Quantum Biology: Current Impacts and Opportunities

On World Quantum Day, we wanted to highlight how MCB is supporting quantum biology.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) annually send all agencies a letter that identifies the administration’s scientific research and development priorities. This year’s joint OMB/OSTP priority letter  identified several emerging industries, including quantum science, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and advanced manufacturing, as key areas for engagement.

MCB and the researchers we support have  recognized quantum biology as an emerging research area with opportunities for growth, adding quantum biology to the list of themes in the BBSRC lead agency opportunity and the list of cluster priorities in the Molecular Biophysics program description.  

In addition, MCB plays an active role in NSF’s Quantum Leap Big Idea and manages one of the Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes focused on quantum sensors for biology. The Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Quantum Sensing in Biophysics and Bioengineering, led by the University of Chicago, will create new types of biocompatible quantum sensors and embed these quantum sensors within biological systems to extract new information and gain control over biological processes that, until now, have been beyond reach. The Institute will also train the future quantum technology workforce.

Other support from MCB for quantum biology includes a Research Coordination Network that supports community development and research capacity building in this area, several EAGER awards to support exploratory research on topics from quantum principles in electron transfer in nanowires or in odorant detection or quantum imaging and quantum-based detection methods development, as well as full proposals exploring topics such as quantum phenomena involved in biological energy transfer. A full list of MCB supported quantum biology awards can be found here.

Continuing to support this emerging industry allows MCB and our community to remain at the cutting edge of biology and to strengthen cross-disciplinary partnerships.

For any questions about funding opportunities related to Quantum Biology, please contact Engin Serpersu (ESERPERS@nsf.gov) or Jaroslaw Majewski (jmajewsk@nsf.gov).

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