Biomedical Animation: Wound Healing with Aloe Vera


Final Animation

Background Information

Aloe vera is known as one of the oldest plants used for medicinal purposes. Its healing properties reside mostly in its unique major polysaccharide called acemannan. This polysaccharide stimulates VEGF, keratinocyte growth factor-1, type 1 collagen, and other wound healing factors for increased activity. Aloe vera has been used in treatment for both skin wounds and oral wounds.

Wound healing itself involves reconstruction of injured tissue through angiogenesis, connective tissue repair, and re-epithelialization. Aloe vera activates heightened expression of factors involved in all three of these aspects. Acemannan increases secretion of VEGF which stimulates new blood vessel formation in angiogenesis. This allows for a new blood supply to be formed to the wound for clotting. VEGF, along with TGF-beta1, increase fibroblast and endothelial cell migration to the injured site, allowing for the wound contraction. Type 1 collagen activity is also enhanced to aid in connective tissue repair. Keratinocyte growth factor-1 is secreted as well by stimulation from acemannan. This growth factor accelerates the rate of re-epithelialization and thickening of the newly formed epidermis once the underlying tissue has been repaired.

Project Goals

Objectives of this project involved educating a college-level audience about the effects of aloe vera on wound healing. The animation provides a basic summary of the growth factors that aloe vera stimulates and how those factors impact wound healing.


Some of the main challenges of this project consisted of how to visualize the proteins and their mechanisms-of-action in the wound healing process. Thorough research was conducted to ensure that the protein models were correct, which were chosen from the RCSB Protein Data Bank. Since the environments of the animation changed dramatically from scene to scene, I also had to organize the animation in a way that flowed smoothly and cohesively for the viewer. Call-outs and text were used to aid in showing the process in outline form while the animation showed the protein action. 



Date Started: 01/21/2015
Date Completed: 05/12/2015
Audience: College-level biology students


  • Visual Molecular Dynamics (VMD)
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Pixologic Zbrush
  • Autodesk 3ds Max





The above images are renders of assets currently in production within 3ds Max. The first image shows a part of the opening sequence with aloe vera using a free 3D model and grass scripts generated in 3ds Max. The next three images show VEGF, TGF-beta1, and KGF-1 bound to their receptors respectively. These molecules were taken from the RCSB Protein Data Bank via the VMD program and brought into 3ds Max for animation.


Animated Storyboard

The above collection of images is the storyboard for this animation created in Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. The images were then compiled into Adobe After Effects with narration recorded in Adobe Audition to construct an animated storyboard.