Master's Thesis Project: Imaging neuropathic pain

Exploring the role of visualization and storytelling within scientific imaging

Chronic neuropathic pain is a highly prevalent disease affecting around 8% of the adult population. Due to the subjectivity of the pain experience, it is also one of the most difficult syndromes to diagnose and treat.

Brain imaging techniques have become important tools in the research of chronic pain. They permit the in vivo study of complex brain structures: its variations between groups of people and within an individual over time. Although narratives explaining brain imaging exist, their focus lie on the mechanisms behind the techniques. Few visualizations communicate their clinical applications, especially in neuropathic pain.

In addition, within the fields of brain imaging, such as white matter tractography, there exist standardized and accepted methods of data visualization. Advances in imaging technology, however, are creating an increase in the resolution and density of data, resulting in increased visualization complexity and excessive clutter. Communication of depth and spatial relationships within the brain becomes difficult, and the ability to visualize important anatomical and functional structures diminishes.

The project aims to serve two purposes: 1) to develop an educational animation communicating the significance of clinical research employing brain imaging techniques to study neuropathic pain, and 2) to expand upon established visualizations of brain imaging data to help improve communication while maintaining data fidelity.

This project a recipient of the 2016 Research Grant of the Vesalius Trust for Visual Communication in the Health Sciences

It is also the recipient of an Award of Merit in the Student Animation category, at the 2017 Association of Medical Illustrators conference.

  • ClientM. Corrin, Dr. M. Hodaie
  • Year2015
  • MediumAutodesk Maya 2016, Autodesk Mudbox 2016, Pixologic ZBrush, 3D Slicer, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Audition, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator

Process work

The initial storyboards for this animation can be found here.

The animatic for this animation can be found here.