The XVIVO team collaborated on a project with Dr. Daniela Nicastro, Associate Professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Nicastro and her research colleagues had completed some complex and ground-breaking research into how cilia and flagella generate their whip-like motion, and they asked XVIVO to help them visualize the results.

Dr. Nicastro’s group used a novel technique to visualize the molecular machines inside flagella to better understand how they work and, in the process, they confirmed a previously unproven hypothesis. Their research showed that flagella get their whip-like motion by a coordinated activation of motor proteins on one side of the flagella and inhibition of motor proteins on the opposing side.

XVIVO was tasked with taking the research results and creating a 3D animation that helped viewers better appreciate how the motor proteins in flagella work. The final animation steps through the process of flagellar beating by diving into the flagella structure and bringing the research to life.