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Countdown to Big Data in Biomedicine: How gamers have advanced the RNA field

How does a "slightly bananas side project" (his words) in a biochemist's lab help accelerate researchers’ understanding of RNA? During last year's Big Data in Biomedicine conference, Stanford biochemist Rhiju Das, PhD, shared details about an online game he co-created called Eterna.

Players of Eterna develop the skills to design RNA molecules that fold into shapes that can serve a huge range of purposes —  as drugs, molecular sensors, or switches in a nano-circuit. (If this sounds familiar, it's because some of Das' related work was covered by Scope, NPR and other media outlets earlier this month.)

Discussing the impact that tens of thousands of gamers have had so far, Das excitedly told the audience, "This attempt to distill the collective intuition of thousands of smart folks being trained by experiments and video games is now the best RNA design algorithm that we have and has gone into routine use in my lab and other RNA engineering labs."

Watch the full presentation to learn more. And be sure to mark your calendar for this year's Big Data in Biomedicine conference, which will be held May 25 and 26 and will focus on precision health.

Previously: Countdown to Big Data in Biomedicine: Genomic data sharing is key, says UCSC’s David HausslerTime to register for Big Data in Biomedicine 2016Playing to win: Gamers will compete to save livesGamers: The new face of scientific research? and Mob science: Video game, EteRNA, lets amateurs advance RNA research
Thumbnail photo by Norbert von der Groeben

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