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Master's Research Project

Illuminating Medulloblastoma

An educational animation about a novel route of medulloblastoma metastasis

Project Concept

 

Medulloblastoma is the most common childhood brain cancer. It has one of the highest mortality rates of paediatric cancers and currently has no targeted treatments. Cancer cells that break off from the primary tumour, known as metastases, are the leading cause of treatment failure and death in medulloblastoma patients. 

 

For over a century, scientists assumed that medulloblastoma metastases travel exclusively in cerebrospinal fluid; however, novel research published by the Taylor Lab at SickKids Hospital in Toronto may revolutionize our understanding of this disease and offers promising leads for the development of new therapies.

Committee

 

Dr. Michael Taylor | MD, PhD, FRCS(C)

Dr. Craig Daniels | Hons BSc, PhD

Prof. Nick Woolridge | BFA, BScBMC, MSc, CMI, FAMI

Prof. Marc Dryer | Hons BA, MSc, MScBMC

Audience

 

Scientific Community: Graduate students, oncologists, researchers, and physicians

Lay Audience: Families of medulloblastoma patients, grant panels, people with interest

Background

The Story

For over a century, scientists believed medulloblastoma only spread through cerebrospinal fluid. New research reveals that medulloblastoma can spread through blood as well! 

The Significance

Understanding that metastases can travel in a previously unknown way is critical for the development of therapies, disease management, and prognosis. 

The Problem

Despite its significance, scientists are largely unaware of this new mechanism. Additionally, there is currently a lack of treatments that target metastases.

The Solution

Research has show that 3D animation can be an effective way to disseminate research findings to the community and increase interest in scientific topics.

The proposed solution — a 3D animation — will be used to visualize novel research on the circulatory route of medulloblastoma metastasis in order to achieve the following goals

1

Disseminate this research to the scientific community

2

Generate interest

to fuel further research

3

Educate a lay audience (e.g. families of patients)

Pre-Production

01

Proposal

Before diving in to the project, I had to understand why animation is an effective medium to carry out my goals, what best practices are used for animation, and how to measure the project's success.

02

Script

The script establishes the story, tone, and use of analogy and metaphor. It is crucial to refine the script as much as possible in order to reduce any possible big changes down the road.

03

Storyboard

Now is where the fun begins! At this point, the script is organized into scenes and image sequences are developed in order to establish the visuals to accompany the story.

04

Animatic

After the scratch narration is recorded, images from the storyboard are sequentially ordered and roughly animated to determine the pacing and basic motion that will bring the story to life.

Production

Storyboard

Modelling

Animation

Composite