Spotlight – Science and Technology Centers

Some scientific ideas are too big for one researcher or one university to tackle alone. To address such innovative and potentially transformative large-scale challenges, NSF periodically solicits proposals under the Science and Technology Centers (STCs): Integrative Partnerships program. Among the largest projects that MCB is involved with, each STC has a different approach to the research. However, they all have one thing in common: they bring together a range of people to work on one research or education project. The centers come from all areas of science, engineering, and education research funded by NSF. MCB assists in funding and managing several of the centers, including the Center for Cellular Construction (CCC) (award DBI 1548297).

The CCC is a partnership which brings together researchers in the San Francisco Bay area, which according to their website, aims to “engineer the physical structure and interactions of living cells, to turn them into living bioreactors and modules of novel self-organizing devices”.  The Center’s goal is to transition the field of cell biology to a quantitative discipline, combining classical cell biology with engineering to develop a design-build-test approach to understanding the rules governing cell behavior. Improving how we manipulate, control, and create cells could have impacts on a wide range of fields, including chemical production, materials engineering, biomedical engineering, basic scientific exploration, as well as various civil and consumer applications.

While the research area is exciting, it’s the partnerships that make this center unique; the center not only brings together university researchers, but also industry. The partnerships, which include the University of California, San Francisco; San Francisco State University; IBM Almaden Research Center; University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University; and The Exploratorium, are overseen by Center Director Dr. Wallace Marshall. These partnerships enable an exceptional approach to the research and create a strong and varied environment to train researchers of all ages, particularly important for addressing another of the Center’s goals to increase diversity of participation in research, education, and knowledge transfer.

CCC was one of four STCs funded in 2016 and one of 12 active centers in the U.S. Click here to monitor information about funding opportunities from the Office of Integrative Activities. Follow updates on MCB funding by visiting this page.

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