A smart visualization can transform biologists' understanding of their data. And now that it's possible to sequence every RNA molecule in a cell or fill a hard drive in a day with microscopy images, life scientists are increasingly seeking inventive visual ways of making sense of the glut of raw data that they collect.
Some of the visualizations that are currently exciting biologists were presented at a conference at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, in March. Called Visualizing Biological Data (VIZBI), the meeting was co-organized by Seán O'Donoghue, a bioinformatician at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia. The gathering attracts an eclectic mix of lab researchers, computer scientists and designers and is now in its seventh year.
Here, Nature highlights some of O'Donoghue's picks of the visualizations that are set to transform biology.

Streamlined cells