DIY Clinical Trials (Or: How to Guinea Pig Your Way to Scientific Truth and Better Health)

Citizen Science
Location: D136
Average rating: ****.
(4.33, 6 ratings)

Today, by asking open questions and inviting others to participate, new health data streams can be leveraged to find both personal answers and bigger truths. This crowd-sourced research focuses on learning by sharing, and lets the people who stand to most directly benefit from research be involved at the ground level, deciding how studies are run, analyzing data, and finding ways to measure outcomes.

Techniques used by researchers, including clinical tests, gene scans, and personal tracking are now cheaply available to all. Low cost means it is possible to explore areas that companies have no economic incentive to address, such as rare diseases, personal epidemiology, off-label drug testing, supplements and lifestyle changes.

In our talk, we describe the first open, crowd-sourced heath experiments we’ve performed. We speak candidly about breakthroughs, pitfalls, and lessons learned. Finally, we give an overview of the open tools available to citizen scientists.

Photo of Greg Biggers

Greg Biggers


Greg Biggers is a prophetic voice in a medical and health wilderness.

As Chief Instigator and CEO at Genomera, he is catalyzing consumer health collaboration— where patients (Genomera just calls them people) drive the research agenda, and engage with one another to solve problems faster and more efficiently than the traditional bottlenecks allow.

He can often be found sailing a Santana 22 on San Francisco Bay.

Photo of Raymond McCauley

Raymond McCauley


Raymond ( is Chief Science Officer at Genomera, working on health collaboration and personal genomics. He has 20 years of experience in the biotech and high tech arenas, with Exponential Biosciences (, Illumina (, Ingenuity Systems, QIAGEN Genomics, Applied Carbon, various startups and governmental agencies, and a stint as executive producer for PBS television series at TANSTAAFL Media.

Raymond is on the faculty of Singularity University (, an advisor to two biotech stealth startups, and an active participant in the BioCurious Community Lab (, DIYgenomics (, and Quantified Self communities. His background is in computer science, electrical engineering, biochemistry, biophysics, and bioinformatics, including graduate studies at Texas A&M University and Stanford University, with support from the NSF Student Scholar Program and a Lechner Fellowship.

His personal interests include genomic medicine, DIYbio, the citizen science movement, practical nanotechnology, and raising his twin boys to be superheroes.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Joe Milligan
07/28/2011 10:12am PDT

Great Workshop

Andy Lim
07/28/2011 5:07am PDT

I think this project could be a real game changer in the field of health care.