2018-19 TLTM Award Winner:
ImmuneQuest: Learning Immunology through a Video Game
Immunology is a topic that many students find difficult because of the highly complex nature of the immune system. However, if we are truly training the next class of future biologists and healthcare professionals, it is crucial that they understand how the body defends itself. One of the most difficult concepts to grasp in immunology is the way that all of the pieces of the system work together in the context of an infection. Recently a video game, named ImmuneQuest, was created to help students see what the fight between a pathogen and the body’s defenders might look like. ImmuneQuest incorporates a significant amount of accurate immunology information into a game where students control the cells of the immune response during a bacterial infection. During the game, students must discover info-boxes that contain information about the functions of the immune response and can earn “power-ups” by correctly answering questions on the material. The game uses a turn-based system to demonstrate the dynamic interactions between multiple components of the immune response, including complement proteins, neutrophils, and macrophages, in the fight against a variety of bacteria that try to hide or escape – just like infectious bacteria would do in real-life. The first three levels of ImmuneQuest can be found for free at ImmuneQuest.com but additional levels that incorporate more cells of the immune response must be purchased. I propose to purchase all available levels of ImmuneQuest for installation on Regis computers in a computer lab. ImmuneQuest will be used as a means of encouraging my students to engage with the class material outside of the classroom and as an in-class review technique for both my undergraduate and graduate-level immunology courses.