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Wpi Computer Scientists ­se Mixed Reality to Visualize Complex Biological Networks


The molecular network for an ovarian cancer cell, an example of the complex biological networks being exploring in three dimensions with the HoloLens.

Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute are using virtual reality to visualize complex biological networks.

Credit: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) are developing new mixed-reality methods for visualizing complex biological networks so they can find the most salient information and linkages.

WPI professor Dmitry Korkin's team is using the Microsoft HoloLens System to examine protein interaction networks by generating three-dimensional holographic projections that appear to float at fixed points before the viewer. Korkin's lab has been using this technique to study disease networks comprised of genes and proteins associated with genetic disorders such as cancer, diabetes, and autism spectrum disorder.

"Our approach is to use the system information as a framework to merge together information about the properties of these genes and proteins and their functions in an effort to see how individual mutations affect the whole system," Korkin says. "This can help us understand the underlying molecular mechanisms affected by the mutations and the possible consequences."

Korkin says the HoloLens could ease and accelerate the discovery of such connections.

From Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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