Congratulations to Jasper Maniates-Selvin on winning an HBI Community Resource Award! This small grant is part of a newly launched Young Scientist Development program, supported by funding from the Office of the Provost at Harvard University. The program seeks to bolster the career development of neuroscience trainees by providing flexible small grants to support creative training endeavors not easily covered by other funding sources, including the building of community resources.
Jasper is a 2nd year PhD student in the lab of Wei-Chung Lee researching connectivity patterns in the Drosophila nervous system, and is interested in finding the best way to view and analyze three-dimensional datasets. The Lee lab generates nanometer-resolution 3D datasets of the the fly and mouse nervous systems using electron microscopy. Many researchers in neurobiology, including those in the Lee lab, need to view and analyze three-dimensional datasets, but visualization is often difficult using software that displays just one two-dimensional slice of the data at a time. By instead using software that runs on virtual reality headsets, members of the Lee lab have been slicing through their datasets at different angles and positions, allowing them navigate and analyze the 3D data more efficiently.
The money from this award will go towards the purchase of VR visualization software. A workstation with the VR software will be made available for the Harvard neuroscience community to bring their data for visualization. Jasper will teach community members how to use the software and will organize an annual VR showcase where labs who have used this resource can present their work to the rest of the Harvard neuro community.
Said Jasper on receiving the award: "I was really impressed when I tried out VR visualization software last year at a demo, and the demo convinced me that VR is a great way to work with the kinds of 3D structural datasets I've been generating in my research. I'm thrilled to have received this community resource award to be able to purchase the VR software, and more features are actively being added that will hopefully help VR visualization and analysis become even more useful as time goes on. I hope that others in the department will find the software equally enjoyable and useful for their research."