Touching Triton® celebrates growing success, support

Touching TritonTouching Triton®, a free online educational activity developed at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, has marked new success with an award nomination, publication in a peer-reviewed journal, renewed support from Lockheed Martin and popular teacher training sessions.

“It feels pretty incredible to have put in four and a half years into a project and then see it all come together to achieve what you had dreamed,” said Adam Hott.

Hott worked with Educational Outreach colleagues Kelly East and Madelene Loftin to design Touching Triton. The entertaining and educational game builds understanding of common complex disease risk, influenced by factors from family history, environment and genomic data. Students synthesize data from these sources to inform lifestyle choices and medical intervention strategies in the setting of a long-duration space flight mission.

To play Touching Triton online, please visit:

Touching Triton competes in Serious Games Showcase and Challenge

Touching Triton was a finalist in the 2015 Serious Games Showcase & Challenge held at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) held in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 30-Dec 4, 2015. The challenge recognized outstanding examples of games designed to be both entertaining and educational.  

“It is a huge honor to be selected as a finalist in the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge,” East said before the conference. “We are incredibly proud of how this game has come to life over the past several years and are excited to be able to share it with the judges and attendees of I/ITSEC 2015.”

Read more about the Serious Games Showcase and Challenge nomination.

American Biology Teacher publishes study on effectiveness of Touching Triton

American Biology Teacher, a publication of the National Association of Biology Teachers, published a study in January 2016 on the outcomes of Touching Triton. The paper outlines the demonstrated effectiveness of the instructional game.

“Research tells us students often have misconceptions about complex genetics concepts,” Loftin said. “So our goal was to provide educators with an engaging tool that allows students to interact with those concepts in ways that address those misconceptions.”

The Touching Triton paper is a feature article in the publication. “We could provide Touching Triton training sessions every week for a couple of years and still not reach the same number of educators who will read this single publication,” said Neil Lamb, PhD, vice president for educational outreach at HudsonAlpha. “Being able to widely disseminate the details of this study is an excellent way to expand the project’s reach.”

Read more about the Touching Triton study.

Touching Triton training sessions reach 165 teachers

Educational Outreach team members lead teachers through the Touching Triton training at HudsonAlpha in January.

HudsonAlpha’s Educational Outreach team hosted a Touching Triton teacher training session on Tuesday, January 26, at the Institute. Hott, Loftin and East guided educators through the activity, demonstrating how it can be used in science classrooms.

The training reached 57 teachers from 35 high schools in 15 Alabama counties who annually teach nearly 8,000 students. All of the training sessions combined have reached 165 teachers.

“My hope for Touching Triton is that it becomes an activity that is used in classrooms across the country and around the world,” Hott said.

The next free, one-day training session for Touching Triton is planned for Thursday, April 7, in Mobile, Alabama. To learn more or to register for the session, visit

Lockheed Martin continues support of Touching Triton

Lockheed Martin renewed its support of Touching Triton in October with a $20,000 donation to help launch the game on a national stage. The global security and aerospace company began collaborating on the educational game with HudsonAlpha in 2014 as a way to engage students in mathematics and engineering.

“From the beginning of this project, Lockheed has been an integral part of the whole game,” Hott said. “With their continued support, Touching Triton could soon be in classrooms across the nation improving students’ knowledge of common complex disease risk.”

Word of the educational game is spreading. Touching Triton has more than 5,200 student accounts and is adding more every day.