Dr. Sudha Chakrapani looks at how the brain communicates with different parts of the body at the nanoscale. In order to understand these neurotransmission processes and create more effective drugs to mitigate or inhibit them, one must clearly see structure: precisely how and where certain chemical signals are picked up and converted into electrical signals. Traditionally, researchers and students extrapolate into a 3-D world from 2-D images, however this can prove extremely difficult, especially for understanding relational depth.
In the app developed by Dr. Chakrapani during her fellowship ("HoloMolecule") users are able to select, display, and interrogate (i.e., scale and rotate) a molecule’s 3-D structural model and cryo-electron microscopy map as holograms. Dr. Chakrapani is using this app in her graduate and undergraduate courses as well as for research into drug binding placement.