A mini-race of neutrophils

A mini-race in our lab, where neutrophils from healthy donors compete for the titles of the fastest and the smartest.


The race is almost upon us! We have slightly updated the race structure to add a qualifying round between June and July and finals at the end of July.

Race Organization and Potential for Advancing Science

We have many new and exciting updates! The new Dicty Race will use microscopes that stream images to the cloud, and cloud-based computing to allow competitors to get real time analysis. We have put together a schedule to allow for testing new cells, qualifying games and a final competition for dicty, HL60s, mouse neutrophils, and human cells. 

NIGMS Biobeat: Interview With a Slime Mold: Racing for New Knowledge

The World Cell Race, history of Dictyostelium research and Dicty’s versatile behaviors were covered through an interview with the slime mold by NGIMS Biobeats published August 24, 2016. Read the full article here: https://biobeat.nigms.nih.gov/2016/08/interview-with-a-slime-mold-racing-for-new-knowledge/

Engineering the Racetracks

The Dicty World Race is possible because of recent engineering advances, which borrow technologies from the electronic industry and adapts them to build mazes sized to cell dimensions. The microfluidic devices we design enable us to measure cell migration with higher precision than ever before. We can now measure not only how fast individual cells move towards a target, but their accuracy navigating around obstacles and finding the shortest path towards a target.

Planning for the Race

On May 25, 2017, Dicty and HL60 cells will race for the “Fastest & Smartest” title. The first step for competing in the race is to sign up with an email address. We will send you a mini-microscope and a dozen microfluidic devices to start testing your cells. Then, you will select the cells with the best chance to win and ship them to our lab before the race.


Biotechne, CytoSMART, Formedium, Mattek, and BioMEMs Resource Center are sponsoring the Dicty World Race.

Video in Science: Scientists race cells in worldwide competition

In new study, published today in PLOS ONE, scientists from around the globe participated in the Dicty World Race, a competition that challenges researchers to design cells that can navigate across an artificial maze as quickly as possible. On race day, 14 teams injected specially modified version of two cell lines, Dictyostelium (or Dicty) and HL60, which are commonly used to study cell movement (known as chemotaxis), into a 1-millimeter-long silicone-based maze underneath a powerful microscope. Read the full article here: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/06/video-scientists-race-cells-worldwide-competition