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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

IBM Crowdsourcing Study on Human Microbiome

Can the bacteria that resides inside us help tackle diseases that run rampant with our immune system? This is a question IBM hopes to answer; with help from a variety of academic institutes including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T), Harvard, and the University of California. The multinational technology giant has launched "The Microbiome Immunity Project" an initiative that will feature these institutions collaborating with IBMs largest crowdsourcing platform the "World Community Grid" to create a map of the human microbiome. The effects of bugs and bacteria inside the body on human health is still a mystery one which this project could potentially uncover and discover life changing treatments and cures.




The human microbiome is a collection (or community) of bacteria that live in the intestines influencing everything from the workings of our metabolism and immune system to moods and behaviour. Many studies are carried on the microbiome including the very possibility that certain strains of bacteria are in fact endangered. According to a study carried out by Dr. Justin Sonnenburg, a microbiologist at Stanford University, these bacteria are disappearing fast, with western lifestyle, namely our diet of processed and refined foods being the main cause. "the Microbiome Immunity Project", IBM's crowdsourced initiative seeks to better understand how the microbiome works and its affect on the human autoimmune system.




Along with with top academic institutions, IBM is tapping the knowledge of its "World Community Volunteer Grid" one of the world's largest collaborative crowdsourced platforms. It currently accepts contributions from over 740,000 individuals, and 460 organisation around the world all dedicated to help in the search for scientific advancement. To date it has supported over 29 ground breaking projects. The grid harnesses such high volumes of the online crowd's vast knowledge it has proven itself to be as powerful as some of the world's fastest supercomputers. 

The microbiome project will attempt to map over 3 million bacterial genes found in the human gut in the hopes of better understand their affect on diseases such as type 1 diabetes and crohn's & ulcerative colitis and to find a way for these bacteria to treat these increasing diagnosed illnesses. The project is inviting you to participate; simply download this secure software program  which will allow IBM to tap your machine and run virtual experiments on behalf of the scientists. The data gathered from these experiments will becollated and analyzed by the project’s team, and be made publicly available to other scientists with the aim of better enabling the capacity to treat autoimmune diseases.