Project Lets Citizen Scientists Help Lipids Researchers


The Minnesota Microscopy Infrastructure Partnership, which includes MSI PIs and partners, have begun a new citizen-science project on the platform Zooniverse to use inputs from the public to help determine the number size, and location of lipid droplets in cells. Participants draw an outline around what they think are the fat cells in a microscopic image. These inputs are used to create 3D models that researchers can use to understand the role of lipids in biological functions. The project, called “Fat Checker” , is part of the Etch-a-Cell project, which is run by the Francis Crick Institute and the University of Oxford.

The Minnesota Microscopy Infrastructure Partnership is led by the Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota, and the University’s Hormel Institute. MSI PIs leading the Fat Checker project include:

Dr. Jeffrey McDonald (University of Minnesota Hormel Institute) is also a co-leader on this project. Prior to taking his position at the Hormel Institute, Dr. McDonald was MSI’s Associate Director of Operations from 2010-2019.

A story about this project appears on the U of M News site: University of Minnesota, Hormel Institute, and Mayo Clinic collaborate on new citizen science project.