Audience: Educated lay audience

Client: Prof. Michael Corrin; Dr. Stephen Girardin (content advisor)

An editorial piece depicting recent research by Dr. Stephen Girardin at the University of Toronto. The purpose of this project was to design and render a conceptual illustration depicting events occurring at cellular and molecular scales.


Print (editorial, magazine)

Tool used:

Adobe Illustrator CC

Completed on:

February 2017

intracellular function of C3 during xenophagy

Research and diagram


After establishing communication goals during an initial meeting with Dr. Girardin, research data was collected from Dr. Girardin's paper and other sources. Once all cellular and molecular structures involved during xenophagy were identified, I made several diagrammatic sketches using simple shapes to communicate the process.

Refine and render


Once the diagrammatic illustration was approved by Dr. Girardin and Prof. Corrin, the next stage involved designing and refining the illustration in colour while employing a “cel shading“ style. Tonal and compositional studies were made before the final render in Adobe Illustrator.

References: Clancy, John. The Human Body Close-up. New York: Firefly Books, 2011.; Geng, Jiefei and Daniel J Klionsky. “The Atg8 and Atg12 ubiquitin-like conjugation systems in macroautophagy. 'Protein Modifications: Beyond the Usual Suspects' Review Series.” EMBO Reports 9 (2008): 859-864. Accessed December 21, 2016. doi: 10.1038/embor.2008.163; Huang, Ju, and John H. Brumell. “Bacteria–autophagy interplay: a battle for survival.” Nature Reviews Microbiology 12 (2014): 101-114. Accessed October 21, 2016. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3160; Nakatogawa, Hitoshi. “Two ubiquitin-like conjugation systems that mediate membrane formation during autophagy.” Essays In Biochemistry 55 (2013): 39-50. Accessed October 21, 2016. doi: 10.1042/bse0550039; Randow, Felix, and Richard J. Youle. “Self and non-self: How autophagy targets mitochondria and bacteria.” Cell Host Microbe 15 (2014): 403-411. Accessed October 21, 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2014.03.012; Sanchez-Wandelmer, Jana, Nicholas T. Ktistakis, and Fulvio Reggiori. “ERES: sites for autophagosome biogenesis and maturation?.” Journal of Cell Science 128 (2015): 185-192. Accessed December 22, 2016. doi: 10.1242/jcs.158758; Travassos, Leonardo H., Leticia A. M. Carneiro, Mahendrasingh Ramjeet, Seamus Hussey, Yun-Gi Kim, João G. Magalhães, Linda Yuan, Fraser Soares, Evelyn Chea, Lionel Le Bourhis, Ivo G. Boneca, Abdelmounaaim Allaoui, Nicola L. Jones, Gabriel Nuñez, Stephen E. Girardin, and Dana J. Philpott. “Nod1 and Nod2 direct autophagy by recruiting ATG16L1 to the plasma membrane at the site of bacterial entry.” Nature Immunology 11 (2009): 55-62. Accessed October 21, 2016. doi: 10.1038/ni.1823; Walczak, Marta, and Sascha Martens. “Dissecting the role of the Atg12–Atg5-Atg16 complex during autophagosome formation.” Autophagy 9 (2013): 424-425. Accessed October 21, 2016. doi: 10.4161/auto.22931

© Chelsea Canlas 2018. Somewhere in Toronto.