SBIR Phase I: An Immersive 3D Simulator to Experientially Learn Immunobiology as a Networked System

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0945139
Agency Tracking Number: 0945139
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: EA
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-541
Small Business Information
760 Constitution Drive, Suite 20, Exton, PA, 19341
DUNS: 123625506
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Douglas Seifert
 (610) 321-2500
Business Contact
 Douglas Seifert
Title: PhD
Phone: (610) 321-2500
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I research project will build on previous work to produce a transformative learning resource: a first-of-its-kind simulator that applies an innovative approach and advanced 3D interactive technology to learning complex concepts in immunology. We have already utilized our existing simulation-based learning technology platform to convey disease state concepts and clinical best practices to physicians for large pharmaceutical companies. A core aspect of our vision however, is to extend this technology and approach to the study of immunology in higher education. Like many areas of science, immunobiology involves complex systems. We are using an engineering paradigm to create a model immune system that is compartmentalized into elements that interact, forming a responsive whole. When this system is brought to life through interactivity and 3D visuals, students will experience how the immune system functions instead of reading about it. We are working with educators and immunologists to build this simulator and market it to colleges, universities and medical schools in order to advance the understanding of this fascinating science. This Phase I project will result in a software prototype and detailed technical design to support build out of the first commercial version in SBIR Phase II. Understanding the immune system is critical for advancing the battle against infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, cancer, asthma, and many other disorders. Immunology is an essential component in sustaining our nation?s competitiveness in the life sciences. It is a growing element of biology, bioengineering, nursing, and medical school curricula, with 29 schools already offering a dedicated immunology major. The ImmunoBiology Simulator will be accessible over the Internet, providing broad distribution. With content oversight by accomplished immunologists and educators, it can also be a trusted remote resource to students at institutions that do not retain faculty members with this expertise. The Immunobiology Simulator facilitates comprehensive understanding of the immune system through direct experience of the interactions between its essential parts. This systems approach is a forward-thinking one that is becoming more essential in science as the collective volume of detailed scientific knowledge rapidly increases. A systems approach can also be applied to virtually any complex scientific topic using the same core technology and expertise, allowing us to impact other areas in life science education.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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