BioSentinel Project

nodule copy

GUS reporter system used to monitor Rhizobium inoculation.

For the last 15 years, CAMBIA has been interested in exploring use of biotechnology to illuminate field problems and enable informed decision-makings in improving or managing resources.  Using an integrative knowledge base in genetics, physiology, and ecology, in 1994, we began designing a BioSentinel project to study competition by Rhizobia and assess nitrogen fixation in the field.

At present, we see the project extending beyond just CAMBIA, we envision it as an aspiration for a collaborative strategy among various labs or institutes working on independent and diverse modular components, to enable their access by communities faced with real challenges under open source BiOS- based models.  If empowered with decision-making tools, resource-poor users will make an informative risk/benefit analysis to manage the little that they have.  If enabled, farmers can assess and act on their field challenges and a rural community can take appropriate measures to manage its resources.

What is available in this project?

How do I participate/access/use/obtain any of the building block tools?

In agricultural systems, for example, the complexity of biological interactions may impose constraints on the ability of local farmers to manage effectively or improve their crops. The challenging issues become not only the ability of farmers to invent new tools but also their ability to make an informative decision on existing tools, access/modify/ or adjust them to their needs.  The “BioSentinel” project has a potential to offer non-disruptive, nondestructive, in vivo management modules that farmers and/or various agricultural communities could access under various new open source BiOS licensing schemes (info). The modules are designed to harness the creativity and ingenuity of local communities to assemble, test, and selectively adopt these tools according to their needs and wishes.

Voluntary contributions by Osmat Azzam Jefferson and Steve Hughes allowed for the development of earlier versions of this project in 2004, and in 2005, thanks to Lemelson Foundation for a grant authored by Marie Connett-Porceddu and Richard Jefferson, the concept regained momentum.   If you are interested in this project, we would welcome your input and please email us.