Augusto, Ingrid, Monteiro, Douglas, Girard-Dias, Wendell, dos Santos, Thaisa Oliveira, Rosa Belmonte, Simone Leticia, Pinto de Oliveira, Jairo, Mauad, Helder, da Silva Pacheco, Marcos, Lenz, Dominik, Stefanon Bittencourt, Athelson, Valentim Nogueira, Breno, Lopes dos Santos, Jorge Roberto, Miranda, Kildare, and Guimaraes, Marco Cesar Cunegundes
PLoS ONE. August 15, 2016, Vol. 11 Issue 8, e0161184
Technology application, Biology -- Study and teaching, Biology -- Models, High school students -- Education, Sciences education -- Technology application, and Sciences education -- Study and teaching
Author(s): Ingrid Augusto 1,7, Douglas Monteiro 7, Wendell Girard-Dias 7, Thaisa Oliveira dos Santos 1, Simone Leticia Rosa Belmonte 6, Jairo Pinto de Oliveira 1, Helder Mauad 2, Marcos da [...] The cell biology discipline constitutes a highly dynamic field whose concepts take a long time to be incorporated into the educational system, especially in developing countries. Amongst the main obstacles to the introduction of new cell biology concepts to students is their general lack of identification with most teaching methods. The introduction of elaborated figures, movies and animations to textbooks has given a tremendous contribution to the learning process and the search for novel teaching methods has been a central goal in cell biology education. Some specialized tools, however, are usually only available in advanced research centers or in institutions that are traditionally involved with the development of novel teaching/learning processes, and are far from becoming reality in the majority of life sciences schools. When combined with the known declining interest in science among young people, a critical scenario may result. This is especially important in the field of electron microscopy and associated techniques, methods that have greatly contributed to the current knowledge on the structure and function of different cell biology models but are rarely made accessible to most students. In this work, we propose a strategy to increase the engagement of students into the world of cell and structural biology by combining 3D electron microscopy techniques and 3D prototyping technology (3D printing) to generate 3D physical models that accurately and realistically reproduce a close-to-the native structure of the cell and serve as a tool for students and teachers outside the main centers. We introduce three strategies for 3D imaging, modeling and prototyping of cells and propose the establishment of a virtual platform where different digital models can be deposited by EM groups and subsequently downloaded and printed in different schools, universities, research centers and museums, thereby modernizing teaching of cell biology and increasing the accessibility to modern approaches in basic science.