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Concepts in Biology BIO AC Meeting, Oct. 18-19, 2007 Advancing innovation and competitiveness at the convergence of the life and physical sciences and.

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Presentation on theme: "Concepts in Biology BIO AC Meeting, Oct. 18-19, 2007 Advancing innovation and competitiveness at the convergence of the life and physical sciences and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Concepts in Biology BIO AC Meeting, Oct , 2007 Advancing innovation and competitiveness at the convergence of the life and physical sciences and engineering

2 NSF Strategic Goals Discovery Learning Research Infrastructure Stewardship Amer. Comp. Init. (ACI) Fundamental Research 21st Century Workforce Transformative Facilities & Infrastructure Quality Merit Review BIO Priorities Core Programs, Emerging Frontiers Broadening participation activities NEON, Plant Cyber Collaborative, CEIN Transformative research, organizational change / managing the core BIO at NSF: Integrating with ACI

3 21 st Century Innovation Will Rely on Biology Discoveries at all levels of biology will reverberate throughout science and provide the transformational insights that will lead to practical solutions in seemingly unrelated research areas. (NRC Report)

4 Biology: Shaping the Future The 21 st century will be The Age of Biology because classic grand challenges are now within reach. Biological information is exploding Ingenious new tools Non-biologists are turning to living systems BIO will advance the frontiers of knowledge at the intersection of the life and physical sciences and engineering

5 Foster ACI relevant initiatives that support discovery at the intersection of the life and physical sciences Understanding the molecular basis of life Discovery – From simple to complex: a single gene change is responsible for generating a more complex multi- chambered heart. Discovery - Small RNAs are a ubiquitous, potent set of molecules that regulate cellular process including development, pathogen defense and stress response Improving our understanding of global climate variability and change (OMB/OSTP Letter) Discovery – Research into Earths ancient climate reveals the importance of the biosphere in driving global change. Core/ACI Biology: Shaping the Future

6 Concepts in Biology Origins: Use Synthetic Biology to discover the molecular basis of life and develop and test models of emergent complexity Energy: Expand knowledge of living energy-transduction systems to inform the development of new biology-based, renewable energy technologies. Adaptation: Discover the underlying mechanisms that enable living organisms to survive, adapt to, and transform their environment. Managing the Core Adaptation: Ecological Forecasting Discovery Crenarchaeota, the first discovered nitrogen fixing archaea, are emerging as a major driver of the global carbon and nitrogen cycles

7 Origins: How, where, and when did life on Earth begin? Where did the molecules necessary to begin life originate? How did the complex biological chemistry of life* emerge from pre-biotic chemistry and geochemistry? *Self-contained – The Cell *Self-sustaining - Energy *Self-perpetuating - Reproduction and Evolution Are there alternative routes to life? Open system chemistry Encapsulated, self- sustaining biochemistry Basic elements Model Digital Worlds Charles Ofria, Claus O. Wilke (NSF/BIO)

8 Origins: How, where, and when did life on Earth begin? ? Life as we know it Transitions and transformations Knowledge about the Last Universal Common Ancestor for life on Earth will define constraints on the pre-biotic conditions that gave rise to life and will inform our understanding of the onset and early evolution of life. Can the indispensable requirements for lifeincluding the pre-biotic conditions and steps leading to lifebe revealed by Synthetic Biology? Stanley Miller

9 PS IETL/C60AuAgITO -/+ photon e-e- e-e- e-e- e-e- Energy: How is energy obtained and used by living systems to sustain life? What are the systems by which life forms obtain and use energy to sustain life? Understanding the wide variety of energy transduction systems will inspire and enable the development of biology-based technologies capable of delivering sustainable, renewable, efficient energy. Assemble the basics Biofuels Applied Photosynthesis Barry Bruce ( NSF/BIO) Agrivida NSF/ENG SBIR Chloroplast

10 Energy: How is energy obtained and used by living systems to sustain life? The discovery of new life forms on Earth will enhance our knowledge of self- sustaining energy systems. A vast microbial world has yet to be incorporated into a fundamental concept of lifes history. Life as we dont know it. Life as we know it. Mars Europa Antarctica Deep ocean Kilometers of water Microbes two miles down derive energy from radiation Tullis Onstott, Lisa Pratt (NSF/GEO)

11 Adaptation in the Story of Life: What has survived and how? How have some life forms survived geological and climate altering events and successfully adapted to a transformed biosphere? Knowledge of lifes resilience and adaptations to planetary change will require a theoretically and conceptually rich interdisciplinary effort. Adaptation and survival Neo Martinez (NSF/BIO) Extinction Transformations

12 Adaptation in the Story of Life: What will survive and how? Understanding lifes resilience and adaptation to planetary change will enable realistic predictions for the future of life on Earth in response to: Global climate change – NEON Human activities Disruptive events Fresh water depletion Choices Changes

13 Global Climate Change Climate Change and Disruptive Events Dynamics of Earths Water System Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEIN) BIO Environmental Science National Ecological Observatory Network Research and development of environmental sensors and sensor networks, cyberinfrastructure, and enabling technologies A goal of observing, modeling and analyzing a wide range of complex environmental systems. Discovery Restoring marine biodiversity through an ecosystem based management approach is essential to avoid serious threats to global food security, costal water quality and ecosystem stability

14 National Science Foundation Fiscal Year 2008 update Waiting on a budget Operating under a continuing resolution Not unusual for this time of year

15 FY 2008 Administrations request is $6.43 Billion, a 6.8 % increase over 2007 Research and Related Activities is $5.13 Billion, a 7.7 % increase over 2007 STATUS: House and Senate appropriation bills provide for R&RA funding similar to the administration request, but differ in extent of increased funding for Education and Human Resource (EHR) programs. Reflects emphasis on American Competitiveness Initiative National Science Foundation Fiscal Year 2008 update

16 National Science Foundation Fiscal Year 2008 update FY 2008 Request Research and Related Activities by directorate

17 Challenges for the Future Conveying the message that biology is more than biomedicine Creating the Directorate of the future Managing novel research infrastructure in the context of long term research priorities National Ecological Observatory Network Plant Cyberinfrastructure

18 NSFs Role Goal: Inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers, and educators to create new knowledge and technologies to sustain life on Earth, adapt to a changing world, and explore our universe. Why NSF: Success requires collaborative research and education across the range of sciences and engineering uniquely encompassed by NSF. Chemistry, Geochemistry Time Plant biology, Biochemistry Microbiology, Ecology Evolution, Astronomy, Astrobiology Engineering, Synthetic biology, Computational and Mathematical modeling, Nanotechnology Physical anthropology, Archaeology

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