Photos by Karen Jung
Hi, I'm Mona!
I am a visual designer, storyteller, and biomedical communication specialist based on Toronto, Canada.
In 2019, I graduated from the Master of Science in Biomedical Communications program at the University of Toronto. I do illustration and design on a freelance basis.
I believe that great visuals tell great stories - stories that help people learn faster and better. Visual stories can democratize complex science and health information.
Clear, compelling visuals can spread new ideas, teach complex topics, and influence behaviour change.
I tell stories about health and science:
for people like you and me:
patients and caregivers,
MSc Biomedical Communications
2017 - 2019
Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine | University of Toronto
BSc Psychology, First Class Honours
2013 - 2017
Faculty of Science | McGill University
Visual Arts, with Distinction
2009 - 2013
Arts Canterbury Program (Competitive entry) | Canterbury High School, Ottawa
Graphic Designer (Editorial), IMS Magazine
2018 - 2019
I was one of five designers making spreads, infographics, and cover designs for a student-led publication for the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. Online editions are available here.
Biocommunication Visualization Teaching Assistant (HSC302), University of Toronto Mississauga
Jan 2019 - Apr 2019
I taught practical tutorials about digital media skills used in bioscientific illustration (e.g., Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator), and provide one-on-one mentorship on traditional drawing, software, and visual communication skills required for course projects.
Aug 2015 - Feb 2017
I have wet and dry lab experience conducting research at these institutions:
Cardiac Psychophysiology Lab (2016 - 2017)
under Dr. Blaine Ditto, McGill Dept. of Psychology
Cardiac Function Lab (2016)
under Dr. Peter Liu, University of Ottawa Heart Institute
Attention & Social Cognition Lab (2015- 2016)
under Dr. Jelena Ristic, McGill Dept. of Psychology
Glyco-Antigens Group (2015)
under Dr. Andrew Cox, National Research Council of Canada
1996 - present
I grew up in a household that provides traditional art training. Since drawing as a child, I have been leveraging my visual media skills for various causes.
Textbook Illustrator, Toronto Notes
Apr - May 2018
My illustrations appear in the 2019 and 2020 editions of Toronto Notes, a textbook for the Canada-wide medical licensing exam.
Videographer (Production, Creative Direction, Event-Planning), McGill Chinese Students' Society
Aug 2014 - Apr 2017
I was in charge of creating video content to promote and recap our events, and trained other execs to help me out. As of 2017, videos I have played a role in producing have garnered 12,000+ views across platforms. I worked solo or led creative teams.
As an executive, I also helped plan and facilitate our activities and projects: everything that made MCSS a great community. Our events ranged from intimate to grand (1,000+ attendees), from game shows, to concerts, to trips.
VP Design (Graphic Design for Web & Print), McGill Students' Chapter of Jack.org
Nov 2013 - Apr 2017
I made graphics for web and print to promote our mental health awareness projects, such as speaker series, workshops, and art shows. I would work directly with social media and sponsorship portfolios to meet their needs.
2019 - present
Global Brand Leader, All-Star
Association of Medical Illustrators
2018 - present
2KSQUAD (Performing Arts Collective, Montreal)
2016 - 2018
Music & Film Divisions
Graphite, pen & ink, watercolour, acrylic, charcoal, ceramic sculpture
Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Procreate, Adobe Lightroom, Microsoft Power Point
OmniGraffle, Sketch, Invision, Figma
Maxon Cinema 4D, Pixologic ZBrush, UCSF Chimera
Sony Vegas Pro
Tableau Software, IBM SPSS, Microsoft Excel
Wet Lab Techniques
Chemical purification and analysis, tissue processing, protein work, histology
Contributions & Recognition
Vesalian Scholar Award (2019). Vesalius Trust for Health Science Communication.
Research grant (2019). Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
Arts & Culture Runner Up - Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards. (2013). Youth Ottawa.
Presentations & Speaking Engagements
Li, M. Y., Wall, S., & Zimmermann, C. (Jul 28, 2019). From panel to patient: Making comics to teach about palliative care. Vesalian Scholar talk presented at the Association of Medical Illustrators Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, WI.
Li, M. Y., Wall, S., & Zimmermann, C. (Jul 11, 2019). From panel to patient: Making comics to teach about palliative care. Lightning talk presented at the Graphic Medicine Conference, Brighton, UK.
Li, M. Y. (Mar 20, 2019). Do what you love, love what you do: Careers and interests. Panel presented at New College,Toronto, Canada.
Li, M. Y. (Aug, 2015). Cross-linking reagents: The superstars of bioconjugate chemistry. Presented at the National Research Council Summer Student Presentation Competition, Montreal, Canada.
Li, M. Y. (2017). Psychophysiological correlates of vasovagal reactions in response to blood-injury stimuli with standing posture. Unpublished undergraduate thesis.
Li, M. Y. (2016). Show me the money: Investigating the role of monetary reward in spatial orienting of attention. Unpublished undergraduate thesis.
Li, M. Y., Wall, S., & Zimmermann, C. (Jul, 2019). From panel to patient: Making comics to teach about palliative care. Poster presented at the Association of Medical Illustrators Annual Meeting Vesalius Trust Poster Session, Milwaukee, WI.
Li, M. Y., Wall, S., & Zimmermann, C. (May, 2019). Palliative care comics: Designing a person-centred patient education tool. Poster presented at the Barrie Rose Research Day for Palliative Medicine, Toronto, Canada.
Gilchrist, P. T., Coopersmith, A., Li, M., Woroniak, V., & Ditto, B. (Jun, 2018). Standing enhances vasovagal symptoms elicited by stimuli associated with blood but not other emotional stressors. Poster presented at the International Society of Blood Transfusion, Toronto, Canada.
Gilchrist, P. T., Coopersmith, A., Li, M., Woroniak, V., & Ditto, B. (Apr, 2018). Standing enhances vasovagal symptoms elicited by stimuli associated with blood but not other emotional stressors. Poster presented at the Society of Behavioral Bedicine, New Orleans, Lousiana.
Li, M. Y., Hayward, D. A., Pereira, E. J., & Ristic, J. (Apr, 2016). Show me the money: Investigating the role of monetary reward in spatial orienting of attention. Poster presented at the McGill Psychology Undergraduate Poster Session, Montreal, Canada.
Published Design & Artwork
Li, M. Y. (2020). Surgical flaps. Toronto Notes 2020.
Li, M. Y. (2019). Journal cover, Cannabis edition. UTMJ, 96(3).
Li, M. Y. (2019). Virchow's Triad; Lesion localization. Toronto Notes 2019.
Li, M. Y. (2018). Journal cover, Brain Health edition. UTMJ, 95(2).
Li, M. Y. (2018). Sea sparkle cell. IMS Magazine, Winter 2018, p. 25.
Zine and Small Press Contributions
InSaNe Comics (2019). Vesalius Trust: Milwaukee.
MCSS Welcome Booklet (2016; 2015; 2014). MCSS: Montreal.
Fire with Water (2016). McGill: Montreal.
Delegate. (Mar, 2019; Mar, 2017). Jack.org National Summit for youth mental health, Toronto.
Attendee. (Sep, 2018; Oct 2017). UTSC Mindfulness Summit, Scarborough.
Attendee. (Aug, 2018). Comics and Medicine Conference, White River Junction.
Delegate of Republic of Korea. (Mar, 2015). Montreal World Health Organization Simulation, theme: mental health, Montreal.
AMI Salon (2019; 2018). Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, Milwaukee; Boston Marriott Newton, Newton.
Fire with Water by SACOMSS (2016). Mainline Gallery, Montreal.
VAS Year-End Art Show (2016). McGill University, Montreal.
Piece of Mind by Jack.org (2016, 2015). McGill University, Montreal.
Great Big Smalls IX (2013). Cube Gallery, Ottawa.
Visual Arts Grad Show (2013). Canterbury HS, Ottawa.
Other Academic & Media Appearances
Gray, N., & Lakis, K. (Mar 15, 2019). Picturing my voice: Harnessing the power of comics for palliative care. Presented at the Annual Assembly of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Comic drafts by Li, M. Y.
Elmaraghy, A. (Jan 8, 2019). Pectoralis major tears. Presented at the City Wide Sports Medicine Rounds. Surgical illustration by Li, M. Y.
Wong, D. (Dec, 2018). Mental health and art, is it a good combination? Review of McGill's Piece of Mind Exhibition. Artinest.