BioNanoVR: innovative technology enables discovery and understanding
Grants and Awards | September 29, 2020

The ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology is awarded for an innovative application of a new or existing technology that has led to a significantly improved research outcome.

An interdisciplinary team from across three CBNS node universities have been announced as finalists for the ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology. Congratulations to the following CI’s and their brilliant teams: Professor Robert Parton and Professor Kris Thurecht of UQ, Associate Professor John McGhee of UNSW, and Dr Angus Johnston of Monash University.

Visualisation of scientific data plays a crucial role in scientific discovery and communicating findings to both expert and general audiences. BioNanoVR has developed a new way of interacting with complex biological data, which allows miniaturised viewers to explore a virtual 3D model of a cancer cell or watch nanoparticles target tumours inside the body.

Thanks to UQ and CI Professor Roberton for the below quotes.

“Imagine exploring a 3D representation of a cancer cell, about 10 million times smaller than the naked eye can see, by ‘shrinking’ yourself to 1000th the size of a human hair,” he said.

“We’ve brought together experts in cell biology, nanomedicine, 3D computer visualisation and video game design from UQ, Monash University and the University of New South Wales, to do just that.

“Not only did we want to develop a completely new way for people to interact with complex biological data, but also to translate this data for experts across several fields.

“We generated a new platform, BioNanoVR, to represent 3D and 4D datasets in a way that allows interactive exploring of the data by multiple users in real time.

“VR allows the user to experience a cell in action — they can interact with and understand how the cell operates by moving through a virtual environment in which every aspect reflects actual scientific data, not simply an animation.”