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YAS members collaborate on science communication project: biofilms.

This summer new YAS members, Dr. Mhairi Towler Director of Vivomotion (, a scientific animation company and Dr. Adam Stokes, an interdisciplinary scientist and engineer, and Director of The University of Edinburgh FabLab, got chatting about potential collaborations at the induction ceremony at the RSE in August. Mhairi had already started working with existing YAS member Dr. Nicola Stanley-Wall from the College of Life Sciences at University of Dundee, to realise her vision for a special exhibition being held in November as part of the Great British Bioscience Festival run by the BBSRC. 


Nicola and Mhairi had produced an animation explaining the process of biofilm formation, along with roller banners, stickers, postcards and T-shirts to help Nicola promote her research at the festival.  They had discussed the idea of making 3D printed models of biofilms for visitors to interact with at the exhibition, but hadn’t found a partner to work with on this.  Enter Adam, who had previously worked with other scientists to make 3D printed models in his FabLab.  Based on a photograph of a biofilm taken in Nicola’s lab, Vivomotion built a 3D model of the biofilm that Adam could use with his 3D printer. The biofilm models were printed and surface treated for Nicola to use at the exhibition (see photo above).  This 3-way collaboration exemplifies one of the aims of YAS, the fostering of interdisciplinary activities with the added benefit that the 6500 visitors to the Great British Bioscience Festival were able to engage with cutting edge research in a hands on way. 


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 Photos by Erin Hardee College Life Sciences University of Dundee



You can see the video produced by Vivomotion below.

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Raphael Heffron is Professor for Global Energy Law & Sustainability at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee. His work is international and combines a mix of energy law, policy and economics.

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