Science Together in Oxford

Science Together is a series of workshops and events being held at the Oxford Museum of Natural History on Tue 7 June 2022. Events start at 10.30am and run until 5pm.

From 5-7pm you can find out more about some of the projects through Science on the Sofa where Oli Moore will talk to some of scientists behind the different public engagement projects on display during the day, including our very own Carla Wright and Emma Pritchard!

You can register to attend in person, or follow the livestream, via this link.

BashTheBug on the Zooniverse News

BashTheBug paper out!

Read the first scientific paper published in eLife. Anyone can go to the website and read it, there is no paywall.

Each image is looked at by up to 17 different citizen scientists — in this paper we show that taking the median of these classifications is both reproducible and accurate.

In fact, if you apply the criteria defined by the relevant ISO standard their results are sufficient accurate but not quite reproducible enough to qualify as an Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing device.


Listen to Sarah Walker talk about the ONS Covid population survey

Professor Sarah Walker has been Principal Investigator of the ONS Covid Infection Survey since it started in April 2020. By regularly testing random samples of the UK population for infection and Covid antibodies, this has provided hugely valuable information as the Covid pandemic has progressed and has helped inform public health policy.

You can listen to her talk about the survey in the first episode of the new Statistically Speaking podcast by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), along with other people heavily involved in the survey.


Listen to Tim Peto talk about LFTs

Listen to Professor Tim Peto be interviewed on Radio 4’s PM programme about the UK validation of SARS-CoV-2 lateral flow tests. You’ll need to go to about 15 minutes in to hear the start of the piece.

News Tuberculosis

Read about tuberculosis and CRyPTIC in the Economist

Hot on the heels of the press release, the Economist have published an article describing the work of the CRyPTIC project.

Note that it is behind a pay wall, but you can always buy a copy of the print edition when it comes out on Friday 23 October 2021!

News Tuberculosis

Derrick Crook interviewed on the BBC World Service

You can hear the CRyPTIC Principal Investigator, Prof Derrick Crook, talking about the project and its impact on tuberculosis on News Hour on the BBC World Service here. The segment starts about 35 minutes in. You will need a BBC login so this link may not work for everyone.

News Tuberculosis

Largest ever global study of tuberculosis identifies genetic causes of drug resistance

The CRyPTIC project, which is coordinated by us (Derrick Crook is the Principal Investigator) has released the largest ever global study of tuberculosis aimed at identifying all the genetic variants responsible for antibiotic resistance.

The Comprehensive Resistance Prediction for Tuberculosis International Consortium (CRyPTIC) research project has collected the largest ever global dataset of clinical M. tuberculosis samples from across the world consisting of 15,211 samples from 27 countries on five continents.

Using two key advances: a new quantitative test for drug resistance and a new approach which identifies all the genetic changes in a sample of drug-resistant TB bacteria the researchers have generated a unique dataset which the team has used to quantify how changes in the genetic code of M. tuberculosis reduce how well different drugs kill these bacteria that cause TB. These innovations, combined with ongoing work in the field, promise to profoundly improve how patients with TB are treated in the future.

Tuberculosis kills more people each year than any other bacterium, virus, or parasite, except for SARS-CoV-2. Although it is treatable, drug resistance has emerged as a major problem over the past 3 decades. Testing for mutations in the M. tuberculosis genome to determine which drugs will give a patient the best chance of cure is the most realistic way of getting drug resistance testing to every patient who needs it.

“This innovative, large-scale, international collaboration has enabled us to create possibly the most comprehensive map yet of the genetic changes responsible for drug resistance in tuberculosis.”

Dr. Derrick Crook, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Oxford.

In a series of nine new preprint manuscripts, each documenting a different aspect of how the CRyPTIC project has advanced the field, the researchers reveal:

These results aim to help improve control of tuberculosis and facilitate the World Health Organisation’s end TB strategy through better, faster and more targeted treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis via genetic resistance prediction, paving the way towards universal drug susceptibility testing (DST).

“Our ultimate goal is to achieve a sufficiently accurate genetic prediction of resistance to most anti-tuberculosis drugs, so that whole genome sequencing can replace culture-based DST for TB. This will enable rapid-turnaround near-to-patient assays to revolutionise MDR-TB identification and management.”

Professor Derrick Crook

The data, which are now freely available, can be used by the wider scientific community to improve our understanding of drug resistance in TB and how to best treat this important disease.

This project is funded by MRC Newton Fund, Wellcome, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The work of Prof Crook’s team is supported through the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre’s Antimicrobial Resistance and Microbiology Theme.

BashTheBug on the Zooniverse News

Read all about it!

The first scientific paper investigating how we can best use all the classifications done by our volunteers is now available for anyone to download and read here.

If you like it, please retweet one of @BashTheBug’s tweets about it.

Note that since it is only considering about 20% of the full dataset you might not find your name on the montage of volunteers in Figure S1 — don’t worry there will be other papers!

This is a “preprint” which means whilst we have written the manuscript it hasn’t yet been reviewed by several other independent scientists which will happen when we submit it to a scientific journal for consideration. It is free to download and when it is published in a scientific journal it will also be free to download, thanks to support from the Wellcome Trust.



BashTheBug on the Zooniverse News

Oxford Public Engagement with Research Conference 2020

We gave a talk, “Setting up an online citizen science project on the Zooniverse is easy: the BashTheBug experience” to other researchers at the University of Oxford as part of this week-long online public engagement with research conference. In it, we talk our experiences with BashTheBug and setup live a demo project “Chihuahua or Muffin?”. Although aimed at other researchers, feel free to have a look! You can find the video of our talk here.

BashTheBug on the Zooniverse News

4 Million Classifications Reached

Hi All,

We hope you are all well and keeping safe and sane during these trying and daunting times

We wanted to say Thank You!

You have helped BashtheBug reach over 4 million classifications:

Total classifications since the project began: 4, 028, 152

You have looked at over 15,000 samples, which has helped the *CRyPTIC project prepare its first dataset for release, which will form the basis of: several big publications and a number of smaller ones including machine learning, a new catalogue and a genome-wide association study to look for genes that confer resistance no one has noticed yet.

Well done to all our volunteers for making this happening!

*The project is part of the CRyPTIC Comprehensive Resistance Prediction for Tuberculosis: an International Consortium is a world-wide collaboration between tuberculosis (TB) research institutions all over the world to achieve better, faster and more targeted treatment of multidrug-resistant TB via genetic resistance prediction.