Visualisation and Education

Immersive visualisation dome - credit Mark Arrebola

Garvan and the Weizmann Institute are working together to advance the wider understanding of genomics in the community, with a focus on molecular visualisation and education initiatives.

Building on existing expertise in virtual reality and biomedical animation, immersive visualisation experiences with broad appeal are being developed through the partnership.

The animations developed for these experiences weave storytelling and the tools of cinema, art and design, anchored by authentic scientific data, to blend multi resolution data and connect with the audience.

In education, a new collaborative research project has been established, bringing together extensive educational research expertise at Weizmann with Garvan’s molecular visualisation and genomics education expertise. The team will work with teachers in Australian and Israeli middle and secondary schools, investigating how best to support the meaningful usage of 3D molecular animations by teachers in the classroom. This work will complement Garvan’s emerging programs that use authentic genomic data and real-world scenarios in teacher education.

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Molecular Animations 


Immersive Visualisation Dome 


Virtual Reality Cell Explorer


Collaborative Research Visualisation in Education

Project 1: Molecular Animations

RNA (yellow) being copied from DNA (pink), a view inside the enzyme RNA polymerase, Kate Patterson

Molecular animations are characterised by the blending of multiple resolutions of authentic scientific data with the tools of cinema, art and design. Scientific concepts and molecules are so tiny they are smaller than the wavelength of visible light. Visualisation helps to make research less opaque for non-expert audiences but also for scientists. Authentic scientific data informs the visualisations, which means that they can aid not only the understanding of biological processes, but also can help to generate new research questions.

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Project 2: Immersive Visualisation Dome

The Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics is home to a bespoke three metre immersive visualisation dome called the Cell Observatory. This structure allows small groups to interact with each other, as well as the molecular wonderland being showcased inside the dome.  The dome is designed to immerse audiences inside a single cell, inside a molecular landscape which offers a more meaningful and memorable way to access complex scientific concepts and data.

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Project 3: Virtual Reality Cell Explorer

Explore inside a single cell with the HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset. This educational experience is being developed as a collaborative project with Garvan Institute and the 3D Visualisation and Aesthetics Laboratory at UNSW Art and Design

VR Artist and Developer: Mark Arrebola

Producer, scientific storytelling and molecular assets: Dr Kate Patterson

Scientific Advisors: Professor Chris Goodnow and Professor Susan Clark

Trailer of  VR Cell Explorer

Project 4: Collaborative Research – Visualisation in Education

Our research explores models to support teachers’ meaningful usage of 3D molecular animations in Australian and Israeli middle and secondary schools. It brings together the extensive educational research experience of Prof. Anat Yarden and Prof. Ron Blonder and their respective research groups at the Weizmann Institute of Science with Garvan’s genomics education expertise with Ms Bronwyn Terrill. 3D molecular animations by Garvan’s Dr Kate Patterson will form the basis of this research and focus on DNA and genomics - related concepts covered in the animations.