Getting Animated: Dunn School Researcher Wins Oxford Sparks Competition

Getting Animated: Dunn School Researcher Wins Oxford Sparks Competition

Dr. Hazel Hall-Roberts, a Postdoc in Professor William James’ Group at the Dunn School of Pathology, has won a competition that will allow her to bring Alzheimer’s research ‘alive’ and make it better known to the wider public. The Oxford Sparks platform launched a call in November of 2017 for University of Oxford researchers to submit their ideas. The winners, including Dr. Hall-Roberts, will get a professional custom-made animation to explain their research.

Dr. Hall-Roberts is funded by the Alzheimer’s Research UK Oxford Drug Discovery Institute (ARUK ODDI), and entered the competition with research group administrator Keely Jones, with a project that aims to develop new drugs and treatments against Alzheimer’s disease. With the help of the Oxford Sparks animation they wish to better explain their research and its importance to the public, and highlight why Alzheimer’s research is important to fund. The winners will collaborate with professional animators to generate a 2-minute scientific video about their research, as well as receive a managed accompanying social media campaign worth in total £9000.

“I’m very excited to be working with the animators on this project and to be able to show my research through this animation. I hope this will help get my research out there and help the public better understand what we do.” Dr. Hall-Roberts said.

Dr. Hall-Roberts’ research focuses on the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease: impaired waste disposal of toxic proteins, such as amyloid plaques, and impaired removal of dying neurons by the brain’s immune cells, the microglia. When the microglia are unable to cope with the workload, they initiate a detrimental and toxic immune response in the brain. Currently, there are no treatments to tackle the problematic cycle of protein waste and inflammation –this is where Dr. Hall-Roberts and her colleagues wish to make a difference.

Oxford Sparks is a project that functions as a digital engagement platform aimed at showcasing research performed at the University of Oxford to the wider public. Tailored to an audience aged from 11 onwards, Oxford Sparks provides fantastic opportunities and tools for researchers to explain their work; one of these opportunities is the Animation Competition.


Written by Lisa Gartenmann

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 12