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Transcript
NSF Research Day
Vermont EPSCoR Annual State Meeting and
Grant Writing Workshop
University of Vermont
June 6, 2008
Dr. Joann Roskoski
Executive Officer
Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)
Biological Sciences Directorate
Vision
Inspiring research and education at the frontiers
of the life sciences
Mission
To enable the discoveries for understanding life
BIO Support for Basic Research
Federal Support for Basic
Research in Non-Medical Biological
Sciences at Academic Institutions
Federal Support for Basic
Research in Environmental Biology
at Academic Institutions
NSF 67%
Other federal
spending 33%
NSF 62%
Other federal
spending 38%
Directorate for Biological Sciences
(BIO)
Division of
Biological Infrastructure
(DBI)
Division of
Environmental Biology
(DEB)
Division of
Integrative Organismal
Systems
(IOS)
Division of
Molecular and Cellular
Biosciences
(MCB)
Human Resources
Ecological Biology
Behavioral Systems
Biomolecular Systems
Research Resources
Ecosystem Science
Developmental Systems
Cellular Systems
Plant Genome Research
Program
Population and Evolutionary
Processes
Neural Systems
Genes and Genome Systems
Systematic Biology and
Biodiversity Inventories
Physiological and Structural
Systems
Effective April, 2008
Emerging Frontiers
(EF)
BIO 2008-2009 Priorities
• Life in Transition – Strengthening Core Programs
– Origins
– Energy
– Adaptation
• Adaptive Systems Technology
• Dynamics of Water Processes in the Environment
• NEON
• The Life Sciences in Transition
– Multidisciplinary Programs
– New Centers
• Plant Science Cyberinfrastructure Collaborative
• Center for Research at the Interface of the Mathematical and Biological
Sciences
• Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology
Life in Transition
Biology is the narrative of life on Earth and the story of
the unexpected…
Origins: How, where and when did life on
Earth begin?
Open system chemistry
Self-replication
RNA World
H2 + CO2 => [ HCO ]n
Self-sustaining
biochemistry
DNA World
How did the biological complexity
of life emerge from pre-biotic
chemistry and geochemistry?
Self-contained – The Cell
Self-sustaining - Energy
Self-replicating – RNA, DNA
Basic elements
Evolving - Biodiversity
Ancestry of Life
Horizontal Gene Transfer
What we thought we knew:
Genetic information flowed
from parent to offspring,
generation to generation
Darwin’s tree of life
rooted to a universal
common ancestor…
Eukaryotes
Animals Fungi Plants
Bacteria
Archaea
Algae
LUCA
?
Sequencing of whole genomes revealed that genetic
information has been transferred horizontally between
organisms, some distantly related
Synthetic Biology
What are the indispensable requirements for life?
Membrane
Encapsulation
Are There Alternative
Routes to Life?
?
Genome Stability
New Chemical
Theories
?
Eric Smith, SFI
What are:
• The physical rules for cell
membrane assembly?
• The minimum gene set
required to sustain life?
• The fundamental
requirements for genome
stability?
• Chemical constraints?
Synthetic Biology
Theory
Computation
Modeling
Molecular
Biology
design
Evolution
testing
Engineering Genomics
fabrication
Physics
Synthetic
Chemistry
Material
Science
How is energy obtained and used by living
systems to sustain life?
Au
Applied
PS I
Ag
e-
e-
Photosynthesis
ee-
Assemble the basics
Chloroplasts
Barry Bruce (UTN),
NSF/EF
-/+
Understanding natural energy
transduction systems will inspire
the development of biologybased technologies capable of
delivering sustainable,
renewable, efficient energy.
Microbial Research to Enhance Our
Understanding of Novel Energy Systems
Diverse Chemical Sources of
Energy for Living Systems:
Arsenate (AsO43-)
Iron (Fe3+)
Manganese (Mn4+)
Nitrate (NO3-)
Selenate (SeO43-)
Sulfate (SO42-)
Uranyl oxide (UO22+)
Anna-Louise Reysenbach, Portand State Univ.
Everett Schock, Washington Univ. St. Louis
Adaptation
Transformations and Transitions in the Story of Life
What will survive,
and how?
Diversity
Changes
Understanding life’s
resilience and adaptation
will reduce uncertainty
about the future of life on
Earth in response to
global climate change:
Adaptive Systems Technology
Dynamics of Water Processes
in the Environment
NEON
Evolving Complexity
Sensing the Environment
Movement
Hydra vulgaris
Complex Nervous System
Platynereis dumerilii
Eurycea lucifuga
Adaptive Systems Technology
Closing the Loop of Theory, Observation,
Experimentation, and Technology
Four domains of neuroscience
Animal model
Mathematical model
• The primary source of data and
behavioral phenomena
• Describes hypothetical
relationships between a
selected subset of observations
Computational model
Physical model
• Explores the logical
consequences of the
hypothetical descriptions
• Explores the behavioral
consequences of a hypothetical
neural property operating in the
animal’s natural environment
D. E. Koditschek, ESE Department, University of Pennsylvania
Adaptation: Life in a Time of
Planetary Change
CO2
CH4
… We are only now beginning to explore
the biological drivers of climate change.
Dynamics of Water Processes in the
Environment
GOAL: Support research on the resilience that is conferred by the
presence of living organisms in freshwater ecological systems.
NEON
Biosphere, Geosphere, Atmosphere
Potter et al. 2003
• Dramatic inter-annual variation is not totally explained by physical
factors (temperature, rainfall)
• Do biological processes determine/impact this variation?
• Which ones, how and how much?
• Can knowing life’s impacts on the system improve predictions?
Inform carbon trading scenarios?
Why Continental Scale Ecology?
• Answering continental-scale questions: e.g. Will changing
climate increase or decrease the biological carbon uptake or
emission of the US and by how much?
• Requires measuring the drivers (climate, biological processes,
land use change) and the phenomena (CO2 uptake or emission)
over multiple spatial and long time scales
• As well as conducting controlled experiments to understand
the mechanisms involved in observed changes
• And
• Existing infrastructure is neither optimally configured
geographically nor operationally standardized to do this
National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)
Experimental Design and Deployment
http://neoninc.org/milestones/2007/neon-deployment-design.html
Life Sciences In Transition
The Role of Theory in Advancing 21stCentury Biology
Catalyzing Transformative Research
Transdisciplinary
Interdisciplinary
Multi-disciplinary
Disciplinary
National Research Council
of the National Academies
2008
Multidisciplianry Programs
• Dynamics of Coupled Natural and
Human Systems (BIO, GEO, SBE
and USFS)
• Ecology of Infectious Disease
(BIO, GEO and NIH)
• Human and Social Dynamics
(all NSF)
“Plant Biology Jets Into Cyberspace”
- Science Magazine
iPlant Collaborative
A Look into the Future
“Just as Google Earth lets you zoom in
on individual buildings from space,
researchers may one day be able to
toggle between whole-ecosystem views
of plants and the molecules that make
them up with just a few clicks of the
mouse.”
-Elizabeth Pennisi
Science Magazine (2008)
Center for Environmental Implications of
Nanotechnology (CEIN)
• Partnership between multiple NSF
Directorates and EPA.
• Goal: Support research on the
interactions of nanomaterials with
organisms, cellular constituents,
metabolic networks and living
tissues; understand environmental
exposure and bioaccumulation and
their effects on living systems; and
determine the biological impacts of
nanomaterials dispersed in the
environment.
Center for Research at the Interface of
the Mathematical and Biological
Sciences (CIMBS)
• Partnership between BIO and MPS (NSF), DHS and
USDA to stimulate research at the interface of the
mathematical and biological sciences
• Goal: To provide mechanisms to foster synthetic,
collaborative, cross-disciplinary studies; enable plant and
animal infectious disease modeling; and generate
knowledge for policy makers, government agencies, and
society.