/ Modified mar 25, 2014 4:29 p.m.

Researcher Combines Art, Science in Cancer Spread Study

UA assistant professor of cellular & molecular medicine, Ghassan Mouneimne, uses microscopes and Photoshop to create startling images of cancer cells.

UA assistant professor of cellular and molecular medicine, Ghassan Mouneimne, Ph.D., uses microscopes and Photoshop to create startling - and even beautiful to some - images of cancer cells.

His work is not meant to beautify cancer, but rather to provide a different perspective.

Mouneimne uses various microscopy techniques to take movies and pictures of cells.

"But, of course, this is within the context of the science," Mouneimne said. "So we are not, like, manipulating the images to make them look different from the actual data."

Mouneimne's day-to-day research focuses on something called cell migration, which Mouneimne described as "the heart of metastasis, and metastasis is the spreading of cancer cells from the primary tumor to secondary organs. And mostly, usually, this is the cause of death in cancer," he added.

When he is not at the microscope, Mouneimne is often in front of his computer, using tools like Photoshop and After Effects to create cartoon-like renderings of the cells, which he referred to as simplified graphic explanations of the complex processes he observes.

Mouneimne said he started using graphic design to build Powerpoint presentations, but then realized these images helped him to see cancer cells "differently."

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