Dr. Steven Rostad



Steve has always relied on the visual arts to enhance and balance his medical profession.

An Edmonds native, his passion for the natural world led to a love of drawing and photography.  As a teenager, Steve spent endless days sketching and photographing microscopic biologic structures. 

After receiving his BA in biochemistry at Harvard and MD at the University of Washington, Steve started a 30-plus year practice in anatomic and neuropathology. Inspired by his daily diagnostic experiences, he wanted to share the stunning and elegant visual images of the nervous system. Armed with earlier training in painting, technical drawing and photography, Steve recommitted to his art and studied further with multiple local artists.

Steve enthusiastically shares his experiences of the microscopic world, and in particular, the normal and abnormal nervous system. The hope is to share his appreciation of the cellular basis of life.



My academic background is in the biologic sciences, however the use of tools to describe and understand its visual nature led me to a love of art. What distinguishes art from science and randomness, and what does that tell us about our attraction to it?  

Historically scientists have relied on drawing and painting to report their observations. A century ago the eminent neuroanatomist and pathologist and avid painter Santiago Ramon y Cajal drew masterful images that today provide a structural basis of the nervous system.

Neuropathology naturally deepened my interest in morphology and how we recognize disease. As a medical detective or diagnostician, I was attracted to the visual patterns that allow for interpretation of “normal” and devastating disease states, such as brain tumors, Alzheimer’s Disease and multiple sclerosis. These experiences catalyzed further exploration into my art. 

Although frequently considered “abstract”, my art mostly focuses on and represents the unseen microscopic world. I hope to inspire curiosity and appreciation about our biologic structural foundations and their alterations in disease states.