Employee Spotlight - Miranda MacAskill

Miranda MacAskill is a Scientific Marketing Designer and UI/UX designer at Cyclica. She has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biomedical Science from the University of Guelph and a Masters of Science in Biomedical Communications from the University of Toronto Mississauga, as well as a background in art history (almost a minor!). Miranda has professional experience in graphic design, illustration, UX/UI design, and as videographer and webmaster. The majority of her work has focused on the fields of marketing, corporate communications, comparative anatomy, and biotechnology. When she's not working on her latest project, Miranda can be found sketching at the Royal Ontario Museum, baking sourdough bread, gaming, or writing reviews for the latest books she's read and movies she's watched.

What’s your role at Cyclica?

I’m a graphic designer and UI designer, so I work on anything and everything visual. That includes images for presentations, figures for papers, the design and content of our corporate site, the visual design of new Ligand Express features, and images for social media. I also design templates for decks, docs, and more. Pretty much anything that requires visual elements goes through me, so I end up working with a lot of different teams on a wide variety of projects. 

What’s your fav software system or app that helps you in your daily work?

I have a love/hate relationship with the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.). It's the best at what it does and it can do almost anything design-wise, but it's also been around for almost 40 years and has become this huge amalgamation of arcane features. I’ve been using it for over a decade and have even taught courses on it, and I still feel like there are parts of it that I've barely scratched the surface of. Plus every once in a while Adobe changes a keyboard shortcut to do the literal exact opposite of what it used to do just to keep you on your toes. But 95% of the time it's the best software suite I’ve ever used. 

What was your first job?

It actually wasn’t so different from what I do now. It was a summer job working for my mom organising marketing and corp comm documents. Over the years, organising turned to formatting turned to designing. Eventually, I became a freelance graphic designer, which I did on the side while working towards my Bachelors of Science. I was thrilled when I found out about UoT's Biomedical Communications program because it essentially combined the two fields I'd been working in for years.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this? 

I may have ended up doing something related to veterinary medicine, which is what I originally went to school for. Otherwise, I would have ended up in a creative field. I've always been interested in doing concept art, and I think it would be cool to do illustration work for a video game or movie. But I'm really glad I don't have to choose between science and the arts because I find it a lot more interesting working at the intersection of the two, and I think I would miss whichever one I wasn't actively engaged with.

Do you have a pet? What’s he/she like? 

IMG-05_my catI have a tuxedo cat named Panda. He's 16 years old and is grumpy and incredibly antisocial around other people, but he's also the biggest cuddle bug when no one is looking. He sticks to my side like glue all day long and has recently started napping on my desk using my arm as a pillow.  He's very spoiled.


What are 3 things on your bucket list?

  1. Visit Florence, Italy. It feels like I've studied almost every piece of art and architecture in the city through my art history courses, and I’d love to see it in person one day. 
  2. Take a wine-tasting course. I’m a foodie and have always wanted to learn more about wine flavour profiles and pairings. 
  3. Get a perfect score on my Oscar ballot. My family and I have a bet every year,  and I always spend a ton of time researching. This year I was close - I won with 20/23 correct!

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