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Toll-like Receptor 4 signaling pathway- A web and lecture based animation


Content expert: Dr. Dana Philpott 

Supervisor: Professor Nick Woolridge

Committee member: Professor Marc Dryer

Project Background

The mammalian immune system is a multi-layered system that comprises of the physical barriers, the inate immune system and the adaptive immune system. The innate immune system is the first line of defense against pathogens in humans and facilitates the body’s adaptive immune response. To progress in the field of immunology, it is needless to say that students must have a clear understanding of the innate immune system. The undergraduate’s grasp of fundamental concepts is often hindered by the complexity of Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathways, a vital component of the innate immune system. In particular, students have difficulty comprehending the spatial and temporal significance of key signaling events.

To address this communication problem, I propose to create a 3D animation depicting the innate immune system through the visualization of the TLR-4 signaling pathway. This will be the first animation to incorporate accurate molecular models of the TLR-4 signaling pathway.

Target Audience

This animation is targeted to second year undergraduate students studying immunology.


The purpose of this animation is to provide a visual tool that can be incorporated into the undergraduate immunology curriculum. The animation will focus on the TLR-4 pathway because it is the most widely discussed pathway in the second year undergraduate immunology course at University of Toronto (U of T). The animation will be embedded within lectures. They will also be made available to the students online to access at a later date.


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