Top prize in Bioethics Cartooning Contest considers substance and style in publishing

Five prizes were awarded in the fifth annual Morgridge Institute for Research Ethics Cartooning Competition, which invites participants to make a cartoon on any ethical issue related to biomedical research.

This year’s competition drew 61 entrants from 41 different departments and programs at UW–Madison and affiliated research institutions.

A panel of judges applied the following criteria to the competition: depiction and analysis of a research ethics issue, humor, and artistry. A popular vote by the public also contributed to the results. The following winners were selected:

  • First Prize: Logan Keding, School of Medicine and Public Health, Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology Program
  • Second Prize: William Mayner, School of Medicine and Public Health, Neuroscience Training Program
  • Third Prize: Natalie Schudrowitz, School of Medicine and Public Health
  • Honorable Mentions: Sydney Hoel, School of Medicine and Public Health, Infectious Disease; Mikaela Seemann, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Biochemistry

Logan Keding, a graduate student in the Ted Golos Laboratory at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center at UW–Madison, took the top prize.

Keding works with rhesus macaques as a non-human primate model, and hopes to better understand fetal growth restriction during pregnancy.

“I love illustrating and frequently create figures for Golos Lab publications,” Keding says. “I have no formal training, but I have always loved creating all types of art.”

His winning cartoon addresses the balance of substance and style that researchers must often consider when publishing their researching findings.

“If your research is great and sexy, you are more likely to successfully publish in a high impact journal,” he explains. “Creating relevant, engaging, visually pleasing work is not necessarily a bad thing—but it does create an accessory incentive, outside the quality of the work at hand, for scientists to consider when pursuing research or publication.”

As a first-year PhD candidate, Keding says his laboratory colleagues are invaluable in shaping his perspective on research and ethics.

“I often turn to more senior graduate students, colleagues, or mentors to discuss questions I have about research philosophy or bioethical issues,” he says. “I often get good, candid feedback this way.”

The Morgridge Ethics Cartooning Competition, developed by Morgridge Bioethics Scholar in Residence Pilar Ossorio, encourages scientists to shed light on timely or recurring issues that arise in scientific research.

“I love seeing when our artists get to talk to others about ethical issues and what their intentions were, and the experience of making their cartoons,” says Ossorio. “I think it’s another way for them to have an impact on the world and to bring their scientific knowledge to the broader public. It’s been really great.”

The top five winning cartoons are depicted below. Ossorio’s team thanks all the contest entrants for their creative works that addressed important ethical issues in biomedical research.

Logan Keding

First Prize

Logan Keding

School of Medicine and Public Health

Logan Keding's Cartoon © 2021 Logan Keding

Second Prize

William Mayner

School of Medicine and Public Health, Neuroscience Training Program

William Mayner's Cartoon © 2021 William Mayner
Natalie Schudrowitz

Third Prize

Natalie Schudrowitz

School of Medicine and Public Health

Natalie Schudrowitz's Art © 2021 Natalie Schudrowitz
Sydney Hoel

Honorable Mention

Sydney Hoel

School of Medicine and Public Health, Infectious Disease

Sydney Hoel's Cartoon © 2021 Sydney Hoel
Mikaela Seemann

Honorable Mention

Mikaela Seemann

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Biochemistry

Mikaela Seemann's Cartoon © 2021 Mikaela Seemann