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Janet Iwasa, PhD

Languages spoken: English

Academic Information

Departments: Biochemistry - Assistant Professor

Academic Office Information

(801) 213-3425

Biomedical Polymers Research Bldg
20 S 2030 E, Room:
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Research Interests

  • Molecular Animation
  • Multimedia
  • Visualization
  • Education
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry

Janet Iwasa is an Assistant Professor in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Utah. Her broad goal is to create accurate and compelling molecular and cellular visualizations that will support research, learning and scientific communication. Janet's award-winning illustrations and animations have appeared in scientific journals including Nature, Science and Cell, as well as in the New York Times. Her work has also been featured on television and in museum exhibits. Janet was named a 2014 TED fellow and recognized as one of the "100 Leading Global Thinkers" of 2014 by Foreign Policy magazine and one of the “100 Most Creative People” of 2012 by Fast Company magazine. As a postdoctoral fellow, she created a multimedia exhibit with Nobel Laureate Jack Szostak (Harvard University) and the Museum of Science, Boston, and later worked on biological visualizations as a faculty member at Harvard Medical School. She received her Ph.D. in 2006 from the University of California, San Francisco for her work on the actin cytoskeleton in the laboratory of Dyche Mullins, and completed 3D animation training at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects later that same summer.

Education History

Postdoctoral Fellowship Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School and Museum of Science
Advisor: Jack W. Szostak
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training University of California, San Francisco
Cell Biology, Advisor: R. Dyche Mullins
Undergraduate Williams College
Biology with Honors, Advisor: Rob Savage Double major in Asian Studies

Selected Publications

  1. Iwasa JH (2016). The Scientist as Illustrator. Trends Immunol, 37(4), 247-50.
  2. Iwasa, JH and Marshall, W (December 2015). Karp's Cell Biology: Concepts and Experiments (8). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
  3. Iwasa JH (2015). Bringing macromolecular machinery to life using 3D animation. [Review]. Curr Opin Struct Biol, 31, 84-8.
  4. Iwasa JH, Saldena, J (2015). TED Ed: Why it's so hard to cure HIV/AIDS [Web]. TED Ed. Available:
  5. Iwasa JH (2010). Animating the model figure. Trends Cell Biol, 20(12), 699-704.