Saturday, February 19, 2011

HIV in 3-D

Image courtesy Konstantinov/Stefanov/Kovalevsky/Voronin, Visual Science Company

The most detailed 3-D model yet of the HIV virus won first place for illustrations in the 2010 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.

Sponsored jointly by the journal Science and the National Science Foundation, the annual competition awards entries that "engage people worldwide and convey science close up in novel and visually stimulating ways," according to a statement. Judging criteria include visual impact, effective communication, freshness, and originality. (See some of the 2009 winners.)

A Russian team led by Ivan Konstantinov analyzed data from more than a hundred scientific journals to digitally depict HIV as close to the real thing as possible. The two-tone color scheme shows HIV (orange) attacking and fusing with an immune cell (gray). The triangular cut-away shows how the virus integrates itself to turn the cell into a virus factory. (Get the facts on AIDS.)

"We consider such 3-D models as a new way to present and promote scientific data about ubiquitous human viruses," Konstantinov, of the Visual Science Company, said in a statement.

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