Citizen science is a productive approach to include non-scientists in research efforts that impact particular issues or communities. In most cases, scientists at advanced career stages design high-quality, exciting projects that enable citizen contribution, a crowdsourcing process that drives discovery forward and engages communities. The challenges of having citizens design their own research with no or limited training and providing access to laboratory tools, reagents, and supplies have limited citizen science efforts. This leaves the incredible life experiences and immersion of citizens in communities that experience health disparities out of the research equation, thus hampering efforts to address community health needs with a full picture of the challenges that must be addressed. Here, we present a robust and reproducible approach that engages participants from Grade 5 through adult in research focused on defining how diet impacts disease signaling. We leverage the powerful genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry of Drosophila oogenesis to define how nutrients impact phenotypes associated with genetic mutants that are implicated in cancer and diabetes. Participants lead the project design and execution, flipping the top-down hierarchy of the prevailing scientific culture to co-create research projects and infuse the research with cultural and community relevance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Citizen science
- Equity and inclusion
- Genetic screen