Our Mission

Tiny Earth inspires and retains students in the sciences while addressing one of the most pressing global health challenges of our century—the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics. Tiny Earthlings are college students who enroll in a Tiny Earth research course to discover antibiotics from soil bacteria in their own backyards. This innovative, international network was created by Dr. Jo Handelsman, Vilas Research Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and former Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

The Tiny Earth Antibiotic Discovery Pipeline


Worldwide network of instructors teach evidence-based hands-on science.

Instructors Worldwide
Trained Yearly
Historically Excluded Groups


Students study microbes from local soils with interactive research.

Students per Year


Pathogen-inhibiting isolates are recorded in the global Tiny Earth Database and shared.

Total lsolates
Isolates from Outside the U.S.

Chemistry Hub

Students share samples with the Chemistry Hub scientists for genomic and metabolomic analysis.

Contributing Institutions
Isolates in the TECH Collection
Complete Genome Sequences
High Priority Isolates

Antibiotic Structures

Identifying antibiotic compounds to combat the resistance crisis.

Antibiotic Structures Identified

Coming Soon:
Novel Antibiotic Structures

Tiny Earth News

More News

A Message from Our Founder

Students have the capacity to solve the crisis by discovering many new antibiotics through their sheer numbers as well as the ingenuity that they bring to the research.

Dr. Jo Handelsman, Founder, Tiny Earth

Featured Publications

Tiny Earth is committed to scholarship in research, teaching, and learning. Here are a few of our publications from the leadership team to illustrate the scientific and educational expertise in Tiny Earth.

Order the Student Guide

Tiny Earth: A research guide to studentsourcing antibiotic discovery

Tiny Earth: A big idea for STEM education and antibiotic discovery
Hurley et al., mBio (2021)

AJEDI in Science: Leveraging instructor communities to create antiracist curricula
Miller et al., Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (2022)

Rapid Pivot of CURE Wet Lab to Online with the Help of Instructor Communities
González-Orta, et al. JMBE (2022)

Check out all our publications

Trusted Partners

The power of the Tiny Earth is the rich tapestry of students, instructors, and communities all working toward a common goal: antibiotic discovery. Gifts help to advance the discovery of new antibiotics and foster a talented STEM workforce of students by supporting educational programming, training new instructors, hosting student research symposia, and ensuring all our resources and experiences are inclusive.

Interested in sponsoring Tiny Earth?
Submit a gift to the
Tiny Earth Community Fund.
For more information, check out our partnership page or email tinyearth@wid.wisc.edu.

Thank you for your support!

Donate to Tiny Earth

Sustaining Corporate Sponsors

Funding Agencies & Institutional Support

Tiny Earth is supported by the National Institutes of Health Common Fund and Office of Scientific Workforce Diversity under award U54 GM119023 (NRMN), administered by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Tiny Earth previously received support from award UL1 TR002373 administered by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

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