Development of a virtual environment for teaching and learning biomedical techniques and equipment for the study of human pathogens.


An international innovative teaching group from different EU Universities (De Montfort University, Leicester, UK; University of San Pablo CEU, Madrid, Spain; University of Miguel Hernandez, Elche, Spain) and biomedical scientists registered by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC, UK) are developing a complete e-learning package in medical parasitology for undergraduate and postgraduate students that study Health Sciences. This package, named DMU e-Parasitology, is accessible through the DMU website ( and will present different modules including a virtual laboratory module for the study of traditional and novel biomedical laboratory techniques and equipment for detecting, identifying and studying human pathogens, specifically parasites. These techniques could also be potentially used to study other pathogens such as bacteria or viruses. The virtual biomedical laboratory is under development, but is available in the DMU website here: To develop this new module of the DMU e-Parasitology, we are using Storyline 360 software and the scaffolding and methods used to build the theoretical module (Peña-Fernández et al., 2017) [1]. To facilitate the navigation, study and comprehension of the final user, we have divided the virtual laboratory into a series of sub-sections that include different units; the sub-sections so far are: microscopes (with units such as the electron microscope); molecular biology (e.g. polymerase chain reaction and gel electrophoresis); biological safety cabinets and cell/parasite culture; biochemical and immunological techniques (e.g. magnetic immunoseparation); histology (e.g. microtome) and staining techniques (e.g. Kinyoun staining). The virtual laboratory units are highly interactive and present short videos of academics and/or technicians working in real conditions with the different laboratory equipment such as a thermocycler, a microtome, or a biological safety cabinet, as well as performing a specific technique such as a staining to determine pathogens. Therefore, the user of this virtual environment will receive a complete and “real” experience of the work in a biomedical laboratory. The DMU e-Parasitology package, and specifically its virtual laboratory environment, could help technicians and students across the world to learn how to work in a biomedical laboratory as well as to perform techniques to identify and diagnose human pathogens such as microsporidia or Plasmodium spp. Thus, the virtual resource is supported by a virtual library that includes a real collection of clinical slides that will provide the user with the functionality of a light and/or an immunofluorescence microscope. In conclusion, the virtual laboratory may serve as a high quality and reliable on-line environment for the learning of techniques and equipment. These resources can be used to improve the learning of undergraduate and postgraduate students of human health sciences as well as to develop CPD training. Moreover, the virtual laboratory module may impact in the teaching of laboratory techniques and skills in developing countries due to their limited resources. This communication will explore the design and development of the virtual laboratory environment that will be publicly accessible by the end of 2018.



dmu e-parasitology, virtual laboratory, biomedical laboratory, medical parasitology


Peña-Fernández, A., Fenoy, S., Evans, M.D., Sgamma, T., Hurtado, C., Izquierdo, F., Randles, M., Young, C., Acosta, L., del Aguila C. (2018) Development of a virtual environment for teaching and learning biomedical techniques and equipment for the study of human pathogens. EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp.7249-7253.


Research Institute

Institute for Allied Health Sciences Research
Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)