Plan Your Visit

The Studio

Science in Action: I-LABS

The Studio showcases the latest in health-related research occurring in the Pacific Northwest. The featured theme and content in The Studio changes every six months, giving you an opportunity to learn about new advances in health research and the methods, challenges and opportunities associated with scientific innovation.

In The Studio, you can hear visiting scientists discuss their research efforts in the health sciences and learn about the cutting-edge science that is advancing understanding about health and wellness. You also have the opportunity to explore health-related careers.


Science in Action: I-LABS at Pacific Science Center

How does science really happen? We hear about data, but where does it come from, what does it actually look like, and what happens after it’s collected?

Come check out Science in Action, an exhibit created with a group of researchers from the University of Washington’s Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS). These scientists are studying how bias and stereotypes affect young children. During staffed hours, you can talk with scientists-in-training who are eager to answer your questions and share stories about how research works in the real world.

Unconscious biases, the preferences and prejudices that happen in our brains automatically, without us noticing, impact all of us. Our underlying beliefs affect our academic and professional performance, social interactions, and how we respond to stress. I-LABS researchers have found that unconscious biases about gender, academic achievement, and one’s self form at an early age. The I-LABS team aims to pinpoint the developmental phase when attitudes, stereotypes, and self-esteem solidify so they can design age-appropriate activities to combat bias.

In the exhibit, find out exactly what unconscious biases are and how they form. Learn about your own unconscious biases through on-screen interactives and consider your attitudes about math as you play a multi-person spinning pattern puzzle! Depending on the current I-LABS study, you might even be able to contribute to their research.

Science in Action allows you to interact directly with researchers, support their work, and become more aware of the process and relevance of local scientific research.



Past Exhibits

Past Exhibits

Vaccines & Immunity: It Takes a Community
December 9, 2017 – January 6, 2019

Vaccines save lives.

In the past 100 years, the creation and use of vaccines have dramatically decreased death and disabilities of from infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, polio, and smallpox.

But for vaccines to be effective, it takes a community. To prevent the spread of highly contagious diseases, such as measles, 95% of the people in a community need to be vaccinated to give greater protection to everyone, both the vaccinated and vulnerable people, especially those who can’t be vaccinated (like babies) or those who have weakened immune systems (like chemotherapy patients).

Would you recognize measles, mumps, or whooping cough if you saw them? In the exhibit, see images and learn about the life-altering complications of these and other diseases. Play the Chicken-poxing video game and discover your body’s natural response to disease. Learn how vaccines stimulate that response so you gain immunity without actually getting sick. Run a simulation of measles spreading through communities with different vaccination rates to witness herd immunity in action.

To learn more about vaccines, community immunity, and amazing Seattle institutions leading the way in vaccine innovations, visit the newest exhibit inside The Studio, located in Wellbody Academy at Pacific Science Center. The Studio is a changing exhibit space showcasing the work of local scientists through a combination of digital media, graphics, objects, interactive displays, and live programs.

Surgery + Innovation = A Better Way to Operate
June – December, 2017

Surgeons heal diseases and repair injuries by cutting, reshaping, and stitching your body—it can be a big deal. However, modern innovations in surgery are allowing surgical teams to repair and heal with less trauma to patients.

In our latest exhibition, Surgery + Innovation = A Better Way to Operate, explore advances in surgical training, patient empowerment, and surgical methods that are improving patient outcomes and, in some cases, may lead to a future where ailments that previously required surgery no longer do.

Discover how research teams here in the Northwest are making realistic simulations of human body parts to help surgeons develop critical skills. How’s your manual dexterity? In the exhibit, practice training to do minimally invasive surgery like surgeons do by using pinchers to move blocks within a box. Learn how empowering patients to make lifestyle changes before surgery and to monitor themselves with their smart phones after surgery leads to better outcomes. Examine surgical tools and activate a step-by-step simulation of a procedure that fixes a damaged blood vessel by threading tools through the body instead of creating an incision.

To learn more about innovations in surgery and the important research happening in our region, visit the newest exhibit inside The Studio in Wellbody Academy at Pacific Science Center. The Studio is a changing exhibit space showcasing the work of local scientists through a combination of digital media, graphics, objects, interactive displays, and live programs. Exhibits change twice a year.

Play: It’s Good For Everyone
December 10, 2016 – June 4, 2017

Play is important to our mental health—for people of all ages, not just kids.

It’s an essential part of being human. Play relaxes us and encourages the development of our creativity, problem solving, and negotiation skills, as well as strengthens social bonds—and it’s just plain fun.

In Play: It’s Good For Everyone, you’ll learn about the work of local scientists studying play. One found that playing in sync can lead to more cooperative behavior, while another is looking at video games designed by scientists that may help treat depression in adults. Local researchers also found that playing with robotic cats helped reduce seniors’ social isolation.

So, roll up your sleeves and exercise your play muscles in the exhibit—tell a story with toy animals, build fantastic creations with blocks, try to drum in sync with someone else, and play a board game where you make up all of the rules!

This exhibit was created with the support of a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institutes of Health.

Healthy Water, Healthy You
June 11 – November 27, 2016

You might take it for granted you can fill a glass with tap water and drink it safely. But where does that water come from? Where has it been? What’s in it—and how does it affect your health?

Our bodies are composed mostly of water; we need water for healthy blood, bones, muscles and brains. But if the water we drink isn’t clean, we can get sick—from bacteria and viruses; parasites such as giardia; chemicals such as mercury and lead; and industrial contaminants including PCBs and BPA.

Your glass of drinking water is the same water that, at some point in the hydrologic cycle, has rained on the Himalayas, been drunk by a dinosaur, watered our lawns, or cooled a nuclear power plant. Less than one percent of all our planet’s water is available for us to use. That tiny amount gets recycled over and over again—which is why we should protect it.

In Healthy Water, Healthy You, follow the journey of rain and snow in the Cascades through the Cedar River Municipal Watershed which provides all the water for 1.4 million people in the Seattle area. See how our water is treated to make it safe for drinking, and get tips on keeping our community’s water supply clean. (For starters, pick up pet poop, never put medication down the drain and bag your trash properly.)

Learn how stormwater runoff, the rain that runs off our lawns and streets, can carry pet poop, toxic auto pollutants, fertilizers, pesticides and trash straight to our rivers and oceans. The result? Closed beaches, shellfish contaminated by fecal bacteria, toxic algal blooms and poisoned salmon and orcas.

A new way forward – cancer research in Seattle
January – June, 2016

There are about 14.5 million cancer survivors in the U.S. That’s almost five times as many as back in 1971 when the War on Cancer was declared. Advances in research play a vital role in this improvement. Seattle has a long history of fighting cancer. A new way forward—cancer research in Seattle delves into how local researchers, doctors and scientists are exploring exciting new treatments. Some of these treatments engage the patient’s own immune system while others use genetic information to choose the treatment that might work best. Discover how scorpion venom helps scientists shine a light on tumors. Learn about these new therapies that may reduce the need to use today’s standard treatments at all.

Meet Your Microbes!
June – December 2015

There are trillions of organisms living in and on your body. And it’s OK. In Meet your Microbes! learn about the microscopic organisms that help you digest food, process vitamins, protect you from infection or even, sometimes, make you sick.

Local researchers and physicians are working together to figure out what these little guys are doing and how we can help them help us. In Meet Your Microbes! guess where different microbes live on your body, how many live inside you, and how much they weigh. Zoom in on your microbes to see how big they really are.

Food Allergies: Game On
Fall 2014-June 2015

How do foods such as peanuts and shellfish have potentially deadly side effects for some and not for others? Food Allergies: Game On investigates what causes allergies and why some are potentially deadly.

Local medical researchers and allergy physicians are working together to shed light on to food allergies and how to create better treatments. In Food Allergies: Game On, learn what happens when you have an allergic reaction; investigate how scientists are working to stop allergic reactions in their tracks; discover food allergies from around the world and compare them to those in our backyard; explore how your immune system identifies “invaders” and the research that combats these dangerous allergic reactions.

Additional resources:

Building A New You: Harnessing The Power Of Stem Cells
June 2014 – December 2014

The exhibit explores the stem cells in YOUR body right NOW and also what scientists are doing to stem cells in labs in the hopes of curing diseases. It features local Seattle labs – the Chuck Murry Lab at the University of Washington, which works with heart stem cells and hopes to treat cardiovascular disease in people – the Colleen Delaney Lab at The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center uses donated umbilical cord blood to cure leukemia – and across a few labs in the Seattle area scientists are creating a “kidney on a chip,” which is a model kidney for use in drug testing. Come and explore how your stem cells help grow and repair your body on a daily basis, while also seeing what these amazing little cells can do in a lab.

Disease Detectives: West Nile Virus in Washington
December 2013 – June 2014

Have you ever wondered were diseases came from, how you found them, how you tracked them? Come join the hunt for West Nile virus in the newest Studio exhibit, Disease Detectives: West Nile Virus in Washington. Find out how new research at Washington State University and ongoing monitoring at the State Health Department are helping to keep you safe. Visit The Studio within Wellbody Academy to use your detective skills to find out which mosquitoes can transmit the virus, how the virus infects people, and what you can do to protect yourself!

Minds and Machines
June 2013 – December 2013

Spurred by new understanding of how the brain works, local science labs are learning how to use brain signals to compensate for injury or lost function. In Minds and Machines, you’ll meet several of these scientists and learn what’s at the cutting edge of neuroscience research. Visit The Studio within Wellbody Academy to use your brain waves to compete against another player in Mindball, check out neuroscience-related jobs on the Career Machine and see a real human brain.

Next Generation Genetics
October 2012 – June 2013

Spurred by advances in technology, local scientists are making new discoveries about how and when our genes contribute to health and disease. In Next Generation Genetics, you’ll meet several of these scientists and learn what’s at the cutting edge of genetics research.

Global Health
June 2012 – February 2013

The Studio opened in June 2012 in a temporary location with an exhibit on Global Health. All people desire a healthy life for themselves and their families, and attaining a good standard of health for all people is one of the goals of Global Health. This exhibit examines how scientists’ research in the Pacific Northwest is positively impacting the health of people around the world.


The Studio features daily hands-on activities led by Pacific Science Center staff on select topics in the health sciences. On the first Saturday of most months, you can talk with local scientists at Scientist Spotlight. These programs are included with general admission. Check out the Calendar of Programs and Events


Volunteer Opportunities

We work with local scientists to create exciting exhibit and programs that focus on current health science research. If you are a scientist or researcher in the Seattle area looking to get involved, we invite you to learn more about this excellent program.

For more information please contact Beth Gibson, Media & Content Specialist for Portal to the Public, or (206) 443-3357.



The Studio Supporters
This project is supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institutes of Health and a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.