Teaching Innovation Awards Winner

Queen Mary University of London

Centre for Biochemical Pharmacology
Dr. David Gould, Dr. Sadani Cooray


The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated finding different ways of teaching, especially lab practicals. Working with LearnSci, a virtual lab practice experience was developed for use in the second year module Drug Target Identification, taken by BSc Pharmacology and Innovative Therapeutics students.

A combination of LabSims, videos, quizzes, and Smart Worksheets were used to deliver the same practical sessions that students would have experienced in a wet lab prior to the pandemic. One objective for the module was to provide students with practical experience in methods used to study G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs). To meet this objective in the distanced-learning format, a three-part online lab was created through the e-learning platform.

Videos, LabSims, and Smart Worksheets demonstrated principle techniques and methods such as counting cells, cell dilution, preparation of standards of agonist, and dilution of inhibitors. Results were obtained through luminometry and Elisa. Videos and LabSims provided detail of how the results were obtained, and personalised data sets were then given to the students to act as the results. To deliver the same outcome as the wet lab practical, students completed a full write-up which was summatively assessed.

This was a highly successful, fully integrated experience. Students developed their understanding, experienced the practical steps, and received individualised results of a key practical without stepping foot in a lab.