Immersive Biomolecular Visualization

Biomolecular Visualization

Biomolecular databases have grown exponentially in the past two decades as more and more information about molecules and genomes is being collected.

Nucleic acids like DNA carry the necessary information for an organism to build proteins. Proteins interact with each other, and each of the 3-D structures, also called domains, fulfills a certain function. While nucleic acids consist of a sequence of nucleotides, proteins are assembled through a sequence of amino acids. The order of these building blocks determines the 3-D structure of the macromolecule. The function strongly depends on the 3-D structure which needs to be analyzed in order to predict behavior and characteristics.

Large molecules often consist of thousands of atoms, and it is impossible to generate comprehensive displays of the detail structure by using conventional methods. A detail view is essential for comparison of related molecules.

Virtual reality methods are employed to enable a large field of view, and to allow the observer to interact with the structures on a molecular level. The user is immersed in a virtual environment that allows him or her to closely inspect a molecule from the inside, to grab a molecule and superimpose it to another one for comparison, and to reveal structures that are potentially hidden or not visible in a standard textbook representation. Many times new structures are discoverd just by looking at the object from a different angle or viewpoint.

Immersive Biomolecular Visualization is an interdisciplinary project with partners in Scientific Visualization, Databases, and Parallel Computing between University of California, Irvine, the Engineering Research Center (ERC) (Computational Biology), and Life Sciences & Biotechnology (LSBI). The project is funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Engineering Research Center (ERC) at Mississippi State University.

OpenGL-based rendering output generated by MolScript.

Primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins. (Setubal, p. 5, 1997)

Contact: Joerg Meyer, Deaprtment of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine,

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