On October 28-29, 2019, the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) hosted the first annual CAREER Awardees Conference, which was attended by 36 current principal investigators. The conference enabled awardees to share information on their research and broader impact programs with each other and NSF staff, discuss current and future directions in molecular and cellular biological sciences, and form new connections within the MCB CAREER awardee community.
The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a National Science Foundation (NSF)-wide funding opportunity for early-career faculty. Recipients of the prestigious, five-year award are selected for their potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the missions of their respective departments or organizations.
The conference, anchored by seminars and a poster session, included activities to foster networking and stimulate collaborations amongst awardees. Program officers from each of the four divisions within the Directorate of Biological Sciences (BIO), as well as from the Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) and the Directorate of Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), presented flash talks informing attendees about how MCB interfaces with other programs within NSF. Conference organizer Manju Hingorani (Program Director, Genetic Mechanisms cluster, MCB) noted that an important goal of the conference was for the attendees to come away with new ideas on advancing their research and educational programs.
The responses from attendees were overwhelmingly positive. “This has been a fantastic opportunity to meet other scientists across domains and feel better connected to the NSF,” said one. “Learning outside my area of expertise” was most rewarding, noted another. The conference gave one attendee “several new ideas that I am itching to try out. I also linked up with two to three people for potential collaborations” – a sentiment expressed by many others as well.
MCB plans to host this conference annually for CAREER awardees in their second and fifth years of the five-year award period in order to facilitate knowledge transfer between scientists at different points in their academic careers. If you would like to find out more about the program, please visit the CAREER website. If you have questions or are interested in applying to the program, please contact a Program Director in MCB.
The first of four lectures hosted by the Directorate of Biological Sciences 2020 Distinguished Lecture Series will be held January 22, 2020, 11-12 PM Eastern Standard Time. Dr. Michael Lynch, Arizona State University, will present his talk, titled “Evolutionary Origin of Cell Biology’s Scaling Laws.”
Attendees may attend in person or virtually; in either case, registration in advance is required. Please visit the BIO BUZZ blog for details on registration or visit the lecture series event page.
The MCBBlog has two new resource pages, Funding Opportunities and Office Hours.
Visit the funding opportunities page to see an up-to-date list of MCB funding opportunities, links to solicitations, dear colleague letters, and information from NSF divisions and directorates which may be of interest to MCB PIs.
Visit the Office Hours page for more information on MCB office hours, including: upcoming dates, registration links, and slides from presentations at prior office hour sessions. Attend a virtual office hours to hear POs discuss the topic of the week and answer participant questions on anything on their minds.
The two tracks are titled “Functional Genomic Tools” and “Complex Multigenic Traits.”
The Functional Genomic Tools track combines the comprehensive and targeted tracks from the previous EDGE solicitation (NSF 19-527) and is intended for proposals aimed at developing tools for gene manipulation and/or phenotyping, analytical approaches or infrastructure to overcome one or more blocks to direct tests of gene function on demand.
The Complex Multigenic Traits track is for proposals focused on hypothesis-driven research to understand causal mechanisms connecting genomes and complex multigenic organismal phenomes across a variety of environmental, developmental, social, and/or genomic contexts.
Contact a relevant program director for more information. Read the full solicitation for submission guidelines. There is no letter of intent required and proposals are accepted at any time.
Did you know that supplemental funding awards are available to help cover unexpected costs that arise during the course of NSF-funded research? Supplements allow a Principal Investigator to accomplish the original scope of the parent award when unforeseen circumstances occur. Read on to find out how a supplemental equipment award enabled Dr. Mechthild Pohlschröder to continue her research.
As a professor and the undergraduate chair of the Department of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Pohlschröder’s lab investigates how archaea, specifically Haloferax volcanii, forms biofilms, a common phenomenon where microorganisms aggregate, allowing them to survive in harsh environments.
Earlier this year, when a neighboring lab moved to a new location on campus, the Pohlschröder lab lost access to shared resources, including a microscope camera used to capture high-quality images of cells and structures, an essential component of the research funded by NSF (NSF 1817518). A supplemental award enabled the lab to purchase a Leica DFC9000 digital camera, enabling the Dr. Pohlschröder’s group to continue with their pioneering work on archaea.
The new camera will also benefit the lab’s outreach and educational activities, which have broader impacts in the surrounding community. Dr. Pohlschröder’s science education programs reach middle and high school students across the Philadelphia metro area, including in underserved schools in West Philadelphia. The lab develops microbiology experiments designed for schools with limited resources. Further strengthening its reach, the Pohlschröder lab hosts training workshops for science teachers from Philadelphia and other cities, so that good science can reach even more students. The new, state-of-the-art imaging technology will play a role in advancing all of these outreach activities.
If you currently have an award from MCB and are interested in learning more about supplemental funding, please contact a Program Director in MCB to discuss.
The division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) is accepting applications for a permanent Program Officer to join the Cellular Dynamics and Functions cluster. Program officers are an essential part of NSF’s mission, primarily responsible for the administration of the merit review of submitted proposals; managing an effective, timely peer review process; ensuring broad participation of reviewers and increasing involvement of under-represented groups; and building an award portfolio that supports the vision and goals of the National Science Foundation and MCB.
Applications must be received between December 3, 2019 and December 17, 2019. Applicants must have a Ph.D. in a science or engineering field relevant to any of the scientific areas encompassed by MCB, plus six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience. For a full list of qualifications, application materials, and benefits see the full job announcement.
BIO is excited to announce to the biological sciences community two new funding opportunities under the Understanding the Rules of Life (URoL) Big Idea: 1) Epigenetics and 2) Microbiome Theory and Mechanisms (MTM). The URoL Big Idea seeks to create a new paradigm at the convergence of science, engineering, and technology that will elucidate theoretical frameworks (rules) to enable prediction of the diversity of evolutionary solutions that biological systems use to support life processes seen across the planet. The National Science Foundation has recently invested $36 million in the first projects under the URoL portfolio from two separate solicitations and across more than thirty institutions.
The Epigenetics and MTM opportunities represent a collaboration across Directorates and Offices within the National Science Foundation. Specifically, Epigenetics intends to enable innovative research and promote multidisciplinary education and workforce training in the broad area of epigenetics, while MTM aims to understand and establish theory and mechanisms that govern the structure and function of microbiomes.
Integrative perspectives and research approaches from more than one research discipline are welcomed, as this is a cross-Directorate effort. The interdisciplinary scope of both programs aims to provide unique training and outreach opportunities to train the next generation of scientists in a diversity of scientific approaches and to engage society more generally.
Both programs offer two submission tracks:
Track 1 – for projects with a total budget of up to $500,000 and an award duration of up to 3 years, and
Track 2 – for projects with a total budget of up to $3,000,000 and award duration of up to 5 years.
Funding is now
available through the Semiconductor Synthetic Biology for Information Storage
and Retrieval Technologies (SemiSynBio-II) solicitation (NSF
20-518) which seeks to leverage synthetic biology
tools, concepts, and methodologies to advance the development of
next-generation semiconductor information storage and retrieval technologies that are driven by biological principles
and use biomaterials in the fabrication of storage and retrieval devices and systems.
goal of the SemiSynBio-II research program will be to foster high-risk/high-reward, multi-disciplinary,
longer-term basic research leading to novel high-payoff solutions for the
information-storage and retrieval industries based on recent progress in
synthetic biology and the know-how of the semiconductor technology.
aims to seed and foster collaborations among the researchers in physics,
chemistry, biology, materials science, computer science, and engineering
disciplines to develop new cross-disciplinary projects and curricula that will
model and integrate concepts, tools and methodology.
solicitation builds from the previous SemiSynBio solicitation (NSF
17-557, no longer active) to include aspects of data retrieval. Proposals
can be submitted during the submission window (due by 5 p.m. submitter’s local
time): February 14, 2020 – March 16,
2020. Full program details including program priorities, submission
guidelines, and contact information can be found in the full solicitation NSF 20-518.
The BII is a new funding opportunity to strengthen the connections between biological subdisciplines and encourage a reintegration of biology. This funding opportunity is a part of BIO’s larger efforts to stimulate integrative thinking in the biological research community.