Each week, we feature a worthy citizen science project or nature news segment from around the world. This week we bring you What’s in Your Backyard from the University of Oklahoma, which aims to team up citizen scientists with biomedical researchers to discover potentially live-saving, drug-like molecules from the fungi under your feet.
What’s in Your Backyard is an excuse to play in the dirt! All you need to do to participate is scoop some soil from your neighborhood and send your sample to scientists at the University of Oklahoma. And then what? You wait! According to the website, “Biomedical researchers at the University of Oklahoma’s Natural Products Discovery Group are using the fungi obtained from soil samples collected by citizen scientists to find new natural products that halt cancer cell growth, stop the spread of infectious pathogens, and kill life-threatening parasites.”