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Jessica Saw

Research Scientist
Clinical informatics; Applications of design in healthcare; Usability in health information technology

I completed my MD at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine and my PhD in Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Prior to that, I studied Piano Performance and Neuroscience at Oberlin College & Conservatory of Music.


My home base is in medicine, and I use clinical problems as an entryway to learn and practice principles of design. For example, I’m frustrated with the usability of clinical software. Applying UX and UI principles to the user interfaces physicians work with everyday can drastically improve efficiency and HAPPINESS (emotions shan’t be ignored!). I’m excited that now, I get to work on problems like these with the Visual Analytics Group!


My research interest is in communicating the role and impact of design to science and healthcare. I also want to characterize the design process and approach outside of the tangible steps of ideation and iteration. What can scientists and physicians learn from designers in how they approach problems, their work culture, and the hard and soft skills gained during their formal training?


In our software design projects, I bring the clinical perspective to the team. There are many unspoken patterns in clinical thinking, and I work with our designers to tease out this type of tacit information from our user interviews. I also help package together our diverse knowledge bases (design, development, science) into user stories and software solutions that align with the needs of our healthcare and research collaborators.


I’m all about bringing people together to make cool things. I love working with people from different academic backgrounds, because I get to learn about topics outside my own expertise and approach a problem from different perspectives. The problems we work on are near and dear to my heart, and I feel very lucky that I get to work with a very creative and curious team to make work life smoother and easier for healthcare providers and researchers!





Nature Reviews Urology


Scientific Reports


European Journal of Cancer Care

*Saw JJ, *Sivaguru M, Wilson EM, Dong Y, Sanford RA, Fields C, Cregger MA, Merkel AC, Bruce WJ, Weber JR, Lieske JC, Krambeck AE, Rivera ME, Large T, Lange D, Bhattacharjee AS, Romero MF, Chia N, Fouke BW. In Vivo Entombment of Bacteria and Fungi during Calcium Oxalate, Brushite and Struvite Urolithiasis. Kidney360 (2020), *Equal Contribution

Sivaguru M, Saw JJ, Wilson EM, Lieske JC, Krambeck AE, Williams JC, Romero MF, Fouke KW, Curtis MW, Kear-Scott JL, Chia N, Fouke BW. Human Kidney Stones: A Natural Record of Constant Change. Nature Reviews Urology (2020).

*Sivaguru M, Saw JJ, Williams JC, Lieske JC, Krambeck AE, Romero M, Chia N, Wildman DE, Fried GA, Schwaderer AL, Werth CA, Reeder RJ, Yau P, Sanford, RA, Bruce WJ, and Fouke BW, 2018. Geobiology Reveals How Human Kidney Stones Dissolve In Vivo. Scientific Reports. 2018 Sep 13;8(1):13731, *Equal Contribution

Saw JJ, Curry EA, Ehlers SL, Scanlon PD, Bauer BA, Rian J, Larson DR, Wolanskyj AP. A brief bedside visual art intervention decreases anxiety and improves pain and mood in patients with haematologic malignancies. European Journal of Cancer Care. 2018 Apr 17:e12852


Genomix - Project Leader

Flu-COVID- Project Leader

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