directly participate in the project
Special Project – citizen scientist Advanced Biochemistry Fall, 2020
General overview: This special project has you participating in an active research project from your
home. There are numerous citizen science or crowdsourcing science projects currently underway. This
is based on having members of the public directly participate in and support scientific research. Projects
span a wide array of topics and involve activities such as recording nature observations in your
neighborhood (or back yard), tracking flu symptoms and solving puzzles online. The idea is that you can
further scientific research by adding to a large data set. Since this is a biochemistry course the projects
that best fit with this course are ones aimed at furthering biomedical research; such projects often
involve having you solving puzzles or looking at data to identify patterns (or find anomalies).
This table contains information about and links to different citizen science projects which best fit within
topics related to biochemistry:
Project Title Focus Link to website
Stall catchers Examine Alzheimer’s
disease development by
looking at movies of blood
vessels in mice brains
EyeWire Help map the brain and
discover new cell types
NOVA RNA virtual
Create RNA molecules https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/lab/rna/
Foldit Protein folding https://fold.it/portal/
Specific details for completing this special project:
For this project you will pick one of the projects listed in the above table and directly participate in the
To fully complete this assignment, complete the following 4 questions/items:
- Take screenshots from your computer showing your work, I am looking for several screen shots as
described for each project below. These screen shots must clearly indicate you are actively
participating as a citizen scientist.
- Briefly explain the goal of the work you did as a citizen scientist, what are the researchers trying to
learn from your work?
- Explain exactly what you did in the project you selected.
- What is the science behind the project you carried out? What specifically is the project aimed at
- What did you learn from participating in this project as a citizen scientist?
- What is the most important thing you took away from participating in this project?
- Why did you choose the project you did?
- What do you think is the biggest advantage and disadvantage to using citizen scientists in scientific
Details and screen shot instructions for each option:
Stall catchers: setup username and show screen shot of your username, take 2 screen shots during
training, complete at least 20 rounds of non-training videos & take screen shots at round 10 and round
EyeWire: set up a profile and then show screen shots of at least 6 exercises you completed. Complete
at least 25 different rounds of this exercise.
NOVA RNA virtual lab – watch the intro video and go through all of the tutorial. You will need to sign in
with an existing google or PBS account. Once completed take a screenshot of the tutorial completion
certificate. Provide screen shots showing you completed all of the 3 trials.
Foldit: set up an account and download the software. Complete the 39 “training” puzzles. Take a
picture of the screen shot showing you have completed all 39 of these puzzles. Then work on at least
two other puzzles after you have completed the training puzzles. Take screen shots of your final
proteins from each puzzle.