Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Infectious Disease

Relating to ailments caused by pathogens

Showing 13 results for Disease + Bio-systems RSS
DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office develops capabilities that embrace the unique properties of biology—adaptation, replication, complexity—and applies those features to revolutionize how the United States defends the homeland and prepares and protects its Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines. BTO is helping the Department of Defense expand technology-driven capabilities to detect novel threats and protect U.S. force readiness, deploy physiological interventions to maintain operational advantage, support warfighter performance, and focus on operational biotechnology for mission success.
DARPA has enjoyed a strong relationship with Silicon Valley since the early 1960s, working with innovators to lay the groundwork for new industries built around Agency investments in semiconductors, networking, artificial intelligence, user interfaces, programming, materials, microsystems, and more. Biotech is now emerging as a breakthrough opportunity space and it represents an area that is ripe for fresh collaboration among DARPA, the nation’s top researchers, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs.
Protection against many common pathogens and environmental stressors is written into our DNA. Our skin responds to sun exposure. Our immune system mounts defenses when we get the flu. Our bodies inherently work to mitigate the potential for harm caused by these health threats. However, these intrinsic responses are not always quick, robust, or appropriate enough to adequately defend us from harm, which is why many people experience sunburn after intense sun exposure or suffer severe symptoms, even death, following exposure to the flu.
Breakthroughs in the science of programmable gene expression inspired DARPA to establish the PReemptive Expression of Protective Alleles and Response Elements (PREPARE) program with the goal of delivering powerful new defenses against public health and national security threats. DARPA has now selected five teams to develop a range of new medical interventions that temporarily and reversibly modulate the expression of protective genes to guard against acute threats from influenza and ionizing radiation, which could be encountered naturally, occupationally, or through a national security event.
In a twist on how gene editing technology might be applied in the future, DARPA’s newest biotechnology funding opportunity aims to incorporate gene editors into detectors for distributed health biosurveillance and rapid, point-of-need diagnostics for endemic, emerging, and engineered pathogenic threats. The “Detect It with Gene Editing Technologies” (DIGET) program could help the Department of Defense maintain force readiness by informing rapid medical response and increasing the standard of care for troops, and preserve geopolitical stability by preventing the spread of infectious disease from becoming a driver of conflict.