Collaboration with UCSD Cancer Center
Professor James Feramisco and his associates at the UC San Diego School of Medicine's Cancer Center are collaborating with the SDSC Scientific Visualization group to create 3-D images of the interior of cells. The visualizations provide cancer researchers with valuable perspective views into the structure of cells, enabling them to perceive spatial relationships between regions that contain active proteins. The collaboration allows the SDSC Scientific Visualization group to work with researchers and develop visualization tools for their scientific application.
In a technique called immunofluorescence microscopy, purified antibodies attached to fluorescent dyes are applied to a cell or tissue section where it binds to its corresponding antigens. Illuminating the specimen with light of appropriate wavelengths causes the labeled antibodies to fluoresce. Since each dye-antibody complex binds to only a specific protein in the cell, the fluorescence acts as a structural marker for regions of interest that contain the protein. By treating a specimen with several differently colored labeled antibodies, multiple proteins can be localized within the same cell. When viewed with a high-resolution microscope, image slices can be captured representing the different cell structures. The image slices are composited and filtered, then converted into a 3-D volume that can be viewed by an interactive volume viewer, such as the Mesh Viewer or the Volume Explorer applications. The user can select different camera viewpoints and camera animation paths that are sent the VISTA Volume Renderer at SDSC to generate high-resolution rendered images and animations in the case of the Mesh Viewer. Alternatively, the user can visualize the volume in interactively in real-time at the workstation in the Moores UCSD Cancer Center Resource equipped with Volume Explorer software and a VolumePro 1000 video card.
The image slices are composited and filtered, then converted into a 3-D volume that can be viewed by an interactive volume viewer, such as the Mesh Viewer application. The user can select different camera viewpoints and camera animation paths that are sent the VISTA Volume Renderer to generate high-resolution rendered images and animations.