The diverse human gut microbiome

Jun 06, 2023

Animation sequence featuring a fly-over of the human gut microbiome – a huge, diverse range of many different types of bacteria residing inside our small and large intestine.

This sequence was created for an episode (for WebMD) that examines how the gut microbiome may influence cancer response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. Essentially, if a patient has melanoma, the types of bacteria in their gut may help determine if the cancer responds to checkpoint inhibitor therapy or not.

There are trillions of microbes in our gastrointestinal tract, around 90% of which are bacteria.

Our microbiome has a profound impact on our well-being and can affect us in several different ways – both beneficial and harmful. In recent years, scientists and researchers have discovered correlations between the composition of an individual’s microbiome and their wider health, including obesity, mental health, bowel disease, and the immune system.

Further advances need to be made in learning more about actual causation – and which effects come from which individual microbes.

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Paramecia: unicellular ciliates animation

Jun 02, 2023

A view of paramecia spiraling their way about in a freshwater pond.

In this sequence, we get a close-up look at one of these unicellular microorganisms as it makes its way around using the tiny hair-like cilia on its outer surface. Arranged in longitudinal rows, there are around 4,000 of these motile cilia on its surface, beating in waves to ensure movement and feeding.

In addition to other organelles, we can see several vacuoles inside, digesting organisms such as bacteria and yeasts.

The paramecium was among the first single-celled organisms to be observed under the microscope.

In order to capture the emergent behavior and movement of this microworld, the definitive goal here was to create a natural environment using physics simulations and a procedural pipeline instead of hand-keyed animation.

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