Brainpainter: Artist Biography

From childhood, carrying a sketch-pad everywhere, until her junior year of college, Gayle Gross de Nunez appeared to be headed for a career in arts. However a required, but long-delayed science class changed the course of her creative life.

"I was exposed for the first time to elementary molecular biology and simultaneously, to the microscope. I was completely beguiled and captivated by the microscopic universe, both intellectually and esthetically."

As a result, she took on the sciences, earning a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1983, with a specialization in Developmental Neuroanatomy.

"Though often viewed as static, to me neuroanatomy is quintessentially the source of movement and activity. Until death, the brain is never still; there is constant communication, growth and redesign, and of course the evanescence of thoughts and dreams."

Gayle continued on to postdoctoral studies at Duke University, where she became Director of the Brain Imaging Unit of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center. In 1989 the opportunity came to combine her scientific and artistic talents as Design and Technical Director of the science education company, Savantes. During her tenure as Technical Director and sole animator, her 3-D computer animations of neuropharmacology were featured on a Peter Jennings "Special Report" in 1997, received a 1998 CINE Golden Eagle Award, and earned various other awards and recommendations from national and international science organizations. In 2001, excerpts of her animations were featured on NOVA, "The Search for a Safe Cigarette", and in 2004 portions of the Savantes "Animated Neuroscience" DVD were selected for inclusion in the "Library of Neuroscience". She founded Cajal Medical and Scientific Illustration in Chicago in 1996 to continue this work.

Gayle moved with her husband and sons to a farm in Indiana in 1998. In the rural environment she has also become an accomplished nature photographer. Having found 3-D computer-generated art insufficiently "painterly", Gayle has happily returned to a photomicrography base, now incorporating digital painting tools. In June 2005, her new artwork, which she calls "interpretive histology" (or "brain-painting"), was showcased in the prestigious international science journal, Nature.


all rights reserved c 2009 - 2019 Gayle Gross de Núñez