Dizeez

Associate Professor Andrew Su--Courtesy of Scripps

A mover in biology crowdsourcing for several years, Andrew Su has recently joined the 'gamification' crowd in life sciences. Su, an associate professor at The Scripps Research Institute, has created games that cater to players with backgrounds in biology. Yet the games could be powerful tools in research, nevertheless.

Su's lab has churned out two games, following his successful creation of BioGPS, an online source of data on genes. Its first game, dubbed Dizeez, presents players with a disease name and then challenges them to choose one out of 5 genes with a known association with the disease based on data from BioGPS. (If you are not an expert, your best bet is to take a wild guess at the correct answer, somehow cheat using Wikipedia or abandon the game.)

His lab also developed a game called The Cure that aims to predict the outcomes of breast cancer cases based on predictive genes. The game resulted from Sage Bionetworks' online contest to develop the best tools for predicting the prognosis of breast cancer. Though players don't get paid for their efforts, Su believes that players seek something less tangible from the experience.

"Those tangible things in real life pale in comparison to the real-time high of succeeding in the game environment," Su said in a Scripps article. "That's what makes it so powerful."

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