New illustrations

The discovery of monkey pox – by Preben von Magnus

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The virus infection monkey pox (abe-kopper in Danish), which has appeared in several, European countries during the last weeks, was first identified, described and named in 1958 by the Danish medical doctor Preben von Magnus (1912-1973). Preben von Magnus worked as a researcher at ’Statens seruminstitut’ in Copenhagen. At that time, cynomolgus monkeys (a type of macaques) were used as laboratory animals and Preben and his colleagues observed that some of the imported monkeys fell sick with something resembling smallpox (kopper).

In the same period, due to the wish to eradicate smallpox from the world, there was fear that smallpox could have natural reservoirs, for instance in non-human primates. So, the Danish researchers isolated virus from the ’pustules’ on the sick animals and carefully analysed it. First they cultivated it on chick embryo membranes and cellular cultures – where after they performed careful observations by electron microscopy. By this, they could conclude that the virus was not smallpox, but instead a new type of pox virus that they named monkey pox.

Preben von Magnus was a successful virologist who also made significant, scientific contributions within other virus types (e.g. influenza and polio virus) and within vaccinology.  He and his wife, Herdis von Magnus, who also was a successful researcher at Statens Seruminstitute, led the Danish polio vaccination program in that they developed and produced a Danish variant of the polio vaccine that was originally developed by the American researcher Jonas Salk. Preben also served on the famous, Danish hospital ship named Jutlandia, in Korea during the Korean war. In 1959, he was appointed as director of Statens Seruminstitute.



”A pox-like disease in cynomolgus monkeys”, Acta Pathol. Microbiol. Immunol. Scand., 1959, 46, 156-176.

”Smallpox and Monkey pox in non-human primates”, 1968

”Preben von Magnus”, Speech by Ole Maaleøe at the Royal Danish Society of Sciences and Letters, Feb. 22, 1974.

”The natural history of smallpox”, New Scientist, 1978

”Bekæmpelse af infektionssygdomme – Statens Seruminstitut 1902-2002”, Klaus Jensen.


Visit to European Spallation Source (ESS) in Lund, Sweden

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Together with the association for Danish Science Journalists (Danske videnskabsjournalister), I went to visit the European Spallation Source (ESS) in Lund in Sweden. It was super-interesting!

ESS is a huge research facility under construction. When finished in a couple of years from now, it will be the world’s largest and most powerful neutron source. The principle behind it is that an extremely powerful proton-beam is shot into a large target (made of Tungsten), whereby neutrons are released and spread with large energy in many directions. These neutrons are guided through channels, and shot into different samples. By shooting neutrons onto the samples, lots of information about the sample is generated. The samples analyzed can be various different materials, biological specimens, archaeological specimens and more.

ESS is a collaboration between 13 different, European countries (of which Sweden and Denmark are the host countries) and is expected to give new insigths in various different research fields.

New illustrations

Infographic about the adolescent brain development

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The brain is changing a lot during adolescence to shape itself for future needs. A lot is happening on the molecular, cellular, structural and functional level. Teenagers can seem to have lost their head sometimes, but what is going on is actually logic and needed. They are working hard to morph their brain into an adult one. In this infographic, I have tried to summarize some of the major changes.

Infographic about the adolescent brain
New illustrations

Infographic about Space Physiology

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Infographic about space physiology scientific illustration

I love to make illustrative infographics that summarizes scientific subjects. Here is one about Space Physiology – thus, what happens during long time in space.

It is inspired by the fact that ESA (The European Space Agency) a few weeks ago announced that the Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen is again going on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS). It will be mid 2023 or early 2024.

It is the second time that Andreas will go on a space mission. Last time, he stayed 10 days at the ISS, but this time the mission will be significantly longer.

The effects mostly come from microgravity (thus, almost no gravity), but also cosmic radiation and lack of daylight (and a day-and-night-cyclus) affects the body.

–          “An overview of space medicine”, PD Hodkinson et al, 2017
–          ESA announcement from March 24, 2022
–         “Microgravity and space medicine”, Daniella Grim, 2021

New animations

The Glymphatic System

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There are many good answers to this question, but one of them is – we need brain wash!

This is taken care of by the GLYMPHATIC system, an amazing system that – during sleep (especially deep sleep) – helps the brain to get rid of cellular waste, that could otherwise clot up the brain and ultimately lead to dementia (e.g. Alzheimers disease).

The brain is a very dense network of both neurons (nerve cells) and glia cells (support cells). During wakefulness, cellular waste builds up, just like when our daily activities generate waste. However, the activity is too high – and the space too limited – to wash away the waste. When we fall asleep, nerve cells change their activity and the support cells named astrocytes shrink in size and leave more space. This opens up for fluid coming from the so-called perivascular space (described in film), which then can flow into the cell-dense areas. The flow goes from arteries to veins and washes out cellular waste products so that we can wake up refreshed and ready for new activities.

An analogy could be garbage trucks, that cannot work during the day because of heavy traffic and activity. But at nigth, the activity and traffic ceases and waste can be picked up and removed.

The system was described and named by the Danish scientist Maiken Nedergaard in 2013 (watch a full talk with her from the Europhysiology conference in 2018, describing the system in detail here:

Scientific references in the end of the film.

New animations

Pulmonar alveoli animation

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alveoli scientic illustration 3D render

I am currently working on an animation about air pollution for Aarhus University. In that project, I have modelled the alveoli, which is the place for exchange of gases (oxygen, carbondioxide) between the exterior and the blood. Unoxygenized blood arrives from the heart, pass by the capillary network surrounding the alvoli sacs (the wall of which is only one cell layer thick) where it is oxygenized and releases its carbondioxide. Then it runs back to the heart, from where it is pumped out into the entire body. 


My animation about EEG was used in research paper

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I have produced an animated film for a research team at Lundbeck. It describes the methodology of EEG (electroencephalography) in rodents, used to study the effects of neuropharmacological compounds.

The research was published in a research paper in Frontiers in psychiatry by Christien Bowman and Kjartan Herrik, where my animation (in three parts) can be found in the supplementary materials.

I am very proud when my work is used to increase scientific insight.

Follow this link to see the scientific paper.


Image: 3D-model of rat brain (and skull) with electodes used for EEG)