Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) is a rare and debilitating genetic disorder that turns soft tissue into heterotopic bone. 80% of the time, FOP is misdiagnosed because physicians rarely encounter the disease during their medical training. Misdiagnosis of FOP can have severe consequences, as trauma to the body causes further bone formation. Often, lumps presented by patients are misdiagnosed as tumors, leading to unnecessary treatment and amputation.

This poster surveys the molecular and macro events that lead to the formation of heterotopic bone. Due to the prevalence of misdiagnosis, I depicted six classic early symptoms of FOP. Shortening of the first metatarsal is the only symptom that is present at birth, therefore I wanted to direct the viewer’s attention by placing it within an enclosed box. The arrows further guide attention by describing disease progression.

Dr. Frederick S. Kaplan, the world’s leading expert on FOP, reviewed the scientific accuracy of my piece.

Final illustration was showcased at the FOP Drug Development Forum hosted by the International FOP Association (IFOPA) at Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel in Boston, November 21st and 22nd 2014. Attendees included people from pharmaceutical companies, research institutions, FDA, NIH, EU, patients and their families. People attended from Europe, Japan, China, South Africa, Australia, Canada, England and many other parts of the globe.The illustration will also be displayed next to a skeleton specimen at the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology at the University of Melbourne.

Intended Audience

General public, patients and physicians


Pencil, Adobe Photoshop CS6, Adobe Illustrator CS6

Intended Format



This illustration was awarded an “Award of Merit” in the Student Didactic/Instructional/Anatomical Category  by the Association of Medical Illustrators in 2014.

Process Work