_PUBLIC HEALTH Medicine

_Ahead of the Game

Two educational mobile games developed by Drexel researchers turn players into microbes, providing new digital tools for teaching medicine.

_Sandra Urdaneta-Hartmann

Urdaneta-Hartmann is an associate professor in the College of Medicine and director of the Center for Business and Program Development at the Institute for Molecular Medicine & Infectious Disease (IMMID).

_Brian Wigdahl

Wigdahl is a professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

In CD4 Hunter™, players enter the bloodstream as an HIV particle, hunting for and infecting CD4+ T cells, which are the white blood cells of the adaptive immune system. Another game, Malaria Invasion™, enables users to learn more about malaria by following Plasmo the Invader™ (named after the parasite Plasmodium) on his quest to infect a human.

Both of these digital games from the College of Medicine are making waves as new digital teaching strategies. Researchers from Drexel’s Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease (IMMID), expect to use these games as supplementary teaching tools for graduate students and undergraduates in advanced-level courses.

“We are thrilled to have been able to leverage the talent of our IMMID faculty and of Drexel’s co-op students from the Digital Media department to develop these games in-house,” says Sandra Urdaneta-Hartmann, an assistant professor in the College of Medicine and director of the Center for Business and Program Development at IMMID.

Game_On

Two new video games developed in the College of Medicine are being used as supplementary teaching tools for medical students.

“Extensive research shows that our games are meeting their intended learning goals and that students overwhelmingly welcome the interactive game-based learning platform,” says Mary Ann Comunale, an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology in the College of Medicine and director of the Center for Scientific Communications and Outreach, who led the design of the game and assessment studies.

Already, the games are generating success both in the educational and gaming fields, with CD4 Hunter™ taking home a bronze medal in the 2018 International Serious Play Awards honoring commercial and student titles used for training and/or educational purposes.

“These games will help to increase public awareness of the challenges faced by the biomedical research community and stress the importance of research to prevent and treat diseases caused by these devastating human pathogens,” says Brian Wigdahl, professor and chair in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and director of the IMMID.