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About the Society Awards Past Award Winners 2016 Awardees 2016 (Lanzendorf PaleoArt Prize) Digital Modeling/Animation - April Isch Neander

April Isch Neander is the scientific illustrator, lab manager, and CT professional for the Luo Mammal Paleontology Lab at the University of Chicago. She began her work there in autumn of 2012, after earning her M.S. in Biomedical Visualization at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she specialized in 3D and animation. Since then, she has worked with Dr. Zhe-Xi Luo to fulfill the visualization needs of the lab, which include illustrations for journals, artistic reconstructions for popular media, animations, and 3D reconstructions. In addition, April has managed and maintained the industrial CT scanner since the department obtained the unit two years ago and opened the UChicago PaleoCT lab. With these CT scans, April is able to digitally dissect the delicate and hidden anatomy of small mammal fossils to be used in reconstructions, animations, and 3D prints.


April has been fascinated by art, paleontology, and biology since childhood. For her undergraduate education, April thought it was unrealistic to pursue art or paleontology, and so went to the University of Vermont to study Biology, with a focus on mammalogy. A year before graduating from UVM, she took a Painting and Drawing Botanicals class, where she was exposed to the field of scientific illustration. This class set April on a different track, and resulted in her going to University of Illinois at Chicago for Biomedical Visualization. Since then, April has aimed to convey the intriguing history, structure, and beauty of living things with her illustrations and animations. Living in the city of Chicago provides abundant opportunities to practice and advance her artistic endeavors through various artist communities, museums, and botanical gardens.

April would like to thank and acknowledge Dr. Luo for all the amazing opportunities working for him has provided, for his generosity, and for his infectious curiosity. April would also like to thank all the students and colleagues who have come through the Luo lab over the last four years for their support and encouragement. Lastly, April thanks her husband, family, and friends for their love and unwavering support.