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Accelerating biological research with an open-source virtual organism

One of the most important animals studied in all of biology is a microscopic worm. Its simplicity (its brain has exactly 302 neurons) makes it ideal to study brain functions, which are currently poorly understood. Having a virtual organism that anyone can study and add contribution to in an open-source model could expedite and further expand studies on the brain.

challenge

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Accelerating biological research with an open-source virtual organism

One of the most important animals studied in all of biology is a microscopic worm. Its simplicity (its brain has exactly 302 neurons) makes it ideal to study brain functions, which are currently poorly understood. Having a virtual organism that anyone can study and add contribution to in an open-source model could expedite and further expand studies on the brain.
300M
people impacted
$2.2T
potential funding
the problem
Nature and Context

Improving our understanding of basic brain functions could make a fundamental contribution to the development of cures for brain diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Research on these materials, like groups studying the worm, should be open-source.

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the impact
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who benefits from solving this problem
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financial insights
Current Funding
Potential Solution Funding

In April 2014, OpenWorm raised $120,000 from 799 backers, to support: ‘a scrappy, open-source project that began with a tweet and that's coordinated on Google Hangouts by scientists spread from San Diego to Russia

ideas
Ideas Description

An international team of scientists (pre-Kickstarter, mostly on a voluntary basis) has built a basic digital model of a worm. They have put this model into an iOS app, and a freely available explorer tool which works right in your browser. As the OpenWorm model improves it will be used in silico (i.e. computer simulated) experiments, the range and scale of which will dwarf what is currently possible using real C.Elegans worms

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Ideas Sustainability
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