David Salt collaborated with Tommy Sors (Purdue University) and Jeremy Friedberg (Spongelab) to develop the Genomics Digital Lab (GDL) as part of a larger Genomics Explorer museum exhibit. Salt's interactive, walk-through plant cell exhibit was co-funded through the 2005 ASPB Education Foundation Grant Awards Program (GAP) and NSF.
Science has now affirmed that GDL is a valuable resource in and of itself. Salt reports, "We used one-third of our GAP award to subcontract Spongelab (then known as vivetechnologies) to program GDL based on a design from Tommy Sors. The agreement between Spongelab and Purdue was that Purdue could use the original GDL free for educational purposes and that Spongelab could develop it further for commercial use. I am happy to say that we have deployed the original GDL in our exhibit to great success and also that Spongelab has gone on to develop the concept further and started to distribute it to a broader community commercially."
Although it is the current Spongelab version of the interactive gaming modules that caught the eye of the 2008 Visualization Challenge reviewers, both game sets are engaging and informative. Sors explains, " game players are submerged deep within a living plant cell to experience the astonishing complexity and beauty of life's most fundamental processes. By testing a virtual plant's survival using different light, gas, and water conditions, the GDL player gets to live through and delight in the molecular changes that occur in the chloroplast, mitochondrion, and nucleus under the different environmental situat
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American Society of Plant Biologists