CCP Games has launched the third phase of Project Discovery in conjunction with Massively Multiplayer Online Science (MMOS), the groundbreaking citizen science project and mini-game found within EVE Online, the deep and uniquely player-driven spacefaring MMO game.
With the second-largest PLEX for GOOD collection of all time now having raised a staggering US $135,550 for the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (CHS), Project Discovery will embark on a major program to understand the immune system’s response to the novel coronavirus. This follows two trailblazing previous phases that saw players mapping out the Human Protein Atlas in 2016 and searching for exoplanets in 2017.
In collaboration with scientists from McGill University, BC Cancer and front-line COVID-19 clinicians including Dr Andrea Cossarizza, a Professor of Immunology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia School of Medicine in Italy, players will be able to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 by analyzing data produced by flow cytometers. Flow cytometry is a technique used to detect and measure physical and chemical characteristics of cells, especially those of the immune system that are important in the body’s response to infection with SARS-CoV-2, the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Players can engage with Project Discovery in EVE Online via a mini-game in which they will use a tracing tool to mark groups of cell populations present in blood, thereby helping scientists in understanding how different cell populations and types are altered through infection. Players will also be rewarded for their participation with in-game content. Those logging in to EVE Online will find a detailed in-game tutorial for Project Discovery with full details of how to begin aiding the cause of real science.
Players can also tune in to a special Project Discovery gameplay Twitch stream today at 19:00 UTC to celebrate the launch of phase three, hosted by CCP Games and featuring key participants MMOS CEO and co-founder Attila Szantner, Associate Professor Jérôme Waldispühl and Dr. Ryan Brinkman.
“Since beginning Project Discovery we have seen our players band together as one to affect incredible change,” said Bergur Finnabogson, EVE Online’s Creative Director at CCP. “We are constantly reminded that the EVE community is like no other, we need only look at the recent PLEX for GOOD collection. With the third phase of Project Discovery, we’re thrilled to provide the tools enabling our players to once again work towards the betterment of humanity for the common good.”
“We created MMOS to connect scientific research and video games as a seamless gaming experience. With this edition of Project Discovery, we are adding a very interesting new aspect to this phenomenon we show how gamers can act as an emergency response squad in analysing scientific data when time is of the essence,” said MMOS CEO and co-founder Attila Szantner.
“Project Discovery has already transformed the field of online citizen science as we know it, and we are thrilled they decided to embark on this important and time-sensitive project,” said Jérôme Waldispühl, Associate Professor, School of Computer Science, McGill University.
“This project will mine COVID-19 cytometry data in a truly unique way which we expect will facilitate new discoveries, and the data generated by participants will also enable the development of the next generation of algorithms,” said Dr. Ryan Brinkman, Professor in Medical Genetics, the University of British Columbia, Distinguished Scientist at BC Cancer.
Progress updates from the team of computer scientists and bioinformaticians based at the School of Computer Science at McGill University can be found via https://dnapuzzles.org/.
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