On World Food Day 2017, Justin Siegel, Ph.D., Faculty Director of the Innovation Institute for Food and Health (IIFH), helped launch a global initiative to eradicate aflatoxin – a naturally occurring poison in food known to cause liver cancer. So far, attempts to wipe out aflatoxin haven’t been successful, so with a group of collaborators including Mars, Incorporated, Thermo Fisher Scientific, the University of Washington and the Siegel Lab at UC Davis decided to try a new approach using a computer game called Foldit.
The Foldit platform is a revolutionary crowd-sourcing science puzzle game that allows anyone in the world to figure out how amino acids are folded together to create proteins. Developed by the University of Washington in 2008, the platform has enabled a number of serious breakthroughs in scientific research, including a huge leap forward in finding an AIDs vaccine. Since the launch in October 2017, gamers from around the world have generated over 400,000 designs, which are currently being tested by the Siegel Lab.
We’re thrilled to announce that the ‘Gameover for Aflatoxin’ project made it to the final 240 of the 2018 Fast Company World Changing Idea Awards. This is the second annual World Changing Ideas Awards and the competition drew in almost 1,400 submissions across 12 categories spanning the fields of healthcare, energy, technology and more.
‘Gameover for Aflatoxin’ is one of 240 entries that made it to the final round of judging. The other finalists can be found here – the aflatoxin project has been shortlisted in the food section.
Congratulations to all of the collaborators: Mars, Incorporated, Thermo Fisher Scientific, The University of Washington, UC Davis and the Foldit gaming community!