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Ideas from Unexpected Places

Have an innovative idea? Even if it's not omics-y and necessarily in your wheelhouse, that's what one grant programs is looking for. The Global Challenges this year, in response to the ongoing epidemic in West Africa, is looking for new designs for a protective suit, NPR reports.

The US Agency for International Development announced a $5 million contest earlier this week that's looking for cooler, more breathable designs for protective suits. And anyone can enter.

A previous challenge idea came from Jorge Odon, a mechanic in Argentina, who designed a way using a plastic sleeve and an air pump to help a fetus that's having trouble getting through the birth canal. His idea was inspired by a YouTube video he saw for getting a cork out of an empty wine bottle using a plastic bag.

"Part of what we try to do under this type of funding is not to incrementally advance the state of knowledge but to take a risk on new ideas," Steve Buchsbaum, who leads the Gates Foundation's Grand Challenge program, tells NPR. He notes that many of the idea won't work out, but some might.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.