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Bioinformatics Meets Visual Effects: genomescroller

The Visual Effects Research Lab has assisted The Barton Group at the University of Dundee's School of Life Sciences in creating genomescroller, a large-scale visualization of the Human genome.


What is genomescroller

The completed Human genome was published almost a decade ago, but many of its secrets have still not been revealed. The field of Bioinformatics, which combines Computer Science, Statistics and Biology is instrumental in making inroads to these secrets. genomescroller is a large-scale, dynamic, visualisation of the information surrounding the Human genome realized by The Barton Group at the School of Life Sciences together with Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. Its aim is to convey the huge scale of the genome itself, the rarity of the information rich regions, but the richness of the information that we know within these regions. It hopes to inspire in people a sense of curiosity about Bioinformatics as a whole, and amazement at the wonder that is the Human genome. They are only presenting one chromosome here, as the whole genome would take 6 months!

Dr Nick Schurch

Nick was educated and worked as an astrophysicist before joining the world of Bioinformatics, at Dundee, in 2009. His research focuses on identifying the genes involved in interesting biological processes, like the very first steps in an embryo's development. Throughout this work he has been fascinated and surprised by the complexity of the Human genome and how much there is still to discover.

Dr Chris Cole

Originally a Chemistry graduate, Chris first became interested in Bioinformatics when all his lab experiments failed to work during his PhD. Since then he has found a fascinating world of protein structure and complex biological problems. He moved to Dundee in 2006 and has continued his research in Bioinformatics as part of the Data Analysis Group.

Peter Richardson

Peter is Director of the Visual Effects Research Lab funded by the E.U. Interreg IVB North Sea Screen Partners, and is based at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. The Lab undertakes research into visual effects and their deployment in an experimental context. Peter returned to academia from the world of film in 2004 when he was appointed Course Director of the Time Based Art and Digital Film programme. His research centers around 2D compositing and workflows for Visual Effects.

Professor Geoff Barton

Geoff is professor of Bioinformatics and Head of the Data Analysis Group in Dundee. He has worked for over 25 years on developing computational methods to understand the structure and function of biological molecules such as DNA and proteins. Scientists world-wide use computer programs and techniques developed by his group in their diverse research. genomescroller shows how massive the human genome is, but we now have tens of Human genomes and will soon know thousands! This is a very exciting time for Bioinformatics research as new ways to analyse and understand this wealth of information are discovered!

Acknowledgements

The team would like to thank all the following for their help in making genomescroller possible:
- Professor Mike Ferguson
- Dr Richard Bickerton
- Sarah Hussain
- Jonathan Monk
- Ali Napier

For more information:

www.compbio.dundee.ac.uk

or contact:

n.schurch@dundee.ac.uk
c.cole@dundee.ac.uk
p.richardson@dundee.ac.uk
g.j.barton@dundee.ac.uk

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