Dunn School Research Animation in Full Bloom

Dunn School Research Animation in Full Bloom

The seeds for the science video were sown in December 2017, when Dr. Hazel Hall-Roberts, from the William James lab at Dunn School of Pathology, won a competition hosted by Oxford Sparks – a platform that brings together resources and information from across the University. Now, her vision has finally bloomed into a colourful animation, which was launched on social media on 13th September.

Hazel studies how specialised immune cells, called microglia, play an important role in Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia. Together with her colleagues from the Alzheimer’s Research UK Oxford Drug Discovery Institute (ARUK ODDI), and collaborators, they are trying to find new ways to tackle the causes of dementia; a disease predicted to affect one in three individuals over the next few decades. In order to raise public awareness of dementia research in Oxford, Hazel entered the Oxford Sparks competition to win the creation of a bespoke two-minute animation and learn about resources for engaging secondary school pupils.

Throughout the summer months, she worked closely with professional animators from Sciberia, to portray the healthy brain as a carefully-managed garden, and microglia as the gardeners who maintain it. Hazel says: "Working with the animators at Scriberia was great fun, a real creative collaboration! I came up with the gardening analogy and wrote the scientific brief, but was amazed by the fresh ideas that the animators generated; they breathed life into the microglia-gardeners and gave them chainsaws."

Celebrity gardening broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh was soon on board to narrate the animation. He said: “Having seen the devastating impact dementia had on a family member, I was only too happy to lend my voice to this important animation on behalf of Alzheimer’s Research UK and the charity’s Oxford Drug Discovery Institute. Using a gardening analogy to convey complex research makes it easier to understand, and the animation Oxford Sparks have created is not only beautiful, but extremely informative.”

Oxford Sparks shares the cutting edge science from the University of Oxford with the general public. The “Win an animation” competition is now open for 2019.

To view Hazel’s animation visit: www.oxfordsparks.ox.ac.uk/content/discovering-life-changing-dementia-treatments

Share the animation on social media and help life-changing dementia research to flourish! @OxfordSparks @ARUKnews @OxfordMedSci

Written by Shaked Ashkenazi

Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 11