Navigation Links
Rice receives $1 million INSPIRE award from National Science Foundation
Date:7/19/2012

HOUSTON (July 19, 2012) A $1 million INSPIRE award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to Rice University will fund research on how bacterial decision-making occurs at the molecular level. A better quantitative analysis of integrated biological systems could impact medical applications and the removal of pollution and other contaminants from the environment.

Rice was one of 11 institutions chosen for the NSF's first round of INSPIRE (Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education) awards, which were established to address some of the most complicated and pressing scientific problems that lie at the intersections of traditional disciplines. NSF announced the first awardees July 18.

"We're going to explore the fundamental question of how intricate protein-based molecular machines can determine cellular-level dynamics for living systems," said principal investigator Jos Onuchic, Rice's Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Chair of Physics and a professor of physics and astronomy, chemistry, biochemistry and cell biology. "Our team will apply an integrative approach that combines computational and experimental techniques to bridge the huge gap in our understanding of and ability to predict the quantitative functionality of biological systems."

Herbert Levine, the Hasselmann Professor of Bioengineering, is co-principal investigator for the project. He and Onuchic are also co-directors of the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics at Rice.

Their team of researchers at the center plans to create a framework for quantitatively predicting functional consequences of designed changes in protein systems. For their test case, they will focus on the decision-making circuitry of Bacillus subtilis, a bacterial microorganism that is commonly found in the soil.

"Although biology starts from the molecular scale, it is only at the cellular and multicellular levels that we see life in action, as a distinct form of matter that has goal-oriented behavior," Levine said. "So the dynamics at higher levels must be directly determined by their molecular underpinnings. But exactly how this works has not yet been understood even for simple forms of life such as bacteria. Such knowledge could show us how to intervene at the molecular scale to engineer the performance of quantitative systems."

Onuchic said the research is "inherently multidisciplinary" and combines protein chemistry with signal transduction, molecular biology and biophysics with complex pattern-formation physics, and nonequilibrium statistical mechanics with synthetic biology.

He said the basic knowledge gained from this work could revolutionize the ability to control biofilms by molecular manipulation. "Biofilm control is crucial for medical applications, for bacterial-based environmental remediation and for modern desalination," he said.

Only Rice and Tufts University received the maximum amount -- $1 million allotted for INSPIRE awards in the first round. The INSPIRE awards that will be distributed this fiscal year are expected to total about $30.4 million.

NSF Director Subra Suresh said, "INSPIRE is a great example of the vital role NSF plays in supporting highly innovative research and education projects at the intersections of traditional disciplines in science and engineering."


'/>"/>

Contact: B.J. Almond
balmond@rice.edu
713-348-6770
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. ASU ecologist receives prestigious global award for water research
2. ASU receives prestigious $6.25 million multi-disciplinary research award from Department of Defense
3. University of Tennessee professor receives funding for clean coal research
4. UC Riverside geologist receives 2 prestigious honors
5. AcelRx Pharmaceuticals Receives First U.S. Patent for Small-Volume Oral Transmucosal Dosage Forms
6. UCLAs Yi Tang receives Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from EPA
7. Leading statistician receives national citation award
8. Dr. Karen Lloyd receives WHOIs Holger W. Jannasch Visiting Scholar Award
9. SF State biology department receives $1.5 million to support science teaching
10. SRI Sarnoffs Iris on the Move® N-Glance™ Identification System Receives Lenel Factory Certification
11. Washington University receives $8 million to lead international childhood malnutrition effort
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2016)... Feb. 2, 2016 Technology Enhancements Accelerate Growth of ... of the digital and computed radiography markets in ... and Indonesia (TIM). It provides ... size, as well as regional market drivers and restraints. ... market penetration and market attractiveness, both for digital and ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... , Feb. 1, 2016  Today, the first ... (AHA) announced plans to develop a first of its ... power of IBM Watson. In the first application of ... IBM (NYSE: IBM ), and Welltok will create ... health assessments with cognitive analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health ...
(Date:1/25/2016)...   Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) today announced ... International Airport, New York City , to help ... to enter the United States using passports ... pilot testing of the system at Dulles last year. The ... during January 2016. --> pilot testing of the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/3/2016)... WARRINGTON, Pa. , Feb. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... biotechnology company focused on developing aerosolized KL4 surfactant ... Board of Directors has approved an inducement award ... Craig Fraser , its newly appointed President and ... the Board,s Compensation Committee on February 1, 2016 ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... COPENHAGEN, Denmark , Feb. 3, 2016 ... stage biotechnology company that applies its innovative TransCon technology ... to present at an upcoming investor conference.Event:2016 Leerink Partners ... York, NY Date:  , Wednesday, February 10, 2016 Time:  ... --> www.ascendispharma.com . --> An audio ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... BRUNSWICK, N.J. , Feb. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... grants totaling more than $1 million for researchers ... are working on health-related research that demonstrates exciting ... this round of funding for the New Jersey ... for faculty members at these educational institutions— Princeton ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... ProMIS ... potential targets (epitopes) specific to misfolded, propagating strains of Amyloid beta involved in ... antibody therapeutics for Alzheimer’s. , Following on from the first misfolded Amyloid beta ...
Breaking Biology Technology: