October 22, 2006

The Inner Life of a Cell

Understanding of molecular biology continues to advance at a stunning rate. Here is a recent video that takes you on a tour of the inner workings of a white blood cell as it rolls, stops, and slips out of the bloodstream at the site of some inflammation. The video depicts an amazing amount of detail, one molecule at a time:

About the video...

School Was Never Like This

The video was produced by Alain Viel and Robert Lue working with graphical wizards at Xvivo. The results were striking enough to earn a spot in the SIGGRAPH 2006 showcase.

Lue and Viel head up the recently-revamped BioSci 50 and MCB 100 courses at Harvard. The video is part of an effort to translate the current explosion of knowledge in biology into the classroom. A longer, classroom-ready version of the video with explanations can be found here, on the multimedia production site of the Harvard department of molecular and cellular biology. On the group's website you can find a variety of other video clips covering current knowledge and basic techniques in biochemistry.

The "inner life" animation is the first in a planned series of 3-d molecular animations. The animations promise to be remarkable. For example, if you have ever been curious about how mitochondria create ATP, I have never seen a better explanation than the ATP synthesis video produced by the MCB educators. The animations help put an end to the feeling that the phrase "conformation change" in biochemistry is equivalent to waving your hand and saying "then a miracle occurs." Instead, the visualizations give you a glimpse of the perspective that molecules are just gears and camshafts in an intricate engine, concrete physical things that can be understood.

I am looking forward to future videos!

Posted by David at October 22, 2006 05:38 PM

Beautiful! really beautiful. i admire the intricacy of your work.
Eagerly waiting for more videos!

Posted by: nataraj subramanian at October 25, 2006 11:12 AM

So Intense I Want To Share It Wih My 8th Grade Science Teacher...Mrs.Valentino @ Mashpee High School 02649

Posted by: Roger at May 17, 2007 12:53 PM
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