Nicole Amberg receives funding of € 49,873.95 from the Austrian Science Fund FWF for the realization of her project “Brain Research Experience – 3D animation video and virtual reality app” via the “WissKomm” Funding Scheme.
With her virtual reality project, the neuroscientist and stem cell researcher at IST Austria wants to bring the use of the elegant genetic research method “mosaic analysis with double markers” closer to the general public as well as to a specialist biological audience.
The degree of complexity of the scientific methodology has increased significantly with technical progress in recent years. This has increased the challenge of developing an excellent communication strategy to explain the individual research approach without losing the audience’s attention. Therefore, a new communication strategy is being developed in the “Brain Research Experience” project to present the scientific methodology and genetic basis of patient-relevant stem cell research through a 3D animation video and a virtual reality (VR) experience. These two digital products offer both the general public and the scientific community visual supportive tools to experience fundamental scientific approaches in stem cell research and the associated complex genetic strategy “Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers” (MADM) for themselves.
The most important methodological aspects of Nicole Amberg’s research on brain development, in particular the formation of the cerebral cortex, involve the principle of the MADM method. The accompanying VR enables users to explore the brain and neural stem cells and apply the genetic research method MADM themselves. With the VR app, users can carry out and analyze their own MADM experiment digitally and not only get to know the research theoretically, but also actively experience it.
The animations serve as a multisensorial support for conveying complex biological processes and methods, which makes it easier to understand and experience the research approaches. In addition, a large amount of content can be shown in a short period of time, enabling a lively and memorable experience for the audience. Target groups within the general public and the scientific community can participate in this project through a wide variety of possibilities: e.g. at conference lectures, in science exhibitions in the upcoming Visitor Center at IST Austria, in scientific educational activities at IST Austria or in schools, in social media, on our professional Research profiles and on the website of the Hippenmeyer Laboratory, in which Nicole Amberg is currently performing her research.
This effective communication of scientific methodology offers both the general public and a specialist audience such as specialist colleagues / reviewers / funding agencies an innovative and sustainable framework in order to recognize and evaluate the importance and novelty of scientific approaches and the resulting results in stem cell research.