Diploma and Master Theses (authored and supervised):
"neuroMap - Interactive Graph-Visualization of the Fruit Fly´s Neural Circuit";
Supervisor: E. Gröller, K. Bühler;
Institut für Computergraphik und Algorithmen,
Neuroscientists study the function of neural circuits in the brain of the common fruit fly Drosophila Melanogaster to discover how complex behavior is generated. Through a combination of molecular-genetic techniques and confocal microscopy the scientists are able to highlight single neurons and produce three-dimensional images of the fly´s brain. Neurons are segmented, annotated, and compiled into a digital atlas. Brain atlases offer tools for exploring and analyzing their underlying data. To establish models of neural information processing, knowledge about possible connections between individual neurons is necessary. Connections can occur when arborizations (the terminal branchings of nerve fibers) of two neurons are overlapping. However, analyzing overlapping objects using traditional volumetric visualization is difficult since the examined objects occlude each other. A more abstract form of representation is therefore required. The work in this thesis was motivated by a manually constructed two-dimensional circuit diagram of potential neuronal connections that represents a novel way of visualizing neural connectivity data. Through abstracting the complex volumetric data, the diagram offers an intuitive and clear overview of potential connectivity. In collaboration with a group of neuroscientists neuroMap was designed and implemented in an attempt to deliver the visual features and encoded information of this circuit diagram in an automatically generated interactive graph, with the goal of facilitating hypothesis formation and exploration of neural connectivity. In this thesis the visual and interaction design decisions that went into neuroMap are presented, as well as the result of evaluative discussions that shows that the integration of this novel type of visualization into the existing datamining infrastructure of our clients is indeed beneficial to their research.
Electronic version of the publication:
Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.