The Proteos Program seeks to develop novel approaches to human identification and correlation with objects, events, and locations based on the observation of polymorphisms in amino acid sequences in proteins. The Proteos Program will also seek development of novel methodologies for the extraction of both protein and DNA in parallel from touch samples of forensic interest. DNA is the gold standard of forensic science and is used for identification in several scenarios within forensic disciplines. The use of DNA for this purpose is dependent upon the ability to characterize genetic polymorphisms present in DNA. DNA, however, is often recovered at very low quantities, is part of a mixture from multiple contributors, or is degraded, all of which complicate analysis and may result in a lack of meaningful or interpretable results. Proteins are also found in forensic evidence as components of hair, skin, teeth and bone. To date, however,proteome polymorphism analysis as an integrated measurement approach of protein differences has yet to be widely adopted for use in forensic applications. The Proteos Program will focus on shed skin cells associated with trace forensic samples and will seek to exploit the relationship between polymorphisms in the skin proteome, or GVPs, and their underlying nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) to evaluate peptide mass fingerprinting as a reliable forensic analytic technique. The goal of this program is to provide additional objective forensic tools for human identification and individualization, which can provide novel options for forensic use cases and sample types beyond what is currently possible with DNA alone.

The capability developed in Proteos will enhance efforts to identify and correlate a person of interest with objects, events, and locations through analysis of proteins where DNA methodologies may not yield conclusive results. Further, methodologies developed during the course of the Proteos Program will advance the state-of-the-art techniques and tools used in forensic sample recovery and analysis and detection of proteins, all of which can significantly impact other related scientific research and applications.

The Proteos Program is anticipated to be a three-phase program.

The goal of Phase 1 is the development of a panel of identity marker GVPs from in-house6 skin cell protein samples and their associated nsSNPs. From this data, performers will establish and validate individual signatures for identification and calculate respective individual RMPs. In addition, performers will evaluate performance of their extraction protocol for both proteins and DNA using Government-provided skin cell samples and subsequent GVP identification and STR analysis from nuclear DNA.

The goal of Phase 2 is the development of a custom identification profile for an individual based on rare GVPs. In addition, performers will evaluate the performance of the optimized extraction protocol for both proteins and DNA on Government-provided skin cell samples deposited on multiple surface types, with subsequent GVP identification and STR analysis from nuclear DNA.

Phase 3 of the Proteos Program will evaluate the ability to discern rare GVP profiles in operationally relevant scenarios and conditions. Performers will implement their optimized extraction and purification protocols for both protein and DNA developed in Phases 1 and 2. The goal is for maximum GVP observation and optimal DNA and protein recovery yielding a low false positive rate in Government-provided samples.

Collaborative efforts and teaming arrangements among potential performers are highly encouraged. It is anticipated that teams will include multidisciplinary expertise in forensic science, proteomics, genomics, statistical analysis, molecular biology, and bioinformatics.

Contracting Office Address

Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, DC 20511

Primary Point of Contact

Michael Patterson
Program Manager

Solicitation Status: CLOSED


Proposers' Day Date: July 25, 2017
BAA Release Date: September 28, 2017
BAA Question Period: September 28, 2017 - October 19, 2017
Proposal Due Date: November 13, 2017

Additional Information

Proposers' Day Briefings

Proteos Proposers' Day Briefing