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Speaker Aims to Visualize Science through Monday Art and Design Presentation

November 08, 2018

MOSCOW, Idaho — Nov. 8, 2018 — How people in the arts and sciences can work together by creating software to visualize and problem-solve human diseases will be discussed during a lecture at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, in Room 032 of the Teaching and Learning Center on the University of Idaho campus.

Melih Sener, a research scientist with the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, helped design visualization software for scientists looking into disease-related issues and drug delivery. His software allows scientists and researchers to visualize and work through scenarios they encounter in the study of human biology.

The U of I College of Art and Architecture is hosting Sener as part of a $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) in an effort to make science more accessible to high school students. Virtual technology and design faculty and students involved in the project, in collaboration with Physics Professor F. Marty Ytreberg, hope to spark interest in science by designing virtual environments that high school students can enter into — using virtual reality headsets and hand controllers — to manipulate and study proteins that are responsible for the structure, function and regulations of the body’s tissues.

The overarching focus of Ytreberg’s research is changes in amino acids that are the building blocks of life and how they lead to changes in living things.

In addition to the lecture, Sener will demonstrate his software — along with his process of using storyboards and duct tape to create biological scenarios — from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, in the Art and Architecture Virtual Technology and Design Building on campus.

More information on the lecture is available at

This project, “Using Biophysical Protein Models to Map Genetic Variation to Phenotypes,” was funded under National Science Foundation grant No. OIA-1736253. The total amount of federal funds for the project is $6 million, which amounts to 100 percent of the total cost of the project.

Media Contacts

Jean-Marc Gauthier
Associate Professor of Virtual Technology and Design
U of I College of Art and Architecture

Kate Keenan
Marketing and Communication Manager
U of I College of Art and Architecture

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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at