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NEI 3-D Retina Organoid Challenge (3-D ROC)

About the Challenge
Insights wanted: leveraging mini-retinas for big breakthroughs in eye disease

Posted By: National Institutes of Health
Category: Ideas
Skill: Scientific Interest: Science & Research Submission Dates: 12 p.m. ET, Jun 01, 2017 - 12 p.m. ET, Aug 01, 2017 Judging Dates: Aug 02, 2017 - Sep 15, 2017

The National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, is seeking ideas for how to develop advances in vitro 3-D human retina organoid models. The goal of the challenge is to turn innovative ideas into concrete concepts for the development of a 3-D system that models the cellular organization and function of the human retina. Full description and details of this prize competition are defined on NEI’s challenge details page.

NEI is seeking innovative solutions to achieve significant advances over currently available protocols to grow retina organoids. As solvers address the evaluation criteria outlined below, they should state how and why they expect their proposed new methods or changes/additions to existing methods will improve aspects of retina organoids. Solutions must outline ideas to produce 3-D retina organoids that:

  • Are generated from human cells (derived from iPSC, federally approved ESC, multipotent cells, or adult cells subjected to a combination of transdifferentiation/reprogramming methods);
  • Are physiologically and morphologically relevant to normal or disease state; and
  • Consist of the major retina cell types and represent their biological functions and interplay.

Solutions that propose to grow cells in 2-D culture using a tissue-on-a-chip system are not of interest for this Challenge. However, creative approaches that incorporate use of microfluidics or perfusion to enhance culture of 3-D organoids are encouraged.

Judging Criteria

Cell Type, Structure, Viability, and Function - 50%

• Cell Types: What aspects of protocol ensure that all five neuronal retina cell types (photoreceptors, bipolar cells, ganglion cells, horizontal cells, and amacrine cells) will be produced on included? Will other cell types be generated or included? If the method eliminates a cell type, justify why it is not included (i.e. the disease being modelled lacks the specific cell type).
• Structure: What approach (e.g., self-organization or bioengineering with scaffolds, bioprinting, and/or a microfluidic apparatus) is proposed to achieve 3-D assembly? What aspects of the protocol ensure that 3-D organoids will be properly oriented and have layers recapitulating a laminated retina?
• Viability: Does the protocol incorporate new procedural steps or technologies that aim to increase duration of viability as compared to current protocols?
• Functional characterization of cell types: Does the solution incorporate novel steps or technologies that may enable all cell types to remain functional through the latest viable timepoint?

Robustness and Reproducibility - 25%

• Is the protocol sufficiently clear and detailed to facilitate inter/intra-laboratory utility and reproducibility? What other resources will be developed to facilitate transferability?

Scientific applications and uses for models - biology/disease modeling or high content screening - 25%

Biology/disease modeling
• What aspects of the protocol are in place to improve faithful recapitulation of the biological complexity?
• How will this recapitulation be validated?
• How will viability be tested, and how is the disease state expected to affect viability?

High content screening
• How will the proposed model’s amenability to high content screening be enhanced? How will this be tested?
• How will the model’s ability to recapitulate known retina toxicities be tested?
• What methods will be used to mass-produce the proposed model?

How to Enter
  • Go to NEI’s challenge details page and see “Registration Process for Participants” and “Submission Requirements and Template.”
  • Use the submission template provided to format proposals.
  • Create an account on Challenge.gov, or use an existing account, to submit your solution, including all information required in the application template.
Prizes
NEI 3D ROC winner(s) $90,000.00 The cash prize may be split between up to 3 winners.
NEI 3D ROC winner(s) - trainee category $10,000.00 The cash prize may be split between up to 3 winners.

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Solutions
No solutions have been posted for this challenge yet.
Rules

All details related to rules and eligibility are defined on NEI’s challenge details page.

To participate:

  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • May participate individually or as part of one or more teams
  • Each team’s designated captain must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

To win prizes:

  • Must be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Agree to the eligibility rules and requirements listed on NEI’s challenge details page
  • Register to participate on Challenge.gov

Trainee Category:

  • Must be currently pursuing a degree; documentation required. (Post-docs must show proof of position.);
  • May compete as an individual or as part of a team of trainees;
  • May compete in trainee category AND as a member of a non-trainee team (letter from advisor stating that ideas submitted for Trainee Category are trainee’s own independent ideas);

Solutions in the Trainee Category will be evaluated separately using the defined evaluation criteria and awarded separate prizes

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