‘Lab in your phone’ lets you play the scientific life

Screenshot from science game, Dish Life

A unique, free new game – “part Sims, part Tamagotchi” – lets players inhabit a stem cell researcher as they rise through the ranks: growing cells, scientific collaborations, and reputation. 

The scientist inside your phone is having a stressful day. Trying to finish a research paper while keeping a batch of cells alive, the last thing they need is “something funky” in their petri dish.

As demigod of this pocket-based laboratory, what will you do? Feed the famished stem cells, or console an upset colleague? Order the latest lab tech, or book a flight to the big conference?

Now the boss is frantic, your cells are contaminated, and the rest of the lab have disappeared on holiday. Maybe it’s time to seek shelter in the tearoom…

A new phone game from the University of Cambridge puts players in the lab coat of a young stem cell research scientist as they navigate the tough route from undergraduate to the top tiers of modern science. 

Dish Life, launched this week and free to download on iPhone App Store, Android App Store and Steam (PC), has been developed by Cambridge sociologists and stem cell scientists from the University’s Stem Cell Institute. It aims to provide a flavour of the lives and labour behind biotechnological advances. 

“The route to scientific discovery can feel like a mystery to many of us,” said Dr Karen Jent from the ReproSoc group in Cambridge’s Department of Sociology, who led the game’s development. “A lot of people only encounter the process of science through hyperbolic headlines or cinematic tales of the lone genius.”

“We want to use gaming to have a different kind of conversation about science,” said Jent. “Science involves teamwork and care as much as reason and logic. We aimed to create an interactive experience reflecting the nurturing of experiments and building of social relationships at the heart of good science.”

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Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge



The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

University of Cambridge (cam.ac.uk)