Expansion VR In the News

Imaging & VR Technology

Virtual-reality applications give science a new dimension
Nature | Apr 30, 2018
A combined research team from Carnegie Mellon University and Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is pairing a nanoscale imaging technique with virtual reality technology to create a method that allows researchers to “step inside” their biological data. By combining the technique, called expansion microscopy, with virtual reality (VR), scientists will be able to enlarge, explore and analyze cell structures far beyond the capabilities of traditional light microscopy. 

How virtual reality is helping scientists make new discoveries about our health
GeekWire | Nov 6, 2019
Caroline Stefani has a cool job: She works at the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason in Seattle, looking for new ways to treat diseases like multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. To do that, Stefani spends a lot of time taking pictures of tiny, tiny cells through a microscope, then trying to imagine those images in three dimensions. 

Luckily, Stefani’s office is right next door to Tom Skillman, who leads Benaroya’s research technology efforts. Skillman had an idea: using data from microscopes, he could build a full 3D model of the cells she studies — in virtual reality. A year later, the lab that Stefani works in has a fully-operational VR program that lets her and other researchers see their work like never before. It’s just one of many ways that virtual and augmented reality are making waves in the world of medicine and medical research.

Using Virtual Reality, Researchers Get a Closer Look at Autoimmune Disease
R&D Magazine | Feb 7, 2019
Viewing images of diseased cells on a computer screen means limited detail and restricted angles, prohibiting researchers from fully analyzing specimens. So researchers from Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI)—a Seattle-based research organization—are taking a different approach. For more than a year, BRI researchers have used virtual reality (VR) tools to conduct detailed experiments about autoimmune and immune system diseases.

Expansion Microscopy VR Project

Microscopy and VR Illuminate New Ways to Prevent and Treat Disease
Carnegie Mellon University | June 13, 2019
A combined research team from Carnegie Mellon University and Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is pairing a nanoscale imaging technique with virtual reality technology to create a method that allows researchers to “step inside” their biological data. By combining the technique, called expansion microscopy, with virtual reality (VR), scientists will be able to enlarge, explore and analyze cell structures far beyond the capabilities of traditional light microscopy.

Gates Funding VR with Expansion Microscopes
Science & Enterprise | June 14, 2019
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is backing research to combine a microscopy technique that grows the size of samples being examined with virtual reality, or VR. The project underway at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle is funded by a $200,000 Gates Foundation Grand Challenges grant. The project team aims to combine techniques that expand the size of the specimens, as well as apply virtual reality to go inside the cells and explore the samples in 3 dimensions.

Scientists Employ VR and Microscopy To Prevent and Treat Illnesses
Tech the Lead | June 17, 2019
A research team comprised of researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University and the Benaroya Research Institute has found a new way to use technology for medical research, by combining VR with an innovative nanoscale imaging technique called expansion microscopy. This mix of technologies will allow them to ‘enlarge, explore and analyze cell structures’ way beyond what light microscopy was capable of until now. This new technology would let the researchers to explore the imaged cells in ways that wouldn’t have been possible before or would have been too complex to deal with.

Virtual Reality and Expansion Microscopy Highlight New Methods for Disease Prevention and Treatment
Immersive Technology | June 24, 2019
A research team comprising of members from the Benaroya Research Institute and the Carnegie Mellon University is working on combining virtual reality (VR) technology and nanoscale imaging process to help researchers intervene in their biological evidence. Through combining a technique known as expansion microscopy with VR, scientists can now extend, inspect and perform cellular structure analysis, in ways better than conventional light microscopy.

New view of cells
Microscopy & Analysis | June 24, 2019
Professor Yongxin (Leon) Zhao from Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon, and colleagues, have developed a novel method to accelerate researchers' understanding of infectious and autoimmune diseases, and drive disease diagnostics and treatment forward. To image biopsies, Zhao expands tissues using expansion microscopy methods by up to 100 times in volume. However, the process produces two to three orders of magnitudes more data than current analytical techniques can interpret. To combat this problem, he joined forces with Tom Skillman, a former director of Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason who developed a software tool - ExMicroVR - so researchers will be able to see and manipulate the original 2D expansion microscopy images in 3D, giving them a 360 degree view of tissue and protein organizations and interactions.

VR and microscopy help scientists see 'inside' diseases
Engadget | June 15, 2019
You can only learn so much about cells by studying 2D pictures, and 3D microscope technology can produce an abundance of data that might be hard to decipher. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason have an answer, though: let scientists walk 'inside' the cells. They've combined virtual reality with expansion microscopy (which grows samples by over 100 times) to explore cell data that would otherwise be too complex to handle. Ultimately, the team hopes its tool (ExMicroVR) will provide a greater level of understanding about diseases that could lead to more effective treatments.