About Us

Created from a passion of both science and art, "Zeeks -  Art for Geeks" was established to deliver bespoke data analysis approaches and science art. We are a small but dedicated team focused on delivering the highest quality.

Dr. Elisabeth Kugler is a scientist who has worked internationally with image-based data for several years and has always been enthralled by science and art (read more: here). Being an established researcher in the fields of biomedical image analysis and blood vessel biology, Elisabeth has published work in several peer-reviewed scientific journals. The artwork available has been exhibited, shown on prestigious scientific journal covers, community websites, research centres, and on social media.

To deliver bespoke science art we work with the family-owned frame manufacturer and gallery of Hofinger BilderRahmen Tirol

Inspiring Others

From the very first time Elisabeth looked through a microscope, she was enthralled by the beauty and complexity of nature. How can cells as small as 10 micrometre, be so perfectly shaped and functioning?

As a trained biologist, she has always aimed to share her fascination for science and inspire others. She taught and mentored internationally. But what better way then using science art to inspire others? At Zeeks, we love to share the beauty of science.

Awards and Exhibitions

Our science art has won several awards at science and microscopy competitions:​

  • 1st place - Rank Prize Funds Seeing Science photography competition - Optoelectronics 2020 
  • 1st place - Image Competition - The University of Sheffield Insigneo institute for in silico medicine 2020
  • 2nd place - Image Award - Multinational Congress on Microscopy  2021 (MC2021) 
  • shortlist - Scientific Imaging Competition - Royal Microscopy Society (RMS) 2021

Elisabeth's work has been displayed in exhibitions at the Royal Microscopy Society Conference 2021, the University Engineering Exhibition 2019, and FocalPlane webpage gallery items. We are currently planning Elisabeth's first solo science art exhibition scheduled in 2023, which will contain unique previously unseen artworks and originals. She will collaborate with the Gallery of Hofinger BilderRahmen Tirol.


Science Art on Scientific Journal Covers

Elisabeth's work has been featured on the cover of EMBO Reports Aug 2019 (for her discovery on a previously undescribed cell behaviour), the Development journal for her image analysis tool GliaMorph 2023, and the annual Insigneo magazine (for her work on computational quantifications of the zebrafish brain vasculature).

Cover of EMBO Reports scientific journal  Cover of the annual Insigneo newsletter, featuring a microscopy image acquired by Elisabeth

Zeeks Data - Our Science

All science art work seen at Zeeks comes from real data that contributed to scientific findings. The main two subjects are (1) the blood vessels of the brain and (2) how cells, called Müller glia, form in the eye. Both projects were conducted with zebrafish as model organism.

(1) Blood Vessels of the Brain

The brain is one of the most important organs, requiring oxygen and nutrients to function. To remain healthy, blood vessels constantly supply the brain with oxygen, nutrients, and signalling molecules. However, little is known about how blood vessels are formed and maintained during life. The two main questions we sought to answer in the project were:

a) Can we produce a computational method to analyse the shape and pattern of the blood vessels in the brain?

Yes, we developed a data analysis workflow, called ZVQ, that is used across laboratories in the world. Read more: here

b) What are these structures?

During our work, Elisabeth discovered a previously undiscovered cell behaviour. She set off to characterize these structures termed kugeln. Read more: here

(2) Müller Glia Cell Formation in the Eye

Cell shape is critical for cell function and health. This is also the case for a cell type called glial cells, which contact and support neurons. In the eye, the principal glial cell type are called Mueller Glia (MG). MG have a stereotypic shape linked to their development and health. The two main questions we sought to answer in the project were:

a) Can we produce a computational method to analyse the shape of these cells, and what does it tell us?

Yes, Elisabeth developed a data analysis workflow called GliaMorph. Read more: here

b) How do these form and start to interact with other cells? 

There is still work ongoing to understand how cells in the eye integrate and interact. Read more: here.


Animal Research Statement

All research involving regulated procedures was carried out in the scope of research projects licensed and strictly regulated by the Home Office under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. All animal handling and procedures was conducted according to licences and guidelines.

All of our research was underpinned by the guiding principles of the three R's, replacement, reduction and refinement, see the National centre for the replacement, refinement and reduction of animals in research (NC3Rs).

We are committed to openness, transparency, and sharing information about animal research and providing opportunities for the public to find out about research using animals. If you do have any question, please contact us!

Elisabeth has spoken about her work and animal research at various public and scientific events, such as Pint of Science, Ignite, and conferences. If you would like to book a talk with her, please contact us.


Scientific Publications Based on Our Data

  1. Kugler, E.Breitenbach, E.-M., & MacDonald, R. (2023). Glia cell morphology analysis using the fiji gliaMorph toolkitCurrent Protocols3, e654. doi: 10.1002/cpz1.654
  2. Research Article -Kugler E., Bravo I., Durmishi X., Marcotti S., Beqiri S., Carrington A., Stramer B., Mattar P., MacDonald R.*; GliaMorph: A modular image analysis toolkit to quantify Muller glial cell morphology. Development 2023; dev.201008. doi: 10.1242/dev.201008
  3. Opinion Piece - Schlaeppi A., Adams W., Haase R., Huisken J., MacDonald R., Eliceiri K.*, and Kugler E.*, Meeting in the middle: towards successful multidisciplinary bioimage analysis collaborations. Frontiers in Bioinformatics, April 2022 doi: 10.3389/fbinf.2022.889755
  4. Opinion Piece - Jurisch-Yaksi N. #, Kocere A. #, Kugler E. # *, MacDonald R. #, Mosimann C. #, and Yaksi E. #, Microscopy approaches in zebrafish, RMS inFocus, March 2022
  5. Journal Article - Kugler *, Frost, Silva, Plant,Chhabria, Chico, and Armitage*, Zebrafish Vascular Quantification (ZVQ): a tool for quantification of three-dimensional zebrafish cerebrovascular architecture by automated image analysis, Development, p. dev.199720, Jan. 2022, doi: 10.1242/dev.199720.
  6. Review -  Kugler E., Greenwood J, and MacDonald R.*, The ”Neuro-Glial-Vascular” Unit: The Role of Glia in Neurovascular Unit Formation and Dysfunction, Front. Cell Dev. Biol., 27 September 2021, doi: 10.3389/fcell.2021.7328
  7. Spotlight - Barresi M. #, Coen E. #, Kugler E. #, Shuda J. #, and Sung D.#, Engaging new audiences with imaging and microscopy. Development 15 September 2021; 148 (18): dev199942. doi: doi.org/10.1242/dev.199942 
  8. Journal Article -  Kugler E.*, Snodgrass R., Bowley G., Plant K., Serbanovic-Canic J., Hamilton N., Evans P., Chico T., and Armitage P., The effect of absent blood flow on the zebrafish cerebral and trunk vasculature. Vascular Biology, Online Publication Date: 25 Aug 2021 doi: 0.1530/VB-21-0009
  9. Review - Bowley G. #, Kugler E. #, et al., Zebrafish as a tractable model of human cardiovascular disease, British Journal of Pharmacology, 2021, doi: 10.1111/bph.15473
  10. Review - Chico T.* and Kugler E.*, Cerebrovascular development: mechanisms and experimental approaches, Cell. Mol. Life Sci., Mar. 2021, doi: 10.1007/s00018-021-03790-1.
  11. Conference Paper - Kugler E.*, Chico T. and Armitage P., Validating Segmentation of the Zebrafish Vasculature, In: Zheng Y., Williams B., Chen K. (eds) Medical Image Understanding and Analysis. MIUA 2019. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1065. Springer, Cham 2020
  12. Journal Article - Kugler E.*, van Lessen M., Daetwyler S., Chhabria K., Savage A., Silva V., Plant K., McDonald R., Huisken J., Wilkinson R., Schulte-Merker S., Armitage P. and Chico T.*, Cerebrovascular Endothelial Cells form Transient Notch-Dependent Cystic Structures in Zebrafish, EMBO Reports, Aug 2019, doi: 10.15252/embr.201847047
  13. Conference Abstract - Kugler E., Chhabria K., Daetwyler S., Plant K., Savage A., Wilkinson R., Armitage P., Chico T.J.A., Endothelial Cells Form Transient Cystic Structures During Zebrafish Cerebrovascular Development, Cardiovasc Drugs Ther (2019) 33: 261.
  14. Journal Article - Kugler E.*, Plant K., Chico T. and Armitage P., Enhancement and Segmentation Workflow for the Developing Zebrafish Vasculature, Journal of Imaging, MDPI, Vol. 5, Issue 1. 2019, https://doi.org/10.3390/jimaging5010014
  15. Journal Article - Chhabria K., Plant K., Bandmann O., Wilkinson R., Martin C., Kugler E., Armitage P., Santoscoy P., Cunliffe V., Howarth C.*, and Chico T.*, The Effect of Hyperglycemia on Neurovascular Coupling and Cerebrovascular Patterning in Zebrafish, JCBF, 2018, doi: 10.1177/0271678X18810615
  16. Conference Paper - Kugler E.*, Chico T. and Paul A., Image Analysis in Light Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy Images of Transgenic Zebrafish Vascular DevelopmentIn: Nixon, M., Mahmoodi, S. and Zwiggelaar, R., (eds.) Medical Image Understanding and Analysis. MIUA 2018, 09-11 Jul 2018, Southampton, UK. Communications in Computer and Information Science, 894 . Springer Nature Switzerland AG , pp. 343-353. ISBN 9783319959207