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September 4, 2015

"Spherical Nucleic Acids"

"Spherical Nucleic Acids," by Quintin Anderson, The Seagull Company, a scientific animation firm; and Chad Mirkin and Sarah Petrosko, Northwestern University.

The floating golden sphere, bristling with corkscrew strands of RNA, drifts majestically toward the jostling lipid bilayer that surrounds a cell. Slowly, gently, it squeezes through the layer until it is inside the cell. Breezing across cell membranes is just one talent of these spherical nucleic acids (SNAs), developed by nanotechnology pioneer Chad Mirkin and explained in the video created by Quintin Anderson. The objective is to give the audience an overview of how the properties of SNAs make them favorable for therapeutic treatments and medical diagnostics. To view the full video, go to the 2013 winners page on the Vizzies Special Report website and search for "Spherical" and then click the "video" link.

This image won people's choice in the video (screenshots) category of the 2013 Visualization Challenge, now called the Vizzies, a long-running, annual competition co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Popular Science magazine. [The competition was formerly named the International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge (SciVis) and was previously co-sponsored with AAAS' journal Science.] The competition aims to recognize some of the most beautiful visualizations from the worlds of science and engineering and awards prizes in five categories: photography, video, illustration, posters & graphics and interactives.

To learn more about the competition and view all the winning entries, past and present, see the NSF Special Report The VIZZIES: Visualization Challenge. (Date of Image: Unknown)

[Note: Development of SNAs for biomedical and materials science applications was supported in part by the following NSF grants: EEC 01-18025, EEC 06-47560, DMR 11-21262, DMR 00-76097, DMR 05-20513, DMR 96-32472 and CHE 93-57099.]

Credit: Quintin Anderson, The Seagull Company; and Chad Mirkin and Sarah Petrosko, Northwestern University

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