Virtual Reality Games to Engage Stakeholders in the Importance of Microbial Growth on Surfaces and Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance

Time: 11:40 - 12:00

Date: 8 June 2021

Theatre: Seminar Room 1

8-june-2021 11:40 8-june-2021 12:00 Europe/London Virtual Reality Games to Engage Stakeholders in the Importance of Microbial Growth on Surfaces and Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance

Bacteria colonise surfaces and secrete sugars (exopolysaccharides) to form a highly organised protective matrix (biofilm). Microorganisms within biofilms show increased resistance to external stresses such as desiccation, disinfectants and antibiotics. The UK 20-year vision for tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) encourages the engagement of many different disciplines to develop solutions, including novel antimicrobial materials to improve infection… Read more »

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Bacteria colonise surfaces and secrete sugars (exopolysaccharides) to form a highly organised protective matrix (biofilm). Microorganisms within biofilms show increased resistance to external stresses such as desiccation, disinfectants and antibiotics. The UK 20-year vision for tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) encourages the engagement of many different disciplines to develop solutions, including novel antimicrobial materials to improve infection prevention control measures.

We formed a muti-disciplinary collaboration between microbiologists, computer scientists and virtual reality developers to create a virtual bacterial biofilm from real experimental data. Our pilot virtual reality game (#VR-Biofilms) is based on confocal microscope images of a real biofilm formed on a glass slide by the opportunistic bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Each pixel was rendered into a virtual reality environment to create a microbial world for the user to explore. We used a mixed-media approach with real experimental footage, 360 video, audio and graphic design. The game takes the user through a real biofilm experiment and demonstrates how incorrect antibiotic use can drive AMR. We have trialled the game during lectures, science festivals and stakeholder events, with very positive responses from target audience, parents and healthcare practitioners. This tool could also help to engage with manufacturers of antimicrobial surfaces designed to reduce bacterial contamination, damage or blockage of pipes caused by bacterial biofilms.

VR-Biofilms is part of a wider platform of alternative outreach activities (“The MICROBIhOME”), which includes live microbial DNA sequencing, hands-on bacterial art and augmented reality environments. This approach aims to broaden the reach of engagement on AMR, but also to nurture multi-disciplinary thinking that will inspire the next generation of research to tackle global challenges.

 

Speakers

  • Dr Chloe James Senior Lecturer, Medical Microbiology - University of Salford

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