18 March 2022

Escape room at BRIC!

On 15 march 2022, during the brain awareness week, BRIC scientists locked up 30 high-school students within the research centre – To escape, the students had to find a (fictional) cure for Parkinson’s disease!

Brainstorm: A scientific journey

For the students from Roskilde high school to find their way out of the escape room, and find the fictional cure for Parkinson’s disease, they had to go through some of the steps from basic research to innovation, within the field of neuroscience.

It means a lot for our students to come visit and experience how basic neuroscience is conducted, and for them to use their theoretical knowledge in relation to the real world, in a nice environment and supported by talented instructors. It means a lot”, says Ida Thingstrup, Teacher at Roskilde high school.

The idea behind

Main developers of the concept, Navneet A Vasistha (assistant professor in Khodosevich group) and Emilie Tresse-Gommeaux (Assistant professor in Issazadeh-Navikas group) initially got the escape room idea from BRIC outreach coordinator Anne Rahbek-Damm. The final concept was then developed with a focus on introducing the field of neuroscience in a fun way.

“We felt it would be good to introduce school students to how translational research is done by making them go through the steps. Also, combining elements of game-based learning with neuroscience would make it both interesting and informative”, says Navneet A Vasistha.

To this, Emilie adds: “I really liked this escape room idea as it is just not what you anticipate when you think biology in high school. The design was the result of great team work and, while the game is really fun, the contents are still extremely accurate scientifically”.

The 4 different rooms

In the first two rooms, imitating fundamental neuroscience and patient trials, the participants were introduced to the basics of neurological circuits, measuring and recording brain impulses, and comparing microscopy slides of a healthy and disordered brain, from a real BRIC experiment. In this introduction to basic brain antinomy, the students observed the effect from different drugs injected into the brains of mice – looking at which were most effective at resurrecting the damaged brain cells seen in Parkinson’s disease.

For the last two rooms, moving towards translational research and clinical innovation, participants observed animal behavior in mice - from a real BRIC experiment - to compare a healthy and diseased mouse to see how a genetic defect, in for instance Parkinson’s disease, might cause movement abnormalities. Further, the participants were presented with “raw data” on potential drugs tested to improve motor ability for Parkinson’s patients, where they lastly had to conclude which drug would be best to take forward to the clinic.

The event was designed and organized by Khodosevich group and Issazadeh-Navikas group, and funded by the Federation of European Neuroscience Society.