Dr Caroline Erolin
Part of Women in STEM
Introduce yourself - who are you and what is your job?
Hi, I’m Dr Caroline Erolin and I’m a senior lecturer at the University of Dundee. I run a master’s degree in Medical Art. Medical art is the application of art and illustration to medicine. I teach students how to use different kinds of art materials and computer software to create realistic images of the human body and anatomy. These can be used to help patients understand their disease better, or to help train medical doctors.
What do you research, why and how does this help people?
As well as teaching medical art and illustration, I’m also involved is some research. I’m particularly interested in 3D digital models (like the ones in the links on the activity sheet), that can be interacted with, meaning they can be moved and rotated etc. I research methods to create these as well as how to use them in teaching medicine and anatomy. I am also interested in new technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and how this can be used viewing 3D models.
Tell us about your career journey so far
I’ve always loved to draw. Growing up I would draw mostly animals and had a vague idea that I would work as an artist. I studied art and biology at A-level, before studying art and design at University. At university I became more interested in the human form and anatomy and found out about the profession of medical art and illustration. I went on to study a master’s in medical art at the University of Manchester. After which I was employed as an assistant medical artist at the Unit of Art in Medicine at the Manchester Medical School. My job involved producing teaching resources for medical students, as well as helping out with facial reconstructions for both forensic and archaeological investigations. After working there for three years, I moved up to the University of Dundee along with my department head to set up a new MSc in Medical Art. I’ve been here for 15 years now, and my role has evolved over this time. I’ve run the MSc programme since 2014, and 2016 completed my PhD in medical visualisation.
What subjects/qualifications are useful in your role?
People come into medical art from both art and science backgrounds. Either a degree in a visual art such illustration or fine art, or one in a science such as anatomy or biological sciences is suitable for entry to a specialist masters programme in medical art.
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