Academic Tom Wilkinson has been honoured for helping to develop inspirational ways of teaching immunology to students during Covid.
Besides introducing immunology across all years and programmes, he was also part of the team which created a special set of resources for remote learning. This led to him being recognised at the British Society for Immunology (BSI) inaugural awards and named one of the two joint winners of the Teaching Excellence Award.
Dr Wilkinson, from Swansea University Medical School, played a key role in the development of the Wales Immunology Teaching Toolkit, a suite of resources designed to ensure students could learn the key immunology techniques and experimental procedures even when they were unable to be in the lab due to Covid.
One of these resources, a virtual flow cytometer, was so successful that it became a permanent feature of the course and is now available to be adopted across the UK and Ireland at other institutions.
Dr Wilkinson, who also leads the University’s microbiology and infectious disease group, described his award as a great honour.
He said: “I am really glad that the BSI recognised the importance of developing new simulation materials for improved immunology teaching at undergraduate level.
“As with any award I am part of a team and would like to acknowledge the support of Dr Nigel Francis, from Cardiff University, and our gifted learning technologist Dave Ruckley at Swansea. Going forward we hope to further refine our teaching simulations which we published last year.
“This would involve the use of the simulations at other universities in the UK, so that we can further learn about their role in undergraduate teaching.
“While I enjoy the live interaction in lectures and practicals with the students, the pandemic meant we needed to find other ways to engage and encourage learning and these laboratory research-inspired simulations and resources will be useful aids to support students before they enter wet labs for the first time.”
The BSI Immunology Awards celebrated the remarkable achievements of individuals and teams currently shaping the future of immunology with eleven winners revealed at a special ceremony.
BSI Chief Executive Doug Brown said: “We are thrilled to recognise the achievements of these extraordinary individuals. Each of them dedicates their time and expertise to shaping the future of immunology, in many cases away from the limelight. Their efforts will ensure a brighter future for our field.”