Type 1 Diabetes is a multifactorial disease that is studied by many scientific disciplines. the(sugar)science and dkNET invite scientists at all levels of experience to participate in a bio-informatics competition where the winning teams will claim  a share of $45,000 in prizes.

What is the D-Challenge?

A Challenge for Hypothesis Generation


We asked cross-functional teams to generate novel hypotheses using rich, curated data sets. 58 global participants and 27 teams worked for 2 months to mine data and generate a novel hypothesis.


D-Challenge (7)

FOUR FINALISTS were chosen by a panel of experts


Congratulations to the WINNERS!


LJI winners 4 science winners


UFDI winners


Guan lab winners



The Details

The D-Challenge is a community research challenge designed to increase awareness and use of the rich ecosystem of on-line tools and data findable through dkNET to develop a compelling hypothesis about the biology, treatment, or sequelae of Type 1 Diabetes.  It is open to participants of all skill levels, from students to skilled bioinformaticians and data scientists.

The goal in this challenge is to bring investigators across disciplines to apply their skills and passion to the problem of T1D:  its biology, treatment and sequelae, through the use of a rich interconnected ecosystem of data tools and resources.  The extensive resources and tools hosted through dkNET provide the opportunity to catalyze searches for novel pathways implicated in disease pathophysiology and / or identify new therapeutic targets.  As a partner in the D-Challenge, dkNET provides access to these resources and tools in an easily available setting, fostering discovery by the broad community of investigators focused on T1D.   

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Entries will be judged on the creative use of public tools, data, and knowledge resources to develop a compelling hypothesis regarding the biology, treatment, or sequelae of T1D.  Participants are expected to use multiple on-line tools and platforms and to develop a plan as to how the hypothesis could be tested.  The challenge focuses on in-silico development and testing and will not involve a wet lab component.  Participants will be organized into different tracts, depending on the amount of bioinformatics experience they have, to ensure that the competition is open to all who are interested in learning about the rich ecosystem of online tools.


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Participant Requirements

  • Attend a kick-off meeting for the Challenge
  • Attend regular check-ins over the course of the Challenge
  • Utilize multiple on-line resources to develop a hypothesis relevant to the mechanisms, treatment or sequelae of T1D
  • Manage their data according to FAIR practices for sound science
  • Share their protocol through protocols.io
  • Use on-line tools to provide preliminary in silico data to test their hypothesis
  • Present their work in a written and oral form to a panel of judges

Partners and Resources

As part of the D-Challenge, a number of partners have provided some starting materials and tutorials to help jump start hypothesis development.  We thank our partners:

  • The Signaling Pathways Project
  • HIRN
  • The T1D Knowledge Portal
  • Appyters
  • Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Centers (MMPC)
  • protocols.io
  • JDRF T1D Fund
  • Diabetes Research Connection (DRC)

Click HERE to learn more about partners and their contributions to the D-Challenge

Ongoing additional support will be provided to registered participants by data expert Neil McKenna, PhD at: nmckenna@bcm.edu 

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Big Picture Details

  1. Join thesugarscience HERE as a member (free).  Then, register for the Challenge as an individual or as a  D-Challenge team by Midnight PDT, September 30, 2021.
  2. Work for 2 months to specify your hypothesis, and describe how you developed it via Signaling Pathways Project, and share your premium protocol, for the challenge.
  3. A rubric for participation and scoring will be revealed at the Challenge kick-off meeting at 9am PDT on October 1, 2021.
  4. Submit your hypothesis and protocols to our esteemed judges on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. Finalists pitch their concept 12/10/21
  5. The winning teams will be awarded up to $40,000 in total cash prizes to further their research on 12/13/21.

Click here to view the full presentation 

Important Dates

Team Check Ins, 9am PDT:

October 1 Kick Off (Friday)

October 8 (Friday)

October 21 (Thursday)

November 4 (Thursday)

November 18 (Thursday)

December 1 - Submit Hypothesis

December 7 - Finalists Announced

December 10 - Final Presentations and Judging

Minimum one member per team must attend check-ins