Academic Entrepreneur of the Year 2012
Tom Robertson, associate professor of physiology and pharmacology, is CEO and co-founder of IS3D LLC, which creates revolutionary educational software that shows great promise as a more effective teaching tool in science education. Robertson and his partners began by developing highly realistic, three-dimensional models and animations of basic cell structures and processes, which were designed to replace the traditional two-dimensional illustrations and descriptions used in textbooks and classrooms. Students using this technology showed much higher rates of interest and understanding when compared to peer groups taught the same material with traditional methods. IS3D has since developed even more advanced learning modules that make students active participants in the learning process. Their products allow students to explore three-dimensional spaces inside the human body, collect data from the virtual world, develop their own hypotheses and even play science-themed games on mobile devices. In so doing, students learn about fundamental biological processes such as diffusion, osmosis and filtration.