Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NSF Announces Six "FIBR" Awards To Tackle Some Of Biology’s Most Challenging Questions

17.09.2004


Multidisciplinary teams to study animal movement, genetic links to outside world


Tagged bees communicating on hive honeycomb. Through a functional analysis of social behavior in honey bees across the entire genome, the BeeSpace project will tackle one of the most hotly debated questions in biology: Are genes or environment the primary reason for a person’s or other animal’s behavior? Credit: Copyright Ken Lorenzen, University of California, Davis



How exactly do animals move? How do organisms adapt to newly acquired genes? What genetic forces draw members of an ecological community together? And does social behavior originate in nature, nurture or both? To tackle these and other major questions in biology, the National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced six new awards totaling nearly $30 million over five years from its Frontiers in Integrative Biological Research (FIBR) program.

Each of the five-year awards brings together scientists from many areas of biology and other fields to draw upon advances in genomics, ecology, enhanced information technology, and other fields — not to mention a robotic cockroach — to address significant under-studied or unanswered questions in biology.


"FIBR is one of the premier, crosscutting programs in biology at NSF," said Mary Clutter, head of NSF’s Biological Sciences directorate. "By undertaking highly innovative and broadly integrative approaches to research in biology, FIBR projects tackle grand challenges and promote the training of a new and fearless generation of scientists willing and able to bridge conventional disciplinary boundaries."

Several of this year’s FIBR awards will focus on the relationship between an organism’s genes and the outside world. One project will examine how a plant evaluates the various cues of seasonal change so that it blooms when it has the best chance to reproduce successfully. A second project will try to unravel "ecological genomics," identifying the genetic linkages that draw species together into complex communities and whole ecosystems.

Genes and environment both contribute to behavior, and another project will tackle the hotly debated nature or nurture question by analyzing social behavior as it relates to an entire genome — that of the honey bee.

Scientists now know that up to a quarter of all genes in many organisms are acquired from completely unrelated species, and a fourth FIBR project will study the processes by which organisms adapt to these newly acquired genes.

To explain the complex signals and feedbacks among neurons, muscles, the skeleton and the whole body that make movement possible and prevent animals from falling over, another project will take a multidisciplinary approach to the study of live, simulated and robotic insects. The sixth FIBR project will undertake a study of photosynthesis to understand how large and complex networks of molecules arise, persist and evolve as modular units throughout biology.

The six FIBR projects integrate varied expertise from several universities and research institutes. Combined, the six projects support dozens of investigators from 15 U.S. states and also involve scientists supported by several other countries.

The FIBR projects announced today include the following (see separate profiles for more detail):

"BeeSpace: An Interactive Environment for Analyzing Nature and Nurture in Societal Roles," examining how much of social behavior is determined by genes and how much is influenced by the environment — University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

"Ecological Genomics and Heritability: Consequences of Extended Phenotypes," studying the genetic forces that draw together members of an ecological community — Northern Arizona University (lead), University of Wisconsin, University of Tennessee, University of Tasmania (Australia)

"How Organisms Adapt to New Enzymes and New Pathways," understanding how organisms adapt to opportunities for rapid evolution through newly acquired genes — Brandeis University (lead), Boston University, University of Michigan

"Molecular Evolutionary Ecology of Developmental Signaling Pathways in Complex Environments," examining how plants weigh the various cues of seasonal change to make timing choices that are right for their climate — Brown University (lead), University of Wisconsin, North Carolina State University, Kansas State University, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology (Germany)

"Neuromechanical Systems Biology," studying the complex signals and feedbacks among neurons, muscles, the skeleton and the whole body that make movement possible — University of California, Berkeley (lead), Montana State University, University of Michigan, Cornell University, Princeton University

"A Systems Approach to Study Redox Regulation of Functions of Photosynthetic Organisms," studying how whole molecular networks may serve as modular units for function, regulation and evolution — Washington University, St. Louis (lead), Colgate University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Saitama University (Japan)

Separate profiles below provide more details on each of the awards, along with principal investigators, team members and university media contacts.

David Hart | NSF News
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov/bio/ef.htm
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>