Vesalius Trust-a-thon, A Virtual Challenge and Fundraiser

September 10 – 23, 2023

Trust-a-thon event banner. Event running from September 10 to 23, 2023. A virtual challenge and fundraiser hosted by the Vesalius Trust


Thank you to all our teams and donors! 🙏

We’re blown away by the energy and creativity brought by our teams this year. We thank all of you for sharing your time, and imagination with the rest of us. We also thank our donors from the bottom of our hearts, for their continuous support.

Together we raised a total of $5,991 USD for student scholarships and awards, and created 10 wonderful pieces that show the potential of visual communication for science and medicine. We extend a big congratulations to the Winning Team, Leave it to BVIS, and to the People’s Choice winner, InsomniAXS!

If you haven’t done so already, take a few moments to enjoy the communication pieces that our teams created in less than two weeks.

About the Vesalius Trust-a-thon Challenge and Fundraiser

A Trust-a-thon is similar to a hackathon where people come together and create something within a specified time frame. Our teams will be challenged to create a visual communication piece (e.g., illustration, comic, animation, 3D model, interactive prototype). The work must be based on the theme, “Bridge the Gap,” and completed in 2 weeks.

The mission of the Vesalius Trust-a-thon is to encourage individuals to connect and create together while raising funds to support student research in the medical and scientific communication field.

100% of funds donated will go towards the Alan W. Cole Memorial fund which provides student scholarships.

Points Tally

Last updated: 2023-09-24, 09:58

Teams Funds raised
(1$ = 1 pt)
(From Sep 18-23)
(1 like = 10 pts)
(from Sep 21-23)
(1 vote = 5 pts)
Total points
Our job is just… Render 915 202 158 3725
Render Engines 190 206 139 2945
InsomniAXS 1869 265 210 5569
Last 7 Brain Cells 831 397 184 5721
Sticky iPad Kidz 40 68 6 750
The Gerbils 120 56 22 790
Leave it to BVIS 1626 455 180 7066
untitled.jpeg 240 181 136 2730 80 58 73 1025
Hippocanvas 80 64 61 1025

Total fund raised: $5991 USD

2023 Teams

Team Our job is just… Render

Gyyoung Oh, Lily Armstrong-Davies, Emily Simpson, Gaby Rivera, Jennifer Wang, Jeff Day, Lauren Kubacki, Peter Naktin, Alexis Guerra

Learn more about their final submission, “TreeTalk,” an isometric puzzle platformer that teaches about the interactions between plants and fungi through various missions. Join Phyll and traverse each of the three levels to learn the different ways plants communicate with each other.

Game still from TreeTalk

Team Render Engines

Clara Baumgarten, Shanling Lei, Alex Kontos, Keaton Mullins, Kassie Baker, Khorizon Dunn, Michelle Soltys, Vivian Zhuang

Learn more about their final submission “Helping Hyphae,” an animated comic about how mushrooms bridge the gap between giant redwoods to share nutrients through their expansive underground mycelium network.

Animation still from Helping Hyphae

Team InsomniAXS

Jason Sharpe, Grace Hsu, Joyce Hui, Brad Kwarta, Lucas Lin, Matthew Ostil, Emily Tjan, Eddy Xuan, David Tran, Chelsea Canlas

Learn more about their final submission “Bone Voyage,” a puzzle-based platform game about osteoporosis. As a nanobot, you interact with bone cells to repair and rebuild bone. Bone up on your osseous awareness while building bone bridges and removing boney obstacles.

Game still from Bone Voyage

Team Last 7 Brain Cells

Alexandra McDonough, Nolan Pakizer, Sara Lung, Helen Thio, Raisa Rodríguez, Lauren Kawamura, Leah Balsan

Learn more about their final submission “Captain GAP: Station Master,” a game that introduces an important signaling pathway associated with many cancers. This game bridges the gap between the serious topic of cancer science in a fun and non-threatening way for players to learn. 

Game still from Captain GAP

Team Sticky iPad Kidz

Kate Moore, Stefanie Wang, Bonnie Wang, Lauren Jones, Priya Modi

Learn more about their final submission, “Terry the Tooth: and the Brand New Braces,” a short visual and educational journey created with the specific purpose of educating young youth in preparation for braces, focusing on factors such as: what to expect, proper care for braces and underlying teeth, as well as overall teeth health and the final product of braces.

Terry the Tooth illustration

Team The Gerbils

Stephen Nachtsheim, Amy Jiao, Avila Sanchez, Joshua Ke, Vanessa Nguyen

Learn more about their final submission, “Bridging Evolution,” a poster series about how transitional fossils help connect the evolutionary timeline.

Bridging Evolution posters

Team Leave it to BVIS

Riley Cutler, Krystal-Flora Dureke, Susie Hammons, Natalie McAfee, Jasmine Tsin, Hayley D’Alessandro, Katherine Khuu

Learn more about their final submission, “Neurohero: A Journey to Regeneration,” a game that aims to empower players and bridge the gap caused by Neurophobia. It does this through engagement with a novel combination of illustrated comics and a serious game.

Neurohero game still

Team untitled.jpeg

Nichole Zhou, Nicole Arizala, Naomi Clay, Ashton Goebel, Emily Huang, Emily Mao, Molly Wells

Learn more about their final submission, “Oh Poop!,” a board game bridging the gap in nutritional and digestive education in Canadian elementary schools. Collect food and event cards as you race to the end of your digestive tract—whoever ends with the perfect poop wins!

Gameboard mockup for Oh Poop


Michie Wu, Shehryar Saharan, Amy Zhang, Tina Wang, Amy Assabgui Dogan, Laura Ekl

Learn more about their final submission, “Close the Gap,” a powerful statement aimed at the general American public, highlighting the prevalent disparities within the healthcare sector. This artwork draws attention to the inequities faced by seven distinct social groups, shedding light on a systemic issue that has been often overlooked.

Line illustration titled Close the Gap

Team Hippocanvas

Josephine Choi, Beatrice Chen, Emily Eybergen, Geneviève Groulx, Andrew Janeczek, Tunyalux Langsub, Jayne Leggatt, Naomi Wee, Samantha Li

Learn more about their final submission, “Bridges to the Past,” an interactive prototype that lets you explore the intriguing world of de-extinction through the story of the Woolly Mammoth, one of the  most iconic ongoing de-extinction projects. 

Bridges to the Past screenshot

Trust-a-thon Guidelines

For the full list of challenge guidelines, click here.

For questions and inquiries, email with the subject line: Trust-a-thon.

Important Dates

September 8
Deadline to register teams; secret theme announcement

September 10
Trust-a-thon week begins! Fundraising pages are live

September 18-23
Team posts that will collect likes for points will be posted on VT social media channels

September 21-23
Voting links are live

September 22
Deadline to submit final pieces (11:59 PM PST)

September 23
Team submissions are showcased online; voting ends at midnight

September 24
Winners announcement

Secret Theme

This year’s theme is… Bridge the Gap!

While medical or scientific content is welcome, the creative products of the teams are limited only by their imagination (being appropriate for a general audience of course – we’d like to keep it kid-friendly!).

Challenge Details

The Trust-a-thon will run from Sunday, September 10, to Saturday, September 23.

What is a Trust-a-thon?
A Trust-a-thon is similar to a hackathon where people come together and create a theme-specific product or piece in a short period of time.

Our teams have about two weeks to create a scientific or medical-themed communication piece. The piece must be based on a secret theme, and completed in two weeks time – but it’s ultimately up to the team to decide how much time they want to spend on this.

Although our goal is to raise funds for scholarships and awards, the Trust-a-thon is also a wonderful opportunity to make something fun, try out new techniques and skills, and connect with other creative individuals virtually! We’re setting up a Discord channel so our teams can hang out and connect with each other.


The Challenge

Teams will create a communication piece inspired by the secret theme (announced on Sep 8). The finished piece can take the form of a:

  • 2D or 3D illustration
  • Comic
  • 3D model
  • Short 2D or 3D animation
  • Interactive prototype (web, AR/VR/XR)
  • Donor appreciation gifts (e.g. digital poster or wallpaper, stickers, limited-edition 3D prints, etc.)

All teams will have from Sunday, September 10 to Friday, September 22 @ 11:59 PM PST to work on their communication piece and submit their final artwork.


Team Scoring

The team with the most points will be the Winner of the Trust-a-thon Team Challenge, while the team with the most votes will be awarded the People’s Choice.

1$ raised = 1 point
Raise funds to support student research. Each team will be provided a GoFundMe
page to share

1 vote = 5 points
Collect votes from September 21-23. Each team will be provided a voting link
to share

1 like = 10 points
Collect likes from Sep 18-23. There will be a designated post per team on VT social media channels


Thanks to the generous support of the AMI, this year’s prizes are:

Winning Team
A bumper video at AMI 2024 featuring the team’s final piece

People’s Choice
A salon entry at AMI 2024 featuring the team’s final piece

Final pieces must be scientific or medical-themed to be eligible for the prizes.

2022 Trust-a-thon Gallery

Theme: New Energy 
Total funds raised: $6,459 USD

Team 6-cess

Xinyi Li, Linda Ding, Viola Yu, Jessica Feng, Livia Nguyen, Amy Zhu

Learn more about their final submission, “Floresta,” an interactive visual narrative designed to inspire users to develop better sleeping habits through an educational and fun approach.

Floresta by Team 6-cess

Team Big Maquette Connoisseurs

Joshua Koentjoro, Amy Jiao, Avila Sanchez, Emily Tjan, Stephen Nachtsheim, Vanessa Ngyuyen

Learn more about their final submission, “Gerbil Power,” a card game where players of all ages collect energy resources to build and innovate energy technologies.

Gerbil Power by Team Big Maquette Connoisseurs

Team Spicy Salamanders

Ashlyn Fieldhouse, Anais Lupu, Lilith Lawrence, Neramy Ganesan

Learn more about their final submission, “A Greener Way to Travel,” an animated timeline where their protagonist, Phil the Spicy Salamander, introduces important advances in automobile fuel technology.

A Greener Way to Travel by Team Spicy Salamanders

Team BVIS Inc.

Eliza Stierle, Caroline Chatfield, April Damon, Amy Hoang, Sara Lung, Aven Jones, Susie Hammons, Eyzel Torres, SoYoung Kwon, Odelia Cheng, Dalena Huynh, Riley Cutler, Katherine Tran, Sydney Sieh-Takata, Lauren Muskara, Hannah Koffman, Shanling Lei, Khorizon Dunn, Leah Balsan, Nina Eckstein, Laurel Moore, Luca Brunozzi, Sam Bond, Elissa Schaffner, Alexandra McDonough, Delilah Pryzbyla, Sofia García Martínez

Learn more about their final submission, “The Night Shift,” a game where you’ll be helping Patch, handyman extraordinaire, as he assists some of the other body systems on the Night Shift.

🏆 2022 Winning Team

The Night Shift by Team BVIS Inc.


Michie Wu, Tina Wang, Shay Saharan, Aimy Wang, Mimi Guo, Viktoriya Khymych, Amy Assabgui, Jeff Day, Kelly Lim, Kai-ou Tang, Amy Zhang

Learn more about their final submission, “Positive Energy Island,” a poster of the island inhabited by energies that power the mind, body, and world around us.

Positive Energy Island by Team

Team Blood, Sweat, & Tears

Shubhreet Johal, Naomi Wee, Juno Shemano

Learn more about their final submission, “Bugs: The Future of Protein,” a manga comic about alternative protein sources.

Bugs: The Future of Protein by Team Blood, Sweat, & Tears

Team Battle AXS

Jason Sharpe, Eddy Xuan, Joyce Hui, Matthew Ostil, David Tran, Chelsea Canlas, Ruth Chang, Stephanie Marquez, Lucas Lin

Learn more about their final submission, “CRUNCH TIME,” a game about a team in a crunch to finish a game—and how to keep them fueled.

🏆 2022 People’s Choice

CRUNCH TIME by Team Battle AXS

2021 Trust-a-thon Gallery

Theme: A Path Forward ➡️
Total funds raised: $5,285 USD


Michie Wu, Shehryar (Shay) Saharan, Mimi Guo, Aimy Wang, Cassie Ren, Amy Assabgui

Learn more about their final submission, “Paving the Way,” an interactive experience about the discoveries of today that will influence tomorrow.

Paving the Way by Team

Team Studio Bivly

Natalie Krug, Sydney Agger, Sam Bond, April Damon, Yu-Sin Huang, Anne Hughes, Hailey Jorgensen, SoYoung Kwon, Delaney Maxwell, Hannah Montague, Lauren Muskara, Ryan Nini, Allison Pardieck, Delilah Przybyla, Sara Rutkowski, Maryam Shabbir

Learn more about their final submission, “A Flame Forward.” In response to “A Path Forward” being the prompt this year, the team wanted to focus on the rise in mental health issues that have increased since the pandemic. A desire to take players away and dissociate from the pandemic resulted in a relatable but fanciful twist on an adventure platform game.

🏆 2021 Winning Team

A Flame Forward by Team Studio Bivly

Team Y.E.W

Eric Chung, Willow Yang, Yu Xiang Ren

Learn more about their final submission, “Long COVID Tracker.” By designing an intuitive all-in-one mobile app, we wanted to help the people who have been affected by long haul COVID-19 in symptom and treatment management, as well as in general health tracking that may assist clinicians to in turn better help patients.

Long COVID Tracker by Team Y.E.W


Jason Sharpe, Joyce Hui, Chelsea Canlas, David Tran, Matthew Ostil, Nati Chen, Lucas Lin

Learn more about their final submission, “Abode: Climate Crusader,” a game about the small steps you can take to live more sustainably at home.

Abode: Climate Crusader by Team KICK AXS

Team We Belung 2Gether

Amy Jiao, Anais Lupu, Livia Nguyen, Chris Ly, Viola Yu, Linda Ding, Joshua Koentjoro, Xinyi Li, Emily Tjan

Learn more about their final submission, “Postdemic,” a narrative comic following Poki through life thrown into upheaval by a global health crisis.

🏆 2021 People’s Choice

Postdemic by Team We Belung 2Gether

2020 Trust-a-thon Gallery

Theme: Apart, but Together 🤝
Total funds raised: $8,513 USD

Team SASS – Serious About Stylish Science

Ariadna Pomada Villalbí, Cassie H-W, Chloe Ma, Colleen Paris, Cassandra Tyson, Florence Thibault

An infographic targeted to any English-speaking lay audience that hopes to shine light and propose a direction to solve individual struggles in COVID19 times.

Apart but Together by Team SASS


Naomi Robson, Michie Wu, Amy Assabgui, Mimi Guo, Abeeshan Selvabaskaran, Shehryar Saharan

miCo is an AR social app that connects children within hospitals, allowing them to play games, hangout with others, and customize their space in AR, all from the comfort of their room.

miCo by Team

Team Blood Type BVIS

Emi Frohn, Allysa Benedict, Ben Colvin, Katie Harvey, Sam Palahnuk, Jeni Zernick

An animation that communicates how biomedical artists are so connected and in constant collaboration.

🏆 2020 Winning Team and People’s Choice

Apart but Together by Team Blood Type BVIS

Team I Thought You’d Never AXS

Ruth Chang, Jason Sharpe, Susan Le, Matthew Ostil, David Tran, Joyce Hui, Chelsea Canlas, Eddy Xuan, Lucas Lin, Susan Park, Man-San Ma

PandemiQuest is a fun journey of connection through the great city of Toronto, as it perseveres through a pandemic.

PandemiQuest by Team I Thought You'd Never AXS

Team Quinteceraptors

Victoria Achkasova, Nadiya Lobanova, Ivan Ilko, Pavlo Panchenko, Roxanne Ziman

Immune Blast is a relaxing and educational game about how your immune cells fight for you.

Immune Blast by Team Quinteceraptors

Team Zoomsday Machine

Joan Tycko, Pat Thomas, Donny Bliss, Chris Gralapp, Taina Litwak, Catherine Twomey, Pam Betts, Ikumi Kayama, Lisa Clark Thompson, Lee Ann Howdershell, Julia Lunavictoria, Delilah Cohn, Virginia Ferrante-Iqbal, Pam Little, Carol Marburger, Karen Bedell, Shirley Reid, Sarah Faris, Julie Gifford

A 2D quilt where each square is created by an artist and represents what gives them connectedness during these tumultuous times.

Apart but Together Quilt by Team Zoomsday Machine