Regenerative Medicine Partnership in Education — Phase I/II

  • Abstract

    We will develop a suite of programs aimed at improving K-12 and the general public’s understanding of health science advances created by National Institutes of Health funded clinical and basic research in the areas of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. This project will build on our past success expanded dissemination and revitalized multimedia presentation technology now available in interactive planetarium spaces across the country. We will establish a unique partnership in scientific medical and ethics education bringing together researchers and medical experts clinicians science center experts multimedia film industry leaders ethicists students and educators representing all levels. The research of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Center to catalyze the basic science components of the project. The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is focused on the vast potential of tissue engineering and other techniques aimed at repairing damaged or diseased tissues and organs. The University of Pittsburgh GCRC located at Montefiore University Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh supports 113 active approved protocols serving 244 investigators. The main goals of our project fall into three categories: Education: To communicate scientific information about the excitement and importance of stem cell research and regenerative medicine approaches to human healing. The films will use engaging interactive demonstrations and rich 3D graphics to illustrate tissue/cellular function and medical remedies for disease and disability. Innovation: To enhance the educational experience. We create immersive visual experiences by projecting high-definition video over the entire planetarium dome (“all-dome” video). An all-dome video development laboratory on our campus will be used to create and test-show content with focus groups consultants and test audiences. Dissemination: To insure national distribution to planetariums nationwide and other appropriate venues. The shows will be made available to planetariums that have all-dome projection systems. The digital high-definition video will be re-edited for presentation in other formats increasing our distribution potential. Portable domes with all-dome projection systems are now available and create the opportunity to engage rural communities not usually served by metropolitan science centers. Our show will be fully compatible with the portable dome systems. An advisory committee will provide oversight and guidance. Independent evaluators will contribute formative and summative evaluations for each film produced. The expected outcome will be the development of an exciting immersive visual educational tool presenting accurate and specific content on important biomedical advances made accessible to young people and the public at-large.

  • Dissemination Strategies

    All-dome high definition video shows will be distributed directly to planetariums nationwide Re-edited DVD/videos will be made available for school/library and home use Educational resources and accessory materials will be available on the web

  • Project Evaluation(s)

    The primary goals of the evaluation will be to demonstrate that the shows fulfill the educational proof of concept namely that children and the general public learn about the complex systems of biology through visual experience. Through formative and summative surveys we test the impact of the film on participants’ attitudes perceptions and knowledge. For previous shows we have used a program evaluation study. We have demonstrated the effectiveness of the shows for children ranging in age from 7 to 16. A two group pre- and post-test design was used to compare children’s learning and attitudes in response to the two versions of a given show. The results indicate that children demonstrated increases in knowledge of the topic with either format but preferred storytelling by animated characters. For each new project a series of formative surveys instructs our development of the storyboard and script. In-progress testing with target audiences provides refinement of the final product which is again evaluated with pre- and post-surveys. This process is applied to animated movies video games web resources and other materials. Educational booklets are evaluated individually by teachers.

  • Resources for Sharing

    Educational resources at Downloadable PC video game on immunology at

Project Audience

Three distinct audiences are being addressed in the activities of the project: Educational films presented in science center planetariums are developed for the broad demographic of that venue with emphasis on students in grades 4 through middle school. Films will focus on cutting edge regenerative medicine therapies and stem cell biology. In collaboration with the Center for Translational Science Institute University of Pittsburgh and separately Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh films are being developed to help bridge health literacy issues for patients in various studies. A third effort is exploring the development of films and educational resources to help bring basic health and biological science to the young learners 4-7 years old and elementary education.

Subjects Addressed

Stem cell biology regenerative medicine and health literacy.