Citizen science - helping create a resource for scientists fighting malaria

Researchers from Edinburgh Infectious Diseases will take part in a new online public engagement initiative Science Conversations @ Edinburgh

At the end of June, this Citizen Science project will use crowd-sourcing techniques to contribute to current research by create a resource for scientists fighting malaria. 

The project is driven by the fact that even today across the globe, one child under the age of five still dies of malaria every minute of every day, all year.  All sorts of science, from finding new planets to mapping the decline of bees, can benefit from the power of crowds, helping to analyse the large amounts of data that would otherwise take scientists years to investigate.  By getting involved with this project, participants will get a real flavour of modern drug discovery.

L:  female Anopheles mosquito, the insect vector of malaria; R:  Malaria Plasmodium parasite (purple) infecting host red blood cells (pale pink).  Photos courtesy of Sarah Reece.

Creating a rescource to help fight malaria

A drug company has made freely available a list of roughly 13,000 chemical compounds that they found slowed the growth of the organism that causes malaria. 

With tuition from the project organisers, Malcolm Walkinshaw, Douglas Houston (both from the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology) and Fransisca Mutapi (from the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research) online particpants will help cross-reference these compounds with other databases and hopefully identify those compounds that are most likely to be successful drug leads.  No expertise in the science involved is needed:  participants just need to have access to the internet.  However the organisers will explain in a live web broadcast something of the science being done on malaria in Edinburgh and the thinking behind the project.  After the initial event, the results of the experiment will be given back to everyone who has taken part. 

The first session will run on Monday 17 June,  7 - 8 pm (BST) and the second session will be on held on Thursday 27 June, 7 - 8 pm (BST).

Register now


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