Citizen Science


Developing a new drug is a long and challenging process. But with your help, we are on the path to creating lifesaving medicines from soil microorganisms.

The keys to discovery are right below your feet.

The soil is teeming with microscopic life including many types of fungi. While most soil fungi are impossible to see with the naked eye, they are adept at making new compounds called natural products. These remarkable molecules hold promise for impeding the growth of cancer cells, stopping the spread of infectious pathogens, as well as treating many other human diseases

Get Involved: Become a Citizen Scientist

With millions of fungi on earth, you likely have many new species living in your area. Whether you live in a big city, a small community, or the pristine wilderness, we need your help finding them. Participation is simple. Just send us a scoop of soil from your backyard. With dozens of fungi occupying a single handful of soil, you can help us explore the vast uncharted potential of fungi and their natural products to fight against pediatric and breast cancers, fungal infections, and much more.

Citizen Scientists from across the United States are already contributing to this important project. You can click here to see where citizen scientists have collected samples. Even if someone from your area is already participating, we still would like a sample from your yard. Your soil is almost certainly different than your neighbor’s making it a one-of-a-kind habitat for new fungi.


Citizen Science Home Participate  • Learn and ExploreDonate Ask Us Sample Map (PDF)

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The OU NPDG Citizen Science Soil Collection Program is made possible in part by: