Biology is a visual science, from the way data is collected and analysed to how it is communicated to others. Traditionally pictures in scientific publications were hand-drawn; however they are now almost exclusively computer-generated. Biologists have been working with computer scientists and other experts in understanding graphical presentation techniques to automatically generate visualisations in biology. These range from graphical representations of molecules, representations of DNA sequences and genes, images of cells and organisms and metabolic pathways through to trees showing evolutionary processes.
Recently techniques have been developed that generate masses of data which can be used to analyse biological processes and functions, such as understanding how genes work and the effects they have on organisms. However this has presented a challenge in how to visually represent the data to allow biologists explore the data looking for patterns or trends that will help then understand the underlying biological processes. With the growing importance in visual techniques it is now the right time to spread the work about the benefits of biological visualisation.
To help more biologists discover and understand the new visualisation techniques and to engage other disciplines in helping to visually present this new data in a more effective manner bivi.co will build a community resource for educating people. We will help introduce people with different expertise that can work together in coming up with new solutions to current challenges and generally sharing expertise and experience. This website will act as a resource for information on biological visualisation and will be supplemented with annual meetings for networking and educational purposes focussed around emerging trends in visualisation and challenges facing biology.
BiVi is a BBSRC (UK Biological and Biotechnology Research Council) funded Research Network
Bang Wong for inspiration for the BiVi logo and Georg Tremmel and Martin Graham for the D3 version of the tool to automatically create the logo: http://www.soc.napier.ac.uk/~cs22/test3/BangLogo/