Tag Archives: soil

Fighting Cancer, One Clump of Soil at a Time

Have you ever looked around your yard and wondered if it held the key to fighting cancer? Okay, so maybe not…but here’s a cool way you can be a part of a scientific experiment and maybe unlock the next new drug.

It’s called Citizen Science. It’s part of the National Products Discovery Group in the University of Oklahoma’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (whew, that’s a mouthful!).

In a nutshell, they’re looking for soil samples…from your yard, from your neighbor’s yard (with their permission of course), or from your pasture. The scientists are looking to see what microorganisms are living in that soil. They’re specifically looking for fungi. Here’s why from their website, “Fungi are capable of making many new compounds that can thwart the growth of cancer cells, impede the spread of infectious pathogens, as well as treat many other human diseases. With millions of fungi estimated to be living on earth, you probably have several new species inhabiting your area that we have never tested.”

How cool is that? Just dig up a little soil and see if it’s home to a new cancer fighting agent! Click here to learn how to get involved and see where samples have been submitted from across the country.

Ancient Dust and Fossilized Raindrops (sort of)

Dr. Lynn Soreghan is a geologist at the University of Oklahoma. She has one of the more unique specialties I’ve come across. She studies deep time climate by looking at ancient dust. It was formed hundreds of millions of years ago but has now become rock or stone.

Be sure to check out the 2:05 mark where you can see what are essentially fossilized raindrops!!! Okay, not really, but you can see the imprint made when it rained millions of years ago in Colorado. It’s supercool.

We talked via Skype.