Cellular Lego Animations

Cool way to teach complicated processes to medical students.

Above is one of Dr. Vandiver’s first videos, and her personal favorite. It shows translation, which is a cellular process in which proteins are synthesized. The piece of mRNA (messenger RNA) at the bottom of the video contains genetic information for building a protein. Each codon, which is a nucleotide triplet, in the mRNA sequence codes for an amino acid, which are the building blocks of proteins. The animation was made with photos from a Nikon CoolPix Camera. 137 photos were animated at two frames per second using a demo version of Boinx software.

You can read an interview with Dr Vandiver, director of the Community Outreach and Education Program at MIT’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences here at popsci.com