Centre for Inflammation Research

CIR collaboration with Edinburgh College of Art – Operation Colodenum

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research are developing a new, online vaccine-themed learning resource, in collaboration with local schools and animation students from the Edinburgh College of Art.

three cartoon images of planets and alien-like creatures and the text "Operation Colodenum", two photos of animation students

The interactive, discovery-based schools resource, currently named “Operation Colodenum,” is a collaborative project led by Professor Donald J. Davidson and Public Engagement Manager Molly Osborn.

The resource is designed to help teach infectious diseases biology, the concept of microbiome, immunology, and the science of antibiotics and vaccines, and to create learning extension opportunities related to some of these core research interests of the Centre.

Aimed principally at young learners aged 9 – 12, the online resource will feature a team problem-solving game (piloted in the Midlothian Science festival pre-pandemic as a board game), embedded quizzes and information videos (which members of the IRR Schools Public Engagement Committee recently had fun filming with green screens), and accompanying classroom materials.

Development of the resource has involved consultation with classes of local school pupils and local teachers (led by PhD student Sofia Sintoris), and professional games designers funded by an ISSF3 Seed fund award and British Society for Immunology Communicating Immunology grant.

The resource will also now include an exciting collaboration with Programme Director, Jared Taylor, and his 3rd year Animation students at Edinburgh College of Art, who will design and create cut scene animations for the game. Donald and Molly had an enjoyable morning pitching the concept to the students and are excited to see how this interdisciplinary collaboration can enhance the quality, immersive experience and storytelling components of this resource.

We hope this collaboration with ECA can be a stimulating precursor for future joint projects, maximising the potential of animation in communicating our research and increasing its impact.

Professor Donald Davidson, MBChB PhDChair of Host Defence & Inflammation Biology / Centre Academic Lead for Public Engagement

This is a very important project for our students, we hope it helps transition them to a stage in their learning where they are considering the benefits and impact of their work in helping others. The to and fro of listening to a client’s needs and responding creatively to address those needs is fundamentally important for all designers, and it’s lovely to be able to situate this learning within a project that helps colleagues from the wider University community.

Jared Taylor, MA(RCA) FHEAProgramme Director (Animation), Edinburgh College of Art

Operation Colodenum will be freely available globally, non-profit making, creative commons licenced and expected to launch in spring 2023.


Professor Donald Davidson and Jared Taylor with 9 undergraduate ECA animation students
Professor Donald Davidson and Jared Taylor with 9 undergraduate ECA animation students