About the 2021 Take Your Child to Work Day

The NIH Office of Research Services hosts the annual Take Your Child to Work Day with an aim to inspire the next generation of NIH daughters and sons in grades 1-12 to explore career paths in science and public service at our nation’s medical research agency. 2021 is being held as a virtual event. Registration has closed, but resources provided by NIAID’s 3D Printing and Biovisualization Program are being made publicly available here.

Take Your Child to Work Day virtual event presentation

by Meghan McCarthy, Ph.D., and Phil Cruz, Ph.D., of the NIAID Office of Cyber Infrastructure and Computational Biology

Click here to see a transcript of the video.

PathogenAR: Explore Interactive Stories about Pathogens and Pathogenic Disease

This activity introduces participants to NIAID's PathogenAR smartphone app. Augmented reality (AR) technology combines a real-world view with computer-generated assets. Developed as a means to share mini-stories or "modules" about specific research and pathogen-related topics, PathogenAR presents several concepts such as flu vaccine development, HIV proteins, SARS-CoV-2 virus structures, and a COVID-19 nasal swab test. Participants can download the app by searching “PathogenAR” in the iOS or Google Play stores.

Our presentation also includes an introduction to NIAID’s 3D Printing and Biovisualization Program, part of the NIAID Office of Cyber Infrastructure and Computational Biology. The mission of the program is to support scientists and the public by helping them to better visualize, understand, and communicate complex biomolecular structures and diverse multidimensional datasets through interactive and immersive experiences.

Example of PathogenAR in a mobile device


Learning Resources from the RCSB Protein Data Bank Educational Portal

The Protein Data Bank provides educational and interactive resources in their the PDB-101 Educational Portal. We highly recommend the print-and-fold models as the next best thing to holding a 3D-printed model, and these can be assembled yourself. Printable models can be found here or visit the PDB-101 home page to see more interactive animations, coloring books, and more.

3D Printing and VR/AR at NIAID

image of a 3D COVID-19 model

The NIH 3D Print Exchange is a resource from NIAID to provide an open, community-driven portal to download, share, and create bioscientific and medical 3D models for 3D printing. Visitors will find thousands of models from users shared all over the globe, as well as free web tools that allow anyone to generate 3D-printable representations of molecular and biological structures from scientific databases.

NIAID has worked with virtual and augmented reality (VR, AR) for scientific and medical visualization since 2016. The NIAID Biovisualization Lab was launched in 2018 as a central resource for VR/AR hardware, tools, technical support, and scientific consultation. We support advanced visualization of several different types of raw data using applications designed for the VR and AR experience. We also conduct ongoing research and testing into emerging technologies that enhance data visualization and training with immersive experiences.

Additional information about the 3D Printing and Biovisualization program, including resources for NIAID staff, can be found here

Virtual Reality for Research

Dr. Tom Goddard of the University of San Francisco California is senior developer for the UCSF ChimeraX application for molecular visualization. Tom’s work involves adding virtual reality features to ChimeraX to allow researchers to explore complex structures inside and out. In this video, he explains the structure of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and how it infects human cells.

The ChimeraX application is developed at the UCSF Resource for Biocomputing, Visualization, and Informatics. Visit the UCSF RBVI site to find additional tools and to learn more about their work.

*Mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.