Illustration of Syndecan molecule for nature cover

7 Minutes



CLIENT: Imperial College London is a world-class public university located in London. Focusing solely on science, this leading research university ranks 9th in the world. The  Cellular and Molecular Biomechanics Laboratory is a multidisciplinary research group that combines cellular and molecular biology tools with biophysical, bioengineering and nanotechnology approaches to investigate how mechanical stimuli regulate the behavior of cells and molecules.

SERVICE: Researchers from the Cellular and Molecular Biomechanics Laboratory contacted us to produce a cover for a research manuscript published in the journal Nature Materials. The client wanted us to focus on the Syndecan molecule, representing the global molecular response elicited when the extracellular domain of the molecule is pulled with a mechanical force using magnetic beads.

From 3DforScience we produced a 3D medical cover, combining science and art.


Understanding the science

Syndecans are transmembrane protein receptors that initiate mechanical chemical signaling to regulate global cell mechanisms. Magnetic beads are used to apply localized tension on Syndecan, eluding a global response through a mechanically activated cascade of events that involves the synergistic activation of EGFR and integrins via PIP3.

The scientific team of 3DforScience studied this mechanism in order to ensure that the medical cover represented the main elements involved at the transmembrane level, guaranteeing in this way scientific accuracy.

We ensured that all proteins found within the membrane and in charge of this mechanical response were represented accurately.

Turning science into art

Once both the scientific and artistic team understood the science, we designed a sketch representing Syndecan and the proteins involved in the global response within the membrane. We focused on the design of Syndecan and represented the magnetic bead in order to follow the topic of the journal: ‘Nature materials‘.  Once the client approved the sketch, we began to do what we like the most: converting science into art.

Our team illustrated the lipid bilayer elegantly, putting  special detail into the amphiphilic phospholipids and the interactions among the hydrophilic phosphate heads and the hydrophobic tails. All the elements within the sketch were transformed into 3D, representing this illustration in an aesthetically, yet scientific way.


 3DforScience is a scientific communication company specialized in digital content for the pharma and biotech industries. Our passionate creative team works alongside an in-house scientific team to provide cutting-edge medical animations, scientific illustrations, virtual reality, etc. Our extensive experience within the field ensures all the content we produce is scientifically accurate, innovative, engaging, and pitched at the right level for the target audience.

Would you like to bring your scientific messaging to life? Contact us. We would love to help you create something unique.

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