Gibbons Student Salomé Lepez Da Silva Duarte ’19: Animating Lab Techniques

Sam DSDL’s video above presents technical information on RNA interference with colorful animated paintings, photos and live-action video.

To help students visualize complex neuroscience concepts and lab techniques, Salomé “Sam” Lepez Da Silva Duarte ’19 received a Gibbons grant this summer to create a series of short animated videos for neuroscience students.

Hadley Horch, associate professor of biology and director of Bowdoin’s neuroscience program, asked Duarte to make the videos, particularly for students in her Molecular Neuroscience course. “Because everything is happening at the molecular level, it can be quite hard for students to visualize,” Horch said. “Animations or cartoons are really helpful for students to understand what is happening at the molecular level.”

In addition, Hadley has asked Duarte to show off some of the student work in the neuroscience labs in an “engaging and accessible” way, she said. “I thought Sam’s charming animations and story telling skills could be really helpful for us!,” she added.

Duarte took Hadley’s Molecular Neuroscience class last semester. Already an experienced filmmaker, she said she was eager to work on the videos this summer, in part to practice making animated shorts. Plus, she added, “I love art and science, and I wanted to find a way to combine the two .Animation and film seemed to be the best media to make that relationship accessible and entertaining.”

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