Research Questions

  • How can we effectively convey the complex dynamics associated with actin assembly and cell motility to the novice learner?
  • Is animation an effective modality for doing this?


  • This animation explores the actin cytoskeleton assembly with a discussion of 3 phases: nucleation, elongation, and steady state and their role in the assembly of actin filaments
  • We examine the structure of filopodia and lamellipodia
  • Finally we discuss the role of protrusion, adhesion, and contraction in cell movement

Dynamic changes in the actin cytoskeleton work in concert to enable cell motility.


Donghwi (Felix) Son (MScBMC Student)

Jodie Jenkinson (Supervisor)

Marc Dryer (Committee member)

Gaƫl McGill (Committee member)

Susan Keen (Committee member)

About this research project

This animation, by MScBMC student Felix Son, is a collaboration between University of Toronto (Jenkinson & Dryer), UC Davis (Keen), Harvard Medical School (McGill), and Purdue University (PhD candidate Kevin Wee). The animation was created for use in undergraduate biology at UC Davis. The interactions between the visualization designer (Son) and team members throughout the development process were recorded and analysed by Kevin Wee. As well, Wee evaluated the efficacy of the visualization at various points during production with undergraduate students at Purdue University.