Visualization in Medicine and Life Sciences

Part of the series Mathematics and Visualization pp 237-255

Visual Analysis of Biomolecular Surfaces

  • Vijay NatarajanAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science and Automation Supercomputer Education and Research Centre, Indian Institute of Science
  • , Patrice KoehlAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science Genome Center, University of California
  • , Yusu WangAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science and Engineering, The Ohio State University
  • , Bernd HamannAffiliated withInstitute for Data Analysis and Visualization Department of Computer Science, University of California


Surface models of biomolecules have become crucially important for the study and understanding of interaction between biomolecules and their environment. We argue for the need for a detailed understanding of biomolecular surfaces by describing several applications in computational and structural biology. We review methods used to model, represent, characterize, and visualize biomolecular surfaces focusing on the role that geometry and topology play in identifying features on the surface. These methods enable the development of efficient computational and visualization tools for studying the function of biomolecules.