UCSIM Demos Augmented Reality Application for Centriolar Research
Earlier this week, the UCSIM | Center for Simulations & Virtual Environments Research hosted the Honorable Bardyl Tirana of the Paul W. and E. Carole Schafer Foundation for Centriolar Research, UC CEAS Emeritus Professor, Dr. Ron Huston, PhD, P.E., Dr. Roger Adelman, PhD., P.E. of Impact Technologies, KY, and Ben Ache, Product Manager at Micro Photonics Inc. to demonstrate virtual and augmented reality technology as a means for scientific visualization and communication.
UCSIM is developing a prototype augmented reality application for the foundation, envisioned as a portable means of disseminating the nature of centriole microtubule assembly, with the overarching goal of promoting a theory of the role that the centriole may play in cancer tumor formation.
Half a century ago, thoracic surgeon Paul W. Schafer, MD., believed that the centriole, which was barely visible in light microscopy, was different from all other organelles. He advanced electron micrographic studies that suggested the centrioles had inter-cellular order, i.e., that they might have communication or “force at a distance” interaction.
The foundation created in his name is now carrying on his research by developing computerized models of the centriole, which form the basis for extending the traditional “in-vivo” and “in-vitro” biological experimentation into “in-silica” i.e. graphic models for high-level analytical modeling of electro-magnetic fields, thermal fields, and other “fields” previously invisible to biological experimentation.
The centriole is a particularly interesting subject for UCSIM’s visualization techniques using virtual and augmented reality, because it is known that the centriole’s functionality and reproduction are not adequately described biochemically. Its electromagnetic attributes dominate, and may not lend themselves to description via traditional life-science research methods.
Schafer demonstrated that the centriole, unlike other organelles, is sensitive to disruption of its normalcy in the presence of a strong magnetic field, and that such disruption resembles the disruption seen in all cancerous tissue. With this phase 1 augmented reality prototype, UCSIM is enabling this interdisciplinary team of scientists to effectively disseminate their hypothesis regarding the centriole’s potential role in cancer tumor formation. Future collaboration with the UCSIM team promises to explore the interaction of the centriole in the virtual cell.
The American Cancer Society reports in its “Cancer Facts and Figures 2015” that nearly 600,000 Americans will die of cancer this year, or 1,620 per day. Only second to heart disease, it is a leading cause of death in the US and worldwide, and even with declining cancer associated mortalities and morbidities, the economic impact of cancer in the US is projected to reach $172.8 billion by 2018.
“There are few of us whose lives have not been touched by cancer,” said Chris Collins, UCSIM Technical Lead, “So we are very excited to use these new visualization techniques to help extend Dr. Schafer’s research.”
Figure 1. Back Row: Roger Adelman, Honorable Bardyl Tirana, Ron Huston, Ian Anderson, Jane Combs. Front Row: Ben Ache, Jennifer Adelman, Chris Collins, Janusia Figueiredo, William Burke. Photo credit: Amy Latessa