Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Beer funding

Scientists looking for relatively small sums to gather data or test new ideas can turn to funding websites such RocketHub and Microryza. This month, SciFund Challenge, a group that leads crowdfunding drives for scientists, plans to launch its fourth drive.
Funders range from ordinary citizens who want to contribute to science to investors hoping to get in on something early.
And people who'd just like to get out of the house?
Dr. [Ethan] Perlstein plans to launch his public appeal for Perlstein Lab this week on a site called AngelList. Perlstein Lab will focus on finding drugs to treat lysosomal storage diseases, which are marked by the failure of cells to produce and recycle waste. The materials accumulate in cells and can cause a range of problems, including in some cases death.
Before deciding to pursue this route for his lab, the 34-year-old had a previous crowdfunding experience. He worked with David Sulzer, a professor of neurology, psychiatry and pharmacology at Columbia University, who had read a paper by Dr. Perlstein that posited a new theory of how the antidepressant Zoloft works. 
....Dr. Perlstein and a colleague created a short video explaining the concept and posted it on RocketHub. The scientists offered prizes, including the chance to talk science over beer for people who donated $100 or more. The men quickly raised $25,000 from family, friends and strangers. Experiments on the theory are under way.
One way to donate brain cells to science.

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