Two Citizen Scientists Win First Bay Area Open Science Challenge

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SAN DIEGO & SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Assay Depot Inc. and BioCurious selected two Bay Area-based citizen scientists, Ryan Bethencourt and Derek Jacoby, as winners of their first Open Science Challenge. Bethencourt aims to develop new ALS therapeutics, and Jacoby is seeking to find a probiotic method of improving uric acid clearance to combat gout. Both received one-year memberships to the BioCurious community lab space in Sunnyvale as well as $5,000 to fund further research, $4,500 of which will be used for services through the Assay Depot online Research Exchange.

“ALS is a terminal disease with very few therapeutic options, so colleagues and I are working on tackling solutions from the outside in”

"Having access to a community lab and research services to address a study that is close to my own experience with gout is exciting," said Derek Jacoby, a Ph.D. student at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. "I've tried informal tests on myself using a probiotic method of improving uric acid clearance, and now I'm ready to deepen the research and hopefully bring a new solution to others suffering from this condition."

The Open Science Challenge was open to all Bay Area residents ages 10 to 110 who wanted to take their research ideas to the next level. Research proposals were reviewed by a committee of BioCurious and Assay Depot employees, and selections were based on scientific significance, proposal quality, a demonstrated need for lab space and services, and location.

"ALS is a terminal disease with very few therapeutic options, so colleagues and I are working on tackling solutions from the outside in," said Ryan Bethencourt, geneticist, biohacker and a founder of Halpin Neurosciences. "In collaboration with Eric Valor, an ALS patient who has driven the at-home version of an investigational therapy called NP001, along with the broader ALS community and pioneers in the area, we're determined to advance new treatment options for patients. The BioCurious lab will allow us to do some of the prep work before outsourcing through Assay Depot - together an opportunity for accelerated research that just wasn't possible until now."

 

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