Visualizing Biological Data — VizbiPlus Challenge in Sydney

Last week I got the exciting news that my entry in the VizbiPlus Challenge in Sydney, Australia, was once again a finalist.

Last year my sterling silver interpretation of DNA and the P53 protein (currently studied potential key to understanding several types of cancer, it detects and corrects genetic mistakes) brought me to the event. While the 'Guardian Necklace' wasn't the over all winner, it was fantastic to be part of VizbiPlus, which featured a talk and a workshop by one of the founding fathers of molecular bology visualization, David Goodsell. In a small world twist, David's work graced the first book project I worked on back in 1994. How wonderful to finally meet this artist/scientist in person. (note: my work and that of the other 2014 finalists can be seen here http://vizbi.org/plus/challenge)

This year I created a digital collage depicting the progression of steps toward the development of amyloid plaques that lead to the degeneration of brain tissue in Alzheimer's disease. Again, not the final winner, but very special to get to be there for Gaël McGill's (director of Molecular Visualization at Harvard Medical School and front man at Digizym) and the always stellar molecular animator/scientist Drew Barry's (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute) inspiring talks. Surgical illustration will always be my first love. But I wonder if the complex yet accessible imagery like Drew's and Gaël's had been around when I was a student, would I been seduced by the world at the molecular level? I'm certainly intrigued now....

I'll leave this with 'Midnight in the Garden of My Mind', my 2015 VizbiPlus Challenge entry. And the suggestion that you check out the free Life on Earth iBooks that beautifully and interactively convey biological science in a way you've never seen before. Inspirational. -bc

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