Posted by: Leslie White | September 8, 2012

What I’m doing in California

Me at my desk at Stanford

Since I’m coming up on the 1 year anniversary of when I first moved to the Bay area, I thought it was time for an update about what I’m doing out here!

Where I live: I started out in Sunnyvale, but due to some unfortunate events (specifically my previous roommate turning out to have rage issues o.O), I have recently moved into my own place in Redwood City. The only thing I really miss from the south Bay is “Taste Buds”, my favorite Indian restaurant. Well, I don’t have to miss it to much. I was just there again last night….:p

As much as I still miss my friends and family from Illinois, I can’t help but love it out here. There are so many hiking trails and great downtown areas to visit, and I’m steadily making new friends.  I’m trying to adopt a more strict workout routine and take advantage of all this gorgeous weather. I’ve started taking kickboxing lessons, which truth-be-told might be a bit much for me. I’ve also been volunteering for several months at the Cancer Center @ Stanford Hospitals and Clinics. I’m usually working in the recovery area for cath/angio procedures and spend most of my time getting food and blankets for the patients, bringing family members from the waiting area to the recovery room, and restocking supplies.

My job: I work for the School of Medicine at Stanford University. Specifically, I work as a biomedical artist for the Division of Clinical Anatomy. There is one other medical artist in our department – Sarah Hegmann – and you can view her fantastic blog “Anatamation” here. I’m currently working on 3 main projects for Stanford:

Body ViewerAnatomy View, Cranial Nerves and Skull,
This is a collaborative project that Sarah and I are working on. Together we are creating a 3D model of the entire male human body that includes bones, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, neural structures, glands, and organs. Sarah recently finished the upper limb and I am nearing completion on the head/neck region. Since most of the structures are built from segmented CT data (see 4:30 – 5:30 in this video if you don’t know what “segmenting” is), our models are highly accurate. The models are ultimately housed in an iPad app being used by students and instructors in the Stanford School of Medicine.

Anatomy Viewer, select muscles of Head and Neck

Human Metabolic Pathway
Working with the Division of Biochemistry, I am redrawing the human metabolic pathway. The goal of this project is to redraw the entire “subway map” of the human metabolism to a level of detail that allows the user to zoom in to high levels of detail at the molecular level.

Body Movement Simulation
This project is still in its infancy, but the goal is to create muscle movement/contractions that can be simulated in real time.

Coming soon: I’m now trying to work things out with my job so that I can come home for an extended stay during the holidays.  I could use some time in Illinois to enjoy a proper snow-filled Christmas with friends/family.


  1. Regarding the “Body Viewer” application housed on an iPad. Would it be the goal to make that app available for the public for purchase? Or would this be strictly for Standard Medicine?

  2. Hi Gerry, thanks for your question! Currently, the Body Viewer application is strictly being used by Stanford courses/students only, though I’ll be sure to post an update if/when the App becomes available to the public.

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