PLOS Pathogens discusses Celldance’s winning video and scientific communication with Meningococcus research and author Dr.Guillaume Duménil
Every year, The American Society for Cell Biology (ACSB) provides an avenue for researchers worldwide to enrich their science communication skills and spread the excitement and impact of their research through its Celldance program. This program, supported by the ASCB Public Information Committee and PLOS, invites ASCB members to submit videos detailing their cell biology research to engage and educate the public. This year, two videos made it through the program: “We Know Life by Motion” from Dyche Mullins, University of California, San Francisco and Lillian Fritz-Laylin, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and “Neisseria meningitidis: at home inside human capillaries” from Guillaume Duménil, Institut Pasteur, France.
Dr. Duménil and lab have previously worked with PLOS as the authors of two papers published in PLOS Pathogens. These papers, “Adhesion of Neisseria meningitidis to Dermal Vessels Leads to Local Vascular Damage and Purpura in a Humanized Mouse Model” and “Neisseria meningitidis Type IV Pili Composed of Sequence Invariable Pilins Are Masked by Multisite Glycosylation,” both detail research on the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis also known as Meningococcus, a bacterium responsible for fast evolving sepsis and meningitis. This bacterium is also highlighted in the Duménil lab’s winning Celldance video, which describes several unique characteristics of this bacterium, including the cell plasma membrane reaction to drops of aggregate bacteria.
Dr. Duménil describes the process of creating this video as fun, despite the seriousness of the final product. Although they were aware of the vision they were trying to produce, more preparation than they realized was required for the video, including “how much information needs to go in a storyboard, which image is shown, and how much time.” Every instant of their video needed to be perfectly defined and Dr. Duménil credits everyone for their contributions, specifically thanking Arthur Charles-Orszag and Daria Bonazzi for the time they put into this project.
Dr. Duménil sees programs like Celldance as “a fun and attractive way to talk about science to a broad audience” and advocates science communication as something that needs to be done convincingly and more often.
The PLOS Pathogens’ series Research Matters, (also for PLOS Biology) similarly provides scientists the opportunity to explain their history and emphasize why their research matters to a broad audience.
This “communication to a broad audience,” states Dr. Duménil regarding his Celldance video, “is a great way to keep in mind the ‘big picture’ that ties together the ‘details’ that we study during our research.” Dr. Duménil also acknowledges these types of communication as increasingly relevant in the midst of “growing skepticism towards science in general.”
Thanks to Dr. Duménil and his lab for their video and for taking the time to chat with us about their research!
More from this year’s ASCB Celldance winners, including Dyche Mullins, can be found on the Official PLOS Blog.