Simons Foundation's Flatiron Institute Joins IBM and Others including Citizens in the Microbiome Immunity Project
The general public's help is being enlisted in what's thought to be the biggest study of the human microbiome—the bacteria that live in and on the human body –and are believed to affect health.
The Microbiome Immunity Project is a new, IBM-facilitated (NYSE: IBM) citizen science project by scientists from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of California San Diego, and the Simons Foundation's Flatiron Institute. It will use the surplus processing power on volunteers' computers to conduct millions of virtual experiments on behalf of the researchers. These experiments aim to map the three million bacterial genes found in the human microbiome and predict the structure of their associated proteins. The project will begin with the analysis of the microbiome in the digestive system.
This study aims to help scientists better understand the microbiome's interaction with human biochemistry and determine how that interaction may contribute to autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis—illnesses that affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and that are being diagnosed with increasing frequency. With better understanding, scientists might be able to more easily prevent and treat these diseases. . .