Dr. Paul Gignac Awarded NSF Grant for Advancing 3D Digital Anatomy

Associate Professor Paul Gignac in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and colleagues have been awarded a $2 Million NSF Cyberinfrastructure grant to develop a cloud-based, open-source platform for 3D digital anatomy research and education. The project marks a significant step towards enhancing collaborative scientific research and educational practices in the digital age.

"Understanding anatomical structures through imaging is fundamental to the biological and biomedical sciences, offering insights into organismal function and disease," explains Dr. Gignac. The rapid evolution of 3D imaging technologies has significantly enhanced our capacity to acquire detailed anatomical data. However, the vast size of these datasets often surpasses the processing capabilities of standard computers, and the specialized software required for data analysis can be prohibitively expensive or difficult to access.

This project—a collaboration between the University of Arizona College of Medicine Tucson, Seattle Children’s Hospital, University of Washington, Chapman University, University of Louisville, and University of Wisconsin—aims to eliminate these barriers. By leveraging NSF’s advanced JetStream2 computing infrastructure, the team will create an accessible, collaborative web platform. This platform will enable researchers across the nation to seamlessly segment, study, and share complex 3D phenotypes.

Dr. Gignac adds, "Recent directives from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy emphasize the importance of FAIR and Open Science practices. Our project aligns with these guidelines, promoting broader data access and re-usability among anatomical imaging scientists."