Wonders of Immunology – Student Art 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.

Deadline for entry

Update: We’ve extended the submission deadline for the 2024 competition. Art pieces must be submitted by June 1, 2024 at 11:59 PM to be eligible for judging. Access entry form here.

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 are two categories:

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
An illustration showing three human faces in purple, blue and yellow. The top two faces are masked. They are surrounded by microscopes, test tubes, red blood cells and other scientific motifs.

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

Teachers can also sign up on behalf of a group of students.

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.



All finalists will have their work showcased in a virtual gallery hosted by La Jolla Institute for Immunology. 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. 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.

Frequently asked questions

Art pieces will be judged by a panel of scientists and staff at La Jolla Institute for Immunology.

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 madeline@lji.org by May 25, 2024 to make arrangements to have your art piece picked up at your school. Your art piece will be returned to you by July 15, 2024.

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

“Healthy Heart. A Tribute to Tio Pablo,” by Elisa “Isa” Asnani

Past winners

2023 competition winners:

Junior Immunologist category – ages 10 to 13

  • First place: Elisa “Isa” Asnani, High Tech Explorer Point Loma
  • Second place: Eleanor Boster, Albert Einstein Middle School
  • Third place: Amrin B., Del Sur Elementary

Senior Immunologist category – ages 14 to 18

  • First place: Judy Kang, Westview High School
  • Second place: Aspen Cotton, Westview High School
  • Third place: Keira Casey, Sage Creek High School

View the 2023 winning pieces

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