In a groundbreaking convergence of technology and innovation, researchers from The University of Queensland have harnessed the power of video game algorithms to unlock a new era of understanding in neuroscience. Dr. Tristan Wallis and Professor Frederic Meunier, from UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute, drew inspiration from combat video games during the COVID-19 lockdown. They repurposed a highly accurate algorithm, originally designed to track bullet trajectories in games, to explore the intricate dynamics of molecules within living brain cells.

Harnessing Video Game Technology: A New Frontier in Neuroscience

Traditionally, technology has been limited to observing and analyzing molecules in spatial isolation, unable to capture their behavior in both space and time. Dr. Wallis’s innovative algorithm, derived from the world of video games, has turned this limitation on its head. Using super-resolution microscopy, the algorithm tracks the movement and clustering of molecules within brain cells, revealing previously hidden patterns and behaviors. This newfound ability to perceive order within the seemingly chaotic realm of molecular movement has opened up unprecedented avenues for discovery.

The Algorithm’s Evolution and Applications

Dr. Wallis’s coding prowess was pivotal in crafting an algorithm that is now embraced by multiple laboratories. By applying the algorithm to observe molecule clustering, researchers gain insights into the timing, location, duration, and frequency of these crucial cellular processes. Notably, the technology offers valuable insights into the behavior of proteins like Syntaxin-1A, which plays a pivotal role in intercellular communication. Collaborations with mathematicians and statisticians from UQ have further expanded the algorithm’s utility, promising accelerated scientific progress in diverse research domains.

Driving Scientific Discovery: The Impact of Innovation

The fusion of disparate realms—video games and super-resolution microscopy—has resulted in an exponential impact on the field of neuroscience. Professor Meunier emphasizes that this inventive approach isn’t just a scientific feat but also a testament to the creative problem-solving capacity of researchers. The technology’s multifaceted applications have led to collaborative endeavors and groundbreaking explorations into brain cell dynamics. By merging the virtual battlefield with the intricacies of cellular life, the researchers have propelled neuroscience into uncharted territories.


The partnership between combat video game algorithms and super-resolution microscopy has ushered in a new era of scientific exploration. Dr. Wallis and Professor Meunier’s visionary application of gaming technology has illuminated the inner workings of brain cells, exposing the patterns and behaviors of molecules in ways previously deemed impossible. As this innovative approach continues to revolutionize neuroscience, the impact on understanding brain health, aging, and disease could be profound.