About GSC

Germinate Science Consulting (GSC) has a few simple aims:

1) To help researchers ensure that their hard work is communicated in a clear, accurate and complete manner in a draft manuscript. 

2) To demystify the publishing process by providing detailed insight into the editorial assessment of a study, provide advice on how to improve a draft manuscript and on appropriate journals that could be considered for submission. 

3) To work with researchers to hone their grant applications to strengthen the likelihood of obtaining funding.

4) Through delivery of seminars and workshops, offer training for early (and later) career researchers in a range of topics relating to generating and handling data, communicating and publishing science, and developing a career. 

GSC is currently focussed on serving the microbiology field, but will consider project work and training in other fields also. 

About Andrew Jermy

Andrew gained his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Manchester, UK, studying fungal protein trafficking and secretion. He was subsequently a Microbiology Editor at Nature for more than a decade, joining Nature Reviews Microbiology in 2008 as an Associate Editor after a brief stint as Locum Editor on Nature Cell Biology. Over the following 4.5 years Andrew developed a passion for microbiology, editing reviews and writing on all aspects of the field. Andrew then joined the Nature team as Senior Editor, handling research manuscripts from across the field and championing microbiology in Nature’s pages (and beyond). In 2015 Andrew became the Chief Editor for the launch of Nature Microbiology, which quickly became established as one of the premier journals in the microbiology publishing landscape. Andrew left Nature Microbiology in 2019 to establish Germinate Science Consulting and work closely with researchers to strengthen research grants and manuscripts, as well as providing a range of other science communication services.

About Cláudio Nunes-Alves

Cláudio studied biochemistry at the University of Porto (Portugal), before earning his Ph.D. in Life and Health Sciences from the University of Minho (Braga, Portugal), studying how immune cells respond to tuberculosis infection. During his PhD and post-doc, he spent 8+ years as a researcher working at the intersection of microbiology, immunology and infectious diseases, sharing his time between Portugal and the United States, in the laboratories of Margarida Correia-Neves (at the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute, Braga, Portugal), Samuel Behar (first at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA, and then at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA) and Christophe Benoist (at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA). In 2014, Cláudio moved to London (UK), to join Nature Reviews Microbiology, where between 2014 and 2016 he worked as an Associate Editor, locum Chief Editor and Senior Editor. In March 2016, Cláudio moved to Nature Microbiology, where he served as a Senior Editor until February 2022, helping it grow into one of the leading journals in the field. In his 7+ years of editorial work, he handled manuscripts, wrote and edited pieces across virtually all areas of the field. Cláudio is fascinated with microbes, infectious diseases and how they impact public health, and since September 2021 is studying part-time for a Global Master of Public Health at Imperial College London. In February 2022 he joined Germinate Science
Consulting (GSC) to work more closely with researchers and help with their communication needs – including in strengthening manuscripts, research grants or helping with tailored communications to a variety of audiences. Outside of work, Cláudio enjoys spending time with his partner and two kids, traveling, playing football and board games, cooking and craft beer.


Why high-quality illustrations are vital for effective communication in microbiology

In the microbiology field, most of the organisms we study are invisible to the naked eye. This of course means that without a clear, aesthetically-engaging visual representation to accompany a piece of text, non-experts can sometimes struggle to fully grasp complex microbiology systems and concepts. Scientific figures, illustrations and animations therefore have an incredibly valuable role in the communication of microbiology, something which was highlighted recently in this great Nature Microbiology editorial.­1

One professional scientific illustrator described the role of scientific imagery as threefold – to grab the attention, to be free from language barriers and to act as a Trojan horse for information.2 Figures and illustrations have a long history in science communication, from early charcoal sketches of the observed world dating back millennia through to complex three-dimensional animations of molecular interactions within cells. Compelling visuals can be crucial in sharing new discoveries and when effective, can allow information to be more easily comprehendible than with words. A powerful images not only increases the accessibility of research for those outside the field, but also ensures that the full impact of a piece of work is clearly conveyed to manuscript or grant reviewers.

However, creating high-quality illustrations and figures requires precious time, resource, skills and tools – some or all of which you might not have. It was this notion that formed the basis of our new figure drafting services, which we launched just last week. If you think you could benefit from a first-rate scientific visual to complement your work, then read on to learn a bit more about our two figure drafting options on offer.      

We can produce eye-catching and precise scientific figures, schematics and illustrations with in-house resource using the online scientific illustration tool Biorender – this is a great lower-cost option if you’re struggling with a figure for an upcoming manuscript, grant application or publication. See the image below for an example.

Or perhaps you’re looking for something more bespoke – in which case, we can partner with one of our freelance professional scientific art editors to produce more sophisticated figures or illustrations that meets the exacting standards of high-impact journals. These editors have decades of experience in the creation of diagrams, illustrations and schematics within the scientific publishing field. Below is just one example of the type of figure they can create. The art editors that we work with are also deeply experienced in the design and production of high quality visually-attractive documents for a range of purposes.  

With either the in-house or professional options, we can help to ensure your grant, manuscript or scientific document stands out from the pack, providing you with clear, visually-attractive graphics to couple the written description of your work to maximise its impact.

If you’re interested in either of our figure drafting service options, or have a query about the services that we haven’t answered in the text below, then please contact us to discuss the specifics of the project.


How much do these figure drafting services cost?

We’re charging £25 per hour for the in-house figure drafting service, and £40 per hour for the professional art editor figure drafting service. In our experience to date, a single figure takes between 1-4 hours, depending on the complexity and level of editorial involvement needed in shaping the design.  


Why should I spend money on a figure when I could create one myself?

You may well be an accomplished amateur illustrator, in which case this service is probably not for you. However, for the rest of you, we are confident of producing a substantially higher standard of graphic than can be achieved using PowerPoint or similar tools. Having a highly polished figure or illustration can enhance the impact and relevance of your work to all reviewers, and could help increase your chances of success in today’s funding and publication landscape.


Can I see more examples of what you can create with either service?

Absolutely – take a look at each relevant page on our website to view more examples of our work: in-house figure service / professional art editor service.


Will I receive editable files and will the image rights be mine?

Yes and yes. Using either the in-house service or professional service, we provide clients figures in a range of formats, including the original editable files. Similarly, clients retain all rights to the images.


I want to add a figure drafting service to my basket on the website, but the price is listed at £0 – why is this?

We prefer to discuss the specifics of a project through first before you pay anything up front, so if you’re interested in either of our figure drafting service options the first port of call is to please contact us.



  1. Visualizing the unseen. Nat Microbiol7, 1–2 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-021-01044-1
  2. Leach, T. Scientist or artist? Why not be both?. Nat Microbiol7, 4 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-021-00995-9


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