PSR Latitudes All of Us
SciStarter has teamed up with the Network of the National Library of Medicine and the All of Us Research Program to host a webinar series in January, February, and March, called “Lend Citizen Science Project Scientists a Hand. Then, Discuss the Results!” This series is highlighting a different citizen science project each month, showing you how to get involved in the project, and creating a space for you to share your experiences and questions with the project scientists! February’s featured project is Eterna.
Eterna is an online puzzle game citizen scientists can play to help project scientists understand complex RNA molecules and develop new medical treatments for global diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, or even COVID-19. Players design and solve puzzles, and can compete in challenges specifically created to solve some of science’s most pressing questions. Puzzle solutions that receive the most votes in the game are actually built and tested in labs at Stanford, so that scientists can learn more about how RNA molecules work.
Since the game’s launch in 2011, Stanford has built and tested thousands of molecules designed by players. Additionally, 25 scientific papers on RNA structure and design have been published using data from Eterna, some of which citizen scientist Eterna players helped to write! Not only did Eterna help forge this revolutionary new role for non-experts in science, it also represented the very first use of the ‘massive open laboratory’ model in a published biology paper. This model of experimental design and data collection, characterized by a huge number of people coming together to analyze science experiments, is an exciting possibility that could be used widely in the future to help strengthen the integrity of the scientific method. Beyond paving the way for new experimental methods, Eterna players have helped bioengineers learn new rules for RNA structure design, so that they can create increasingly accurate machine learning algorithms that perform well in experiments. Eterna’s gamers can help fight disease too. The OpenTB Challenge launched in 2018 recruited players to design a molecule that could be used to create a cost-effective diagnostic test for tuberculosis. More recently, Eterna has challenged players with an “Eterna-Corona Puzzle of the Day,” with the goal of better understanding the RNA biology of coronaviruses, RNA-based tests and treatments, and mRNA vaccines. Eterna is currently being used to help develop a refrigerator-stable COVID-19 vaccine that could be used all around the world.
The successes of crowdsourcing scientific data through Eterna’s massive open laboratory model really jibe with the All of Us program’s vision of diversity in research. People of all backgrounds should be involved in research so we can find solutions that work well for everyone around the world. Furthermore, the more minds we have working on important scientific questions, the faster we’ll be able to find the answers the world needs. Eterna’s developers are dedicated to making the game increasingly accessible to all kinds of people. Groundbreaking ideas can come from anyone, anywhere!
Join the Eterna webinar event live on Thursday, February 18 at 2:00 pm PST. For more information visit the event page at SciStarter.
Post by NNLM PSR intern Elisa Borgsdorf, edited by Amy ReyesThe post February Citizen Science Event first appeared on Latitudes.
In October 2020, NNLM financially supported 20 library staff across the country to attend the 15th annual Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) conference. Originally slated for Dallas, TX, the conference was retooled as a virtual event due to Covid-19. Most attendees agreed that there were actually benefits to the online format. NNLM All of Us presented at the conference and continues to work with ABOS on health outreach initiatives. Here, 3 Pacific Southwest Region scholarship recipients outline favorite moments, and what they took away from the ABOS conference.
Katie Ball, Special Projects Associate, Sacramento Public Library (CA)
This was my first ABOS Conference experience and I hope it won’t be my last. For the first virtual version of this conference, I thought it was well-executed, manageable, and engaging. I gathered many resources, including contacts at other libraries, helpful websites, and ideas for how to improve our programming. Being new to the library field, I appreciated the opportunity to immerse myself in this arena and learn from others who have created successful community programs in their systems.
Jennifer Siron, Senior Librarian of Engagement and Outreach at the Los Angeles Public Library (CA)
Sharon Coronado, Coordinating Librarian, Adult Services, County of San Luis Obispo (CA)
The 2020 ABOS Conference “Out-Doing Outreach” was In-credible! Since NLM sponsored my attendance, this award freed up opportunities for other staff to attend. All of us were ABOS conference first-timers. There were nine outreach staff from our library system who attended the conference. Everyone was excited to attend and came away with new ideas for outreach. Attendance also introduced staff to ABOS and they are now part of the listserv information sharing community.
Our library was awarded a CA State Library “Bringing the Library to You” grant. This grant award will help us to outfit a mobile library to visit senior care facilities. The Adult Services Department will schedule lobby stops to senior care facilities where we will bring resources to seniors to browse and checkout. Senior health care and telehealth resources will be a vital component to complement our outreach services. One major takeaway from the session NNLM & All of Us: Opportunities to Engage with Your Community Around Health Information was the community collaboration piece. The suggestions of local agencies to partner with will help to expand these efforts to serve seniors where they are. The impact this will have will be twofold: Adult Services librarians will become aware of vital resources to share with our communities when performing outreach throughout the county; and our library system will contribute to the All of Us project goal to help speed up medical research.
We hope to implement the NNLM Health Kiosks program into our branches in the future, and we plan to participate in the NNLM Reading Club. We will include our county public health department in bringing a holistic health experience in 2021 and beyond, including hyper local resources and book discussions in line with the National Health Observances calendar.
Additional valuable information from All of Us presentations was the exposure to UBR or Underrepresented in Biomedical Research populations. These are the communities that libraries strive to serve, and we are now able to spotlight health programs specific to this demographic with a more clear understanding of resources available and challenges that these communities face. We are excited to get started in bringing resources that lead to the overall wellbeing of our communities. Thank you, NLM!The post Scholarship Recipients Reflect on the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services Conference first appeared on Latitudes.