Modeling lipidomic visualization in representational theory

Presented at: Neurolipidomics 2010. CIHR Training Program in Neurodegenerative Lipidomics annual conference. Ottawa, ON.

Abstract: The technological advances that allow medical researchers both to enter into a scale beyond the capacity of the eye to observe directly, and to create virtual models and visualizations affect how researchers represent what is observed. The representations
have, in turn, affected how they conceive, perceive, and interpret that which is observed. Like any methodology, visualization demands a critical consideration of both the applications and the implications of the various forms, processes and techniques, its communicative function, and limitations. An examination of the conceptual framework for the application of representational theories and techniques from architecture to medical research and the historical precedent for this collaboration provides a greater understanding of how the visualization process and the resulting images may facilitate new conceptual insights. This project involves comparative analysis of two visualization projects developed by researchers in the Neurodegenerative Lipidomics program with historic parallels: (1) digital 3D modeling of a mouse brain and the projective reconstruction technique for modeling wax embryos developed by Wilhelm His in the mid-nineteenth century; and (2) visualization of microenvironments and lipid-protein interactions and the representational implications and effects of Robert Hooke’s seventeenth-century Micrographia.

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