As modern biological experimental methods deliver data of increasing volume and complexity, researchers are becoming overwhelmed and increasingly unable to fully benefit from potential insights and advances in understanding that may be buried within data.
The BioVis Centre focuses on developing methods and tools that help life scientists exploit these large datasets to gain insight into underlying biological and biomedical processes. We also use data visualization communicate complex science to the general public via biomedical animations.
‘VIZBIplus: Visualising the Future of Biomedicine’ is a new project funded by the Inspiring Australia government initiative, the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute, and CSIRO. The project is being led jointly by Dr Kate Patterson at the Garvan Institute, Dr Sean O’Donoghue at CSIRO and Garvan, and molecular animator Mr Drew Berry at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.
The goal of VIZBIplus is to create awe-inspiring and scientifically accurate 3D animations that explain the latest medical research in a way that inspires and engages a general audience.
Animations are an effective way to communicate with various audiences. The complexities of science and biology can be easily communicated with visualisation by including the visual detail but avoiding the verbal scientific jargon that can be met with boredom and confusion.
Biomedical animators at the Garvan use state of the art three-dimensional animation software, similar to that used by global animation studios such as Pixar, with dedicated software extensions that allow for raw scientific data to be imported directly. This means the structure of molecules such as DNA and proteins can be re-created exactly, according to the scientific data, which not only adds credibility to the animation but can also help inform new research questions.