Discovering Tiny Earth: a Message from Jo Handelsman

Tiny Earth marks the launch of our new worldwide antibiotic-discovery initiative. It will capture all the best aspects of the original Microbes to Molecules course and the Small World Initiative that I founded at Yale, including
  • The original curriculum
  • A powerful instructor network
  • Instructor training led by Nichole Broderick and Debra Davis
  • Instructor-driven committee structure to lead the network
But Tiny Earth will be much more! Led by our group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Tiny Earth will reach for a larger vision, incorporating new features that will enrich the discovery process for our students. Today we are announcing some of the new developments, including
  • Instructor training will be offered twice per year, in the summer at the University of Connecticut and in the winter at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • A new database for recording and storing student data online by the fall thanks to the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and UW-Madison
  • Free genome sequencing of antibiotic-producing isolates submitted by students will be offered thanks to partnerships with the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and the Illumina Corporation
  • The Chemistry Hub will finally launch this month to turn the promise of studentsourced antibioticdiscovery into a reality
  • New curricula will be developed by instructor partners in transposon mutagenesis, genomics, and small-molecule chemistry
  • New evaluation tools to assess our impact on students and society
  • Greater emphasis on community connections between partner classrooms and local communities that provide soil samples
  • A large group of sponsors for our Symposium and training, including Catalent, Exact Sciences, Roche, Lucigen, Illumina, the Sloan Foundation, and the Epic Systems Corporation.
  • An expanded social media presence.

As we take the impact of our teaching and research to the next level, we transition from a small world to Tiny Earth. It is my honor to partner with you in discovering Tiny Earth.

Jo Handelsman is director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and founder of the curriculum at the core of Tiny Earth.