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Visualisation solution aids biomedical research at Cornell

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Weill Cornell Medical College in New York is using Christie's 3D High Definition Cave to achieve breakthrough findings in biomedical research. The David A Cofrin Center for Biomedical Information at the HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Institute for Computational Biomedicine is powered by eight Christie Mirage 3-chip DLP projectors with active stereo capability. The Christie projectors deliver a resolution of 1920 x 1920 (3.68 megapixels) per wall – 334 per cent higher resolution than most previous Caves. The results are superior 3D images that set new standards in molecular modelling and other avenues of biomedical research.

'The ICB's CAVE facility is a powerful new tool that is helping us attract the best and brightest minds in the world,' said Dr Harel Weinstein. 'We are able to explore images at the molecular and cellular level with a clarity and precision that was previously unattainable. Images of tissues and biological objects can be twisted, turned and expanded, viewed layer by layer with the flick of the wrist, allowing for an unmatched level of inspection that engulfs researchers in colours and details.'

Vanessa Borcherding, systems administrator for the Institute for Computational Biomedicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, added: 'The ICB is focused on enabling computational methodologies in the biological sciences, including genome studies, molecular modelling and modelling of cell and organ systems. The Cofrin Center's Facility allows us to take many pieces of data from a computer and reconstruct it in an immersive 3D environment to help researchers make decisions and gain insights quickly and intuitively.'

Since going live, the institute's researchers have used this technology to help guide them to discovery in a number of different domains, from providing new insights into the mechanisms behind short-term memory, to elucidating how cocaine and dopamine bind at the neurotransmitter site in the cell's transporters, to collecting valuable longitudinal data on the structural development of the brains of children whose mothers abused drugs.

The facility has also used the 3D Cave to study MRI images to identify successfully areas of the brain that are underdeveloped in children whose mothers engaged in substance abuse while pregnant.

'It comes down to the fact that using the visualisation facility, we are able to envision things that simply cannot be envisioned any other way,' said Jason Banfelder, Assistant Professor and Technology Engineer of the ICB. 'This is one of the few facilities of its kind dedicated exclusively to biomedical research applications. We see extensive opportunities not only for our own work, but also for wider collaboration with other research groups as stereoscopic displays and virtual and augmented reality enter the mainstream.'