We're preparing to unveil a new set of innovative visualization tools at DIBS that will illuminate the beauty of the brain for all to admire and be inspired by.


The most complex object in the known universe is the human brain. It is also one of the most beautiful; however, its beauty is seldom accessible to the general Duke community.

The signature presence of neuroscience at Duke is the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (DIBS), which mainly occupies an underground space at the Levine Science Research Center (LSRC). Therefore, the excitement of neuroscience discovery and the beauty of the brain is largely hidden from the general Duke population and only experienced by “insiders” who choose this path of discovery and visit these sequestered research and teaching spaces.

In order to engage more effectively on campus and beyond, there needs to be more compelling neuroscience education tools such as displays, visualizations, design media and gamified applications that can contribute to communicating the complexity and wonder of neuroscience and the human brain.

Brain Portal is a forthcoming dynamic visualization experience housed at DIBS that will showcase our most complex organ, including brain-inspired art as well as imagery from brain imaging technology like MRI scans.

This unique space is designed as a hands-on gallery for all curious minds to marvel at and learn about the brain, and offers unprecedented opportunities for collaboration and education.

Our goal is for this new set of installations to inspire learners from all backgrounds, provide a hub for curious play with digital neuroanatomy, and boost knowledge for scholars and students through rarely available 3D interactions with the brain. 


Brain art projection on DIBS Cube

The keystone installation will transform the institute's glass façade into a stunning, dynamic display of brain imagery through the use of transparent LED panels.

Additional installations will also include immersive and interactive stations to allow visitors to explore the human brain in an accessible, digital space.

Many students primarily interact with the brain through flat, digital imagery in textbooks and scans, or have limited access to handle and study the brain through neuroanatomy courses. As such, we are especially excited about the potential for these stations to help educators and learners understand the brain, and how it fits together.

Experts, too, may gain new insights from immersive sensory experiences of the structures and systems they study.


Motion tracking projections will provide a large-scale opportunity for visitors to interact with dynamic brain imagery.


Multi-touch interactive tables will display brain images, neurocircuitry, and more for visitors to explore.

Holographic neurosurgical planning tools will be available for visitors to explore the brain using augmented reality headsets.

Get Involved!

We have many opportunities for people to help shape the Lab for Brain Exploration.

Contribute your brain imagery, artwork, or data here. Showcase your work, experience it in a whole new way, and inspire a new generation of learners!

Get in touch with us here.

Led by DIBS associate director Len White, along with DIBS member art and visual studies professor Bill Seamen, this project team will explore emerging technologies to develop creative ways of visualizing the brain and brain science for both public impact and educational purposes. Team members will employ a conceptual, technical and humanistic approach to gather and curate digital assets from the brain science community at Duke, showcasing their work and the beauty of the brain at various levels of exploration and visualization. The team will aim to inspire wonder and actionable interest in the brain and the brain sciences among both “insiders” and “outsiders,” especially community members who have yet to encounter the excitement of discovery and the beauty inherent in the brain sciences.

Learn more about the Brain Portal Bass Connections team here.


Campus Collaborators

We are indebted to our numerous partners at Duke for their work realizing this new initiative, including professors of Art, Art History & Visual Studies Bill Seaman and Augustus Wendell, senior media systems design engineer Scott Frey, the Nasher Museum of Art, and the Center for Computational Thinking.

Gratitude in Mind

We thank Beth and Ron Ostrow for their generous gift that has helped make this project a reality.