Is this discovery-based or hypothesis-driven science?

We received an interesting question via email by tova, and we got a permission to repost it here for everyone’s benefit! :blush:

tova asked:

I am just curious. Is this discovery-based or hypothesis-driven science? Can you explain why?

@pietro answered:

It’s primarily hypothesis-driven.

We engage in two types of research in the EyesOnALZ project: human computation (crowdsourcing science) and biomedical research. Crowdsourcing science is about answering hypothesis-driven inquiries, such as “if we combine answers from many different people in this way, can we produce an expert-like answer more efficiently?” The biomedical work is about testing hypotheses such as “this drug will reduce the number of stalled capillaries in a mouse with Alzheimer’s disease”.

However, we are very open to the possibility of discoveries along the way. Indeed, the observed higher rate of stalled capillaries in mice with Alzheimer’s disease was actually a serendipitous discovery made by an undergraduate laboratory technician in the Schaffer-Nishimura Lab at Cornell University. It was this discovery that prompted the ongoing investigation into capillary stalls that seems to be leading to a possible treatment.

We are also interested in creating opportunities for Stall Catchers players to make their own discoveries, so we are building new features into the platform so that conversations can be built around specific vessels and their hemodynamics.