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MMR Mutations and colorectal cancer


Dr. Alberto Martin

Dr. Stephen Li

Professor Michael Corrin


Adobe Illustrator CC


Scientific Expert


This project was created for Dr. Alberto Martin and Dr. Stephen Li for a review article on Mismatch Repair and Colon Cancer, published in Trends in Molecular Medicine. This figure shows the development of colorectal cancer in a epithelial cross-section with call-outs depicting molecular events.


This vector-based image was created entirely in Adobe Illustrator using 'cel shading,' a method of rendering whereby depth and form is created by using solid blocks of colour to represent shadows and highlights instead of gradients.


Many iterations of this were created to achieve the final image. First, a sketch depicting the mechanism of action at the most fundamental level was created to clearly depict the steps. The molecular events were more-or-less straightforward to conceptualize, though the challenge was to depict the genesis of cancer due to the mutated protein.

I chose to portray this by creating a tissue landscape of the macro events, and using insets to indicate the genetic changes. The slider below shows a selection of drafts that were created throughout the process.

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