AWARD: $100,000 USD | DEADLINE: 12/15/14 |
Many biological experiments are performed under the assumption that all cells of a particular “type” are identical. However, recent data suggest that individual cells within a single population may differ quite significantly and these differences can drive the health and function of the entire cell population. Single cell analysis comprises a broad field that covers advanced optical, electrochemical, mass spectrometry instrumentation, and sensor technology, as well as separation and sequencing techniques. Although the approaches currently in use can offer snapshots of single cells, the methods are often not amenable to longitudinal studies that monitor changes in individual cells in situ.
The NIH Single Cell Analysis Program (SCAP) is searching for novel methods for analyzing dynamic states of individual cells that can serve as the basis for predicting alterations in cell behavior and function over time. The ultimate goal is to develop new tools and methods that allow time-dependent measurements at the single cell level in a complex tissue environment to assess functional changes, provide information on the health status of a given cell, and help guide diagnosis and therapeutic treatments related to human disease states. Technological breakthroughs in this arena could allow researchers and physicians to identify rare cells in a mixed population such as individual cells that can transform and become cancerous; cells that are latently infected with a pathogenic virus; or cells that develop resistance to drugs over time. This challenge is structured in 2 phases: Phase 1 is a Theoretical Challenge and Phase 2, a Reduction to Practice Challenge. Phase 1 may award up to 6 prizes from a total prize award pool of $100,000 for the theoretical portion of the competition.
In addition to the direct monetary awards, the prize winners and selected runners-up will be recognized by the NIH Common Fund Single Cell Analysis Program and invited to attend The 3rd Annual Single Cell Analysis Investigators Meeting in Rockville, Maryland, USA on April 20, 2015. In addition to the public announcement, this opportunity may include paid travel and accommodations to the event and potential participation as an invited speaker at the discretion of the NIH.
Prize winners and selected runners-up with a qualifying score in Phase 1 will be invited to participate in Phase 2, which is a Reduction to Practice challenge to provide proof of concept data related to their Phase 1 entries. Phase 2 may award up to 2 winning solutions from a total pool of $400,000.
Phase 1 (Theoretical) Challenge requires only a written proposal.
Phase 2 (Reduction to Practice) Challenge will require documentation of Phase 1 implementation including the submission of data.