Tag Archives: Florida State University (FSU)

Exploring biodiversity beyond boundaries and participatory (citizen) science

As this has been confusing to me with the two terms being used interchangeably, I investigated and, based on the findings, believe that ‘participatory sciences’ is a larger classification (subject) term, which includes ‘citizen science’ as a specific subset (type) of participatory science.

Bearing that in mind, here’s more from a May 29, 2024 letter/notice received via email about an upcoming participatory sciences conference,

There are so many areas where participatory sciences are creating a better understanding of the world around us. Sometimes looking at just one of those areas can help us see where there is real strength in these practices–and where combined work across this field can inspire huge change.

Right now, biodiversity is on my mind. 

Last week’s International Day of Biological Diversity invited everyone on the planet to be #PartOfThePlan to protect the systems that sustain us. The Biodiversity Plan calls for scientific collaborations, shared commitments, tracking indicators of progress, and developing transparent communication and engagement around actions by the end of this decade.

Participatory science projects have proven–but underutilized–potential to address spatial and temporal gaps in datasets; engage multiple ways of knowing; inform multilateral environmental agreements; and inspire action and change based on improved understandings of the systems that sustain us.

In this field, we have the the tools, experience, and vision to rise to this global challenge. What would it take to leverage the full power of participatory sciences to inspire and inform wise decisions for people and the planet?

If you are working in, or interested in, the frontiers of participatory sciences to address global challenges like biodiversity, you can be part of driving strategies and solutions at next week’s action-oriented stand on biodiversity at CAPS 2024, [Conference for Advancing the Participatory Sciences] June 3-6. Woven throughout the virtual four-day event are sessions that will both inform and inspire collaborative problem solving to improve how the participatory sciences are leveraged to confront the biodiversity crisis.

There will be opportunities in the program to share your thoughts and experiences, whether or not you are giving a talk.  This event is designed to bring together a diversity of perspectives from across the Americas and beyond.

The strand is a collaboration between AAPS [Association for Advancing Participatory Sciences], the Red Iberoamericana de Cienci A Participativa (the Iberoamerican Network of Participatory Science), iDigBio [Integrated Digitized Biocollections], and Florida State University’s Institute for Digital Information & Scientific Communication.  

CAPS 2024 Biodiversity Elements:

Collaborative Sessions Addressing Biodiversity Knowledge

Each day, multiple sessions will convene global leaders, practitioners, and others to discuss how to advance biodiversity knowledge worldwide. Formats include daily symposia, ideas-to-action conversations, virtual multi-media posters, and lightning talk discussions. Our virtual format provides plenty of opportunities for exchanges. 

Find the full biodiversity strand program here >

Plenary Symposia: Biodiversity Beyond Boundaries

Join global leaders as they share their work to span boundaries to create connected knowledge for biodiversity research and action. 

Learn more about the Plenary Symposia >

Biodiversity-themed Virtual Posters and Live Poster Sessions

Over one-third of the 100+ posters focus specifically on advancing biodiversity-related participatory science. Each day, poster sessions highlight a selection of posters via lightning talks and group discussions.  

Our media-rich virtual poster platform lets you easily scroll through all of the posters and chat with presenters on your own time – even from your phone!

View the full poster presenter list here >

There is still time to register!

Sign up now to ensure a seamless conference experience.

We have tiered registration rates to enable equitable access to the event, and to support delivery of future programming for everyone.

Register Here

This image is from the May 22, 2024 International Day of Biological Diversity,

The unrestricted exploitation of wildlife has led to the disappearance of many animal species at an alarming rate, destroying Earth’s biological diversity and upsetting the ecological balance Photo:Vladimir Wrangel/Adobe Stock

AI ‘author’ steals another author’s identity

It seems I have not been sufficiently imaginative about how AI can be utilized as an author, from an August 10, 2023 article by Abby Hughes for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) As It Happens radio programme, Note: A link has been removed,

Author says ‘AI-generated’ books were published under her name. Amazon wouldn’t take them down

Jane Friedman writes and reports on the publishing industry. Recently, five new titles including How to Write and Publish an eBook Quickly and Make Money, were listed under the U.S.-based author’s name on Amazon.

The problem? She didn’t write them.

Friedman believes the books were generated using artificial intelligence (AI) and published under her name by someone else. 

They were removed from the online marketplace earlier this week according to The Guardian, but only after a fight with the publisher

“I was expecting something like this to happen eventually. I just didn’t think I would find myself leading the charge on fraudulent work in my name,” Friedman told As it Happens guest host Peter Armstrong.

A reader, who had been looking for Friedman’s books on Amazon, stumbled upon the suspicious texts and alerted the author.

Friedman says she felt violated and angry after investigating the “substandard” work for herself.

“The books are just bloviating garbage. It was repetitive, like a really bad student essay [and] didn’t have anything really meaningful in it,” says Friedman.

There’s more,

The books were also listed on Goodreads, an online book rating and recommendation site itself owned by Amazon. But Friedman says getting them removed from that site was far easier.

Friedman was able to “reach human beings with critical thinking skills” when she reached out to Goodreads. With Amazon, however, she could only report the issue by filling out a form.

It’s also impossible to reach the person who uploaded the books, she says — only Amazon has that information.

Friedman says if it weren’t for social media pressure and help from members of the Authors Guild advocacy group — which Friedman is a member of — the works fraudulently published under her name might still exist on Amazon.

Shawn Bayern, a law professor at Florida State University, says cases like Friedman’s might become more common, as generative AI grows in popularity.

An Amazon spokesperson told the CBC in an email that they “have clear content guidelines governing which books can be listed for sale and promptly investigate any book when a concern is raised. We welcome author feedback and work directly with authors to address any issues they raise and where we have made an error, we correct it.”

If you have time, the radio segment embedded in the article is 6 mins. 32 secs. and/or there’s the rest of the article with all the bits I’ve left out.

Nanomedicine and an enhanced uptake of nanoparticles

It’s nice to know that a step forward has been taken with regard to improving uptake in  nanoparticle-based drug delivery (see my April 27, 2016 posting titled: How many nanoparticle-based drugs does it take to kill a cancer tumour? More than 1% for insight into the difficulties of f nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems).

Here’s the latest move forward in a March 8, 2017 news item on Nanowerk (Note: A link has been removed),

Nanotechnology has become a growing part of medical research in recent years, with scientists feverishly working to see if tiny particles could revolutionize the world of drug delivery.

But many questions remain about how to effectively transport those particles and associated drugs to cells.
In an article published today in Scientific Reports (“Enhanced cellular uptake of size-separated lipophilic silicon nanoparticles”), FSU Associate Professor of Biological Science Steven Lenhert takes a step forward in the understanding of nanoparticles and how they can best be used to deliver drugs.

After conducting a series of experiments, Lenhert and his colleagues found that it may be possible to boost the efficacy of medicine entering target cells via a nanoparticle.

A March 8, 2017 Florida State University news release by Kathleen Haughney, which originated the news item, provides more detail about the research (an international collaboration involving the University of Toronto [Canada] and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology [Germany]),

“We can enhance how cells take them up and make more drugs more potent,” Lenhert said.

Initially, Lenhert and his colleagues from the University of Toronto and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology  wanted to see what happened when they encapsulated silicon nanoparticles in liposomes — or small spherical sacs of molecules — and delivered them to HeLa cells, a standard cancer cell model.

The initial goal was to test the toxicity of silicon-based nanoparticles and get a better understanding of its biological activity.

Silicon is a non-toxic substance and has well-known optical properties that allow their nanostructures to appear fluorescent under an infrared camera, where tissue would be nearly transparent. Scientists believe it has enormous potential as a delivery agent for drugs as well as in medical imaging.

But there are still questions about how silicon behaves at such a small size.

“Nanoparticles change properties as they get smaller, so scientists want to understand the biological activity,” Lenhert said. “For example, how does shape and size affect toxicity?”

Scientists found that 10 out of 18 types of the particles, ranging from 1.5 nanometers to 6 nanometers, were significantly more toxic than crude mixtures of the material.

At first, scientists believed this could be a setback, but they then discovered the reason for the toxicity levels. The more toxic fragments also had enhanced cellular uptake.

That information is more valuable long term, Lenhert said, because it means they could potentially alter nanoparticles to enhance the potency of a given therapeutic.

The work also paves the way for researchers to screen libraries of nanoparticles to see how cells react.

“This is an essential step toward the discovery of novel nanotechnology based therapeutics,” Lenhert said. “There’s big potential here for new therapeutics, but we need to be able to test everything first.”

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

Enhanced cellular uptake of size-separated lipophilic silicon nanoparticles by Aubrey E. Kusi-Appiah, Melanie L. Mastronardi, Chenxi Qian, Kenneth K. Chen, Lida Ghazanfari, Plengchart Prommapan, Christian Kübel, Geoffrey A. Ozin, & Steven Lenhert. Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 43731 (2017) doi:10.1038/srep43731 Published online: 08 March 2017

This paper is open access.