XVIVO’s Medical Animations Showcased at ASCO 2014

Every year, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) puts together an annual meeting for clinicians, educators, and researchers to come together to discuss new developments and ideas with respect to cancer research and care. This year, the annual ASCO show took place from May 30th- June 3rd in Chicago, Illinois, and we were excited to see that a total of 5 of our animations were screened during the event.

Here are some pictures!

For Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, we helped depict the mechanism of action of Bavituximab, an investigative drug that encourages active immunity in cancerous environments.

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals

Click the image to watch Bavituximab MOA animation











For Celldex, we created two animations. One depicting the MOA of Rindopepimut, which targets the oncogene EGFRv3, and of Glembatumumab vedotin, which targets the transmembrane protein GPNMB.

Glembatumumab vedotin

Glembatumumab vedotin












We also illustrated the mechanism of disease for MCL/CLL, and depicted the mechanism behind selective BCL-2 inhibition.

BCL-2 inhibition

BCL-2 inhibition










Congratulations to the ASCO community, and thank you to all our clients who have entrusted us with illustrating their amazing developments in cancer research.

Watch Proteins Do the Jitterbug

Watch Proteins Do the Jitterbug

THE CROWDED CELL: A jumble of proteins inside the cell, visualized in a scientific animation.
Credit: Harvard University, XVIVO Scientific Animation

When we first released “The Inner Life of Cell” back in 2006, we were met with kudos and awe. What we had chosen to depict, for the sake of clarity, was open intracellular space, and the smooth, almost premeditated action taken by molecules within the cell. Of course, this was somewhat of a misrepresentation; we have long known that the inside of a cell is packed full of proteins, and ones that don’t remain still nor glide toward their destinations. At that scale, and in that environment, nearly everything that happens is guided by intermolecular chaos and the rules of probability.

Though we may often take some artistic liberties for the sake of clarity, what we realized about this visualization was that it seemed to discount how diseases develop internally. “Inner Life of the Cell” was about a healthy leukocyte responding to an inflammatory signal, but it provided no hints into how diseases might progress in the absence of external sources. So, together with our collaborators over at Harvard, we decided to create “Protein Packing.” We hope that in our newest piece, our viewers can appreciate and speculate how small disturbances in that sort of chaotic environment could drastically alter the function of the cell, leading to much broader consequences. We hope that this gives people a better, clearer lens through which to think about our body and what goes on inside it.

Our animation was featured in the NYTimes today by Carl Zimmer, who discusses many of the ideas we mentioned above. Head over to the website and read his piece, “Watch Proteins Do the Jitterbug.” We couldn’t be more thrilled to have our work recognized, and extend to him our sincerest thanks!

Link to Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/10/science/watch-proteins-do-the-jitterbug.html?ref=science

A New Inner Life

Protein Packing. The inside of a cell

Protein Packing – Inner Life Of The Cell Animation

It’s been a while since our last scientific animation for Harvard’s ‘Inner Life of the Cell’ series, but our team is thrilled to finally announce the release of our newest addition, titled ‘Protein Packing’. What our first two animations depicted, somewhat misleadingly, was a vast intracellular space and the smooth, assembly-line movement of proteins and molecules. But the reality is that the inside of a cell is actually extremely chaotic, packed to the brim with jittering proteins that bump into other, often times with no effect, occasionally with more serious effects.

Let our classical score carry you beyond the limits of the naked eye to witness this molecular “dance.” We’ve amped up our color palette to something a bit brighter, and re-envisioned our beloved kinesin molecule based on new research from our scientific collaborators over at Harvard, Dr. Robert Lue and Dr. Alain Veil. We thank all of our fans for their continuing support, and hope that you enjoy our newest piece.

As always, follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated!

Winter in the New Office

Well, it’s not quite winter yet, but it certainly feels like it.

Breaking into our new office space has been a blast. With great lighting and colorful walls, we’re really starting to achieve our goal of looking like our scientific illustrations. Dare you to find us another medical animation studio with a giant graffiti logo plastered across their wall. Check out this time-lapse of Mike and Helena doing their thing, with a special guest appearance by yours truly.


With the increase in floor space, I’ve even found myself getting a fitdesk and putting it in the office, forcing our clients to unwittingly listen to my workout session as we discuss projects.

More than just me trying to get back into shape, though, a lot has been changing around the office lately. With new projects and ideas looking ahead and people shuffling around, it’s really been a season filled with moments of intense stress and excitement. But no matter what, we refuse to have our creative juices stifled by burnout. We’re a team that will always play as hard as we work.

Stay tuned, because we have some really exciting things to show on the horizon!

Nerd Camp at Google

It’s been a week or so since the last blog post — you’d think there would be a lot to say and show about Sci Foo Camping two weekends ago. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside the building, so I can’t show you guys the awesome heated toilet seats at Googleplex.

Instead, I want to talk about the structure, or rather [non]structure of Sci Foo. Its deviation from the traditional conference format allows for a level of excitement, communication, and shared interest between people hard to achieve otherwise. For those that are not familiar with Sci Foo, it is a yearly event held at the Googleplex in San Francisco – currently hosted by Google, Digital Science, O’Reilly Media, and Nature Publishing Group. This invitation-only event is meant to bring together people from varying fields all throughout science and technology, and see what comes about from the ensuing mingling. This format has come to be known as an unconference.

This is not to say there is no direction in an unconference; in fact, it’s easy to see just how quickly an unconference can fall apart if improperly designed. Fortunately, our wonderful Sci Foo organizers knew what they were doing, and led us to produce one of the most intellectually-stimulating weekends I’ve had all year.

So what really happens here? Essentially, that’s all up to us. After a period of basically just hanging out, talking about ourselves and seeing the amazing things others are doing, we (250+ of us) are presented with a giant blank schedule. We fight for space on the board to pitch a discussion topic, and then split into more intimate sessions where we can really engage with these ideas. Depending on your sociability and who you managed to spark a mutual interest with prior, it is certainly not out of the question to collaborate on a discussion topic or even a future project. More than just place for networking, though, this a time where people can really see their work put in perspective, and really build an appreciation for ideas and directions they might never get a chance to hear about.

As for me, a trained artist in a sea of scientists and techies, it might be reasonable to assume I was out of place. But actually, Sci Foo works its magic by making similar subject-expertise out to seem boring. Everyone seems eager to learn something new, to have their ignorance torn by the sheer wow-factor of ideas they couldn’t possibly dream of. And the best thing about it is: its a shared sentiment, all the way from the big guys up top to the little guy that’s just making his contribution to the world – and its all incredibly humbling.

Thanks to all my fellow Sci Foo Campers and our gracious hosts, and I hope to find myself in another unconference of this sort in the near future.

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