With collaborators at FoAM Kernow (recently re-named “Then Try This”) we have developed a Wellcome Trust funded citizen science project (“Viruscraft“) using visual programming, craft, tangible interfaces and games to explore virus host shifts – where a virus jumps from one host species to another. The online version of Viruscraft is available to play here. 

We held an initial workshop to develop the project in April 2017 (blog here, photos here, prototype development here ) and another in 2018 (blog here). We ran a testing session at the Eden Project’s Invisible Worlds exhibit in January 2019 (full info here). We exhibited the tangible version of Viruscraft at the University of Exeter’s Science in the Square 2019 (blog and photos here). We’ve carried out an evaluation of the project, as well as running ask-me-anything sessions with various groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, which you can read about here. Some additional photos of Viruscraft in action are available on the gallery page

We have also worked with TEDEd and Cabong studios to produce a video and lesson about virus host shifts – you can check it out here or watch the video below (has been watched more the 1.2m times!)

Listen to Ben chatting about host shifts on the “research in review” podcast.


Our research has been featured on:
Virulence following host shifts
Microbiology Society Blog, Science Daily
Phylogenetic determinants of host shifts
BBC TV, BBC Radio Scotland (live interview), BBC online, The Metro, The Scotsman, Science Daily, The Press Association, The Herald, Press and Journal, Edinburgh Evening News, BBSRC website, MSN news, Yahoo News, The West Australian, Rule of 6ix via Nature.com blogs and National Public Radio (USA)