Post/Biotics is enabling citizen scientists to help discover potential new antibiotics using portable home-screening kits.
We’ve seen examples of researchers utilizing crowdsourcing to expand their datasets, such as a free mobile app where users help find data patterns in cancer research by playing games. Now a pop-up home lab is harnessing the power of citizen scientists to find future antibiotics in their backyards.
By developing a small home lab, UK-based Post/Biotics is encouraging anyone, including school children, to help find solutions to the growing antibiotics resistance crisis. Post/Biotics is a citizen’s science platform, which provides the toolkit, knowledge and science network so anyone can support antibiotic development. Participants can test samples of basically anything they find in natural areas, from soil to mushrooms, and if their sample has antibacterial properties, their tool will change color. They can then send results, along with a photo and GPS location to an online database. When the database notices a submission that may be interesting, it alerts researchers, who can then ask for samples. An open-source library of potential antimicrobials is then established, and users simultaneously benefit from learning how to conduct microbiology experiments.
Post/Biotics are using the power of an unlimited amount of citizen scientists to increase the research potential of antibiotic discovery. What other research areas could be crowdsourced?