As always a lot of DARPA'S work is for the US military, DARPA’s Measuring Biological Aptitude (MBA) program , is no exception to this rule, in their own words MBA ''begins and ends with the men and women of the United States military''.

The first public release of the program was in January 2019, to quote from DARPA's own site this program ''centers on how service members can access the potential of their own biological systems to achieve peak results across a range of military specializations'',

 now we have seen a lot of conspiracy nonsense about ''super soldiers'' on the internet over the years, however we will say with currently developing technologies and other programs from DARPA we have written about. it appears some of these programs as a collection do perhaps deserve a ''super solder '' program name, This DARPA project aims for a detailed understanding of how measurements of the systems in real time can help service members perform at their maximum potential. If it succeeds, MBA technologies will provide insights into how the Department of Defense can enhance and sustain readiness by improving training, boost mission effectiveness, speed recovery following missions, and mitigate shortages of qualified candidates for highly specialized roles.

to quote
“DARPA created the MBA program to help service members understand and achieve their innate biological potential as it relates to performance and resilience,” program manager Eric Van Gieson.

 “We plan to deliver knowledge and tools that improve the outcomes of training scenarios, support the formation of stronger mission teams, and ensure that operations unfold with the best chances of success all the way through post-mission recovery. We’ll do this by providing service members with an ability to measure and make sense of the molecular systems that drive how the body and mind function, and then help them use that information to improve throughout their careers.”

The basics of MBA is correlating the externally observable physical, behavioral, and cognitive features and traits of highly successful specialized operators — their phenotypes — with measurable elements of their biology to understand and ultimately anticipate how they might perform in various situations over time, the information can then be used to improve training and development at an individual level. DARPA selected three teams to deliver on that vision: GE Research (GE), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Institute for Human Machine Cognition (IHMC).

Because an individual’s genetic code — or genotype — does not translate directly into phenotypes, DARPA requires MBA researchers to do far more than decode the genome. The MBA teams led by GE, under principal investigator Dr. Azar Alizadeh, and IHMC, under principal investigator Dr. Tim Broderick, are working backwards from observed measurements of military training among high performing troops to characterize relevant phenotype's across a range of specializations. once they have identified the right phenotypes, they will work to elucidate the current black boxes of human biology known as gene expression circuits, which are the molecular mechanisms by which genotype translates into phenotypes; expression circuits are made up of epigenetic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic, and other systems that have major impacts on performance and resilience. The teams will also attempt to identify one or more measurable biomarker for each circuit, determine the rates at which those biomarkers change, and build novel sensors to measure changes in real time. Although its beyond the full scope of this blog to go into further details we will add discriptions on phenotype,genotype and what epigentics is among other things so the the article can hold a little more clarity.

“An individual may have genes that would seem to predict success in a role, yet not manifest the traits or behaviors expected. MBA research is designed to uncover additional biological mechanisms that influence phenotypic expression and build tools to measure those changes so that it becomes possible to more accurately impact performance and resilience under a range of scenarios,” said Van Gieson.

Much of the upfront work on MBA entails collecting and anonymizing data for phenotypic analysis. GE and IHMC plan to gather physical, biological, and cognitive performance data from active military cohorts during a mix of training events and routine scenarios. The data include's audio and video recordings; biological samples; readouts from wearable health and fitness sensors that measure physical activity, sleep, heart rate, and physiological load; and results of standardized cognitive and behavioral assessments that measure factors related to fluid intelligence, executive function, memory, learning, attention, and even processing speed. GE and IHMC will also provide medical guidance as part of any human study through an embedded genetic counselor, sports therapist, or similar specialist to help individuals make sense of results.

 the gene expression circuits that drive a given phenotype requires a new class of analytical techniques that can handle billions of variables. they aim to have the analytics reveal when and how key measurements of biomarkers should be made to guide the teams in their development of sensors suitable for long-term use. GE is initially developing a microneedle system worn across the body; IHMC is developing a dental overlay. Both teams will reassess their sensing approaches as the program progresses based on refined understanding of what biomarkers are significant.

“One of DARPA’s goals for MBA is to take the technology we develop and place it immediately into the hands of military operators and cadres when the program ends,” Van Gieson said. “Our systems need to be functional and validated from Day One so that even a novice operator can use them appropriately and trust the data they provide.”


ARTICLE BY jack amperes ,article suggestion by Jerry Woodward.