Are you curious what a citizen scientist is and how you can become one?

By Jane Kuszmaul


Here is a great example:


A call was put out recently for everyday people to join “the Stallcatchers”. This resulted in a large group of citizen scientists seeing their efforts become instrumental in a study of blood flow in Alzheimer’s mice.


This online worldwide organization of citizen scientists, bent on accelerating Alzheimer’s research, was so influential to this study that they are referenced in the byline. It serves as a great example of how volunteers can participate in numbers large (and small) to make a difference. While Citizen Science is more well know for environmental monitoring and efforts related to climate change, this case shows how powerful it can be in health as well:


What Stall Catchers do is, well, catch stalls.


Stalls are blockages in capillaries, and the cause of which is likely related to Alzheimer’s. Through their website, people around the world analyze blood flow in the brains of mice to identify stalls.


With the immense amount of data to analyze, the Stall Catchers are able to work far faster than a single set of researchers in a lab. This is the kind of crowdsourcing of science that citizen scientists can use to change the slow nature of scientific research.


And by crowdsourcing the analysis, there are multiple eyes on every single piece of data, increasing the chances that mistakes will be caught.


Can you think of any research that could benefit from a team of citizen scientists?


Learn more about how Stall Catchers is working to improve the scientific method (and how you can get involved) here:


https://stallcatchers.com/main


Read the study Stall Catchers is authored in:


https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.05.433976v1.full


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