During my undergraduate and PhD studies in molecular biology and cancer genetics I caught the science communication bug. I inevitably jumped ship from doing scientific research, to telling others about it! Following roles as a Teaching Intern, Lecturer and Scitech Outreach Presenter I am now the Science Communications Officer for the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology. I spend my time finding creative and engaging ways to bridge the gap between the Centre’s scientists and the general public, and to educate and excite the community about plant energy biology. I do this through a variety of mediums including media and social media; education/outreach programs; and using some of our more novel and immersive resources, the Bio-Bounce inflatable plant cell, our Plantarium full-dome movie and, most recently, the Virtual Plant Cell virtual reality experience.
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How does this work contribute to Seeing Science Differently?
Virtual Reality (VR) technology is seeing a dramatic rise in attention and in mainstream accessibility and availability. There is huge potential for VR technology to be used for education, particularly in the sciences, where VR can be used to transport an audience into otherwise inaccessible “worlds”, such as the inside of a cell.
Cue the Virtual Plant Cell (VPC), the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology’s new educational virtual reality resource! VPC allows users to experience the microscopic inner world of a plant in an immersive way, interact with a cell and learn about the complex processes that scientists study, and see and engage with science in a way that is profoundly different from with conventional teaching resources.