So I keep babbling about Foldscopes because – THEY ARE REALLY COOL! These are out of a Stanford lab developed with funds from the Gates Foundation to help defeat Malaria. As a scientist and mom, there are a trillion things to do with these things. Time and time again, when I talk about these scopes to people I get the same shocked look and question – “How can a PAPER microscope work?” Followed usually by a question on where they can get one for their kid, classroom, science outreach, own backpack/purse. Here’s our experience with the basic Foldscope. Keep in mind, that if you support one of the kits, you get additional accessories. We received the paper scope, lenses, magnetic clips (for cell phone photography), and double stick tape, which is a perfect start. As a certified microbial geek, I had slides and cover slips around the house. Assembly Party We invited a neighborhood friend over for our first “assembly” party. Which was lots of fun! First the girls popped out the scope parts. Watching the assembly video helped us put our scopes together. Differences between Foldscope and Compound Scopes Unlike traditional compound scopes where the lens is
When I first heard that Foldscope was launching a Kickstarter to make these amazing origami paper microscopes available to the public, I put 2 different questions up on several of my social media sites: I’m thrilled out of my mind to be writing a post about this new good quality, “disposable”, CHEAP compound (uses microscope slides) microscope. Oh yeah – it’s 140X magnification – you can see bacteria What would you look at if you had such a thing? It’s practically indestructible (can step on it, throw it off a building, run it through the washing machine), it’s about the size of a 3X5 card and fits in your pocket. Runs on watch battery or just held up to a light. If you are a “career-biologist” – How would you use this to teach people about the wonders of science and our everyday (microscopic) world? If you are not a career-biologist – Just wondering what would be interesting to YOU. Is there anything you’d use it for? The feedback was AMAZING! Check out the suggestions and excitement: From the biologists look at: Take my kids on a TARDIGRADE hunt Pond water, leaf litter, whatever is around me Blood and fecal smears with
The BioCollective – transforming and accelerating microbiome research and novel therapies – while saving our human microbiome diversity and maybe you. Your poop is more than just waste. If you think that microbiome research has changed medicine – you ain’t seen nothing yet. The BioCollective (TBC) is transforming citizen science microbiome research from sample collection to the potential for providing a return on your initial “deposit”. TBC is building a microbiome data and sample repository to help scientists accelerate their research and development of potential therapeutics. TBC’s unique approach to microbiome citizen science research is due to the perfect trinity of collaborators: Martha Carlin, Jack Gilbert, PhD, and Suzanne Vernon, PhD. TBC is the brainchild of self-trained citizen scientist Martha Carlin, a former systems analyst who “turned around” struggling companies. Martha realized that for microbiome research to aid or even cure microbiome-related diseases, a new, integrative, multi-pronged approach was needed and a wider diversity of people should be sampled. The BioCollective provides solutions to many of the current issues with human microbiome research. A clean poop sample TBC Member issue: People are often totally “icked” out and may have trouble collecting high quality sample. Researcher issue: TBC Members
Self-trained citizen scientist, Martha Carlin, founds The BioCollective to accelerate microbiome research and therapies. “Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson His vacant stare told Martha Carlin something was wrong with her 44-year-old husband. Many doctor’s visits later, the diagnosis – Parkinson’s Disease. A systems analyst and expert in turning around companies, Martha Carlin was determined to turn around the doctor’s prognosis that Parkinson’s would kill her husband. So for the next 15 years, she began pouring her energy, time, and disposable income into becoming a self-trained scientist. Starting with one of Michael J. Fox’s book, Martha read hundreds of books about nutrition, disease, and immunology. With the help of a childhood friend who was a college librarian and Googling for unfamiliar terms, Martha read scientific journal articles. Slowly she put together a mind map of different potential genetic and environmental influences that might have led to her husband’s Parkinson’s disease. During Parkinson’s Disease, brain cells stop producing the chemical messages that allow for coordinated movement. Patients gradually lose control of their muscles. As she interviewed Parkinson’s patients, Martha noticed that many had frequently used antibiotics, had
DoggyBiome joins KittyBiome in identifying pet gut microbiomes and developing new therapies for our furry family members. Today Mostly Microbes is thrilled to have a guest post featuring another fabulous citizen science microbiome project – DoggyBiome. Inspired by her senior dog’s ailing gut health, Holly Ganz, PhD started examining pet microbiomes. DoggyBiome has a database of healthy wild and domesticated dogs to compare your dog’s microbiome to. As more people sequence both healthy and sick pets of all ages, identifying problems in the gut microbiome communities can lead to treatments both now and in the future. To get your dog or cat’s microbiome sequenced, check out AnimalBiome where screening services are currently half-price. Follow DoggyBiome and KittyBiome on twitter for sales and updates. Let me know if you participated and what you thought.