Our Story


The Microbe Discovery Project was born out of a huge need to get funding to fantastic researchers. There is way too little research into this illness and quality research is desperately needed – when it comes to funding for scientists trying to work in the field, it has been a wasteland. Patients are floundering with a severely debilitating illness without support in clinical as well as care settings across the world and there are no FDA approved treatments!

Our team founder, Vanessa Li, sparked a patient-driven crowdfund to raise funds for world-class researchers Dr Ian Lipkin and Dr Mady Hornig at Columbia University’s Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) in New York. These ground breaking researchers had great plans for research but could not get funding. When scientists of this calibre are trying to do something about this situation for people with ME/CFS we had to respond as a community, and a team of patients came up with a crowdfund to do what we could to help them!

The fundraising picture needs to be far bigger than one crowdfund. The Microbe Discovery Project has become the ME/CFS patient community’s way to support Columbia CII’s ME/CFS research. We know this team of researchers will make significant advances and help put ME/CFS firmly on the map of mainstream research. Over 1.5 million dollars have been received in donations of all sizes from people in over 25 countries!

The groundbreaking work into ME/CFS at Columbia University Center for Infection and Immunity continues. There is much more research they need to do into the illness but lack of funds holds back the work. Please support these talented and committed researchers using the Donate button!

Keep it up, there are so many of us, and together we can make quality research happen. You can also help by sharing news about this effort as far and wide as possible! If you are in the USA please contact congressional leaders to push for increased funding for research into ME/CFS. See the #MEAction Network, which is a global platform that is very active in advocacy.

Our hearts ached, along with so many people in our community, when we lost Vanessa due to this illness. Our dear friend and colleague continues to be an inspiration. CII, Dr Lipkin and Dr Hornig dedicated their landmark cytokine study to Vanesssa Li.

You can follow us on  Facebook and Twitter where we give updates and news regarding Columbia CII’s ongoing work. Thank you to everyone for your support for the project, to these researchers, and for the wonderful donations!