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Biological Technologies Office -- ReVector
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting innovative proposals to develop the ability to use human skin microbiomes to reduce attraction and feeding by mosquitoes or other disease vectors. Proposed research should investigate disruptive approaches to identify microbiome-based metabolites used by mosquitoes to locate humans; design targeted intervention plans to reduce attraction and/or feeding; and develop reliable and safe methods of manipulating the human skin microbiome to achieve desired metabolite production. The integration of these approaches to produce novel microbiome interventions should enable precise, safe and transient products that prevent or significantly reduce incidence of mosquito attraction and feeding to human skin.
Performers under the ReVector program will develop deployable technologies that use the microbiome to reduce attraction and feeding by at least three genera (i.e., Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex) of disease vectors. For maximum impact, these technologies must be versatile enough to function on multiple representative and distinct microbiomes, to accommodate natural variability over time and within a population. Development will require detailed characterization of the human volatilome (the combined volatile molecules given off by the skin) and microbiome to identify the common subset of metabolites, microbes, and pathways that attract mosquitoes searching for a potential blood meal to a human. Teams will need to model and implement safe, effective changes to the microbiome to reduce vector attraction and design interventions to carry out this transformation. This intervention model will need to be resilient and account for varying microbiome and volatile molecule profiles between individual humans.
o Proposal Abstract Due Date and Time: June 4, 2019, 4:00 PM ET
o Full Proposal Due Date and Time: July 11, 2019, 4:00 PM ET
Areas of Interest
ReVector is structured into a four (4) year effort consisting of three (3) phases with Phase I (Base effort) lasting 18 months, Phase II (Option) lasting 18 months, and Phase III (Option) lasting twelve (12) months and two Technical Areas:
Technical Area 1 (TA1) – Metabolite Identification and Design;
Technical Area 2 (TA2) – Modulate and Deploy.
Interdisciplinary teams must address both TAs in parallel to develop a platform technology capable of identifying microbiome leverage points and engineering microbiomes capable of producing a microbiome that reduces attraction and feeding by disease causing vectors.