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David Bolinsky

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David Bolinsky
BornMay 2, 1952 (1952-05-02) (age 72)
OccupationMedical Illustrator at e.mersion studios
SpousePatty Harris
ChildrenJeremiah, Alexander, Shuanyi
Academic background

David Bolinsky (born May 2, 1952) is a former lead medical illustrator at Yale. He is a co-founder of XVIVO, which produced the movie The Inner Life of the Cell for Harvard's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.[1]

Early life[edit]

Bolinsky was raised by two art-oriented parents. His father, Joseph, was a sculptor and professor of art who taught at University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.[2] His mother, Ruth, was a soprano with the New York City Opera, and both exposed Bolinsky to the world of visual and performing arts.[3] When Bolinsky was 4, his fascination with animation and cartoons exploded after watching Fantasia, inspiring him to lead the path of becoming an animator when he was older. His father began to teach him about flip book animations, drawing, painting, sculpting and pottery.[3] When Bolinsky turned 14, his biology teacher encouraged him to pursue his love for drawing as evidently shown through his science notebook. Then, his life took a turn after meeting Frank Netter, a famous medical illustrator.[4] Netter inspired Bolinsky to get his MD and create animations for medical work instead of solely still life. In 1968, Netter had presented him with the book The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and this book gave Bolinsky the idea to do computer animations someday.[3]

Undergraduate and Graduate Studies[edit]

Bolinsky completed his 4 years of undergraduate studies from 1976 to 1980 at Ohio State University in their extremely selective medical illustration program. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Medical Illustration and a Masters in Anatomy.[5]

Bolinsky began a new job at Michigan State University, where he had committed to attend Michigan State’s Michigan State University College of Human Medicine quite soon after in 1977.[6] He worked with dual faculty instructors in Human Medicine and Veterinarian Medicine, creating surgical illustrations for both subjects. His time with the Dean of Schools became impactful as he was encouraged to work at the biomedical center. Before entering Medical School, the biomedical center was closed by a newly hired Dean of school. Nonetheless, Bolinsky entered Medical School continuing his medical illustrations, having just signed a contract with a new publication. Bolinsky took a leave of absence and left Michigan State University to pursue an illustration project with Yale surgeon K.J Lee and continue medical school at Yale.[3] He launched his first illustration company, Advanced Imaging Inc., in 1983.[6][3]

Career Achievements[edit]

Bolinsky has given two Ted Talks: Visualizing the Wonder of a Living Cell and another on his journey with his daughter ShaungyiLi.[7][8] He has written over 830 illustrations, working with major pharmaceutical companies such as Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health. His work has also appeared in television such as HBO’s The Medicine Show as well as on NBC and ABC News. Other notable companies that David Bolinsky also partnered with for animation are Disney Imagineering, Genentech, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Johnson and Johnson, and schools such as Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Oxford University, and Yale University. His biggest accomplishment is the project The Inner Life of a Cell that visualizes aspects of cellular mechanics, with millions of views on the web. Bolinsky also designed and served as one of the narrators for an Internet video entitled Flu Attack! How A Virus Invades Your Body.[9] Recently, Bolinsky founded e.mersion studios in 2012 for educational and commercial work.[10]


A list of honors and awards includes first place in the American Journal of Nursing Media Festival, Award of Excellence for Animation and Outstanding Example of Animation (AMI), first place in the Journal of Biocommunication, second place in the White House News Photographers Association Multimedia Innovation Contest (2010),[11] American Medical Student Association Medical Art Award, Gold Award for Association of Visual Communications, Gold Award for International Film and Tv Festival of New York, Award of Excellence for the Society for Technical Communication, and Finalist in the Telly Awards Bronze Winner.[12]


A list of animations include [10]

  • Deep Dive into Hepatic Anatomy
    • Wide View of the Hepatic Portal
    • Kinesin Walking on Microtubule in Hepatoycyte
    • Golgi Apparatus in Background
    • Hyercoiled DNA in Hepatic Cell
  • " Vascular Systems : blood, dispersal of pharmaceuticals, protein factors, immunology
  • Medical Devices
    • Prototype Genetic Screening Device
    • Brain Scan Device
    • Brain Computer Interface
    • Brain Computer Interface Project
    • Proposed Mechanism of Action of Brain Computer Interface Device
    • Intranasal Delivery of a Drug
    • Homunculus Distribution of Sensory Nerves
    • Intro to Brain Tumor Remediation Animations
  • Neuro
    • Tryptophanito
    • Middle Ear Anatomy
    • Nursing Anatomy: Neural Pathways of Taste
    • Nervous System Elements


  1. ^ "Lives of a Cell, the 3-D Version". Wired. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  2. ^ "Joseph Bolinsky". Buffalo News. Retrieved 10 June 2024.
  3. ^ a b c d e Bolinsky, David (7 June 2024). "The Life of David Bolinsky" (Interview). Interviewed by Emma Tung.
  4. ^ "Lives of a Cell, the 3-D Version". Wired. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  5. ^ "Class Notes for 1960s-1980s". Ohio State Univiersity). Retrieved 8 June 2024.
  6. ^ a b "Advisory Board: David Bolinsky". Lifeboat Foundation: Safeguarding Humanity. Retrieved 10 June 2024.
  7. ^ "Visualizing the wonder of a living cell". TED. Retrieved 10 June 2024.
  8. ^ "David Bolinsky and Shuangyi Li- Our Lives so Far". YouTube Tedx Talks. Retrieved 10 June 2024.
  9. ^ "Flu Attack! How A Virus Invades Your Body". Nation Public Radio (NPR). Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  10. ^ a b "David Bolinsky". David Bolinsky. Retrieved 8 June 2024.
  11. ^ "2010 Eyes of History:New Media Contest: Multimedia Innovation". White House News Photographers Association. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  12. ^ "Awards: David Bolinsky". David Bolinky. Retrieved 8 June 2024.

External links[edit]