Sonya Amin has turned her love of comics and science into a flourishing animation business. Amin, the co-founder of Toronto’s AXS Biomedical Animation Studio, remembers how she filled her lab notebooks with doodles while taking an undergraduate degree in developmental biology.
Time spent as a “fruit-fly wrangler” at U of T’s Medical Sciences Building convinced Amin that she wanted to make a living marrying her passion for science with her creative streak.
Amin enrolled in U of T’s biomedical communications master’s program, where she studied anatomy, pathology and computer art. During her studies, she chose to concentrate on 3-D animation with a view to teaching children about science.
Business took off in 2005 when Amin landed a three-year contract to do all the medical and science animation for the TV series ReGenesis, which follows a group of scientists as they investigate biotechnological mysteries. “We haven’t looked back since,” says Amin, 32.
Indeed, the firm has moved into a downtown office and doubled its revenue almost every year since its inception. It now enjoys a clientele that includes big-time pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies. The firm has also recently completed the animation for a CBC documentary about possible links between marijuana and mental illness.
“We’re still growing,” Amin says. “It’s hard not to be proud of ourselves.”
By bringing artificial intelligence into chemistry, Prof. Aspuru-Guzik aims to vastly shrink the time it takes to develop new drugs – and almost everything else