EyesOnAlz: A Citizen Science Project to Help End Alzheimer’s

Pietro Michelucci, PhD
Human Computation Institute
Year Awarded:
Grant Duration:
January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017
Alzheimer's Disease
Award Amount:
Grant Reference ID:
Award Type:
Pietro Michelucci, PhD

Crowd-powered Microvascular Modeling


Cornell University researchers have made breakthrough discoveries in understanding the role of brain blood flow in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but more evidence is needed to establish whether freeing stalled capillaries might results in a possible treatment approach. The problem is that it takes an entire year to analyze the data needed to answer each research question, and progress to date has been very slow. “Stall Catchers” is a citizen science research project developed by the Human Computation Institute in collaboration with Cornell investigators Chris Schaffer and Nozomi Nishimura aimed at speeding up Cornell’s data analysis by turning it into an online game that anyone can play. Our Phase I goal is to see whether thousands of public participants can analyze the research data just as accurately as lab experts, but by working together, do it much faster. In Phase II, we will apply the validated crowd engine to new experimental data to see if we can reduce the time to a treatment target from decades to just a few years. This is the first citizen science project supporting Alzheimer's disease (AD) research. To learn more about EyesOnAlz, visit www.eyesonalz.com.

About the Researcher

Pietro Michelucci received a joint PhD in cognitive science and mathematical psychology from Indiana University and has been a science advisor to federal research agencies since 2006. He has actively supported the advancement of human computation through many channels, including a Springer handbook, an open-access scholarly journal, various speaking engagements and workshops, interagency initiatives in social computing, and citizen science working groups. In 2014, he led the Human Computation Roadmap Summit, a Computing Research Association-funded activity at the Wilson Center with input from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, toward a national initiative in human computation. As an organismic computing pioneer, he is interested in developing new methods for augmenting group efficacy, and developing high-impact applications of the capabilities that will benefit humanity.

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