Kathleen Sluka, PT, PhD
Professor, University of Iowa
The human body is an amazing complicated network of cells that provide structure and function in both normal and disease states. Cells are found in every system and organ and communicate with each other both within and between systems. My art is designed to show the beauty of cells within the body in both normal and disease states, and communication networks between cells.
My training as a physical therapist, anatomist, and neurobiologist serves as the inspiration and provides the scientific basis for my work. As long-standing neurobiology researcher and professor, the ideas for my art stem directly from my own and my colleagues research projects. It is vitally important as scientists to transmit the value of research to the public. I use visually based art techniques to portray the importance of biomedical science to the public.
I have always been interested in art, and started painting at a young age. Despite this interest, I pursued a career in healthcare and science, a career I truly enjoy. I trained as a physical therapist and then obtained a PhD in Anatomy, which was followed by a faculty position at the University of Iowa. For years, I did not pursue art but rather spent time focusing on building a successful scientific career. Currently, I run an active research program, part of my day job as a Professor at the University of Iowa, focusing on the neurobiology of musculoskeletal pain and analgesia. However, about a decade ago I again began painting and experimenting with art - this slowly evolved into science art. For the last several years I have exclusively focused my art on bringing the beauty of biology to canvas in normal and disease states. I have exhibited my art at local venues, and several of my paintings have been selected as covers of scientific journals.