Image of syringe, round vehicle in which mRNA is carried, and antibodies that look like boat propellers. Text at the top says "Vaccines" and at the bottom says "Your body on antibodies."

CREATORS – Morgan N. Marshall

In ALL, CREATORS by McKenzie Prillaman

Name: Morgan N. Marshall

Which came first in your life, the science or the art?

The art came first, but the science closely followed. I had always had a love and interest in drawing and painting at a young age, but I grew up with a nurse for a mother who always actively shared with me her love for the medical field. I maintained a simultaneous interest in both art and science throughout college. I majored in biology while minoring in chemistry and studio art. When I graduated, I learned about the awesome field of medical illustration and applied for graduate programs straight away!

Infographic with rhodopsin protein, made of lots of spiral subunits, sitting in cell membrane. When light hits this protein, it triggers another protein, transducin, within the cell.
Rhodopsin-Transducin Complex by Morgan N. Marshall, created with VMD, 3ds Max, and Keyshot
Illustration of velociraptor with a zoomed in section to show the bones in its wing
Glenoid Fossa of Velociraptor by Morgan N. Marshall, created in Adobe Photoshop, an illustrative look into dinosaur anatomy

Which sciences relate to your art practice?

I focus mainly on medical anatomy and procedures. A lot of my work homes in on surgical practice and human anatomy. I mainly cater to e-learning and helping a wide breadth of audiences and users learn complex scientific topics.

Black and white line drawing of lungs with anatomical features labeled
Lung Anatomy by Morgan N. Marshall, created in Adobe Photoshop, line drawing to show lungs at 3/4 angle with labeled anatomy

“SciArt is the perfect intersection of science and art, and it shows how one cannot function without the other.”

Morgan N. Marshall
Mockup of the journal "The American Journal of Bioethics," featuring a woman doctor on a tightrope between tall buildings. She is holding onto a rod for balancing, with small-scale patients clinging onto the rod.
Doctors and Balancing by Morgan N. Marshall, created in Adobe Photoshop, bioethics mockup cover meant to show how doctors are performing a balancing act with patients while trying to give the best treatment possible

What materials do you use to create your artworks?

I mainly use ZBrush to create 3D models, but it is not limited to 3ds Max and Maya. All of the interactive programs I have created are programmed within the Unity Real-Time Development Platform for functionality.

Artwork/Exhibition you are most proud of:

I am most proud of my master’s capstone. I was able to create two deliverables from scratch including 2D and 3D assets in both a 3D desktop application and virtual reality application. The program, Craniofacial Anatomy Reality Learner (C.A.R.L) is very dear to me, and I am very happy with the deliverable results.

Virtual reality program screen capture showing a head with its muscles exposed and instructions for what moving left and right controls will do in the program.
Craniofacial Anatomy Reality Learner (C.A.R.L) virtual reality program by Morgan N. Marshall, screen capture of virtual reality space
Virtual reality program screen capture showing a head with its muscles exposed, different settings to show what anatomical features are seen, and the different anatomical pathways are listed.
Craniofacial Anatomy Reality Learner (C.A.R.L) virtual reality program by Morgan N. Marshall, screen capture showing the opacity levels of the program

Which scientists and/or artists inspire and/or have influenced you?

A huge influencer is Diane Nelson, who was my mentor before applying. She convinced me to go into medical illustration, and her illustrations are breathtakingly beautiful.

SciArt is an emerging term related to combining art and science. How would you define it?

SciArt is the perfect intersection of science and art, and it shows how one cannot function without the other. The beauty of science relies on art to be communicated, while art relies on rigorous practice and efficiency, like science, to be created. It’s an amazing symbiotic relationship, and it’s very exciting to see the highlighting of this practice.

Illustration of bathroom sink and counter covered in short hair and a pair of scissors
Cutting Loose by Morgan N. Marshall, created in Adobe Photoshop, editorial cover mockup

For more by Morgan N. Marshall, visit her website, Instagram, or Twitter.

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About the Author
McKenzie Prillaman

McKenzie Prillaman

McKenzie is a fledgling science communicator working at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has a background in neuroscience, and was a research assistant at the University of Virginia and a postbaccalaureate fellow at the National Institutes of Health. After years of thinking she’d become a neuroscience researcher, she discovered her passion for sharing science with others. That finding, in combination with her lifelong dabbling in the arts, led her to write for Art the Science's blog. In her free time, she can be found volunteering with the Smithsonian Associates studio arts classes, trying new foods, and wandering around her home of Washington, D.C. Twitter: @meprillaman