MicroMundo, an innovative Citizen Science project in the area of Microbiology, will be launched next Thursday, 15th November, 2018, in the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto (FFUP)/ICBAS complex where university students, professors and researchers will have the opportunity to learn about this project. Implemented in Portugal by professors and researchers from UCIBIO at the FFUP and Faculty of Nutrition and Food Science-FCNAUP, the pedagogical and scientific project aims to search for new antibiotics produced by microorganisms from soil samples, integrating various educational levels.
The project was initially created in the USA (2012) as Small World Initiative (SWI) and is already applied in 16 different countries across the world with different designations (e.g. SWI or Tiny Earth in the USA, Antibiotics Unearthed in the UK, etc.). In Europe, started by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, in 2016, in Spain (www.ucm.es/small-world-initiative/project), where it reached a tremendous success with more than 25 universities and 2000 students involved.
This year, a new designation (MicroMundo) was adopted to be used in the Iberian Peninsula.
This project of pedagogical, scientific and social importance is based on activities directed to students of basic/secondary schools and supervised by university students accompanied by a university professor or researcher. The experimental challenge is to search for new antibiotics produced by microorganisms from soil samples. UCIBIO researchers from the BacT Drugs Research Lab the will start this project in the metropolitan area of Porto with the involvement of three schools (EBS Carolina Michaëlis, EB Irene de Lisboa and EBS Rodrigues de Freitas) and more than 150 students.
Based on the previous Spanish experience, “we expect to extend this project to other faculties of the University of Porto and other universities across the country. Furthermore, we hope to encourage students to pursue careers in Biological Sciences by engaging them in the global and urgent problem of antimicrobial resistance”, explains the coordinator of the project, Luísa Peixe, lab leader of the BacT Drugs Research Lab at UCIBIO in FFUP.
During the opening session, Luísa Peixe will present the project, including a brief history of MicroMundo, the impact of the project, and the implementation in Portugal through the University of Porto. During this session, university students, professors and researchers will have the opportunity to attend a workshop about Science Communication.
MicroMundo@Uporto team photo (from the left to the right): Svetlana Perovic (FFUP), Ana R. Freitas (FFUP), Carla Novais (FFUP), Patrícia Antunes (FCNAUP), Ângela Novais (FFUP), Luísa Peixe (FFUP), Teresa G. Ribeiro (FFUP), Filipa Grosso (FFUP), Joana Mourão (FFUP)