Enhance Student Learning with Visualization

Luca cells in a biofilm

“What is life?”

How would a professor of a biology core class frame this question for his students on the first day of class and set the tone of inquiry for the rest of the quarter? Professor Jose Quintans, Dean and Master of Biological Science Collegiate Division, had some cool ideas. It involved some pretty neat visualization and videography all packed into a slide presentation. And so he contacted ASTS for help.

Dale Mertes, ASTS’s visualization expert, was one of the staff who worked with Professor Quintans in this project. Starting with some concepts in bullet point form on a set of slides, he and Professor Quintans, worked out a model what cells in the primordial soup of life, called Luca and Leka, might look like and behave. Dale then realized these concepts in 3D models and animated them. Quintans’ lecture was a big hit and students loved it for being both entertaining and informative. The video below shows a sample of the 3D animation work Dale did:

Video outline: 1. Luca cell moving in a biofilm; 2. Luca cell swimming about in a wiggly manner; 3. Luca cell swimming about in a non-wiggly manner; 4. Luca cell swimming with its tail; 5. DNA replication in Luca cell; 6. Big Luca cell eats small Luca cell, whereby the latter dissolves; 7. Big Luca cell eats small Luca cell, whereby the latter became one of the former’s mitochondria; 8. Alternate version of the Luca cell; 9. 3D model of the Leka cell.

If the examples here spark ideas for visual representations of your own data and research, contact us to set up an appointment and get started.