Peer Reviewed Publications

Immune Attack players perform better on a test of cellular immunology and self confidence than their classmates who play a control video game.
 Peer reviewed research paper on effects of playing Immune Attack. We asked whether players answer Molecular Biology and Cell Biology questions better or worse than their classmates who did not play. We also asked whether students who played Immune Attack felt as confident as their classmates about their ability to understand cell biology diagrams.
Get the paper.  One page summary: Download PDF

Students Designing Video Games about Immunology: Insights for Science Learning.
 High school kids learning programming in a summer school class in Washington, DC, show interest in molecular and cellular biology. Melanie Stegman acted as a scientist asking for a game about neurons, answered student questions about all biology aspects. Neda Khalili interviewed students, read their daily journals and analyzed their presentations of their final video games. High levels of engagement with the scientist were found as well as a high degree of confidence with the material.

Melanie Stegman 2018 Resume

Other publications

National Academies of Science. Envisioning the Future of Health Professional Education:
Workshop Summary, 2015. 
 Direct link to the section on games.

American Society of Cell Biology (ASCB) Annual Meeting, 2015. Poster number P835.

Invited Presentations

Invited speaker, the Koshland Museum of Science, STEM/STEAM Game Community Event. Washington, DC. This is a 15 minute summary of my research and goals for a general audience. This introduces the tip of the iceberg.  Get my slides at SlideShare.  You can see my talk and the other very inspirational talks at The Marian Koshland Museum of Science website!

IGDA Seattle Monthly meeting
Topic: How to evaluate Intuitive Learning that occurs in a video game: using intuitive learning as a marker for success in science learning game development.

Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity, Paris France.  I was a mentor for the Leadership Program.  I discussed how games can teach concepts that are complex and require an intuitive understanding.

National Institutes of Health, Got Game? Conference on games in biomedical science research and education. Washington, DC.  I lent my voice to the chorus of presenters showing that games have an extremely positive impact on learning and health.

Molecular Simulations and Visualizations, Faraday Discussion 169, Royal Society of Chemistry, Nottingham, England.  I presented my peer reviewed paper on high school students who played Immune Attack, see above. View my slides here:


Serious Play, Seattle, WA.2012

eTech Ohio, annual conference.Association of Medical Illustrators, annual conference. My abstract is here. I spoke about using games to introduce a wider audience to the wealth of detail available about molecular biology.Society for Scholarly Publishing, annual conference. I spoke about games as novel ways to present and engage an audience with data.2011

Technologies in Education Forum, The Atlantic.  (See minute 32)  I spoke in a panel with some leaders in the educational game space.Games in Science Education, Conference at Rice University, organized by Leslie Miller, Ph.D. at The Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning.Microcomputers in Education   This conference is held in Arizona each year. I was invited by Debbie Kovesdy, who is an effective and enthusiastic education technologist.  Her GenYes students are Immune Defense beta testers.

Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) conference, Toronto, Canada.  I was really honored to be asked to resent my work to the people I have respected and admired since I started studying biochemistry in 1998.  Medical Illustrators bring science concepts to the public in a straightforward way, with no metaphors, all data and beauty.  I love them.  And they have a really fun conference and warm inviting culture!



Other Presentations

TV New report(Video) by the American Institute of Physics in which I explain how Immune Attack teaches.

Games, Learning and Society Presented Immune Attack and learning data, with conclusions that influence our next game, Immune Defense.

American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS I presented Immune Attack and evidence for learning and confidence gained by players.

Integrating Science Content into Video Game Design, paper presented at the World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA).  Neda Khalili, Asia Williams, Kevin Clark & Kimberly Sheridan of George Mason University and Melanie Stegman. This is the 2011 paper described above.

My first talk at FAS about using video games to teach biology. Immune Attack – The Concept from Scientists and Engineers for America.

American Society for Cell Biology, (ASCB) annual meeting. I presented my poster about the learning and confidence gained by students playing Immune Attack.  Citation: Stegman, M.A. (2009). Immune Attack, a Video Game in the Molecular World. Mol. Biol. Cell 20 (suppl), 2356.

Bonus video of me at the funny event held by the American Society of Cell Biology (ASCB), called “Cell Slam.”  Folks present their research in a three minute Slam. I got my first round of applause just for being a biochemist at the cell biology meeting, it was a pretty easy crowd. I got second place for my slam called, “Why I make Video Games.”

Business Plan:
This is my first pitch. I was super nervous, but this is my current, 2018 plan to get my little molecular video game company off the ground. If you would like to help or to hear more, please contact me, Melanie at


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  1. […] ‘Can’t educational games be fun?’. Melanie has published much in the way of research, as well as an article about why she does what she […]

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