the official website of Biological and Medical Art in Belgium


Together with:

University of Antwerp, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
University of Antwerp, Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences
Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp / School of Arts - AP University College
Royal Academy of Fine Arts Ghent / School of Arts - University College Ghent
Haute école des arts du Rhin - HEAR, Didactique visuelle (F)
University of the Arts London - UAL (UK)
Medical Artists' Education Trust - MAET (UK)
University of Dundee, Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (UK)

Contact information[at] // artem-medicalis[at]

November 30, 2015

Research Projects Functional Morphology UA 2015-2016

About Functional Morphology

In Funmorph, we investigate how complex organismal systems function and evolve. Our focus is on systems that are integrated (-require the integrated functioning of many bodily parts) and ecologically relevant (-affect the individual’s chances for survival and reproduction). Examples of functions under study include: locomotion, feeding, fighting, communication, and thermoregulation.
Some of our projects take a mechanistic approach. We try to understand how organismal systems work: precisely how body parts (primarily of the movement apparatus) and processes interact to allow the individual animal to move, eat, fight, communicate etcetera. Most of these studies are lab-based and employ techniques such as RX-imaging,micro-CT-scanning, EMG3D-reconstructionhigh speed filmingbiomechanical modellingkinematics,computational fluid dynamics and finite element modelling.
Other projects take an evolutionary approach: here we try to examine if and how natural and sexual selection have shaped organismal functions. This approach requires analyses in the lab and in the field, including the measurement of whole-animal performance, of selection gradients,parentage assessmentbehavioural observationscomparative analyses, etcetera.
But our most exciting projects have integrated both approaches.
Vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals) have traditionally been the main stars of our research, but occasionally other groups have crept into sight.


Research Projects

Master projects 2015-2016

Subjects for Master projects (2015-2016)

Aesthetics of human bodily movements

Promoter: Raoul Van Damme
Co-promoters: Ann HallemansPeter Aerts
Is there a biological basis to aesthetic experience? Is beauty always 'in the eye of the beholder', or do universally valid judgments of prettiness exist? Several studies (on human faces, on landscapes) have suggested that our appraisal of beauty may be more universal than previously thought, and several authors have offered adaptive (evolutionary) explanations for this bias. In this study, we will examine what human subjects (a sample as diverse as possible) consider 'attractive' in bodily movements, and how this appraisal differs with factors such as sex, age, origin etcetera. We will explore whether 'beautiful' movements have characteristics that make sense from an evolutionary point of view (natural or sexual selection theory).
3D movement capturing and analyses
Contact: Raoul Van Damme, CDE C1.31

Influences of the beak position on hearing in birds

Promoter: Peter Aerts
Daily supervision: Raf Claes
The avian middle ear is relatively simple and consists out of one ossicle (the columella), an eardrum, one ligament and one muscle. The eardrum is partially connected to the quadrate bone which is a part of the beak suspension. This connection causes an alternation in the shape and tension of the eardrum at different beak openings, which possibly causes a change in hearing of the bird.
In this MP, µCT-data will be modelled to quantify the rotation of the quadrate and compare the middle ear structures at different beak positions of different species.
µCT-scanning, segmentation
Contact: Raf Claes, CDE C1.30

Comparative study of stress in the metacarpal bone of extinct and modern horses (Perissodactyla: Equidae)

Promoter: Sandra Nauwelaerts
The evolutionary series of the horse has been widely accepted as a perfect example of macroevolution in response to ecological pressures. The current hypothesis is that the reduction from three toes to one on each limb was a necessary adaptation to a cursorial lifestyle in open grassland. A key element of this evolution to monodactyly is the reinforcement of the middle finger/toe.
By comparing the calculated stress in bones of extinct equids with examples of modern horses, asses and zebras, we aim at finding evolutionary patterns relating to ecology. In the extant species, we would like to test whether there is a link between the strength of the bone and the compliance of the surface in which the animals live.
Increase the current database of equid bones by 3D scanning museum specimens; Use the existent and new scans to perform finite element analysis to reveal patterns of stress; correlate shape to stress and stress to habitat.
Contact: Sandra Nauwelaerts, CDE C1.29

Functional morphological development of the musculo-skeletal locomotor system in piglets

Promoter: Peter Aerts
Co-promoter: Chris Van Ginneken
Daily supervision: Charlotte Vanden Hole
More and more, piglets are used as model for (fundamental) medical studies in humans.  The topic of this MP forms part of a research project that focuses on functional morphological and motor development in normal and low birth weight piglets. For this purpose, the functional morphology of the musculo-skeletal appendicular system (skeletal and muscular anatomy, muscle masses and volumes, fibre lengths, physiological cross sections…) will be studied during early post natal ontogeny (first 4 days) in both groups.
Dissections, morphometrics, CT-scanning….

Contact: Peter Aerts, CDE C1.09

Adaptive advantages of asymmetry in the weaponry of stag beetles

Promoter: Stefan Van Dongen 
Co-promoter: Jana Goyens
Male stag beetles fight each other aggressively with their extremely large jaws. The shape of the jaws is adapted to be able to withstand high bite forces in battles. This does, however, not explain the function of the asymmetry that is often found in the jaws (e.g. jaw length, curvature, number and size of protrusions). In this thesis, these asymmetries will be measured on the European Stag Beetle (Lucanus cervus). Subsequently, it will be investigated whether they are caused by developmental instability or, on the contrary, have a functional advantage for the beetles (e.g. enhanced grip on rivals, preventing the jaws from scuffing against each other,…).
Measuring asymmetry of stag beetle jaws on pictures or computer models.
Contact: Stefan Van Dongen, CGB V3.24b or Jana Goyens, CDE C1.06

Osteoderm function in the Karoo girdled lizard (Karusasaurus polyzonus)

Promoter: Chris Broeckhoven
Co-promoter: Raoul Van Damme
It is widely assumed that osteoderms, bony elements embedded in the dermis, are part of protective armour to defend prey against attacks from predators. Recently, alternative hypotheses explaining the presence of osteoderms, such as aid in thermoregulation, have been put forward. In this MP, the student will test both hypotheses using the Karoo girdled lizard (Karusasaurus polyzonus) as study organism. µCT-scanning will be used to compare osteoderm characteristics among populations along a climatic and predation gradient. In addition, laboratory and field experiments will be conducted to test the functional significance of interpopulation variation.
Field/lab work for approximately 4-6 weeks during South African spring/summer (September – April). International drivers licence is recommended, but not essential
Contact: Chris Broeckhoven, Stellenbosch University, SA

Comparing the limb anatomy of extinct and modern horses (Perissodactyla: Equidae)

Promoter: Sandra Nauwelaerts
Daily supervision: Jamie MacLaren
The evolutionary series of the horse has been widely accepted as a perfect example of macroevolution in response to ecological pressures. The current hypothesis is that the reduction from three toes to one on each limb was a necessary adaptation to a cursorial lifestyle in open grassland. However, this specialisation might have led to a reduction in versatility, a decreased ability to run on compliant surfaces, and consequently an exclusion from certain habitats.
By comparing the bones of extinct equids with examples of modern horses, asses and zebras, we aim at finding evolutionary patterns relating to ecology. Using three-dimensional reconstructions and shape analysis of equid limb bones we will test evolutionary hypotheses.
3D scanning and modelling of bones (museum specimens); shape capture using geometric morphometrics; comparison of bone shapes and proportions.
Project starts early February 2016
Contact: Sandra Nauwelaerts, CDE C1.29

Morphology of the middle- and inner ear in birds: comparison between species

Promoter: Peter Aerts
Daily supervision: Raf Claes
The avian middle ear is relatively simple and consists out of one ossicle (the columella), an eardrum, one ligament and one muscle. As different bird species occupy a large variety of niches, the middle ear may be subjected to large differences in pressure regime (compare for instance terrestrial birds with swimming penguins, diving peregrine falcon, etc). This may affect the transmission function. Therefore, it is interesting to know if and how the morphology of the middle and inner ear of birds differs between species.
In this IP, middle and inner ear µCT-data will be modelled and the morphology of the bony and soft-tissue structures will be compared between species belonging to different ecotypes
µCT-scanning, segmentation
Contact: Raf Claes, CDE C1.30

Development of inter-limb coordination in piglets

Promoter: Peter Aerts
Co-promoters: Chris Van Ginneken
Daily supervision: Charlotte Vanden Hole
More and more, piglets are used as model for (fundamental) medical studies in humans.  The topic of this IP forms part of a research project that focuses on motor development in normal and low birth weight piglets.  The maturation of the inter limb coordination during locomotion is studied in a longitudinal experimental setup.  For this purpose, spatio-temporal gait data will be extracted from video-recordings and changes over time will be compared between groups.
Video-recordings are available for digitization of the footfall patterns.  From these, spatio-temporal gait data (e.g. duty factors, stance and swing times, lag times …) will be extracted.
Contact: Peter Aerts, CDE C1.09

November 29, 2015

Dissection Drawing Days 22-23 April 2016 FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT

Arrival in ANTWERP Thursday 21 April 2016
Dissection in ANTWERP Friday 22 April 2016
Transfer to GHENT Friday evening 22 April 2016 (by autocar)
Dissection in GHENT Saturday 23 April 2016
Departure Sunday 24 April 2016
More news will follow soon!

October 19, 2015

Opening POST MORTEM - VESALIUS ACHTERNA, Gent 15 okt 2015

At the POST MORTEM and VESALIUS ACHTERNA exhibition in Ghent, a lot of sketches inspired by the artistic and scientific creativity during the Dissection Drawing Days 2015. Wonderful job by the curators and their team!

August 14, 2015

Antwerp Medical Days, 10-12 Sep 2015 "TRAUMATISCHE KUNST".

The Zakynthian VESALIUS CONTINUUM Ecorché will be exhibited at the 70th Anniversary Meeting of the Antwerp Medical Days, 10-12 Sep 2015 "TRAUMATISCHE KUNST".

Photo's by Jelle Janssens
Sculpture by Pascale Pollier, Richard Neave, Chantal Pollier and Bronsgieterij-Kunstgieterij De Clercq-Ginsberg-Fonderie d'Art 
Art Printing, 90 x 160 cm by Ann Van de Velde

August 12, 2015

Minutes of the General Assembly Meeting 2015‏

Dear BIOMAB members,

Thanks to you all we had another wonderful and highly productive Dissection Drawing Days (DDD) workshop in May 2015.

Obligatory by our statutes and as mentioned in the most recent Newsletter and by our president Pascale Pollier during her Introduction at this 8th Edition of the DDD2015, there will be a new BIOMAB Board in 2016.

We’ve received one new application by Caitlin Monney (UK/Switserland) who will be International Affairs board member.

After five highly productive years Pascale Pollier and Chantal Pollier have decided to be not re elected again. BIOMAB, the Belgian Platform for Art & Biomedical Science, will work closely together with their new international non-profit organization Art Researches Science International Collaborations ARSIC (a professional spin-off of ARS).

Geert Van Eeckhout, as active member of the Scientific Committee since 2010, will be the new BIOMAB Secretary. Francis Van Glabbeek will follow Pascale Pollier as BIOMAB President. Ann Van de Velde stays BIOMAB Treasurer (BIOMAB bank account in December 2014 was 5.000 euro; current BIOMAB bank account after transfers incomes FABRICA VITAE and VESALIUS CONTINUUM to the international collaboration ARSIC in July 2015 is 2.400 euro).

The Scientific Advisory Committee will be: Peter Abrahams (UK), Jo Cameron (UK), Geert Clarisse (B), Eleanor Crook (UK), Marc De Roeck (B), Marjan Doom (B), Caroline Erolin (UK), Yvan Freund (F), Vasia Hatzi (GR), Arthur Miller (UK), Pascale Pollier (B) and Chantal Pollier (B).

There were 50 of 64 BIOMAB members at the General Assemblee Meeting 23 May 2015 at 20h30.  All new board candidates were elected by simple majority as described in our 2011 statutes.

The 9th Dissection Drawing Days will be organized the second half of April 2016. We hope to welcome you all!
The 2010-2015 BIOMAB Board

Pascale Pollier, Francis Van Glabbeek, Chantal Pollier and Ann Van de Velde


The 2016-2019 BIOMAB Board

Francis Van Glabbeek, Geert Van Eeckhout, Ann Van de Velde and Caitlin Monney

April 27, 2015

8th Dissection Drawing Days - 22 and 23 May 2015 - UGhent and UAntwerp

First announcement: Dec 2014
Second announcement: Apr 2015
Third announcement: May 2015

Dear all,

we're happy to announce that the next BIOMAB Dissection Drawing Days will be organised 22 and 23 May 2015.

Registration is 60 euro for 2 days (40 euro for students with valid student pass). 
- Three nights of accomodation are included in this registration fee!
- If you are a BIOMAB 2015 member, you can register FREE of charge!

For more information and to register:[at]

21 - 24 May 2015
We'll book accomodation for Thursday night 21 May 2015 and Friday night 22 May 2015 in Ghent and Saturday night 23 May 2015 in Antwerp. To make the most of this 2-days workshop we suggest you to arrive on Thursday 21 May (or earlier) and leave on Sunday 24 May (or later).

Accomodation in Ghent
Hostel Uppelink | Sint-Michielsplein 21 | 9000 Gent | +32 (0) 9 279 44 77 |

Accomodation in Antwerp
HI Pulcinella
Bogaardeplein 1
2000 Antwerpen
Telefoon: +32 (0)3 234 03 14
Fax: +32 (0)3 234 10 67

Details workshop
Specialists in animal and human anatomy will dissect and explain in close detail an upper and lower arm (deep frozen and thawed), an upper and lower leg (deep frozen and thawed), a full brain, a heart with its coronary vessels and two lungs with their network of bronchi,…There will be many moments to ask questions, to draw, to paint, to dissect and to reflect and communicate on the enormously beautiful but also very fragile human body.

There are not really any easels available, as it is a dissection room, but there are some tables, and some angle poised lights, and it is pretty bright in there in general. You can bring sketchbooks, large paper, small paper, watercolors, ink, pencils , whichever you prefer to work with. The idea is to make some quick sketches at first, and get used to the atmosphere, we have two whole days there, and once the dissection has been brought to a point where people would like to sit down and draw, it is then placed on a stand so people can make more detailed drawings.

This year's guest lectures by ABRAHAMS Peter (Warwick Medical School, UK), MILLER Arthur I. (University College London, UK) and CORNILLIE Pieter (Ghent University, B)

Picture @ Antwerp

Picture @ Ghent

We'll have a welcome reception on Thursday 21 May 2015 at the Hostel Uppelink in Ghent. Starts at 19h00. Please contact us if you like to attend this meeting free of charge.

The Event Hostel in Ghent is the Hostel Uppelink. It's in the city centre with lots of possibilities for going out in the evening and public transportation to go to the University Campus in Ghent.

The Event Hostel in Antwerp is the Antwerp Central Hostel (Pulcinella). It's in the city centre with lots of possibilities for going out in the evening and public transportation to go to the University Campus in Antwerp.

Dinner on Friday 22 May 2015 is planned in Spaans Huis - Hogar Espanol, Hoogstraat 75
9000 Gent, Tel: 09/225.95.17. Starts at 19h30. Please contact us if you like to attend this dinner. Afterwards we'll go for a drink in the historic centre of Ghent.

We'll travel by coach from the Hostel to Antwerp University on Saturday morning 23 May 2015, 08h30 (Alternative: train from Ghent Sint-Pieters Station to Antwerp Central Station on Saturday morning 23 May 2015 at 08h30, take bus 17 at 09h44 to the University Campus - and walk 5 min) were we'll arrive at 10h15 in the Dissection Room.

Dinner on Saturday 23 May 2015 is planned in ristorante/pizzeria Da Giovanni, Jan Blomstraat 4, 2000 Antwerpen (in a pedestrian street between the Groenplaats and the cathedral) at 20h00 . Please contact us if you like to attend this dinner. After we 'll have had a reviewing of the art work made during the two days we'll go for a drink in the historic centre of Antwerp.

Breakfast and post-dissection discussion and art work review on Sunday 24 Math 2015 in Antwerp Central Hostel (Pulcinella).

Costs (prepaid - BIOMAB account: IBAN: BE88 0016 1775 0741 - BIC: GEBABEBB - or in cash 22 and/or 23 May 2015 in the Anatomical Theatres)
° Dissection only: 30,00 euro pp/day (students 20,00 euro) (all day use of the Anatomical Theatres in Ghent and Antwerp - lectures by dedicated and experienced staff members - sandwich lunches included).
° Dissection + 3-nights-accomodation (shared bedroom - twin or bunk beds - breakfast included): 60,00 euro (students 40,00 euro)
°BIOMAB membership: 50,00 euro (students 40,00 euro)

Extra costs (to be paid in the restaurant)
° 2 dinners: approximately 20,00 euro pp per dinner - drinks not included

Practical data and location
- Friday, May 22, 2015- Time: 10:00 am – 05:00 pm
Location: Universiteit Gent - Ghent University, Department of Morphology
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Salisburylaan 133, Merelbeke. Route Description

- Saturday, May 23, 2015 - Time: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm
Location: Universiteit Antwerpen – Antwerp University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Campus Drie Eiken, Building TA, Dissection Room, Universiteitsplein 1, Wilrijk (Antwerp). Route Description

We wish all attendants very promising and inspiring Dissecting and Drawing Days and a lovely stay in Ghent and Antwerp!

Pascale Pollier, president BIOMAB
Francis Van Glabbeek, vice-president BIOMAB
Chantal Pollier, secretary BIOMAB
Ann Van de Velde, treasurer BIOMAB


open to all BIOMAB members
Saturday 23 May, 2015 at 20h30 in Da Giovanni

1. Word from the President (Pascale Pollier)
2. Report last General Assembly Meeting in Zakynthos (Chantal Pollier)
3. Agenda previous year 2014 (Pascale Pollier)
4. Agenda 2015 (Pascale Pollier)
4.1. 8th Dissection Drawing Days
4.2. Fabrica Vitae Traveling Exhibition
5. Financial report previous year 2014 and budget 2015 (Ann Van de Velde)
6. Election of new Board members (Chantal Pollier)
7. Statutory changes in 2015 (Pascale Pollier)
7.1. New name of ARS: 'Art Researches Science International Collaborations'. In short: A.R.S.I.C. 
7.2. The administrative address of ARSIC will be Ghent. 
7.3. Accountant
7.4. Insurance
7.5. Suggestion to change BIOMAB in BIOMAP 'Biological and Medicart Art Projects'
8. Miscellaneous


International Organisers - ART RESEARCHES SCIENCE (ARS)

VAN GLABBEEK Francis (BE) - BIOMAB; University of Antwerp - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
[CRAS Patrick (BE) - University of Antwerp - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences]
[VAN SCHIL Paul (BE) - University of Antwerp - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences]
POLLIER Pascale (BE) - President BIOMAB
VAN DE VELDE Ann (BE) - BIOMAB; University of Antwerp - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
FREUND Yvan (FR) - Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg
CROOK Eleanor (UK) - London, Royal College of Art and University of the Arts MA Art & Science course
CAMERON Jo (UK) - Medical Artists' Education Trust
EROLIN Caroline (UK) - University of Dundee, MSc Program in Forensic Art

Local Organisers in Ghent
DOOM Marjan (BE)
POLLIER Chantal (BE)

Local Organisers in Antwerp


64 attendants (in alphabetic order)

Last name First name Country School/city
ABRAHAMS Peter UK Warwick Univ
ALLEN Rachael UK Newcastle UT
ALMEIDA Sebastião  Let Riga Stradins University
BERLAND Leslie F Strasbourg
CARNIE Andrew UK Winchester
CESCHIN Chloé F Strasbourg
CHERIKI Nina F Strasbourg
COLE  Drew UK London
CROOK Eleanor UK London
DAANEN Jan NL Maastricht
DAENENS Hedwige B Antwerpen
DE WILDE Michelle NL Maastricht
DOOM Marjan B Ughent
DUBOIS  Marion F Strasbourg
EROLIN Caroline UK Dundee
FREUND Yvan F Strasbourg
HANEGREEFS Sofie B Antwerpen
HELLEMANS Ludo NL Maastricht
HIRSCHMUGL Tatjana Austria Vienna
HOWARD Thomas F Strasbourg
HSIUNG Jessica UK Dundee
JANSSENS Jelle B Antwerpen
LAGADEC Audrey F Strasbourg
LE JONCOUR Justine F Strasbourg
LEU LEU Mona F Strasbourg
LIPPY Adriana UK Dundee
LIU Emerald B Antwerpen
MACROBBIE Catherine UK Dundee
MILLER Arthur UK London
MONNEY Caitlin CH Geneva
MOSEDALE Susan UK Glasgow
NGUYEN Vy-lihn F Strasbourg
POLLIER Pascale B/UK London
POLLIER Chantal B Gent
RAO Roshan Let Riga Stradins University
SATSIA Marisa UK Dundee
SCHOLTEN Henrike NL Groningen
TEMPLE-COX Lisa UK Colchester
THERVILLE Coline F Strasbourg
VAN EECKHOUT Geert B Antwerpen
VOEGEL Solène F Strasbourg
WALTHER Béryl F Strasbourg
YU Feifei UK London