Visualization for DNA Nanotechnology Design and Simulations

Event Start
Event End
Building 9, Room 2322, Hall 1


DNA Nanotechnology is a fascinating field that studies how to construct small biological structures entirely from DNA as a building material. The key insight is that DNA, if designed in a particular way, can construct complex 3D nanoscale structures entirely by means of self-assembly, governed by the base-pairing principle. Designing a 3D DNA structure typically involves a computational algorithm that defines the base sequence in individual DNA building blocks. Once created, the initial designs are analyzed and revised in a 3D visual environment, where DNA sequences are edited or new DNA strands are added. Often, DNA design stability is investigated by means of molecular simulation to assess whether the structure withstands various environmental conditions such as salt concentrations or temperature. Visualization of DNA nanotechnology raises technical challenges related to its multi-scale organization, geometric layout, and simulation complexity. The seminar will present a continuous space of visual abstractions in which the DNA can be depicted to convey a particular structural detail within a given geometric layout. In the case of simulations, visual abstraction declutters the dynamic scene to promote a clear view on the domain-relevant assembly stages, providing a visual answer whether the simulated design is stable or a revision is necessary.

Brief Biography

Ivan Viola is a Professor and Chair of Computer Science at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia. In his research, Viola investigates methods that automate the visualization design process. Basal new technologies he has applied to various application domains, such as ultrasound diagnostics, geology, or sub-milimeter biology. Viola has graduated from TU Wien, Austria in 2005 and moved for postdoctoral fellowship to the University of Bergen, Norway, where he was gradually promoted to the rank of Professor. In 2013 he has been awarded a Vienna Science and Technology Fund grant to establish his own research group back at TU Wien, Austria. After several years of research on visualization and computer graphics techniques for multiscale biological structures in Vienna, Viola has co-founded the startup company called Nanographics, to commercialize prior research outcome. Viola has relocated to KAUST to deepen his investigative efforts in nanovisualization, for delivering technologies that make visual depictions of sub-micron structures possible.


Contact Person