Ok, so we can't invite all 40,000 catchers to meet us at the office, but we wanted to show you around. Mike Capraro, whom you may know from the Stall Catchers leaderboard as Caprarom, visited us to celebrate our fifth anniversary and joined us on a tour of Cornell University's Schaffer-Nishimura Laboratory. There we filmed a series of videos to show you how Alzheimer's research data analyzed by Stall Catchers volunteers is generated. We also went running, but we’ll get to that later.

                                                                                                               by Paz Santander

A while ago, we invited one of our super catchers, Guy Calkins, to visit Ithaca Since then, Mike has long been waiting to also visit us for a laboratory tour, so we decided to celebrate our 5th anniversary with him in the Schaffer-Nishimura laboratory, also known as the place where our vessel movies are taken.

During his visit, Mike joined our director Pietro Michelucci to meet the team and see the equipment at the laboratory. Even researchers Chris Schaffer and Nozomi Nishimura joined us from Amsterdam on their sabbatical to give Mike the best experience. The good news is that now you too can join us in this tour!

Researchers Schaffer and Nishimura joined with super high technology: a tablet hanging from Pietro’s chest.

We realized that, as much as we'd like to invite all 40,000 catchers to do the same lab tour, that isn't practical. So instead, we filmed Mike's lab tour experience to share it with our community. And now, the three part series is available for anyone to watch it online.

You may already know we get the vessels images from a mouse brain, but did you know it takes five minutes to take just one picture with the microscope?! And then, we have to segment that picture into 200 or 300 little pieces so that catchers can help us analyze every vessel.

This is possible because our collaborators do not work with the average microscope you used to have at school. The Schaffer-Nishimura has an entire room filled with lenses and high power laser microscopes! As well as the warm plate that keeps the mouse comfortable during imaging.

The mice are a very important part of the study, so we have to take good care of them. As Pietro said, in the video series ”you can see just how involved the process is -the careful surgery to install the chronic plate and the tremendous care taken to ensure the comfort of the animals and a safe, infection-free recovery”.

A long time commitment

Mike, or “Caprarom”, was one of the original catchers, he even participated in the prototype testing and was the first to become a points “billionaire” in Stall Catchers. He also shares an interest in running with Pietro and motivated Pietro to do his first running in ten years following open heart surgery!

During his visit, they finally got to run a 10k trail at the Danby Down & Dirty 2021 race and Mike beat Pietro… by a lot ✌.

The Stall Catchers’ team after the Danby Down & Dirty race, Ithaca.

We are very happy and proud of the community that started with Mike and keeps growing with all of you, our catchers. So we invite anyone who has ever wondered where the Stall Catchers data comes from, to watch this lab tour video series and to share with us what else you would like to know about the project or about the team.

We hope you enjoy the tour and become a part of our community if you aren’t already… keep in mind that the 10k running is optional, not mandatory!