The Art of the Immune System Student Competition

La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) invites student artists ages 10 to 18 to enter the Art of the Immune System Student Competition.

LJI is a scientific research institute in San Diego where creative researchers and staff come together to solve big problems in the immune system. Scientists here study diseases such as COVID-19, Ebola, Alzheimer’s, type 1 diabetes, cancers, asthma, allergies and much more.

This art competition is a chance for local students to celebrate immune system research and to inspire others to see the beauty in science! Students may enter a work of art that represents any aspect of health or medical research. LJI staff are happy to work with educators in the sciences or arts who would like to incorporate the competition into their lesson plans. We welcome entries using any visual media, including digital art, sculpture and photography. The submission deadline is March 31, 2023, at 11:59 PM.

Submit your piece via this entry form

Download the guardian permission form

Artistic interpretation of lungs

The 2022 winning piece, by Jennifer Hu, Canyon Crest Academy

How the competition works

The competition is open to any student ages 10 to 18 attending elementary, middle, or high school in San Diego County.

There will be two categories this year:

Junior immunologists:

  • Ages 10-13
  • Must attend a school in San Diego County
  • Must submit guardian permission form with entry. Download form here

Senior immunologists:

  • Ages 14-18
  • Must attend a junior high or high school in San Diego County
  • Must submit guardian permission form with entry if under 18 years old. Download form here

Teachers can also sign up on behalf of a group of students. Entrants must fill out the online SIGN UP FORM. Entrants ages 10 to 17 must also upload a signed guardian permission form.

In addition to entering an art piece, all entrants will be asked to submit background information on their piece, including: the connection between the piece and science/health, why they choose their art medium, and what they learned about science during the process. 

Competition timeline

Competition opens: February 23, 2023

Competition closes: March 31, 2023 at 11:59 PM

Winners in each category will be announced on the International Day of Immunology: April 29, 2023

All finalists will have their work showcased in a virtual gallery hosted by La Jolla Institute for Immunology.
The first, second and third place winners in each category will also have their work printed in LJI’s Immune Matters magazine, which reaches more than 8,000 households across the country. 

The first prize winners from each category will receive the Ultimate Dual Microscope, manufactured by National Geographic. Each first prize winner will also receive a plaque from LJI.

For teachers

Teachers may sign up for the competition on behalf of a group of students. LJI will then be in touch with information on how students can submit their art pieces. Individual guardian permission forms are still required from all entrants.

Projects completed in class can be submitted to the competition. We ask that students submit individual projects, as we do not have a separate category for group projects.

Submit your piece via this entry form

The 2021 winning piece, by Elzie-Joy Arinduque, West Hills High School

Frequently asked questions

Art pieces will be judged by a panel of scientists and staff at La Jolla Institute for Immunology, as well as by local artists associated with SDSU.

The judges assess the art on whether they find it visually intriguing, whether it shows artistic skill, and if there is a clear connection in the piece to health/medical research.

Yes, as long as the work was completed in the 2022-23 school year and there is a clear connection to health/science research.

No, only one piece is allowed per student.

What if my art piece is better viewed in real life (such as a sculpture, embroidery, etc)?

No problem! Email by March 20, 2023 to make arrangements to have your art piece picked up at your school. Your art piece will be returned to you by May 15, 2023.

No, unfortunately we do not have a separate category for group projects.

Past winners

2022 competition winners:

  • First place: Jennifer Hu, Canyon Crest Academy
  • Second place: Neshama Reed, IDEA Center High School
  • Third place: Kelly Dai, Canyon Crest Academy
  • Runner up: Sofia Nielsen, Notre Dame Academy

View the 2022 winning pieces

2021 competition winners:

  • First place: Elzie-Joy Arinduque, West Hills High School
  • Second place: Andrew Huynh, West Hills High School
  • Third place: Ariyah Mast, Patrick Henry High School
  • Runners up: Sophie Duan, Westview High School; Alexa Aguilar, Granite Hills High School

View the 2021 winning pieces