Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Take a look at this drawing.

  • Can you tell what it is?

  • I'm a molecular biologist by training,

  • and I've seen a lot of these kinds of drawings.

  • They're usually referred to as a model figure,

  • a drawing that shows how we think

  • a cellular or molecular process occurs.

  • This particular drawing is of a process

  • called clathrin-mediated endocytosis.

  • It's a process by which a molecule can get

  • from the outside of the cell to the inside

  • by getting captured in a bubble or a vesicle

  • that then gets internalized by the cell.

  • There's a problem with this drawing, though,

  • and it's mainly in what it doesn't show.

  • From lots of experiments,

  • from lots of different scientists,

  • we know a lot about what these molecules look like,

  • how they move around in the cell,

  • and that this is all taking place

  • in an incredibly dynamic environment.

  • So in collaboration with a clathrin expert Tomas Kirchhausen,

  • we decided to create a new kind of model figure

  • that showed all of that.

  • So we start outside of the cell.

  • Now we're looking inside.

  • Clathrin are these three-legged molecules

  • that can self-assemble into soccer-ball-like shapes.

  • Through connections with a membrane,

  • clathrin is able to deform the membrane

  • and form this sort of a cup

  • that forms this sort of a bubble, or a vesicle,

  • that's now capturing some of the proteins

  • that were outside of the cell.

  • Proteins are coming in now that basically pinch off this vesicle,

  • making it separate from the rest of the membrane,

  • and now clathrin is basically done with its job,

  • and so proteins are coming in now

  • we've covered them yellow and orange

  • that are responsible for taking apart this clathrin cage.

  • And so all of these proteins can get basically recycled

  • and used all over again.

  • These processes are too small to be seen directly,

  • even with the best microscopes,

  • so animations like this provide a really powerful way

  • of visualizing a hypothesis.

  • Here's another illustration,

  • and this is a drawing of how a researcher might think

  • that the HIV virus gets into and out of cells.

  • And again, this is a vast oversimplification

  • and doesn't begin to show

  • what we actually know about these processes.

  • You might be surprised to know

  • that these simple drawings are the only way

  • that most biologists visualize their molecular hypotheses.

  • Why?

  • Because creating movies of processes

  • as we think they actually occur is really hard.

  • I spent months in Hollywood learning 3D animation software,

  • and I spend months on each animation,

  • and that's just time that most researchers can't afford.

  • The payoffs can be huge, though.

  • Molecular animations are unparalleled

  • in their ability to convey a great deal of information

  • to broad audiences with extreme accuracy.

  • And I'm working on a new project now

  • called "The Science of HIV"

  • where I'll be animating the entire life cycle

  • of the HIV virus as accurately as possible

  • and all in molecular detail.

  • The animation will feature data

  • from thousands of researchers collected over decades,

  • data on what this virus looks like,

  • how it's able to infect cells in our body,

  • and how therapeutics are helping to combat infection.

  • Over the years, I found that animations

  • aren't just useful for communicating an idea,

  • but they're also really useful

  • for exploring a hypothesis.

  • Biologists for the most part are still using a paper and pencil

  • to visualize the processes they study,

  • and with the data we have now, that's just not good enough anymore.

  • The process of creating an animation

  • can act as a catalyst that allows researchers

  • to crystalize and refine their own ideas.

  • One researcher I worked with

  • who works on the molecular mechanisms

  • of neurodegenerative diseases

  • came up with experiments that were related

  • directly to the animation that she and I worked on together,

  • and in this way, animation can feed back into the research process.

  • I believe that animation can change biology.

  • It can change the way that we communicate with one another,

  • how we explore our data

  • and how we teach our students.

  • But for that change to happen,

  • we need more researchers creating animations,

  • and toward that end, I brought together a team

  • of biologists, animators and programmers

  • to create a new, free, open-source software

  • we call it Molecular Flipbook

  • that's created just for biologists

  • just to create molecular animations.

  • From our testing, we've found that it only takes 15 minutes

  • for a biologist who has never touched animation software before

  • to create her first molecular animation

  • of her own hypothesis.

  • We're also building an online database

  • where anyone can view, download and contribute

  • their own animations.

  • We're really excited to announce

  • that the beta version of the molecular animation

  • software toolkit will be available for download today.

  • We are really excited to see what biologists will create with it

  • and what new insights they're able to gain

  • from finally being able to animate

  • their own model figures.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

Take a look at this drawing.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B2 US TED molecular animation hypothesis drawing hiv

【TED】Janet Iwasa: How animations can help scientists test a hypothesis (Janet Iwasa: How animations can help scientists test a hypothesis)

  • 899 58
    CUChou posted on 2015/04/28
Video vocabulary