When one thinks of animation, images of cartoons, ogres, and robots typically come to mind. Yet there’s a whole other genre that most of us have never heard of, as hidden from our everyday lives as the subject matter it depicts: Biomedical animation. And if you want to know what it is or why it’s important, there’s no better person to ask than Cameron Slayden, Co-Founder and CEO of Microverse Studios.
Cameron developed his career as the result of a very rare combination of talents; he loves science and is an expert 3D animation artist. He discovered his calling in his biology class in the 10th grade when he drew a diagram from his textbook and realized that creating artwork that told a scientific story set his mind ablaze. From then on, his path was clear: he would be a scientific illustrator. Later as he earned his master’s degree in Medical Illustration, he discovered that he could tell stories even more completely with animation, and Microverse Studios was born.
According to Cameron, scientific animation is critical because of the depth of specialization in our society today. There are people who spend their entire lives researching a single type of cell. They know everything about that cell type, and when they make a discovery, it’s very clear to them why it’s important. If you were to take that discovery to your average grandma in a grocery store and say, “We discovered a small interfering RNA that engages with the RISC complex to disable the production of MTOR, and we figured out how to package it into an AAV for delivery,” you’d be met with blank stares. There needs to be a translator, a way to adapt ultra-specialized research to be accessible to everyone else.
But one might argue that the population at large isn’t interested in such a granular view of science. This is true, and this is why the average member of the public is only peripherally aware of the industry of scientific animation at best. But there is a place where a detailed understanding of science is absolutely critical: where decisions are made about the technologies.
Every biotech company’s life cycle involves multiple phases of capital raising. Investors are courted, or if the company is lucky, investors court them. The only way those companies will secure funding is if they can show that their technology is novel, sellable, and exciting enough to increase in value and eventually turn a major profit. Life sciences hold promise to change the fundamental nature of the human experience for the better, and so there is tremendous potential value in every company. Investor time is limited, and so they must be given information by the most efficient means possible. When executed well, the animation is that solution, thanks to its maximal engagement of learning centers in the brain.
Similarly, pharmaceutical companies need to explain to healthcare providers how their therapies work within cells so that they can make educated decisions for their patients. Well-produced scientific animation does this more efficiently and effectively than any other medium.
Scientific animation provides a critical connection between the world of discovery and the engine of the economy and facilitates the advances made in the lab to improve our lives.
To learn more about how Cameron and his team of scientific animators combine rigorous science with Hollywood-level cinematic animation, visit the website MicroverseStudios.com.