Joshua Albers, Art + Design
One of my primary interests is investigating the ways in which we construct realities in response to, and in order to align with, our perceptions of the world. My interest lies not only in the physical reality we inhabit bodily, but the virtual environments in which we increasingly immerse ourselves. The Microsoft Kinect, and other devices like it, use cameras to "see" an environment and build a 3D model of it in order to identify people and objects. Originally intended to be used by consumers as a video game controller, this means that it is also a widely available, relatively inexpensive device that affords us new ways to experience our physical surroundings through virtual space.
Much as Eadweard Muybridge used photography in his groundbreaking studies of motion over time, I am using the Kinect to study space over time; because it functions as a 3D scanner in addition to a camera, it allows me to overlay multiple moments--such as in my image Threshold, where I am superimposing 11 spatial "snapshots" of myself walking through a room. By examining both the figure and its surroundings, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of how space affects, and is affected by, its inhabitants.
A Nanoscale Forest Seen Through a Big Lens
Khairi Reda, Computer Science
From the discovery of living cells with an early microscope by Anton van Leeuwenhoek in 1674 to the first observation of extremely distant galaxies with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, optical instruments were central to many breakthroughs throughout the history of science. Today, much of the data scientists investigate is collected and analyzed digitally. Just as Leeuwenhoek invented his own microscope to look at water samples four centuries ago, scientists nowadays are constructing new types of 'digital lenses' - Large, High-Resolution computer displays that lets them observe complex digital datasets that are too small or too large to see otherwise.
My research focuses on designing visualizations of nanoscale materials to portray these tiny structures in Large, High-Resolution display environments. Such nanostructures are too small to be seen a microscope, yet too complex to be visualized on traditional computer screens. This image shows a 320-degrees panoramic visualization of a nanoscale glass fissure comprising 5 million atoms. The red and blue balls represent oxygen and silicon atoms, respectively. The green clouds represent electron charge densities. With big digital lenses like this, scientists can immerse themselves in their data and observe complex phenomena that would otherwise remain largely unseen.
Credits: Photo by Lance Long, Electronic Visualization Laboratory. Simulation and data by Kenichi Nomura and Priya Vashishta, University of Southern California, and Michael Papka, Argonne National Laboratory. Funding for this work was provided by National Science Foundation grant CNS-0959053 and U.S. Department of Energy contracts DE-SC005067 and DE-AC02-06CH11357.
Crystals: Clarity in refraction
Akshay Pandey, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
"Protein crystallography is an art within the sciences." -Anonymous
Creating the basic design of a drug that can target a particular protein or complex of proteins requires the information of the basic structure of the molecule. Protein crystallography is one of the earliest and effective methods to have contributed to the development of drugs. My research goal is to study the role of FoxM1 protein in cancer. FoxM1 has been observed to be overexpressed in all types of cancer and has been shown to contribute very significantly in cancer's progression. Another protein Arf has been shown to bind to FoxM1 and relocate it to nucleolus where it is rendered inactive. Our lab has developed a small peptide fragment of Arf that binds FoxM1 and relocates it to nucleolus just as the endogenous Arf protein. This negates the effect of overexpressed FoxM1. This could potentially lead to the development of a drug that target FoxM1 without any adverse effects. It is one of the goals of my research to crystallize the Arf-FoxM1 complex and find the structure of the co-crystal.
I had no experience with crystallography till a while back when I registered for the course offered by Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics department, Structures of Biopolymers, where I had my first hands on experience with protein crystallography as a part of an assignment. The image here shows multiple crystals of the protein lysozyme suspended in the drop where their nucleation started. All the crystal, though of same shape, appear to be different when seen suspended in a different orientation, both in shape and color. The different colors and shades are result of monochromatic light's diffraction as it passes through the crystals suspended in multiple different orientations. I am sure this learning will help me a long way in reaching my said goal and research in general.
Maged Gueguis, Architecture
“Incusion, as an architectural technique with political potential, can be understood as a method for describing with a present form a figure that is absent, as a singular shape that results from the intersection of multiple geometries.” —Incusion Precedents and Techniques, Salvatore Deliria
The form-finding incusion research started with two plastic Bartlett pears intersecting one another in space. I manually constructed a physical model of the intersection curves using Boolean union operation, and then subdivided the plastic pear to calculate the coordinates of the floating points that define the fruit surface. These were transferred into a NURBS modeling software to precisely generate a three dimensional digital replica. Then a script was written with specific algorithms allowing the digital model to be arrayed, scaled, rotated and intersected with one another following specific rules. Another script calculated the mathematical equations of the intersection curves. Finally, a high-resolution mesh was prepared from the incused geometry, printed in 3D, and cast in polyurethane resin for a final durable physical model.
The next stage of my research will be to study the spatial qualities of the generated forms in order to understand how particular prescribed geometries may have political implications in architecture. I will then develop a series of projects with specific programs on vacant and abandoned sites located across Chicago, restoring these properties and reviving the neighborhoods.
Mark Lloyd, Biological Sciences
The submitted fluorescent image is a compilation view of thousands of high resolution images tiled together. This technology enables pathologists, the specialized physicians who review microscope slides to diagnose disease, the ability to quantify aspects of the digital images which were previously reserved only for subjective qualitative scoring. My PhD thesis explores novel aspects of pathology which take advantage of this technological advancement.
Just a few short decades ago images from space enabled ecologists to view large tracks of land and gave rise to the discipline of landscape ecology. My research focuses on interrogating micrographs of histological sections with a similar focus for cancer patients. It is becoming increasingly clear that a single patient's tumor is not a homogenous mass of uncontrolled cancer cells but rather a heterogeneous mix of cancer phenotypes. Ultimately I propose that intratumoral spatial diversity represents predictable cellular adaptations derived from Darwinian dynamics which are identifiable in local micro-environments. Understanding these variations will make it possible to optimize therapies specific to a patient's situation.
This submission for the Image of Research is an example of the power of digital pathology and its potential role in precision medicine. This is the proposed novel discipline of Landscape Pathology.
Hewn Memories: The Lesser-Known Ruins of Rural Greece
Rebecca Seifried, Anthropology
As an archaeologist, I explore the process of state expansion in the rural parts of Greece – a process that is increasingly relevant to our modern, globalized world. One of the most noticeable effects of urbanization following World War II is the widespread abandonment of historic homesteads throughout the Greek countryside. Thriving villages – once home to fertile groves of olives and flocks of goats – are now filled with the ruins of 18th and 19th century buildings, like the house in this picture. Each region of Greece had its own local architectural tradition, and when villagers left, they took with them the knowledge required to build these skillfully hewn walls without the use of modern concrete. By documenting these structures and studying the historic settlements from an archaeological perspective, I hope to understand this long-lost tradition of rural Greek life and explain how the ebb and flow of the global economy can so dramatically affect the rural parts of our modern world.