The Giant Interactive Cell (GIC) project is being developed by Mika Ong and Finn Vamosi. Dr. Christian Jacob and Owen Brierley are overseeing the direction of this research.
On July 20th, the lab team presented a work-in-progress demonstration of the GIC to our collaborators from Georgia State University, Dr. Stephanie Gutzler and Dr. Matthew Nusnbaum. Our team presented the Cell with some key features: a fly-through introduction from outside the cell to inside the nucleus, a detailed view of a chromosome as it unwinds to a DNA sequence that will be used in transcription, and an interaction during transcription that allows players to predict the matching nucleotide pair as the polymerase assembles the messenger RNA (mRNA) prior to RNA processing.
We were able to demonstrate the basic functionality of the environment which lead to a valuable discussion about next steps for how our research collaborators will use this environment in their classroom as well as the methodologies we will use to examine the impact of a VR experience to learn more about the functions of the various cellular subsystems with a particular focus on transcription and translation.
For the University of Calgary’s Computer Science Showcase event on September 22, 2022, the LINDSAY team presented the GIC at their booth with interactive walkthroughs of the simulation.