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Drew Berry: Animations of unseeable biology

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Drew Berry: Animations of unseeable biology

We have no ways to directly observe molecules and what they do -- Drew Berry wants to change that. At TEDxSydney he shows his scientifically accurate (and entertaining!) animations that help researchers see unseeable processes within our own cells.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the Sixth Sense wearable tech, and Lost producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at

If you have questions or comments about this or other TED videos, please go to
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Drew Berry - The Molecular Machines that Create Your Flesh & Blood

A profound technological revolution is underway in bio-medical science, accelerating development of new therapies and treatments for the diseases that afflict us and also transforming how we perceive ourselves and the nature of our living bodies. Coupled to the accelerating pace of scientific discovery is an ever expanding need to explain to the public and develop appreciation of our new biomedical capabilities, to prepare the public for the tsunami of new knowledge and medicines that will impact patients, our families and community.

Drew Berry presents the latest visualisation experiments in creating cinematic movies and real-time interactive 3D molecular worlds, that reveal the current state of the art scientific discovery, focusing on the molecular engines that covert the food you eat into the chemical energy that powers your cells and tissues. Leveraging the incredible power of game GPU technology, vast molecular landscapes can be generated for 3D 360 degree cinema for museum and science centre dome theatres, interactive exploration in VR, and Augmented Reality education via student mobile phones.

Also see Drew's talk at a previous Science, Technology & the Future conference:

Bio: Dr Drew Berry is a biomedical animator who creates beautiful, accurate visualisations of the dramatic cellular and molecular action that is going on inside our bodies. He began his career as a cell biologist and is fluent navigating technical reports, research data and models from scientific journals. As an artist, he works as a translator, transforming abstract and complicated scientific concepts into vivid and meaningful visual journeys. Since 1995 he has been a biomedical animator at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Australia. His animations have exhibited at venues such as the Guggenheim Museum, MoMA, the Royal Institute of Great Britain and the University of Geneva. In 2010, he received a MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant”.

Recognition and awards
• Doctorate of Technology (hc), Linköping University Sweden, 2016
• MacArthur Fellowship, USA 2010
• New York Times “If there is a Steven Spielberg of molecular animation, it is probably Drew Berry” 2010
• The New Yorker “[Drew Berry’s] animations are astonishingly beautiful” 2008
• American Scientist “The admirers of Drew Berry, at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Australia, talk about him the way Cellini talked about Michelangelo” 2009
• Nature Niche Prize, UK 2008
• Emmy “DNA” Windfall Films, UK 2005
• BAFTA “DNA Interactive” RGB Co, UK 2004

Animation
TED
Architectural projection
Björk video
Wikipedia

#MedicalAnimation #WEHI #MolecularAnimation


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Synthesis of ATP – Drew Berry and Franc Tétaz (2018)

wehi.tv Respiration animation of the molecular mechanisms that power your cells and tissues, converting food and air into the flow of chemical energy that makes your body be alive.

Synthesis of ATP presents how the proton gradient across the mitochondrial membrane powers the ATP synthase enzyme to make ATP. It is the third of three animations about cellular respiration. These animations bring to life the molecular engines inside mitochondria that generate ATP, the main source of chemically stored energy used throughout the body.

Music score and sound design written and recorded by multi-Grammy winning artist Franc Tetaz.

Created in collaboration between wehi.tv and HHMI BioInteractive.org for a new collection of free biomolecular animations designed for classroom science education, Synthesis of ATP combines the world's most advanced microscopy techniques, cryo-electron microscopy and molecular models to engage students with accurate inspiring biology.
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Muscle structure and function animation by Drew Berry wehi.tv

Free download of biomedical animations at wehi.tv

Created for E.O.Wilson’s Life on Earth interactive textbook of biology (2014), available free from iBook Store
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DNA animations by wehi.tv for Science-Art exhibition

Edit of wehi.tv's DNA animations.
Created for V&A exhibition The Future Starts Here 2018

No narration, Yes sound and text.

Astonishing molecular machines: Drew Berry at TEDxSydney

Drew Berry is a biomedical animator whose scientifically accurate and aesthetically rich visualisations reveal the microscopic world inside our bodies to a wide range of audiences.

His animations have exhibited at venues such as the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Royal Institute of Great Britain and the University of Geneva. In 2010 he received a MacArthur Fellowship Genius Award.



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TEDxSydney 2011 took place on Saturday 28 May 2011 at CarriageWorks. Tens of thousands of people enjoyed the day: 800 in the theatre, over 1,000 via big screen simulcast in The Forum, up to 48,000 online via YouTube ... and up to 80,000 tuning in to ABC Radio National. It was a grand day. About TEDx, x = independently organised event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organised events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organised TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organised.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Inner Life Of A Cell - Full Version

Inner Life Of A Cell - Full Version

Your Body's Molecular Machines

These are the molecular machines inside your body that make cell division possible. Animation by Drew Berry at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.

Special thanks to Patreon supporters:
Joshua Abenir, Tony Fadell, Donal Botkin, Jeff Straathof, Zach Mueller, Ron Neal, Nathan Hansen

Support Veritasium on Patreon:

Every day in an adult human roughly 50-70 billion of your cells die. They may be damaged, stressed, or just plain old - this is normal, in fact it’s called programmed cell death.

To make up for that loss, right now, inside your body, billions of cells are dividing, creating new cells.

And cell division, also called mitosis, requires an army of tiny molecular machines.DNA is a good place to start - the double helix molecule that we always talk about.

This is a scientifically accurate depiction of DNA. If you unwind the two strands you can see that each has a sugar phosphate backbone connected to the sequence of nucleic acid base pairs, known by the letters A,T,G, and C.

Now the strands run in opposite directions, which is important when you go to copy DNA. Copying DNA is one of the first steps in cell division. Here the two strands of DNA are being unwound and separated by the tiny blue molecular machine called helicase.
It literally spins as fast as a jet engine! The strand of DNA on the right has its complimentary strand assembled continuously but the other strand is more complicated because it runs in the opposite direction.
So it must be looped out with its compliment strand assembled in reverse, section by section. At the end of this process you have two identical DNA molecules, each one a few centimeters long but just a couple nanometers wide.

To prevent the DNA from becoming a tangled mess, it is wrapped around proteins called a histones, forming a nucleosome.
These nucleosomes are bundled together into a fiber known as chromatin, which is further looped and coiled to form a chromosome, one of the largest molecular structures in your body.
You can actually see chromosomes under a microscope in dividing cells - only then do they take on their characteristic shape.

The process of dividing the cell takes around an hour in mammals. This footage is from a time lapse. You can see how the chromosomes line up on the equator of the cell. When everything is right they are pulled apart into the two new daughter cells, each one containing an identical copy of DNA.
As simple as it looks, this process is incredibly complicated and requires even more fascinating molecular machines to accomplish it. Let’s look at a single chromosome. One chromosome consists of two sausage-shaped chromatids - containing the identical copies of DNA made earlier. Each chromatid is attached to microtubule fibers, which guide and help align them in the correct position. The microtubules are connected to the chromatid at the kinetochore, here colored red.
The kinetochore consists of hundreds of proteins working together to achieve multiple objectives - it’s one of the most sophisticated molecular mechanisms inside your body. The kinetochore is central to the successful separation of the chromatids. It creates a dynamic connection between the chromosome and the microtubules. For a reason no one’s yet been able to figure out, the microtubules are constantly being built at one end and deconstructed at the other.
While the chromosome is still getting ready, the kinetochore sends out a chemical stop signal to the rest of the cell, shown here by the red molecules, basically saying this chromosome is not yet ready to divide
The kinetochore also mechanically senses tension. When the tension is just right and the position and attachment are correct all the proteins get ready, shown here by turning green.
At this point the stop signal broadcasting system is not switched off. Instead it is literally carried away from the kinetochore down the microtubules by a dynein motor. This is really what it looks like. It has long ‘legs’ so it can avoid obstacles and step over the kinesins, molecular motors walking the other direction.

Studio filming by Raquel Nuno

mRNA Translation (Advanced)

The job of the mRNA is to carry the gene's message from the DNA out of the nucleus to a ribosome for production of the particular protein that this gene codes for.
Originally created for DNA Interactive ( ).
TRANSCRIPT: The job of this mRNA is to carry the genes message from the DNA out of the nuceus to a ribosome for production of the particular protein that this gene codes for. There can be several million ribosomes in a typical eukaryotic cell these complex catalytic machines use the mrna copy of the genetic information to assemble amino acid building blokes into the three dimensional proteins that are essential for life. Lets see how it works. The ribosome is composed of one large and one small sub-unit that assemble around the messenger RNA, which then passes through the ribosome like a computer tape. The amino acid building blocks (that's the small glowing red molecules) are carried into the ribosome attached to specific transfer RNAs. That's the larger green molecules also referred to as tRNA. The small sub-unit of the ribosome positions the mRNA so that it can be read in groups of three letters known as a codon. Each codon on the mRNA matches a corresponding anti-codon on the base of a transfer RNA molecule.The larger sub-unit of the ribosome removes each amino acid and join it onto the growing protein chain. As the mRNA is ratcheted through the ribosome, the mRNA sequence is translated into an amino acid sequence. There are three locations inside the ribosome, designated the A-site, the P-site and the E-site. The addition of each amino acid is a three step cycle: First, the tRNA enters the ribosome at the A-site and is tested for a codon/anti-codon match with the mRNA. Next, provided there is a correct match, the tRNA is shifted to the P-site and the amino acid it carries is added to the end of the amino acid chain. The mRNA is also ratcheted on three nucleotides or one codon. Thirdly, the spent tRNA is moved to the E-site and then ejected from the ribosome to be recycled. As the protein synthesis proceeds, the finished chain emerges from the ribosome. It folds up into a precise shape, determined by the exact order of amino acids. Thus the Central Dogma explains how the four letter DNA code is - quite literally - turned into flesh and blood.

DNA by Drew Berry

This is surely a 'must see' video.

Drew Berry, biomedical animator for The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), is a key member of an international team that recently won an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Science, Technology and Nature Programming for the episode, The Human Race.

Berrys biomedical animations have been applauded globally and exhibited in prestigious venues, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. In 2004, Drew's animations were also honored with a BAFTA Award.
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Documentary Revolutionary, Michael Behe and the Mystery of Molecular Machines

Molecular Visualizations of DNA - Original High Quality Version

These DNA molecular visualizations were created for the multifaceted 'DNA' project, celebrating the 50th anniversary in 2003 of the discovery of the double helix. The 'DNA' project includes a five-part documentary series, museum film and 'DNAi' online resources for teachers and students.

The dynamics and molecular shapes were based on X-ray crystallographic models and other published scientific data sets. Leading scientists, including many Nobel Laureates, critiqued the animations during their development. Particular effort was made to ensure the relative shapes, sizes and 'real-time' dynamics were as accurate as possible.

TEDxCaltech - Drew Berry - Visualization: Biology and Complex Circuits

Drew Berry is a biologist-animator whose scientifically accurate and aesthetically rich visualizations elucidate cellular and molecular processes for a wide range of audiences. Trained as a cell biologist and microscopist, Drew brings a rigorous scientific approach to each project, immersing himself in relevant research to ensure current data are represented. His three- and four-dimensional renderings of key concepts such as cell death, tumor growth, and DNA packaging, capture molecular shape, scale, behavior, and spatiotemporal dynamics. His groundbreaking animations of DNA replication, translation, and transcription enlighten both scientists and the scientifically curious. Drew received B.Sc. (1993) and M.Sc. (1995) degrees from the University of Melbourne. Since 1995, he has been a biomedical animator at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. His animations have appeared in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Royal Institute of Great Britain, and the University of Geneva.  In 2010 he was named a MacArthur Fellow.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event: In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

On January 14, 2011, Caltech hosted TEDxCaltech, an exciting one-day event to honor Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate, Caltech physics professor, iconoclast, visionary, and all-around curious character. Visit TEDxCaltech.com for more details.

Drew Berry: Animations of unseeable biology

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Exploring the Frontier of Molecuilar Biology with Dynamic Visualisation - Drew Berry

Abstract: Central to the science of biology is the complex choreography of cells and molecules. A key problem with explaining this science to the public is that much of it exists in a microscopic world that is too small to be directly observed, or takes place at speeds beyond our normal perception of time.

Creating visualisations of cellular and molecular biology has become increasingly important for exploring and showing biological mechanisms to the public, students and scientific peers.

Visualisation is able to synthesize diverse structural and dynamic data derived from a variety of research sources, and can thus act as a visual hypothesis for a particular molecular process.

Beyond the bench, visualisations are powerful communication tools that are being used in classrooms and in the mass media to educate and entertain.
About the speaker

Biography: Drew Berry is a biomedical animator at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia. His scientifically accurate and aesthetically rich visualizations are elucidating cellular and molecular processes for a wide range of audiences. His animations have been shown in exhibitions, multimedia programs and television shows, and have received international recognition including an Emmy (2005) and a BAFTA Award (2004).

Talk given at SciFuture conference in Melb Australia '13

Many thanks for watching!

Consider supporting SciFuture by:
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Body Code (Drew Berry, 2003)

Body Code is a selection of biomedical animations that explore the human body at the microscopic and molecular scale. Body Code was designed for museum and art gallery exhibition, with the goal of reaching public audiences who do not usually seek out or are exposed to the details of scientific knowledge. Since inception in 2003, these animations have exhibited in over 30 museums and art galleries around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art (USA), Museum of Design (Germany), Centre Pompidou (France), Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art (China), Art Center Nabi (Korea) and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Australia).

What Have I Become?_slides 48-54

Recorded with

Shell and limestone formation by Drew Berry (wehi.tv) 2015

Animation of clamshell and limestone formation. From unpublished chemistry project.

Cell Organelles 5 Mitochondria

Visualisation of Mitochondria organelle Drew Berry, wehi.tv

Created for E.O.Wilson’s Life on Earth interactive textbook of biology (2014), available free from iBook Store

Visit wehi.tv

Eureka Moments: The Beauty of Biology

As part of the Biochemical Society's Centenary celebrations, a number of the Society's Honorary members have been asked to talk about the important moments in their careers and the future of the discipline.

The fifth interview released is 'Eureka Moments: The Beauty of Biology' in which Sir Tom Blundell talks to Chris Kirk.

You can also take a behind the scenes look at their production on the Society's Flickr photostream

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