SigSci Awarded Contract from IARPA to Develop New Computational Tools

New tools to screen DNA sequences to detect biological threats that may manifest from synthetic microbial manipulation

Austin, Texas – September 21, 2017 – The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) awarded Signature Science, LLC a $2.9M contract for the development of new computational tools to screen DNA sequences to detect biological threats that may manifest from synthetic microbial manipulation. The challenge is to overcome the speed and precision limitations of contemporary synthetic DNA screening practices to rapidly detect and isolate a prospective threat within a segment of DNA. The research team will re-tool bio-threat detection methods, and focus detection efforts on functional genetic elements to increase analytic speed and precision, thereby dramatically improving predictive capacity to isolate the toxic gene that constitutes the threat. The multi-disciplinary team is comprised of molecular biologists, biochemists, geneticists, bioinformatics specialists, statisticians, computer programmers, and software engineers.

Researchers from Signature Science, Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering, Macromoltek, University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, Bioinformatics Core of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and ATUM will combine complementary expertise to develop advanced tools to predict and prevent the accidental or intentional creation of synthetic biological threats.

About Signature Science, LLC: A subsidiary of the Southwest Research Institute, Signature Science, LLC is a scientific and technical consulting firm providing multi-disciplinary applied research, technology design and development, and scientific, technical, and operational services to government and industry. Signature Science has offices in Austin, Texas; Charlottesville, Virginia; Arlington, Virginia; and Atlantic City, New Jersey.    

This effort is supported by the U.S. Army Research Office. The content of this release does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the Government, and no official endorsement should be inferred.