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6D.Tiny Earth

6D.Tiny Earth inspires and retains students in the sciences while addressing one of the most pressing global health challenges of our century—the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics.


In 6D.Tiny Earth research courses, students discover antibiotics from soil bacteria in their own backyards.


This innovative, international network was created by Dr. Jo Handelsman, Vilas Research Professor of Plant Pathology and Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and former Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Addressing a Global Health Crisis

Antibiotic resistance is rapidly emerging as a global health crisis, with resistant bacteria evolving at an alarming rate. This rapidly growing problem threatens to become the number one cause of death in the world in the next few decades.


The discovery of new antibiotics is essential to combat this crisis, a mission that Dr. Jo Handelsman has dedicated her career to addressing.


Dr. Jo Handelsman’s Vision

Dr. Handelsman, a renowned scientist and former Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), created Tiny Earth to tackle this challenge.


Her extensive experience, including advising Former President Mr. Obama on scientific matters, underscores the critical need for new antibiotics to ensure future health. The discovery of new antibiotics is essential to our future health.

A Unique Solution: Students as Scientists

The pharmaceutical industry has largely abandoned the discovery of new antibiotics. Tiny Earth leverages the ingenuity and enthusiasm of college students to address this gap.


By involving students in the search for new antibiotics from soil bacteria—the source of most antibiotics in use—we can make significant strides in this critical area.


Tiny Earth students gain valuable hands-on experience and develop the skills needed to address the antibiotic crisis.

Global Educational Impact

Tiny Earth provides quality educational experiences for students worldwide, enhancing research and educational capacity in both developing and developed countries. It directly addresses the antibiotic resistance crisis by contributing new antibiotics to the global arsenal for treating infectious diseases.

Tiny Earth’s impact is extensive:

Educational Reach

We engage students from both developed and developing countries, building capacity for scientific research worldwide.


Research Contributions

Our network of 800+ partner instructors and thousands of students contributes valuable data and potential new antibiotics to the global scientific community.


Collaborative Expansion

We are thrilled to expand our network into India, fostering new collaborations and discoveries.

Expanding to India

The Tiny Earth Headquarters team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with Tiny Earth Partner Instructors and countless students, is excited about expanding into India.


We look forward to collaborating with each member of the Tiny Earth India community in our shared quest to discover new antibiotics.


How It Works

Enrol in a Tiny Earth Course

Students join Tiny Earth through courses offered at 6D.Varsity. (participating institutions worldwide.)


Collect Soil Samples

Students gather soil samples from their local environments.


Isolate Bacteria

In the lab, students isolate bacteria from these samples.



Test for Antibiotics

Using various scientific techniques, students test the bacteria for antibiotic properties.


Contribute to Global Research

Successful discoveries are documented and contribute to the global fight against antibiotic resistance.

Reserve your Seat

Get Involved


Learn more about enrolling in a Tiny Earth course at your institution.



Discover how to bring Tiny Earth to your classroom and join our network of partner instructors.



Find out how you can support our mission through donations and advocacy.

Join the Movement

Whether you're a student eager to make a difference, an educator looking to bring hands-on research to your classroom, or a supporter passionate about global health, Tiny Earth welcomes you.


Together, we can inspire the next generation of scientists and discover the antibiotics essential for our future health.


The strength of Tiny Earth lies in its diverse community of students, instructors, and supporters all working towards a common goal: antibiotic discovery. Contributions help advance this mission by supporting educational programming, training new instructors, hosting student research symposia, and ensuring inclusivity in all our resources and experiences.

Interested in sponsoring Tiny Earth?

Submit a gift to the Tiny Earth Community Fund.

For more information, check out our partnership page or email

Thank you for your support!


Contact Us

For more information, collaboration inquiries, or to get involved, contact Tiny Earth Headquarters at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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