About the Science and Comics Initiative

The University of Oregon Science and Comics Initiative unites two growing areas at the University of Oregon: Comics & Cartoon Studies and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). This program encourages interdisciplinary research and spurs curriculum development. We bring together faculty, students, and researchers from numerous departments, programs, and campus facilities to produce scholarship that utilizes both humanistic and scientific research practices.

Professors Tien-Tien Yu (Physics) and Kate Kelp-Stebbins (Comics and Cartoon Studies) began the Initiative with a fellowship project in Spring 2020, pairing students from Comics Studies with researchers in Physics and Neuroscience to produce graphic narratives illustrating and explaining UO faculty members’ scientific research. Following the successful completion of the first stage of the Science and Comics Initiative in Summer 2020, the program is now run by Luca Mazzucato (Institute of Neuroscience) and Kate Kelp-Stebbins. The program is expanding with applications across additional fields.

Goals include: the establishment of cross-campus workshops devoted to communicating scientific research through comics and sequential art; a course or courses in which Comics Studies students work alongside STEM students to produce compelling and visually engaging research descriptions; a research publication compiling the graphic narratives produced by Comics Studies/STEM students; gallery and museum shows in which student work is displayed for a public audience.

To apply as an artist:

Applications open yearly in Fall term. Fill out the application form here!

Eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled UO undergraduates with experience drawing comics.

Required materials:

  • Short description of your qualifications and what you hope to gain from a science-comics collaboration
  • A small sample portfolio with at least two examples of your comics art

Artists will receive a $1,000 stipend and be expected to complete their comics collaboration in the semester they are selected for.

To apply as a UO scientist:

Reach out to Luca Mazzucato (Institute of Neuroscience) and/or Kate Kelp-Stebbins (Comics and Cartoon Studies).

Who we are:

Hand-drawn grayscale portrait of Kate Kelp-StebbinsKate Kelp-Stebbins is the co-Founder and current co-Director of the Science and Comics Initiative, as well as being Associate Professor and Director of the Comics Studies Program in the Department of English at the University of Oregon.


Hand-drawn grayscale portrait of Luca Mazzucato Luca Mazzucato the current co-Director of the Science and Comics Initiative. Luca is also an Assistant Professor at the Departments of Biology and Mathematics, a Member of the Institute of Neuroscience, and Principle Investigator of the Mazzucato Lab.


Hand-drawn grayscale portrait of Tien-Tien YuTien-Tien Yu is the co-Founder of the Science and Comics Initiative, an Associate Professor at the University of Oregon in the Department of Physics and a member of the Institute for Fundamental Science.


Hand-drawn grayscale portrait of Audra McNameeAudra McNamee is the Science and Comics Initiative Program Coordinator, and a nonfiction cartoonist in Portland, Oregon. Audra and Luca created the comic “A Trip into Serotonin” for the first round of the Initiative.

Publishing support and transcription by Allia Service and the UO Libraries Digital Publishing and Pedagogy team.

The Science and Comics Initiative’s work has been covered by Around the O and the Eugene Magazine. The Initiative’s work was presented at the Association of Science Communicator’s Science Talk ’24 conference.

Previous Science and Comics Initiative websites are https://ifs.uoregon.edu/outreach/comics/ and https://humanities.uoregon.edu/comics/hands-on/research. The comics are also housed in The Science and Comic Initiative Scholars’ Bank collection. You can keep up to date with the Initiative’s latest comics by following our RSS feed. Read the website’s Accessibility Statement here.

Funded by NSF CAREER – 1944826-PHY; NSF-2238247 CAREER NSF; and R01-DA055439 NIDA – NSF CRCNS



Science and Comics Initiative Copyright © 2024 by Tien-Tien Yu; Kate Kelp-Stebbins; Luca Mazzucato; Audra McNamee; Chloe Damommio; Jayson Paulose; Rose Gibian; Tim Cohen; Nina Gomez; Kate Mills; Madison Ellis; John Toner; Radio Plantenberg; Ben McMorran; Margaret Kyser; Mike Raymer; Samantha Cohen; Robert Schofield; Anja Bedrick; David Allcock; Page Biersdorff; Laura Jeanty; Ellyce Whiteman; Rebecca Frederick; John H. Postlethwait; Thomas Desvignes; Mary Hubbert; Isabel Lopez; and Scott Fisher. All Rights Reserved.

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