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Computing Images

Movie Mania

Just as sound and color revolutionized the film industry, computer technology has changed the way scientists view biology. Researchers today not only can take snapshots of biology, they can animate entire biological processes, thrusting viewers deep into never-before-seen worlds.

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PE moleculeBeating Bleeding | 7/14/11
Scientists have learned more about molecular interactions that help blood congeal at a wound site.

Illustration of molecules moving inside bacterial cellsModeling How Molecules Move Inside Cells | 3/24/11
Computational modeling helps explain why large molecules travel 15 times more slowly in the cell than in water.

Illustration of nanowires being used for drug delivery to a single cellPrecisely Delivering Chemical Cargo to Cells (MOV) | 10/21/10
Manipulating gold nanowires may help deliver drugs to specific cells.

Illustration of a stent being placed in a blood vesselMath from the Heart: Simulating Stent Design and Coating (MOV) | 8/23/10
Modeling stents—tiny mesh tubes used to hold blood vessels open—could improve patients' health.

Rendering of the cytoplasm modelCellular Ballrooms | 7/1/10
Scientists build a cellular ballroom to better understand how molecules boogie.

Prettier than a hairball, but just as intricate. This diagram of the human interactome shows physical (green edges) and genetic (white dots) interactions. Credit: Keiichiro OnoComputational Tool for Combing Through 'Hairballs' of Data | 5/27/10
A computer program called Cytoscape produces pictures that helps scientists explore and explain their data.

Credit: Ma'ayan Laboratory, Mount Sinai School of MedicineComputational Honeycombs Drip with Data | 2/16/10
This honeycomb-like grid groups genes that turn on (red) and off (green) at similar times, helping biologists visualize and interact with massive amounts of data. (Runtime: 00:0:14 | 676 KB)

Stretching tissueStretch Detectors: Modeling Contractile Forces (MOV) | 10/15/09
Scientists use microscopic experiments and computer simulations to learn how tissue stretching and contracting alter cell behavior. (Runtime: 00:1:59 | 11.9 MB)

Individual bacteria are color-coded to indicate their orientation to the container walls: from blue (perpendicular) to red (parallel). Making a Microscopic Metropolis (MOV) | 12/22/08
Computer models allow researchers to study the formation of biofilms—thin layers of bacteria that can be useful or cause health problems. (Runtime: 00:0:36 | 3.6 MB)

Simulation developed by Chand John and his colleague Eran Guendelman, shows the activity of different leg muscles during a casual stroll Walking the Line (MOV) | 8/27/08
Researchers model leg muscles in motion to study ordinary movement and walking disorders. (Runtime: 00:0:54 | 4.5 MB)

Flu simulationSimulation of Potential Pandemic Flu in the United States (WMV)
Watch a pandemic flu spread across the United States with (bottom) and without (top) interventions. (Runtime: 00:1:19 | 8.9 MB)

Protein molecule extendingBlood Clots Show Their Flex (AVI) | 3/13/08
Like bubble gum, a protein extends up to three times its normal length to help form the flexible fibers that make blood clots. (Runtime: 00:0:24 | 2.72 MB)

From the Print Issue

»  Scientists Develop Sixth Sense
»  Now Playing on a Computer Near You
»  The Art of Animation

This page last reviewed on July 20, 2011