3D models being used by OHSU and Oregon3D to determine gene development in heart

Portland 19 May 2004Oregon3D Inc., the Academy for Digital Arts & Sciences, and the Oregon Health vmp:amp; Science University (OHSU) Heart Research Center are collaborating in a heart development visualization project that marks a new direction in medical research. This private-public partnership combines the talents of the region's only state-of-the-art visualization centre with the United States' expert in heart development research.

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"When we view microscopic data in three dimensions it allows us to see anatomical and genomic relationships differently and ask new questions of the data", stated Jeffrey Pentecost, D.O., heart researcher in the OHSU Heart Research Center and co-ordinator for the project. "Our hope is that this new view will guide our research toward understanding the causes of congenital and adult heart disease."

The focal point of the OHSU-Oregon3D project involves the projection of 3D computer models of developing human, mouse and chick hearts onto a 12x6-foot high-definition display wall, thus allowing researchers the opportunity to observe the hearts as floating and rotating 3D objects. This is a significant leap forward from the previous method of studying 2D images on desktop computer monitors.

"The OHSU Heart Research Center is a collection of more than 100 scientists from varied medical specialities, all of whose research bears upon heart health or heart and blood vessel disease", stated Kent L. Thornburg, Ph.D., professor of medicine - cardiology - in the OHSU School of Medicine and director of the OHSU Heart Research Center. "An expert in its industry and a natural partner for our team, Oregon3D offers our scientists a whole new way of conducting important heart research. Together, we hope to revolutionize the way research is conducted on developing hearts and improve heart health for future generations."

Oregon3D's vision is a world in which visualization is routinely used to enlighten, enrich and enhance life. "Our visualization technology capabilities enable OHSU scientists to view medical data to the point of making a whole new level of understanding possible", stated Aaron Boonshoft, founder and CEO of Oregon3D. "The complex shapes and details of the images are much easier to see on our wall-sized stereoscopic display with real-time interactivity."

The visualization technology at Oregon 3D allows the OHSU scientists to look at the developing heart in a way they never have before, as if it were thousands of times bigger and floating in front of them. The visualization technology also shows the genes clearly expressed in bright bold colours on a translucent surface.

The Heart Research Center is a national expert in heart development research and is dedicated to supporting researchers who study the underlying causes and factors involved in heart disease and congenital heart disease. Cutting-edge genetics, design techniques and "classic" science come together at the centre in reaching for the common goal of curing and preventing heart disease. The Heart Research Center is part of OHSU, the state's only health and research university with the fundamental purpose of improving the well-being of people in Oregon and beyond.

Oregon3D, the Academy for Digital Arts & Sciences, was created to empower people to learn, access and benefit from visualization technologies. Located in Portland, Oregon, the premier 10.000 square foot facility offers professionals a collaborative learning environment for 3D animation, compositing, special visual effects, editing and more. Oregon3D also provides visualization services in the fields of medical/scientific research presentations and urban simulations. In these fields it offers content support and consulting to translate static models and images into real time displays. Oregon 3D's facility allows clients to access an immersive stereoscopic display wall measuring more than 12 feet wide by six feet high.


Leslie Versweyveld

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