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Mice Against Ticks

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About Resource

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab is an interdisciplinary research lab that encourages the unconventional mixing and matching of seemingly disparate research areas. One of the lab’s projects looks at the role mice can play in the prevention of Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne infection in North America. People are infected when bitten by ticks and; ticks are typically infected when they bite white-footed mice, the primary "reservoir" of the disease. The Mice Against Ticks project explores the possibility of permanently immunizing mouse populations to block transmission of Lyme disease by making and releasing mice that produce protective mouse antibodies from birth and pass immunity on to their pups. The project has been shaped by engagement with community members and visitors to the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard from the beginning. Communities in offshore islands choose which type of antibodies to use, pick uninhabited islands to serve as field trial sites, select independent monitors, and ultimately decide whether to volunteer their own islands for the next stage. Whether or not communities decide to proceed to the next phase of research, the team hopes the process will become a model for responsive science worldwide.

Location: Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Author(s)/Organization: MIT Media Lab


Attributes:Aims for Action, Centers Community Priorities, Respects Community Strengths, Shares Leadership
Outcomes:Impactful Scientific Research, Increased Science Agency, Inspiration for New Science, Strong Community Partnerships
Approaches:Community-driven Citizen Science, Participatory Research
Type:Program Examples