It was at the beginning of my university studies when I created my very first scientific illustration, even though I did not realize it at that point. As a part of a course assignment I drew an elaborate and detailed schematic of a eukaryotic cell and I still remember how painful and exciting at the same time it was (especially drawing the ER manually in Paint!). After graduating with a BSc. In Biochemistry and Cell Biology, I continued with my studies at EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany. Throughout my PhD. I daily dealt with data visualization- be it for presentations, posters or manuscripts. During this time, my affection for scientific figures was growing; for my PhD. thesis, for example, I had all the figures ready first and only then started with the process of actual writing. As I was getting more skilled and proficient at different programs, I started helping my PI and fellow colleagues with their projects. Gradually I developed as a great passion for graphic design as I have always had for science. After moving back to Slovakia, my home country, I continued collaborating with my former lab and proved to myself that this is the career path of my dreams. I strive to combine my attention to detail and aesthetics with my background in molecular biology to help you make visually appealing and at the same time scientifically accurate figures.


Highly rearranged chromosomes reveal uncoupling between genome topology and gene expression
Nature Genetics (2019)
Non-coding RNA expression, function, and variation during Drosophila embryogenesis
Current Biology (2018)
Developmental enhancers and chromosome topology
Science (2018)
The degree of enhancer or promoter activity is reflected by the levels and directionality of eRNA transcription
Genes and Development (2018)
Uncoupling evolutionary changes in DNA sequence, transcription factor occupancy and enhancer activity
Elife (2017)
Dual functionality of cis-regulatory elements as developmental enhancers and Polycomb response elements
Genes and Development (2017)
Genetic variants regulating expression levels and isoform diversity during embryogenesis
Nature (2017)
Coordinated repression and activation of two transcriptional programs stabilizes cell fate during myogenesis
Development (2014)
A conserved role for Snail as a potentiator of active transcription
Genes and Development (2014)


Why should I bother to hire somebody to help me with the figures?
The workload of scientists is continuously increasing, and so are the demands on the quality of figures. There are literally dozens of criteria one has to bear in mind when creating a figure- from small things such as italicized gene names to more important ones such as a clear and effective way of visually communicating the main message. Thanks to my background and experience both in science and graphic design I can help with all of them. You can rely that all the formal and scientific requirements will be met and use your precious time on other tasks.

What is the area of your scientific expertise?
I did my PhD. on transcriptional regulatory networks using Drosophila embryonic development as a model system. I have therefore experience particularly in developmental biology and genomics. I spent 11 years at EMBL doing cutting-edge research and am very passionate and curious about all scientific fields.

What kind of figures are you able to help me with?
Pretty much any- I have experience with both primary data research figures as well as illustrations for graphical abstracts or reviews. I am open to any new challenges, just let me know and I will do my best to find a solution for you!

At what stage of project should I contact you?
I prefer to build figures from scratch, as then I can perfectly control for data accuracy and consistency. However, I am flexible and can step in at any stage, including final optimization and tweaking just before submission or publication.

What is the input and output of your work?
I have come across a diverse group of inputs during my career- from hand-drawn cartoons on a tissue paper to almost ready figure files. Of course, the higher the quality of input, the easier for me, but I can start from anywhere. As output you will always get the high resolution vector file that you can save and modify as you like later. I would also prepare any specific file format that you might need (such as a PDF with all manuscript figures and legends for submission, for example).

Which software are you using?
I am working in Adobe CC (mainly Illustrator and Photoshop), plus Microsoft and Mac OS software packages on top. I am additionally learning programming in R to be able to visualize raw data myself in near future.

What is the turnaround time?
It is always my priority to respond to your requests as quickly as possible, as I know, that time is often the most scarce commodity in science. I am used to work under time pressure so if you give me a tight deadline, I will do my best to comply with it.

How is the pricing?
I always wish to offer an affordable price that is fair to both sides. As each project is unique and requires individual approach, it is not an easy task to set a general pricing scheme. Please, contact me for a free quote!


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Dr.rer.nat. Lucia Ciglar

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