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Scientists Use 3D Images To Look For Life-Saving Clues
Published
2007, Q4 (May 01, 2013)
By Scott Abel, STC member
3D image
This simplified image from the lab of Wayne Anderson shows how the polypeptide backbone of a Bacillus anthracis protein folds and curls around itself like a ribbon. It is one of 5,617 proteins in the bacteria that cause anthrax. (Credit: Wayne Anderson)


Editor’s Note: The following article was originally published in the November 3, 2007, edition of The Content Wrangler. The original article was published in Science Daily on November 1, 2007.

Imagine a day when a scientist can don a pair of special eye glasses and see a three dimensional view of bacteria. Sound like science fiction? It’s not. According to Science Daily, scientists at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine "are mapping parts of lethal bacteria in three dimensions, exposing a new and intimate chemical portrait of the biological killer down to its very atoms. This view of the disease will offer scientists who design drugs a fresh opening into the bacteria’s vulnerabilities, and thus enable them to create drugs to disable it or vaccines to prevent it.”

Today, they’re studying anthrax. But, according to researchers quoted in the Science Daily article, that’s just the beginning.

“The Feinberg School is directing an ambitious national project that will map a rogues’ gallery of 375 proteins from deadly infectious diseases over the next five years. It is being funded by a $31 million contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The payoff could be a wave of new medicines to wipe out some of the worst scourges to ever infect the human race.”

Three dimensional images are becoming easier to create and share. We expect to see dramatic increases in the use of 3D images as more authoring and content management systems develop support for these image types. Why? Because 3D technology can help us communicate complex information, exposing views not possible using two dimensional models. Today, scientists can even share images with others in file formats like Adobe Portable Document format. Anyone with Adobe Reader loaded on their computer can now access and interact with 3D images. Previously, PDF files were only used to display flat, 2D images, and Adobe’s free Reader application did not support 3D images.

Take a look at these 3D graphic examples from Adobe.

Scott can be reached at abelsp at netdirect dot net. End of article.

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