The Pathology of Chagas Disease
Dave Mazierski
Educated lay audience
Students were challenged to create an original, conceptual medical illustration demonstrating pathological change in a tissue over time, to explain a particular disease process to an educated lay audience.
I chose to create an infographic on Chagas' Disease, which can present with a variety of chronic symptoms after years of low-grade, undetectable infection. Common in many parts of Latin America, it has become widespread in areas where its insect disease vectors are not endemic to due to immigration.
The final piece is designed to be a layout spread in a science magazine.

1. Ideation

When presented with the premise of the project, I became interested in creating a graphic on a neglected neotropical disease (NTD) due to their relative lack of attention or representation. Once I learned about and chose to focus on Chagas disease, I set about creating cellular and tissue studies to better understand its pathological context.

2. Design

I knew I wanted to create a stepwise tissue sequence that showed both the tissue and cellular structure of the heart over time. This was one element that I landed on and did not change throughout the course of the project. As I built potential layouts, I considered and discarded several sections that split the focus of the piece, including epidemiology (inserting a map took up a great deal of space and reiterated information that I had already conveyed in text) and gross cardiac changes (the main heart illustration was already surrounded by text, and the addition of more callouts would make the section even more difficult to parse).

3. Colour & Final layout

After careful consideration, I added a person to the layout to provide additional context for the heart, and to inspire more empathy from the reader. At this point, choosing a colour scheme involved experimenting with both dark and light layouts, and a variety of shades for the heart tissue cubes, to strike a balance between the depiction of "raw meat" and "living human tissue".
The final product was reserved and readable, with a light layout, and a female, more visibly ethnic figure to better represent the primary demographic that suffers from the disease.