We want your germs! For Citizen Science!

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | April 10, 2015 5:00 am

Photo: CDC

Microbes are germs and they are everywhere! Most are good for you. Some are not.

Learning more about microbes (where they live, how they behave) can teach us more about their influence on diseases, cures, and our entire ecosystem.

Here are five microbial citizen science projects you can do now.

Photo: LLNL

American Gut  

When you join this project, you‘ll receive an at-home kit to sample the microbes in and on your body. You‘ll then be able to compare your results to others across the world and contribute to our overall understanding of microbial diversity.

Photo: NIH


The human body is naturally home to many different types of bacteria, but some of those bacteria are linked to diseases and medical concerns. uBiome is a project that uses samples from citizen scientists to better understand the bacteria in our bodies.

Photo: Go Viral

Go Viral   

The flu and other viruses aren’t just inconvenient, theycan be deadly. That makes the research being done by the GoViral project vital. The project provides you with sampling kits to use whenever you‘re feeling sick, and uses the results to track the spread of viral illnesses.

Get Started!

Photo: Cichewicz and Coker

Drug Discovery From Your Soil  

Many medicines, like penicillin, are derived from natural sources, and scientists need your help to discover new, life-saving compounds. Submit a soil sample from anywhere in the USA, and researchers at the University of Oklahoma will analyze it for beneficial fungi.

Photo: Microblitz


Attention Australian citizen scientists! You are needed to collect soil samples in Western Australia, which are then analyzed for the smallest, most fundamental part of an ecosystem- microbial DNA.

Get Started!

Update: Space Microbes

Did you participate in Project MERCCURI? Thousands of people submitted microbes from shoes and cell phones and even from NFL stadiums and landmarks! All samples were analyzed and some samples were sent to the International Space Station to compare growth rates in space.  Look what we found and learn who won the microbial Super Bowl in Space! And check out this related Educators’ Guide: Microbes in the Classroom

Meet the SciStarter team and theScience Cheerleaders, and do citizenscience, at the Cambridge ScienceFestival! April 18 at the Cambridge Public Library!
Don’t miss the monthly #CitSciChat on Twitter:  the last Wednesday of the month at 3-4pm ET,  moderated by Caren  Cooper @CoopSciScoop and presented by @SciStarter.
Contact the SciStarter Team

Email: info@scistarter.com
Website: http://scistarter.com

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    “We have produced cheeses from a number of donors, including artists, scientists, and cheese makers, among others.” “starter cultures isolated from…hands, feet, noses, and armpits.” Be your own microcosm.



Citizen Science Salon

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Citizen Science Salon, brought to you by SciStarter, is where science enthusiasts can join forces with top researchers. We'll feature weekly collaborative, crowdsourced, and DIY research projects that relate to what you're reading about in Discover, so you can take science into your own hands. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Arvind Suresh (Editor)

Arvind Suresh has a Master's degree in Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelors degree in Biotechnology from PSG College of Technology, India. He is also an information addict, gobbling up everything he can find on and off the internet. He enjoys reading, teaching, talking and writing science, and following that interest led him to SciStarter. Outside the lab and the classroom, he can be found behind the viewfinder of his camera.


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