autoPack Visualization Challenge 2012: HIV in Blood Serum


Visit this page on December 12, 2012 to learn how you can use autoPack to win money and prizes while fighting to understand the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).


Visualization Challenge 2013 HIV

A messy and mysterious world exists–at the far limits of our microscopes–in the inner space of our own bodies:
We know about molecules; we know about cells and organelles; but the stuff in between is messy and mysterious… yet that is the level of magnification at which much of the action takes place: the scale of perhaps a few to several hundred nanometres… it is precisely here that our understanding remains the most patchy. 
– Peter Ball, from the scientific journal Nature, 2003
In this molecular world of alien-looking shapes and bizarre physics, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks critical immune system defense cells in human blood to cause the disease AIDS. The AIDS pandemic has taken over 33,000,000 lives and adds millions more each year.A red ribbon in the shape of a bow

Despite technological advances, researchers cannot yet "see" a mature HIV virus in its native environment with atomic detail, but they can assemble known atomic pieces together to construct models of the virus in vivo. Recent developments in our new software autoFill have simplified much of this process and here we present a first-draft model of an HIV particle (which is roughly 1/60 the diameter of the white blood cells that HIV attacks) floating in a cube of human blood serum.  Blood serum at this scale consists of "salty" water (not shown) filled with blood serum proteins that take up ~6% of the blood serum volume.


The contest begins on December 12