School of Medical Sciences


3D teaching animations of the kidney

This project aims to develop animated 3D educational material to complement teaching methods for Medical and Health Sciences students at the University of Auckland.

The current project is on the organisation and function of the kidney tubules, expanding and building upon previous 3D animated models "The Kidney Filter" and "The Organisation of the Kidney and its Role in Control of Blood Pressure".

The animation will complete our description of kidney organisation and provide a framework to progress the software into an interactive and multidisciplinary package.

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The kidney nephron.
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Cells involved in blood pressure control by the kidney.

Teaching and learning research

Learning research has shown that visualising processes in 3D is far more valuable for long term memory retention than traditional methods.

Several small pilot studies with medical, science and pharmacy students have already indicated that the kidney animations enable students to gain a better concept of kidney structure, function and physiological processes compared with traditional teaching methods.

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Blood supply to nephrons of the kidney.

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Primary cilia on cells of the renal tubules.

Understanding 3-Dimensional relationships

To obtain the information required to develop 3D images, investigation of kidney structure at the gross and microscopic levels has been necessary.

In turn, knowledge gained from these animations will provide a greater understanding of:

  • The 3D relationship between epithelium and the connective tissue interstitium, and their importance for the mechanisms of kidney rejection related to fibrosis.
  • The 3D nature of primary cilia on kidney epithelial cells and their relationship to kidney diseases.

People involved:

Assoc Prof Cynthia Jensen (PI)
Andrew Chung (Animator)
Dr Nataly Martini (PI)

Funded by:

The University of Auckland

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