The continuing rapid growth in techniques for capturing images of biological structures from the cellular to the organism level provides a wealth of data but brings many challenges.
The first is that of scientific visualisation, involving storing often very large amounts of image data, and the development of standards to enable retrieval, and display of this data. Some data at this level does not comprise images but rather scientific information, e.g. size, shape, and due to its complexity can benefit from information visualisation. Searching and analysing both types of such complex data is facilitated by visual analytics, where analytical reasoning supported by interactive visual interfaces.
Also, modelling beyond the intracellular level in systems biology has become well established technique, and there is a need to visualise complex and often multilevel models at the cellular, tissue, organ and organism level, and to connect these computationally with biological image data – e.g. for model fitting with the eventual aim of predictive modelling of multicellular systems.