumstances in the rest of the world caused by the pandemic  Australia is a really good place to be! And luckily for me, my husband and I visited Australia about five years ago and travelled the east coast for six weeks, which was amazing,” said Ofir.

“We had a great time back then and we are enjoying the beauty of Sydney during our current stay and hopefully we’ll manage to explore other parts of Australia as restrictions ease.”

Thankfully Ofir’s animation work allows her to work from home during COVID-19 and have a balanced work life.

You can see some of Ofir’s handiwork on the cover of the latest Garvan magazine Breakthrough.

Weizmann and Garvan have collaborated before on scientific illustrations, in the world of science education at schools.  Check out the story of when Weizmann researchers visited to share their teaching knowledge with Garvan’s science animators. https://weizmann.org.au/2019/01/teachers-taught-art-of-genomic-visualisation/

 

 

More Posts

2019 Science Summer School Scholars share their Weizmann experience

In July 2019 three lucky high school science graduates attended the month long, annual Weizmann Institute of Science’s International Summer Science Institute (ISSI) in Israel. These were Caleb McKenna (University…

eastRead More

The Garvan Institute and the Weizmann Institute of Science’s inaugural live webinar – you’re invited

The public are invited to an exclusive one hour webinar featuring two intriguing speakers from different perspectives of the COVID-19 crisis: Olfaction at the epicentre of COVID-19 Professor Noam Sobel…

eastRead More

Weizmann Summer School Graduate awarded Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford

Congratulations are due to Weizmann 2019 Bessie F. International Summer School Graduate, Sai Campbell, who was just awarded an Australia-at-Large Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford for the Territories….

eastRead More

The Weizmann Institute of Science Ranked Eighth in the World for Scientific Performance

The Weizmann Institute of Science maintains its status as one of the world’s top research institutions and was recently ranked eighth globally for research quality in a weighted (proportional) ranking published…

eastRead More

View All