The National Institutes of Health is challenging science innovators to compete for prizes totaling up to $500,000, by developing new ways to track the health status of a single cell in complex tissue over time. The NIH Follow that Cell Challenge seeks tools that would, for example, monitor a cell in the process of becoming cancerous, detect changes due to a disease-causing virus, or track how a cell responds to treatment.
The challenge aims to generate creative ideas and methods for following and predicting a single cell's behavior and function over time in a complex multicellular environment ' preferably using multiple integrated measures to detect its changing state.
Phase 1 of the challenge seeks theoretical, written solutions, due by Dec. 15, 2014. Submissions will be screened by panels of outside and NIH staff experts prior to review by a three-judge panel consisting of the NIMH, NIBIB, and DPCPSI directors, who will award up to six prizes totaling $100,000, to be announced March 16, 2015.
Phase 1 winners and runners-up will be eligible to participate in Phase 2, a "Reduction to Practice" to provide proof of concept data related to their Phase 1 entries. These submissions will be due March 30, 2017. One or two winning solutions will receive prizes totaling $400,000, to be announced July 31, 2017.
Details of the criteria by which entries will be evaluated were published in the Federal Register on Aug. 11, 2014. A registration link for the Challenge is available on the SCAP Challenge page and on the Follow That Cell website.