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Innovation Challenge 2022: ATCC NGS Standards

Innovation Challenge 2022 - Winners

We are here to support critical scientific discoveries

Thank you to everyone who participated in the recent ATCC Innovation Challenge! In this challenge, we called upon innovators throughout the scientific community to submit a proposal of how they are using ATCC NGS Standards in new, interesting, or daring applications.

After receiving numerous submissions, we are pleased to announce the winner of the challenge below. We're proud to be a part of this incredible research and we look forward to this innovative idea coming to fruition.

Congratulations to our winner

Dr. Girish Neelakanta, University of Tennessee
Ticks are known to transmit a variety of pathogens to humans and other vertebrate hosts. To obtain a successful blood meal, ticks must secrete saliva during feeding to modulate the host immune response to suppress clotting, antibody production, complement activation, and cytokine production. This modulation not only facilitates feeding but also enables the transmission of pathogens from the tick to the host. While skin immunity is known to play a role in the tolerance of tick-borne pathogens, the role of the skin microbiome in immunomodulation during tick feeding is not well understood. In this study, the team seeks to characterize whether tick feeding and transmission of the pathogen Anaplasma phagocytophilum modulates the host skin microbiome. The ATCC Skin Microbiome Genomic Mix (ATCC MSA-1005) will be used as a control in quantitative real-time PCR assays throughout the study. The findings from this study will provide valuable insights into vector-borne disease and vector biology.

We support your innovative research

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Interested in joining one of our upcoming innovation challenges?

Fill out the form to be notified when our next challenge begins. We can’t wait to see your innovative proposal!

We will not share your information outside of our distributors network and solely use it to send relevant communications.
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Innovate with ATCC

ATCC is open to collaboration, partnership, and working together to better support the groundbreaking discoveries that fuel life sciences. Send us opportunities for ATCC to in-license your patented innovations, sponsor your research, and explore partnerships by emailing your contact information and a brief description of the opportunity.

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ATCC Innovation Challenge Official Rules

No Purchase or Payment is Necessary to Enter or Win This Challenge. Void Where Prohibited.


The ATCC Innovation Challenge (“Challenge”), sponsored by American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), begins at 12:00 AM U.S. Eastern Time (“ET”) August 15, 2022, and ends at 11:59 PM ET September 23, 2022.  Information on how to enter and win prizes is described below and form part of these official rules ("Official Rules"). By submitting an entry, each “Entrant” agrees to the Official Rules and warrants that his or her entry complies with all requirements set out in the Official Rules.

Who May Enter

The Challenge is open to researchers associated with an entity (private company or academic institute) residing in the United States of America who are twenty-one (21) years of age or older.  The employees of ATCC, and its subsidiaries, affiliates and distributors, and their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling, and their respective spouses, regardless of where they live) or persons living in the same households of such employees, whether or not related, are not eligible.  Only entities incorporated in the United States are eligible. 

1. How to Enter

To enter, complete the entry form above with the required information, including your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and agree to these Official Rules and submit your entry in accordance with the instructions below.

Multiple entries are allowed; but only one entry may be eligible to win per Entrant.

Each entry must comply with the following requirements:

  • Entries must be in digital format. Only online entries will be eligible. No print entries will be accepted for entry into this Challenge. The entry must describe current or future research utilizing the specified ATCC products in a novel way. The Entry must specify which product or products that are or will be used in the research. These products will be provided in the prize.
  • The entry, in its entirety, must be a single work of original (not plagiarized in whole or any part) material by the Challenge Entrant. By entering the Challenge, Entrant represents, acknowledges, and warrants that the submitted entry is an original work, that the entry does not infringe on the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy/publicity or intellectual property rights of any person or entity, and that no other party, including, but not limited to, the Entrant’s employer, has any right, title, claim, or interest in the entry.
  • The entries will be judged in accordance with the Judging Criteria, as defined below. All entries must be submitted and received by September 23, 2022. 11:59 PM ET.  Entrants must submit entries using the entry form above. Proof of submission generated from is required when in question.  ATCC reserves the right to examine the entry material in order to confirm compliance with these rules.

Odds of winning depends on the number of eligible entries received.  ATCC is unable to estimate the projected number of entries. 

2. Releases 

Publicity and Copyright Release

Except where prohibited by law, by entering, each Entrant grants to ATCC the unrestricted right to use all statements made in connection with the Contest, and write-up or pictures of Contest Entrants for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, or choose not to do so, at its sole discretion. ATCC will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such use.

Each Entrant holds harmless and releases ATCC from any all claims arising from the Copyright License or relating to Publicity Rights, including, but not limited to any claims of defamation, or violations of moral rights, rights of publicity or copyright.

3. Challenge Prizes

Each winner will receive the ATCC products indicated in the entry in an amount at the discretion of ATCC. One entry may be eligible to win per Entrant. If the winner is not a current account holder with ATCC, they will need to be approved for an account and undergo an account review before they are eligible to receive a prize. 

No prize transfer, assignment, or substitution by winners permitted. If a prize (or part of a prize) is unavailable, then ATCC, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to substitute the original prize (or that part of the prize) with an alternative prize to the equal monetary value and/or specification, unless to do so would be prohibited by law. NONCOMPLIANCE OR RETURN OF PRIZE NOTIFICATION AS UNDELIVERABLE, WHETHER BY REGULAR MAIL OR BY EMAIL, MAY RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION AND SELECTION OF AN ALTERNATE POTENTIAL WINNER.

4. Judging and Winner Selection

A panel of ATCC staff ("Judges") will select winning entries from among all eligible entries, based on the following criteria ("Judging Criteria"): (1) Novel application of specified ATCC products- fifty percent (50%) and (2) entry quality, specifically considering the work’s originality and potential impact - fifty percent (50%). 

Winners will be notified by email by October 3, 2022, although receipt of prizes and official classification as a Winner is subject to all conditions and terms of these Official Rules and individuals not meeting these terms are subject to disqualification with selection of an alternate winner. Decisions of the Judges are final and binding.

5. Limitation of Liability and Indemnification

By entering this Challenge, all Entrants agree to release, discharge, indemnify and hold harmless ATCC and its partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, agents and their employees, officers, directors, and representatives from any claims, losses, and damages arising out of their participation in this Challenge or any Challenge-related activities and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any ATCC product hereunder.  Entrants’ obligations to indemnify ATCC include actions arising (a) from any allegation that any entry you submit to us infringes or otherwise violates the copyright, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property or other rights of any third party or is otherwise not in compliance with Section 1 above or (b) for any other violation of these Official Rules.

ATCC assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, or delay in operation or transmission; communications line failure; theft or destruction of or unauthorized access to challenge entries or entry forms; or alteration of entries or entry forms. ATCC is not responsible for any problems with or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any email entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, human errors of any kind, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to Entrants' or any other persons' computers related to or resulting from participation, uploading or downloading of any materials related to in this Challenge.

In no event shall ATCC, ITS DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, AGENTS, EMPLOYEES AND AFFILIATES (collectively “ATCC INDEMNIFIED PARTIES”) be liable for indirect, special, incidental or consequential damages of any kind in connection with or arising out of this Agreement (whether in contract, tort, negligence, strict liability, statute or otherwise) even if ATCC has been advised, knew or should have known of the possibility of such damages, including, but not limited to, lost profits or cost of capital.  In no event shall ATCC’s cumulative liability exceed one dollar ($1.00). The provisions of this section shall survive the expiration or termination of this Agreement and shall apply even if the limited remedy specified in this Agreement is found to have failed of its essential purpose.

6.  Conditions

THIS CHALLENGE IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Entrants agree that this Challenge shall be subject to and governed by and subject to the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the forum for any dispute shall be in the Commonwealth of Virginia, United States of America. To the extent permitted by law, the right to litigate, to seek injunctive relief or to make any other recourse to judicial or any other procedure in case of disputes or claims resulting from or on connection with this Challenge are hereby excluded and any Entrant expressly waives any and all such rights. Certain restrictions may apply. Entries are void if ATCC determines the Entry to not be an original, or if the entries are illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error or obtained through fraud or theft.

By entering and clicking “I Agree to the Official Rules” upon submission of an Entry, Entrants also agree (a) to be bound by these Official Rules; (b) that the decisions of the Judges are final and binding with respect to all matters relating to the Challenge; and (c) to be bound by the Releases in Section 2 above (except where prohibited by law). All federal, state and local taxes, fees and surcharges and taxes (whether foreign or domestic, and including income, sales, and import taxes) on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize winners. In the event that the selected winner(s) of any prize is/are ineligible, cannot reasonably be located or reached after reasonable attempts (within the sole discretion of ATCC) or does/do not respond within ten (10) days to a winner notification as required by the "Challenge Prizes" Rules above, or refuses the prize, the prize will be forfeited and ATCC, in its sole discretion, may choose whether to award the prize to another Entrant.

All potential winners may need to provide a Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification W-9 form from the legal entity receiving the award. ATCC may further require or request, in its sole discretion, that potential winners sign and return within thirty (30) days following an attempted notification, an Affidavit, Declaration or Certificate of Eligibility, and separate Liability Releases, a Publicity Release, and all documents required by ATCC. Failure to execute and deliver any required documents to ATCC by the specified deadline may result in disqualification from the Challenge, and selection of an alternate potential winner.  All such documents must be in the form provided by ATCC.

ATCC reserves the right to verify the validity and originality of any Entry and/or Entrant (including an Entrant's identity and address) and to disqualify any Entrant who submits an Entry that is not in accordance with these Official Rules or who tampers with the entry process. Failure by ATCC to enforce any of its rights at any stage does not constitute a waiver of those rights.

ATCC will require that the winners sign and return a Research Collaboration Agreement, which will outline the winners use of ATCC products. In addition, all winners will need to have on file or sign and return ATCC’s Material Transfer Agreement

7. Right to Cancel or Suspend Challenge

If for any reason the Challenge is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, Trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of ATCC that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Challenge, ATCC reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the entry process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Challenge. If ATCC elects to cancel or terminate the Challenge, ATCC will not retain any rights in the submitted entries.

8. Winners List

Entrants are responsible for complying with these Official Rules. Winners' names will be available online and announced via the ATCC email newsletter after early December 2022.

9. Data Privacy

By submitting an Entry, Entrants agree that ATCC may post their names on its website or other promotional materials and that it may publicize information about Winners as described herein. All personal data will be used as per the terms and conditions of ATCC’s privacy policy.

10.  Sponsor Contact Information 

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