The goal of the DIGET program is to leverage advances in gene editing technologies to develop low-cost, high-trust, sensitive, multiplexed, rapidly reconfigurable, and fieldable diagnostics and biosurveillance technologies to address the need for timely and comprehensive threat detection surveillance to support Department of Defense (DoD) stabilization missions and outpace infectious disease.
DARPA is soliciting innovative proposals to develop distributed point-of-need and massively multiplexed gene editing-based nucleic acid detection capabilities for diagnostics and biosurveillance that address the following areas for technical innovation: (1) development of in silico tools to aid in design of gene editing guides, tools, and assays for detection of pathogen and host biomarker targets, (2) development of foundational enzymes and reporters to enable sensitive and specific detection of nucleic acid targets, (3) incorporation of detection reagents into assays that yield high sensitivity and specificity results in 15 minutes or less and can be rapidly reconfigured for new targets, (4) integration of detection assays into point-of-need diagnostics and massively multiplexed detection (MMD) devices, and (5) algorithms and analytics tools to assist interpretation of complex assays with clearly presented and easily understood results for decision making. Proposed research should develop innovative technologies to enable usage in field-forward locations and rapid reconfiguration of assays in response to new and emergent threats. Specifically excluded is research that primarily results in incremental improvements to the existing state of practice.
o Proposal Abstract Due Date and Time: January 7, 2020, 4:00 PM ET
o Full Proposal Due Date and Time: February 25, 2020, 4:00 PM ET