It is time to experiment with the way we experiment. Using the Internet, we will enable the public to fund and participate in an open model of basic scientific research.
Who are we, and what do we want to do? For 5 years, Ethan Perlstein's lab at Princeton University has been developing a new evolutionary approach to studying how drugs work. For nearly 2 decades, David Sulzer's lab at Columbia Med School has been a leader in the study of how drugs affect the brain.
Our labs will now join forces to tackle a longstanding puzzle in mental health research: how does the family of drugs called amphetamines, which includes methamphetamine ("crystal meth"), actually work? Millions of people take these drugs every day, but we don't fully understand what they do at the cellular level. How can we hope for new treatments to brain diseases or addiction without basic understanding?
Simple: we can't.
We will use powerful, proven techniques to determine precisely where these drugs go deep inside brain cells, because in order to figure out how drugs work you first have to locate where they accumulate. Decades ago a similar approach famously demonstrated where the psychedelic drug LSD works within the brain. Since this is uncharted territory, we don't know for sure where they will end up, which means that you get to experience the thrill of discovery as it occurs!
To make this open approach work we need your support, and we invite you to the kickoff party for the first fully crowdsourced basic research project. Come and meet the team to learn more about Crowdsourcing Discovery!