Health & Medicine
GLOBE at Night
Six out of 10 people in the US have never seen our Milky Way Galaxy arch across their night sky from where they live. And the problem of light pollution is quickly getting worse. Within a couple of generations in the U.S., only the national parks will have dark enough skies to see the Milky Way.
Too much outdoor lighting not only affects being able to see the stars, but also wastes energy and money, about 2 to 10 billion dollars a year. And it has been shown to cause sleep disorders in people and to disrupt the habits of animals like newly hatched sea turtles that try to find their way back into the ocean but are disoriented by streetlights.
Light pollution may be a global problem, but the solutions are local. To help people “see the light”, an international star-hunting program for students, teachers, and the general public was created called GLOBE at Night. GLOBE at Night is now in its 6th year and is hosted by the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory.
For 2014 we are collecting your observations during all 12 months of the year! See the dates below and plan to get involved.
Through this program, children and adults are encouraged to reconnect with the night sky and learn about light pollution and in doing so, become citizen scientists inspired to protect this natural resource. Teachers like the GLOBE at Night program, because it lends itself to cross-curricular learning: astronomy, geography, history, literature, and writing. The possibilities are great.
Project MERCCURI! Microbes in Space!
Project MERCCURI: Space Station Microbiome and Microbes in Space
Project MERCCURI is a collaboration of UC Davis/microBEnet with the Science Cheerleaders, Space Florida, Nanoracks, NASA, and SciStarter.com. There are three components to the project:
1) Space Station Microbiome. Collecting microbial swab samples from the International Space Station (ISS) and examining the microbial communities therein (via 16S sequencing)
2) Swabbing Sports and Space Events. Collecting swab samples around the country at sporting and other public events from cell phones, shoes, and various surfaces (e.g. keyboards, screens, railings etc.) These will be used for comparison to the ISS samples and for a look at microbial biogeography across a national scale. In collaboration with Jack Gilbert at the Earth Microbiome Project and the Science Cheerleaders who will be organizing and leading the sampling events.
3) Microbial Playoffs. A microbial growth competition on the ISS. A subset of samples collected at public events will be cultured at UC Davis and the “best” microbe from each environment will be sent to the ISS for a “microbial playoffs” competition via Space X on February 22, 2014. A duplicate of this experiment will be conducted on earth and the results compared.
Penn Defibrillator Design Challenge
The Social Media and Health Innovation Lab at the University of Pennsylvania is currently holding a contest called the Penn Defibrillator Design Challenge (www.defibdesignchallenge.com). This project is an initiative at the intersection of public health and public art and is engaging the public to submit designs to surround an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). AEDs are life-saving devices used to shock the heart back to life during cardiac arrest, yet often go unnoticed by passers-by or are misunderstood as only being able to be used by medical professionals. In fact, the devices can be used by anyone and often make the difference between life and death for the cardiac arrest victim.
The first AED design installation launched the contest and is featured now in Philadelphia's iconic 30th Street Station. This design uses "Twitter furniture" spelling #AED to create a conversation space around the AED as well as a conversation space on social media. The below stories show more about the first installation.
Our Radioactive Ocean
The release of radioactive contaminants from Fukushima remains an unprecedented event for the people of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. Help scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reveal the ongoing spread of radiation across the Pacific and its evolving impacts on the ocean.
Clarification for fundraising costs: shipping is about 20% of the cost, the majority being the cesium extraction steps in the lab, radioactivity detection and data processing, along with managing the web site and database.
There are 3 ways to support us:
1) Help us reach our goal by donating to sample an existing site. Simply click on "HELP FUND A LOCATION" and choose to support one of the many sites that are underway
2) Someone can propose a new sampling site. Click on "PROPOSE A LOCATION" and see what is involved. If accepted (we are trying to get spread of locations up/down coast), we as for a donation of $100 and we'll set up a fundraising webpage, add that page to our website, and send you a sampling kit once your goal of $550 to $600 has been reached.
3) We also seek funds for general capacity building and public education activities at CMER: http://ourradioactiveocean.org/support ($20 minimum donation)
GoViral participants who log in and report symptoms weekly using our website or mobile app will get a Do-It-Yourself flu test kit and a saliva collection system that they can keep and use at home if they are feeling sick. The home test detects 4 different kinds of flu and cold viruses, and all samples will be analyzed at a central laboratory that checks for 20 different viral infections. GoViral participants will get the results of their own tests and as well, through the aggregate data, be able to see in real-time what infections and symptoms are going around near them so they can take appropriate public health measures and understand when something might be abnormal.
Independent Generation of Research
IGoR facilitates scientific research by amateur scientists and science enthusiasts. Anyone (not just professional scientists) can propose their own research questions on the IGoR site. Then, other interested people can share ideas, skills, or time to address the question. In addition, a growing number of professional scientists have agreed to help answer users' questions about the users' research projects.
Some people may have science questions that they cannot answer on their own. Other people may have technical skills (e.g. electronics or microscopy, gardening or photography, and many others) that would be useful for addressing those questions. Still others may have the scientific training to design a sound study.
By working together and pooling skills and ideas, people of any experience level could carry out original, independent research. For example, do you want to decipher what scallops see with their bright-blue eyes? Do you wonder how mushrooms take shape? Or are you curious about how the plants in your garden behave? What do you want to discover?
Problem: Scientific citations are frequently constrained by terms-of-use or within proprietary systems making it difficult to see connections in the literature.
Solution: OSF SciNet uses the open source Citelet extension to crowdsource a free, open, and comprehensive metadata dataset of scientific citations and corresponding references to unlock the citation network.
Impact: The dataset generated through this project will make it easier to see the connections in the scientific literature and to promote open science.
Poo Power! Global Challenge
An invitation to 700 school-aged students from 25 different schools has been extended to the wider community to participate in a global competition. Students and classes will be pitched against each other to see who can identify the most and largest dog poo 'hotspots' in their local neighbourhood in the 'Poo Power! Global Challenge'.
Participating schools and students will use their GPS-enabled iPhone to download the free Poo Power! App from the App Store. Their task is to identify and map dog poo 'hotspots' in dog parks and public spaces from their neighbourhood over a 2 week period starting Monday 25 November 2013.
This eyebrow-raising initiative is a collaboration between dog poo entrepreneur Duncan Chew from Poo Power! and Mia Cobb from the Anthrozoology Research Group, recent winner of I'm a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here!
The collected information will be uploaded onto the Global Poo Map and provides a platform for students to discuss the scientific, social and environmental issues of dog waste. The students are then encouraged to write a letter to their local Government representative of their findings and recommendations.
"From our research only 3% of Australians see uncollected dog waste as an environmental concern," explains Duncan Chew. "When it rains, uncollected dog poo gets washed down drains, effecting water quality and habitat for native animals, as well as making rivers and creeks unpleasant for us to visit."
Mia Cobb echoes her enthusiasm for the initiative: "This is the great way to utilise the prize money from winning the IAS competition to raise awareness of new sustainable energy sources, environmental issues and responsible dog ownership while increasing student engagement in a citizen science activity."
The collated information has the poo-tential to identify sites for biogas-powered lights for parks as proposed by the Melbourne-based project, Poo Power!, currently in development. The methane that is released from the dog waste as it breaks down inside a 'biogas generator' can be used as a viable renewable energy source.
Competition prizes and giveaways are up for grabs for the most photo submissions received between 25th November and 9th December 2013.
Visit www.poopower.com.au for full competition details.
Field Photo Library
A photo taken in the field helps scientists and citizens to document changes in landscape, wildlife habitats, impacts of drought and flood and fire, and so on. This Geo-referenced Field Photo Library is a citizen science and community remote sensing data portal, where people can share, visualize and archive field photos in the world. Users can upload, edit, query and download geo-referenced field photos in the library. All photos are also linked with satellite image series images (MODIS), so that people can see the changes over time.
NanoDoc is an online game that allows bioengineers and the general public to design new nanoparticle strategies towards the treatment of cancer. You’ll learn about nanomedicine and explore how nanovehicles can cooperate with each other and their environment to kill tumors. Best strategies will be considered for validation in vitro or in robotico. Are you ready to become a NanoDoc?
Marblar - Super Biotin
Marblar unleashes collective creativity on unused inventions. We post cool science from around the world & let you come up with clever ways to use it. Earn rewards, meet inventors, join startups.
We have found a way to link biotin to a variety of compounds using a bond that is resistant to enzyme degradation, while maintaining biotin's ultra-high affinity to streptavidin.
We’d love to hear what you could come up with in terms of specific applications for it! Given how widely used biotin is in biology, there must be a myriad of other applications out there we haven’t considered yet – can’t wait to hear what you come up with!
A great idea would:
Help Stanford University scientists studying Alzheimer's, Huntington's, Parkinson's, and many cancers by simply running a piece of software on your computer.
The problems we are trying to solve require so many calculations, we ask people to donate their unused computer power to crunch some of the numbers.
The MyEnvironment mapping tools provides immediate access to a cross-section of environmental data for any geographical location in the U.S. Users of the official site can choose the location and environmental issue to examine.
Kinsey Reporter is a global mobile survey platform to share, explore, and visualize anonymous data about sex.
Reports are submitted via smartphone, then explored at http://KinseyReporter.org or downloaded for off-line analysis.
The Kinsey Institute is exploring new ways to record and describe people's sexual experiences worldwide. We are also exploring new ways for people to be connected while protecting their privacy. We hope to reach people with all kinds of different ideas, beliefs, and experiences, and who might be willing to report on sexual behaviors, regardless of who is involved and where it is observed. By using Kinsey Reporter, you contribute to research on human sexual behavior. We ask you to act ethically, in the role of a good journalist or "citizen scientist." Submit what is true and accurate to the best of your ability.
Ideally, you would submit a report within 24 hours of the event you are reporting. The report can be about yourself or someone else. It is all anonymous. Kinsey Reporter includes surveys about various sexual activities and other intimate behaviors. These surveys cover sexual behaviors and events, sexual health issues, violence reports, public displays of affection, and other unique behaviors and experience. A 'survey' in this case is a report of information shared by many individuals on a topic of interest; it is not based on a random or representative sample of a community or population.
To ensure that reported data is strictly anonymous, you can only select among the provided tags when answering a question. However, contact us to suggest new surveys, questions, or tags.
Interactive visualizations of the data are available on the KinseyReporter.org website. The anonymous data we collect is also publicly available to the community via an Application Programming Interface (API), documented on the KinseyReporter.org website. We welcome your feedback.
Kinsey Reporter is a joint project of the world-famous Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction (KI) and the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research (CNetS), both at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Save the Tasmanian Devil
The Roadkill Project was launched in 2009 to help determine how significant the threat of roadkill mortality is to Tasmanian devil populations, particularly those populations already decimated by Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). The Roadkill Project aims to continue to monitor the threat of roadkill mortality and the spread of DFTD and to try to reduce Tasmanian devil roadkill. Involving the public helps to greatly extend our limited resources.
Anyone who is using Tasmanian roads can help by reporting any Tasmanian devil roadkill they see.
The Human Memome Project
We want to be able to find correlations between people's ideas, behaviours and aspirations (all of which we are calling memes) and their health, wellbeing and lifespan.
If we can find ideas, memes, behaviours and aspirations that could potentially increase health, wellbeing and lifespan we use this data to create an academic dataset, educational tools and further citizen science and quantified self practices.
We are not just interested in finding associations with increasing average lifespan, or reaching the current maximum lifespan, but finding ideas and behaviours that may be correlated with increasing maximum lifespan as well as maintaining mutual health and wellbeing.
The dataset will be analysed using inter-disciplinary methods including linguistics, bioinformatics, omics, statistics, machine learning, computational modelling, memetics.
We would like to get at least 1000 participants, and many ideas, behaviours and aspirations per person.
I am a PhD student who has so far funded this project personally to following my passions (longevity science, science outreach and empowering people to be healthy, happy and long lived). I would really appreciate if you could take part and share this project with your friends and family.
What we think and do effects how long we will live and could potentially live - let us work together to find the best thoughts and actions to create a better world!
Come join our ongoing BioPrinter community project!
Did you know you can print live cells from an inkjet printer? Companies like Organovo are developing ways to 3D print human tissues and organs. But the basic technologies are so accessible that we wanted to play around with them ourselves.
We've built our own functioning bioprinter from a couple of old CD drives, an inkjet cartridge, and an Arduino. We probably won't be printing human organs any time soon, but how about printing a leaf from plant cells? Or add a BlueRay laser to turn it into a miniature laser cutter to print "lab-on-a-chip" microfluidic devices. The possibilities are endless - it all depends where *you* want to take it!
Our community projects are open to anyone, and are driven entirely by whoever wants to show up and participate. This is a great opportunity to come check out BioCurious, and jump into some of the projects going on.
This project has something for everyone, whether it's hardware hacking. programming, Arduinos, microfluidics, synthetic biology, plant biology, cell culturing, tissue engineering - you name it! Everyone has something to learn, or something to teach.
iSeeChange: The Almanac
The iSeeChange Almanac is a socially networked weather Almanac for communities to collectively journal their climate experiences -- their observations, feelings, questions, and decisions --- against near-real time climate information.
Founded in April 2012 in Western Colorado, iSeeChange is a public radio and media experiment that fosters multimedia conversations between citizens and scientists about how seasonal weather and climate extremes affect daily American life. From the earliest spring recorded in the history of the United States, a landmark wildfire season, nationwide droughts, and weather records breaking everyday, climate affects every citizen and binds communities together.
iSeeChange is produced by Julia Kumari Drapkin in Western Colorado at KVNF Mountain Grown Community Radio as a part of Localore, a nationwide production of AIR in collaboration with Zeega, with principal funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The People's Choice for Healthcare Delivery
Access to health care and the cost and safety of healthcare services are of critical interest to our country. Physicians and other professional care providers, and academic and community-based hospitals and clinics, are important partners in discovering the best methods to deliver care. Input from patients – the consumers of healthcare services – is also vital. Regenstrief Institute, Inc., an internationally recognized healthcare research organization affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine, is conducting an online contest, inviting submission of original ideas for improving the delivery of health care in the U.S. As an academic institution, we are particularly interested in the ideas of our next generation of young professionals and scientists. The winning idea will be selected by a panel of medical and community-based professionals and researchers, according to the following criteria: innovative idea with measurable impact for healthcare consumers; feasible to implement in the U.S. healthcare system within five years; and compatible with Regenstrief Institute’s mission to improve health through research that enhances the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care. The prize includes a trip for the winner to Indianapolis, Indiana for the idea kick-off at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Regenstrief Institute, Inc.
Librería Metagenómica del Ecuador
We are a group of scientists interested in exploring the potential applications of Ecuador’s unique biodiversity. As a first step, we are working to assemble and apply gene libraries collected from around the country.
uBiome is the world's first effort to map the human microbiome through citizen science.
What's the microbiome? The microbiome are the bacteria that live on and within us. It sounds kind of funny, but all of us are actually covered in helpful germs. Many conditions – from diabetes to depression, asthma to autism -- have been found to relate to the microbiome.
uBiome brings this cutting edge technology directly to consumers for the first time. The more data we collect, the more we can learn about this important area of research. We've been featured so far in Wired, Venture Beat, the Los Angeles Times, Scientific American, BoingBoing, and more.
uBiome was initally crowdfunded on indiegogo: http://www.indiegogo.com/ubiome
AirCasting is a platform for recording, mapping, and sharing health and environmental data using your smartphone. Each AirCasting session lets you capture real-world measurements, annotate the data to tell your story, and share it via the CrowdMap.
Using the AirCasting Android app, AirCasters can record, map, and share:
Using AirCasting Luminescence, these sensor streams can also be represented using LED lights.
The Human Microbiome Project and other microbiome projects worldwide have laid an important foundation for understanding the trillions of microbes that inhabits each of our bodies. However, opportunities for the public to get involved in such research has been limited. Now, American Gut gives you an opportunity to participate and to compare the microbes in your gut to those in the guts of thousands of other people in the US and elsewhere. American Gut is a project built on open-source, open-access principles. Our data are for the good of understanding and will be shared both with participants and with other scientists.
Marblar is unique and fun way to engage in citizen science and exchange ideas across disciplines. Marblar posts research projects in need of creative, real-world applications and they ask YOU to come up with those applications.
Singing up is easy and free and there are new projects added regularly. Projects are posted for three weeks. Through online collaboration, the final solutions are posted for users to vote on and further discuss. Top solutions are even awarded cash prizes!
Beginning November 14 through the end of the year, students ages 13-18 around the globe are invited to participate in “Data Detectives”, an engaging web experience to learn about how Big Data will impact their lives and the world they will be inheriting.
Data Detectives is the student component of the Human Face of Big Data, a global crowdsourced project conceived by “Day in Life” series creator Rick Smolan. It aims to help people better visualize the ways big data is shaping our future on this planet, and includes a smartphone app, worldwide events, a large format illustrated book with an interactive iPad app, and a documentary.
The Data Detectives initiative invites students to answer questions, explore fascinating examples of how Big Data is changing their world, interact with real-time data and see how other students around the globe are impacted in similar and different ways.
There are cures for cancers buried in our data. Help us find them.
Cancer Research UK and the Zooniverse need your help to classify archive cancer samples. We’re on the brink of many new breakthroughs. By giving just a few minutes of your time and a few clicks of your mouse, you can help accelerate our research. By doing so, you are helping us to make these breakthroughs happen faster.
Each image you will see is a tiny tumour sample from a huge dataset. Help our scientists to accelerate the analysis of this data by identifying the coloured sections of the image using our prompts, and bring forward the cures for cancers.
The National Map Corps
The US Geological Survey (USGS) is recruiting volunteers to collect and update USGS geographic data. Similar to how other online crowdsourcing cartographic applications allow anyone to collect, edit, and use geographic data through an online map editor, the USGS has developed an online editor customized to our data needs that allows volunteers to contribute data to The National Map.
We are looking for people like you to work with us to collect data for the USGS. The data you will collect during this project will be loaded into The National Map. If you have access to the Internet and are willing to dedicate some time editing map data we hope you will consider participating!
You do not need to live in any particular area to participate. Our editing guidelines explain how you can contribute data from anywhere.
The chloroplasts inside plant cells appear to "clump" together during bacterial infection; this can be devastating for plants and seriously compromise crop yields. We need your help to classify plant cell images by their "clumpiness" in order to further this research.
Helping us to classify the images will give insights into the progression of bacterial infection in plant cells.
My Air, My Health HHS / EPA Challenge
How do we connect personal devices for testing and reporting of both air quality and linked physiological data? Such a system would enable not only high-resolution mapping of pollutant concentrations, but also support research and reporting of individual physiological responses related to the pollutant.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) [National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)] envision a future in which powerful, affordable, and portable sensors provide a rich awareness of environmental quality, moment-to-moment physiological changes, and long-term health outcomes. Health care will be connected to the whole environment, improving diagnosis, treatment, and prevention at all levels.
Up to four promising projects will win $15k each for their proposals, and one of them will go on to win $100k for the most effective solution.
Deadline: DEADLINE: 10/05/12
Citizens in Space
Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy, plans to fly citizen-science experiments on fully reusable suborbital spacecraft that are now being developed by US companies.
Citizens in Space has acquired an initial contract for 10 flights with XCOR Aerospace, the Mojave, California-based company that is developing the Lynx spacecraft. It expects to acquire additional flights from XCOR and other companies in the future.
Citizens in Space is currently training three astronaut candidates to fly as operators. It will select and train seven additional astronaut candidates over the next 12 to 24 months. Citizens in Space is also inviting citizen scientists to build 100 experiments to fly on those flights, which are expected to begin in late 2013 or early 2014.
In addition to the general call for experiments, Citizens in Space will offer a cash prize for certain experiments deemed to be of special importance.
eButterfly is a citizen science project that helps document butterflies in Canada. By creating a user profile and documenting observed butterflies, citizens can help scientists better understand butterfly distribution in Canada. Users can also track which butterflies they have observed on a dynamic map application, and share photos with the eButterfly community.
The 2,045 eButterfly records of over 170 species help the Canadian Facility for Ecoinformatics Research at the University of Ottawa's Department of Biology better understand how butterflies adapt to environmental change. Eventually, the data you collect will help contribute to the preservation of Canada’s great biodiversity.
THE BROAD PICTURE: The aim of MammalMAP is to update the distribution records of all African mammal species. Through collaborations with professional scientists, conservation organisations, wildlife authorities and citizen scientists across Africa, we consolidate all reliable and identifiable evidence (camera trap records, photographs) of current mammal locations into an open-access digital database. The database software automatically generates online distribution maps of all recorded species which are instantly visible and searchable. The information consolidated within MammalMAP will not only yield crucial information for species conservation policies and landscape conservation policies, but provides an excellent platform for educating the public about African mammals and their conservation challenges.
WHY MAMMALMAP IS NECESSARY: In Africa, our knowledge of mammal distribution patterns is based largely on historical records. However, the last three centuries have seen extensive human-modification of African landscapes with the associated conversion, compression and fragmentation of natural land. With further land development presenting a likely reality for the future, the effectiveness of mammal conservation efforts depends on ecological records being updated so that they accurately reflect mammal distribution patterns in the 21st Century. With MammalMAP we plan to conduct these ecological updates over the coming years, by mapping the current distribution of mammal species (including marine mammals and small mammals) across Africa.
HOW MAMMALMAP CONTRIBUTES TO CONSERVATION: The conservation benefits of this research are multiple. First, the comparison of these updated distribution records with both historical and future records will enable the detection of species’ distribution changes in response to human-related and climate-related habitat changes. These change detections will assist the guidance of continent-wide conservation policies and decision making processes. Second, the research will promote and facilitate interdisciplinary and international collaboration amongst scientists and conservation practitioners, with potential benefits to the advancement of conservation science. Finally, both the project input stage (data collection) and output stage (data dissemination) will offer interactive, dynamic and widely applicable education tools suitable for both formal and informal education sectors.
THE WHERE AND THE HOW OF MAMMALMAP: The area of interest for MammalMAP is the whole of Africa. To achieve this we collaborate with scientists, conservation organisations, wildlife authorities and citizen scientists across the continent. Our methods involve consolidating evidence of mammal occurrence in a given location (camera trap records, photographs and other reliable records) into a digital database hosted by the Animal Demography Unit (ADU) at the University of Cape Town. In time, we will use the records in the database to generate distribution maps for all recorded species, in the same way that the ADU has done for birds, reptiles, frogs and butterflies.
Temperature Blast is a Maryland Science Center C3 Citizen Science project designed to introduce participants to methods of studying climate. Citizen Scientists collect live and archive Weatherbug data from select stations in the Baltimore region to compare temperatures and log this data for scientists.
Scientists at the Baltimore Ecosystem Study then use this data to test models of temperature patterns across the city to aid in urban planning. This data illustrates the Urban Heat Island effect on the area, a phenomenon classified by temperature differences between a metropolitan area and more rural landscape nearby. An Urban Heat Island is not an effect of climate change, but rather of our activity shaping the environment around us.
Using either this website or our Smartphone application (available free of charge for both iPhone and Android) Citizen Scientists submit temperature data from six weather stations in the Baltimore region. The purpose of this is to collect a stream of simultaneous data from multiple sites in and around the metropolitan area. This data, along with first-hand location observations, will be used to understand the Urban Heat Island Effect in Baltimore.
Anyone with access to the Internet and/or a Smartphone can be a Citizen Scientist and participate in Temperature Blast!? While the data obtained from the program is relevant to the Baltimore metropolitan region, there is no geographic or age restriction for Citizen Scientists.
Genetics of Taste Lab
Welcome to a world where very small changes in a person's DNA can have a huge impact on how they perceive taste.
The community-based Genetics of Taste Lab at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is now home to a new and groundbreaking population study! Findings from the study will contribute new insights into the possibility that there are more than just the five known tastes of sweet, sour, salty, umami (savory), and bitter. The focus for this study will be to learn more about people’s ability to taste fatty acids.
Assuming people can detect the taste of fatty acids, how does it happen?
The Genetics of Taste Lab is a unique venue for both research study participation and citizen science, connecting the community to real scientific research.
This research study is being conducted FOR the community and BY the community. Our scientific team includes citizen scientists, undergraduate interns, and Teen Science Scholars.
This two-year study is led by Nicole Garneau PhD and Richard Mattes PhD and made possible by a partnership between the Health Science and Visitor Programs Departments at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Nutrition Science Department at Purdue University.
Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project
The Wolbachia Project brings real-world biology research into high school and undergraduate classrooms to empower students with science.
The four core goals of this initiative are:
1. Engage citizen scientists in nature and real-world research
2. Encourage international participation in the collection of new scientific data on Wolbachia bacteria that live inside insects and other arthropods
3. Enhance interest in science through an integrative lab series spanning biodiversity to molecular biology
4. Give people an idea of what it's like to be a scientist.
In this integrative lab series, you will collect insects and other arthropods in your local area, identify the organism using an online key, extract DNA from the animal, use biotechnology techniques to test for the presence of Wolbachia bacteria in your samples. You will also be able to send your sample to a research institute that will sequence the Wolbachia DNA so you can do a bioinformatic / phylogenetic analysis of the Wolbachia symbiont.
EyeWire is a citizen science project aimed at mapping the neural connections of the retina. All you have to do is play a relaxing and absorbing game of coloring brain images!
In the game, participants reconstruct the tree-like shapes of the neurons in the retina. By tracing branches throughout images, you can help the computer develop 3-D reconstructions of the neurons.
Anyone can participate – you don’t need any specialized knowledge of neuroscience – and your contributions will help scientists understand how the brain functions. In addition, engineers will also use your input to improve the computational technology that powers the game. This will eventually lead to making software that can detect brain abnormalities that are related to disorders like autism and schizophrenia.
Home Microbiome Study
Humans shed about 1.5 million microscopic skin cells, and ten times as many bacterial cells, every hour. These cells are transferred to numerous surfaces in a home via touch. What type of biological impression are we leaving on our home environments? If you are moving to a new home soon, then we need your help to find out.
We are looking for 20 people (four individual bachelors or bachelorettes between 18-30, four couples between 25-65, and two families with couples between 35-45 and two children 15 years old or younger) to participate in our study. Those relocating within the Chicagoland area are preferred, but all are welcome to apply. Households with cats, dogs, or uncaged birds are not eligible.
The goal of this study is to collect and examine the unique biological material shed by individuals throughout the normal course of a day to determine how rapidly their unique community of bacteria - called a microbiome - is established in their new home environment.
This study examines microbiota associated with the hands, feet, and nose of each individual, as well as those present on the most-often used doorknobs, light switches, floors, and countertops. You collect the data! ***This material is collected using swabs every other day for two weeks prior to moving, and four weeks following a move into a new home.*** All collection and storage materials will be provided to you. The research team will also ask you to note your cleaning schedule and some basic information about guests and visitors to the home for one month after moving in.
The results of this study will demonstrate the way in which we interact with the living surfaces of our home, and the fundamental impact humans have on the composition of microbes in their houses. The experimental design allows for a detailed examination of variables that make up the home environment, such as temperature and moisture, and how they favor different types of microbes shed by the human inhabitants.
When someone collapses and stops breathing, an automated external defibrillator or AED can save their life. In Philadelphia, PA, a city with about 1.5 million people, AEDs are all around us. Near our homes, workplaces, and even grocery stores! Currently there is no comprehensive map and as a result AEDs are often not used when they are most needed. With the crowdsourced information we collect from our contest, we will build a map of AED locations in Philadelphia which can inform 911 services and the public.
There are three ways to play:
1. Find and photograph the most AEDs in Philadelphia County through Tuesday, March 27, 2012 and win the $10,000 grand prize. The team or individual that finds the most "confirmed," "eligible" AEDs by the contest end date will receive the grand prize of $10,000.
2. Be the first to submit a photograph of a "Golden"AED and win $50. We have identified between 20 and 200 AEDs in Philadelphia County as "Golden" AEDs. These are unmarked and you won't know it's a winner when you photograph it.
3. Want to help but not compete for a prize? Submit addresses of locations without AEDs or that you wish had an AED - this is just for fun and it will help us with our map.
Read the Scistarter interview with the lead researcher here: http://scistarter.com/blog/2012/01/spot-the-most-defibrillators-in-philly-win-10k/
Put Cap on the (Google) Map
I do research in child undernutrition and am working on a project to understand the important factors underlying child undernutrition in Fort Saint Michel – an urban slum of Cap Haitien, Haiti. We’re gearing up for a mapping exercise in Fort Saint Michel to capture the exact locations of important health-promoting and health-compromising factors in the area using GPS devices. But first, we need your help!
The problem: As you can see in the image, the commercial area of Cap Haitien is fairly well curated in Google Maps, but the densely inhabited areas of Fort Saint Michel and La Petite Anse are not.
How you can help: Street names, businesses, markets, footpaths – if you know it, we want to see it! If you have knowledge of this area of Cap Haitien, we’re asking for you to share your knowledge with the world!
The Flusurvey is an online system for measuring influenza trends in the UK.
In contrast to traditional surveillance methods, the Flusurvey collects data directly from the general public, rather than via hospitals or GPs. This is particularly important because many people with flu don't visit a doctor so don't feature in traditional flu surveillance.
Each week, participants report any flu-like symptoms they have experienced since their last visit. If you have no symptoms, this only takes a few seconds. We provide participants with regular updates on the epidemic, all the latest news and advice about flu.
This year, for the first time, we are coordinating with similar surveys in 9 other European countries, letting us monitor flu as it spreads across the continent. You can find out more on the "Join in" tab.
Research Assistant in Tropical Herpetology and Conservation Ecology
We are currently seeking research assistants to join our field team in Ecuador studying the conservation ecology of reptiles and amphibians.
While Ecuador is a relatively small country—it’s roughly the size of Arizona—it stands as the third most diverse country in the world for amphibians (510 species) and is seventh for reptiles (430 species), making it a herpetologically mega-diverse region. Due to the severe deforestation taking place in addition to many other pressures on Ecuador’s fauna, RAEI’s research program aims to study, document, and preserve these rich and unique communities of reptiles and amphibians found within the country’s diverse array of ecosystems.
As we are now in our 8th year working in Ecuador, we have study sites encompassing both the coastal forests in western Ecuador and the Amazon rainforest on the eastern side of the Andes Mountains. The work that research participants will be involved with will primarily consist of conducting night surveys for reptiles and amphibians (however other taxa such as invertebrates are also of interest), animal data collection, and lab work. Lab work consists of more detailed information such as scale counts (for reptiles) and other morphological information, animal measurements, screening for chytrid desease (amphibians), preservation (only when necessary), and acquisition of DNA samples. Diagnostic photographs of all animals are taken. Other tasks include animal handling and general note taking and data organization.
Science Hack Day
Science Hack Day is a 48-hour-all-night event that brings together designers, developers, scientists and other geeks in the same physical space for a brief but intense period of collaboration, hacking, and building 'cool stuff'. By collaborating on focused tasks during this short period, small groups of hackers are capable of producing remarkable results. Some Hack Days have a specific focus. There have already been very successful Music Hack Days and Government Hack Days. It's time for a Hack Day focused on science!
TuAnalyze is an application for recording and sharing measures of your diabetes. The application allows those touched by diabetes to track, share and compare their health information. Contributions will help advance diabetes care and public health response.
TuAnalyze is available to any TuDiabetes community member. The application supports sharing of diabetes information throughout the community and feedback of community-level diabetes information to users.
You can learn more about your diabetes by viewing information on your TuAnalyze app in the My Apps section of your profile. You can compare personal measures of your diabetes to community measures on the TuAnalyze map.
The TuAnalyze app is jointly developed by Children's Hospital Boston and TuDiabetes.
OPAL Biodiversity Survey
The OPAL Biodiversity Survey needs citizen scientists in England to help uncover the diverse range of wildlife in hedges. By contributing, you'll help researchers learn more about the importance of hedges and how we can improve them.
Hedges support many animals by providing them with food and shelter. Berries and seeds are food for birds, while holes beneath the hedge are often home to small mammals. You’ll also discover caterpillars, shieldbugs and many other invertebrates living among the leaves.
By sharing your observations with the project, reseachers can instantly rate the condition of your hedge and offer suggestions on how to improve it.
This is one of five OPAL surveys across England to learn more about the state of the environment. Anyone can get involved. The studies are open to all ages and abilities, and your contribution will be important in helping scientists build up a picture of England's natural environment.
The Wildlife Health Event Reporter
Wildlife Health Event Reporter (WHER) at www.wher.org is publicly available to anyone to use to report their sightings of sick or dead wildlife.
Individual reports viewed together can lead to the detection and containment of wildlife disease outbreaks that may pose a health risk to people, domestic animals and other wildlife. WHER hopes to harness the power of the many eyes of the public to better detect wildlife disease phenomenon.
Additionally, WHER was developed by the Wildlife Data Integration Network (WDIN), a program of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Master Watershed Steward
The Master Watershed Steward program trains citizens across the state of Arizona to serve as volunteers in the protection, restoration, monitoring, and conservation of their water and watersheds.
We all live in a watershed, also known as a drainage basin or catchment. Each watershed is defined by an area of land that drains water downhill into a common water body. The health of watersheds is especially impacted as our growing population, and thus our demand for natural resources, increases. Learning to look past political boundaries and view land as divided by natural boundaries helps us better manage resources as a complete, more sustainable system.
As a Master Watershed Steward you can help to improve the health of your watershed. The project's informative, research-based training will give you the knowledge to make better, more informed decisions related to your own land, community and watershed. Master Watershed Stewards are highly trained volunteers working closely with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Stewards may come from a variety of backgrounds, but all have a passion for our environment! To become certified, Master Watershed Stewards participate in over 40 hours of course and field work to learn the basics of watershed science.
You work with community organizations including watershed partnerships and various state agencies to implement projects throughout Arizona to monitor, maintain and restore the health of our watersheds. Ongoing volunteer projects include: photopoint monitoring in the Tonto National Forest and Saguaro National Park, riparian assessments along urban and preserved corridors, outreach at Arizona Project WET Water Festivals, free private well testing and collaboration with NEMO to develop Watershed Based Plans.
The Master Watershed Steward Program is a partnership of the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Funding provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's Water Quality Division.
Eye on Earth
Eye on Earth brings together scientific information on air and water quality with feedback and observations from millions of ordinary people. You'll be able to view air and bathing water quality for the majority of Europe as well as provide your own feedback.
Eye on Earth represents a partnership between Microsoft and the European Environmental Agency. It includes information on the water quality for more than 22,000 bathing sites throughout Europe. It also includes information on air quality for more than 1,000 air quality monitoring stations throughout Europe.
Over five years, the site will grow to include information on many other environmental topics and turn into a global observatory for environmental change. It will broaden the thematic spectrum of environmental information by integrating prominent environmental challenges of our times, such as ground level ozone and other forms of air pollution, oil sills, biodiversity, and coastal erosion.
Join the fun!
EteRNA is the first-ever global laboratory where scientists, educators, students, online gamers, and any human being with a strong interest in unlocking the mystery of life will collectively help solve world's biggest scientific problems.
RNA, or ribonucleic acid, is a substance that our cells use to translate and express genetic information from our DNA. We now know that folding and shape-shifting allows RNA and its partners to control the cell in a predictable fashion. However, the full biological and medical implications of these discoveries are still being worked out.
By playing EteRNA, you will help extend and curate the first large scale library of synthetic RNA designs. You play by designing RNAs, tiny molecules at the heart of every cell. If you win the weekly competition your RNA is synthesized and scored by how well it folds. Your efforts will help us understand, dissect, and control the functional properties of real and designed RNAs from bacteria, viruses, and our own cells. Join the global laboratory!
North Carolina Sea Turtle Project
The North Carolina Sea Turtle Project trains volunteers to monitor sea turtle activity along the entire coast of North Carolina.
There are a number of ways that your citizen science efforts can help protect sea turtles in North Carolina. Volunteers are needed to:
- walk small sections of beach each morning from May to August to look for turtle tracks and nests
All the data collected by the project are organized and disseminated to the state and federal agencies that use the information to make management decisions.
The North Carolina Sea Turtle Project, run by the state Wildlife Resources Commission's Division of Wildlife Management, is committed to monitoring North Carolina's sea turtle population. The project would not be possible without the help of hundreds of volunteers!
Mountain Watch: Adopt-A-Peak
Adopt-A-Peak volunteers agree to visit a peak or trail section in the Appalachian Mountains periodically during the growing season. Volunteers will help track long-term trends in plant flowering, fall foliage, and visibility conditions on the mountain they adopt.
Hikers are great resources for frequent reporting from remote areas that could not be observed otherwise. Adopt-A-Peak focuses our monitoring efforts on a specific location year after year. Volunteers are needed for forest and alpine flower monitoring from late May through August, but this effort intensifies in June, which is Flower Watch Month. Fall foliage monitoring can begin as early as September and go through the end of leaf drop.
Visibility is monitored on every visit by taking a photograph. Volunteers are encouraged to monitor both plants and visibility.
Individuals, school groups, outing clubs, flower groups: Adopt-A-Peak!
Mountain Watch: Visibility Reporting
By participating in Mountain Watch's Visibility Reporting, you become an important part of understanding how haze pollution affects mountain views and the recreational experience. Volunteers provide their opinion of whether visibility on a hike through the Appalachian Mountains, from Maine to Virginia, was "acceptable" or "unacceptable." These observations provide resource managers with information on the value of clear views to the hiking public.
Poor air quality in the eastern United States directly affects hikers and others who recreate outdoors. Haze pollution diminishes scenic views and can negatively affect respiratory and cardiovascular health.
Here is how you can help: Simply hike to your favorite vista along a trail in the Appalachian Mountains, take a photo from your viewpoint, and record your opinion of the view. Email your photo, and send in the data sheet.
It's that easy to contribute to real science that will help us understand how haze pollution affects mountain views.
Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET)
Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET) volunteers conduct beached bird surveys along the east coast of the United States in order to identify and record information about bird mortality. Volunteers examine the spatial pattern of bird carcass deposition and how it varies across time.
The project brings together interdisciplinary researchers and citizen scientists in a long-term collaborative effort to identify and mitigate threats to marine birds.
These surveys provide baseline information about bird mortality and help to detect mass mortality events such as oil spills, algal toxins, and disease outbreaks. Marine birds can serve as indicators of ecosystem and human health; monitoring the threats they face and their mortality patterns can teach us about the health of the marine environment.
This project relies heavily on a working partnership between concerned citizens with an incomparable understanding of local ecosystems and natural phenomena, and scientists with the training and knowledge to synthesize and verify the data generated by local residents. Through this synergistic relationship, scientists exponentially increase the amount and range of data they can access, and residents come to see the larger patterns and trends of which their local ecosystem is a part.
Chordoma Cancer Cell Lines Needed to Save Lives!
The mission of the Chordoma Foundation is to rapidly develop effective treatments and ultimately a cure for chordoma, while improving the diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life for people affected by this devastating bone cancer of the skull and spine.
Currently, no effective chemotherapies exist, and a lack of valid chordoma cell lines is preventing the development of new treatments. The Chordoma Foundation needs your help to assemble a panel of well-characterized chordoma cell lines that can be shared with researchers and companies across the world. Cell lines in this panel should represent the diverse set of clinical manifestations of the disease, including chordomas of the skull-base and spine from primary, recurrent, and metastatic tumors from adult and pediatric patients.
The Chordoma Foundation will award a $10,000 prize for each cell line that is determined by the Chordoma Foundation to meet the requirements listed in the Detailed Description and Technical Requirements. The prize will be made as an unrestricted award to your institution to be used for scientific and educational application. In return for the award, Solvers and their institutions are expected to grant rights to the Chordoma Foundation to freely use, store and distribute the cell lines for all research and development purposes. The terms of the grant of rights are included in the Challenge-Specific Agreement for this Challenge. If required by your institution, the Chordoma Foundation also will work with you to execute an appropriate material transfer agreement to govern sharing of your cell line.
Discover how to submit your cell lines in the Detailed Description and Technical Requirements for the Challenge.
Sound Around You Project
I am building a sound map of the world as part of a study into how sounds in our everyday environment make us feel. We need your help!
We’re asking people across the world to use our new iOS app on their iPhones or iPads (or any recorder) to record short clips from different sound environments, or "soundscapes"--anything from the inside of a family car to a busy shopping centre. Then we ask volunteers to comment on their soundscapes and upload them to our virtual soundscape map.
Recordings and responses will be analyzed by acoustic scientists, and significant findings will be reported on this website.
Sound Around You aims to raise awareness of how our soundscape influences us, and could have far reaching implications for professions and social groups ranging from urban planners to house buyers.
RNA World is a distributed supercomputer that uses Internet-connected computers to advance RNA research. This system is dedicated to identify, analyze, structurally predict, and design RNA molecules on the basis of established bioinformatics software in a high-performance, high-throughput fashion.
The RNA World project is based at the Rechenkraft research facility located in Germany.
Donate your DNA to science! If you have used genetic testing services such as 23andMe or Navigenics, you can offer your genetic data to DIYgenomics for a variety of medical studies.
DIYgenomics is now recruiting participants for its first study, which will examine the effect of a common mutation on vitamin B metabolism.
In a gene called the MTHFR gene, two small mutations prevent vitamin B9 (or folic acid) from being metabolized into its active form (folate). People who lack this form of vitamin B may develop nutritional deficiencies and symptoms associated with diabetes complications, including damage to blood vessels and nerves. Up to 60% of people may have some form of MTHFR mutation.
Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication, and Health (BEACH)
BEACH volunteers monitor high-risk Washington state beaches for bacteria. Beaches are considered high-risk when they have a lot of recreational users and are located near potential bacteria sources.
Monitoring can indicate pollution from sewage treatment plant problems, boating waste, malfunctioning septic systems, animal waste, or other sources of fecal pollution. BEACH volunteers monitor for an indicator bacteria called "enterococci." The presence of this bacteria at elevated levels means there is a potential for disease-causing bacteria and viruses to also be present.
BEACH is intended to reduce the risk of disease for people who play in saltwater. The program strives to educate the public about the risks associated with polluted water and what each of us can do to reduce that risk.
UPDATE: As for December 2012, the project is not accepting new volunteers.
State of the Oyster
State of the Oyster Study volunteers help monitor bacterial contamination levels in edible shellfish collected from privately owned Washington state beaches in Hood Canal and throughout Puget Sound
Volunteers collect oyster and clam samples from their beaches at specific times during summer months. Washington Sea Grant arranges for laboratory testing of these samples, which are analyzed for the presence of harmful bacteria or for bacterial indicators of fecal contamination. (Volunteers must cover the lab fees.) Washington Sea Grant then helps participants interpret their test results and, if needed, works closely with them to identify and remedy the sources of observed contamination.
Through the years, State of the Oyster has has helped waterfront residents on more than 300 Washington state beaches learn what makes for safer oysters and clams and how to minimize fecal contamination in their waters.