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How does escitalopram interact with the serotonin transporter protein (SERT) to treat depression?
Treating Depression with Escitalopram.jpg

Treating Depression with Escitalopram

Adobe Photoshop | Adobe Illustrator | UCSF Chimera 


Initial research was conducted to understand how serotonin aids in transferring signals between neurons, how depression affects this signal transfer, and why escitalopram is a successful Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) drug. 

Initial Sketches

Many rough sketches were drawn to find the simplest, yet most accurate way of visually communicating the action that takes place at the synapse level, and where escitalopram binds within the serotonin transporter protein. 

Sketch 1.jpeg

Composition & Layout

Once the general layout was completed, 3D models of the molecular structures were created. The final step was to experiment with colour to enhance the communication goals of the illustration. A cool blue and warm pink were used to represent the depressive and treated states respectively, and a desaturated yellow was used to represent the serotonin transporter protein. The text of main graphical elements were enhanced with colour to facilitate the visual associations. 

Escitalopram (both) - V01.png
S-citalopram - V01.png
Final back-V02.jpg

Problem Solving

The biggest challenge was layout - there was simply a lot of complicated information to communicate. To solve this issue, text was strategically placed close to corresponding images, and an infographic was used to reduce text and easily compare the differences in the depressive and treated states. 


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