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Division of Integrative Organismal Systems

The description of the Symbiosis, Defense, and Self-recognition (SDS) Program has been updated to reflect changes in the current IOS Core Programs solicitation, NSF 16-505. These changes have been made to accommodate the development of a new joint program solicitation, Plant Biotic Interactions (NSF 16-551), which is administered by NSF/IOS and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Investigators working in areas of plant symbioses and plant self/non-self recognition are strongly encouraged to read the revised SDS Program description on this page.

The frequently asked questions for the core programs solicitation (NSF 16-505) can be found at  

Two of the programs in the Physiological and Structural Systems (PSS) Cluster have changed.  The former Processes, Structures and Integrity Program (PSI) has been renamed the Physiological Mechanisms and Biomechanics Program (PMB). The Organism Environment Interactions (OEI) has been renamed the Integrative Ecological Physiology Program (IEP).   The names and descriptions were updated to better reflect the program priorities.

Irwin Forseth, (703) 292-8413
Room 685N

Emily Carrington, (703) 292-8413
Room 685N

Mary E. Chamberlin, (703) 292-8413
Room 685N

Rollie Clem, (703) 292-8413
Room 685N

Clay Cook, (703) 292-8413
Room 685N

Kimberly A. Hammond, (703) 292-8413
Room 685N

Michael Mishkind, (703) 292-8413
Room 685N

Scott Santos, (703) 292-8413
Room 685N

Elsbeth Walker, (703) 292-8413
Room 685N

William E. Zamer, (703) 292-8413
Room 685N

Apply to 16-505

The Physiological and Structural Systems (PSS) Cluster supports research to advance understanding of physiological mechanisms and functional morphology.  PSS supports hypothesis-and discovery-based research encompassing a wide range of approaches at levels of organization from molecules to populations.  The Cluster encourages submission of proposals aimed at identifying fundamental design principles of physiological and structural systems and at understanding why particular patterns of morphology and physiological mechanisms have evolved and how they are integrated at the level of the whole organism.  The Cluster encourages modeling and theoretical approaches to augment experimental approaches.  Multidisciplinary research at the interfaces of biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science and engineering is encouraged. Normally, the PSS Cluster will not consider projects that are primarily focused on environmental toxicology or endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Proposals should be directed to one of the three programs described below:

The Symbiosis, Defense and Self-recognition Program (SDS) supports research on processes mediating both antagonistic and beneficial symbiotic interactions, as well as mechanisms of self/non-self recognition within and between animals and other organisms. The program welcomes proposals on the dynamics of initiation, transmission, maintenance and dissolution of these complex associations, including studies of metabolic interactions, immune defenses (especially involving comparative studies, new systems or novel mechanisms), host-symbiont regulation, and recognition, signaling, communication, and reciprocal responses among interacting species. Integrative approaches and attention to emergent effects of symbiotic interactions are encouraged. All aspects of animal symbiosis and symbioses among and between fungi, prokaryotic microbes and protists are supported, including commensalism, mutualism, parasitism, host-pathogen interactions, and mechanisms of foreign organelle acquisition.

Special Note: Proposals on plant symbioses and self/non-self recognition formerly submitted to the SDS Program should be submitted to a new program, Plant Biotic Interactions (PBI), NSF 16-551, jointly administered by IOS and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.  The deadline for proposal submission is June 6, 2016 and the third Friday in April, annually thereafter. Investigators who apply to the new PBI Program are eligible to apply to the EDGE track of the IOS Core Programs Solicitation with proposals focused on the development of functional genomic tools, approaches and infrastructure that are intended to enable genome manipulation in plant symbioses of all types.

The Physiological Mechanisms and Biomechanics Program (PMB) supports research on the physiological and structural features that contribute to life processes in plants, animals, microbes, and other organisms.  Broad thematic areas include, but are not limited to sensing and signaling mechanisms, transport, energetics and metabolism, growth and development, stress adaptation mechanisms, biomaterials, muscle physiology, endocrinology, biomechanics, functional morphology, coordination of reproductive processes, gas exchange, circulation and osmoregulation.  Systems approaches that predict or reveal the nature of coordination among functional processes and/or structural components as a means to further the understanding of organismal integrity are particularly encouraged.

The Integrative Ecological Physiology Program (IEP) supports research on the structural and physiological traits of organisms that underlie their capacities to live in various ecological settings.  A central focus of the program is research on physiological mechanisms underlying organism responses to biotic and abiotic components of their environments.  The program seeks proposals framed in explicit ecological or evolutionary contexts, and therefore projects may address time scales ranging from the short-term to evolutionary.  Projects focused on understanding how genetic, biochemical, morphological and physiological processes integratively result in the capacities of organisms to live in dynamic environments are encouraged.  The IEP Program particularly encourages proposals focused on using physiological traits to improve predictive models of organismal responses to environmental changes.

Program Directors:

Irwin Forseth.  Integrative Ecological Physiology

Emily Carrington.  Physiological Mechanisms and Biomechanics

Mary E. Chamberlin.  Physiological Mechanisms and Biomechanics   

Rollie Clem.  Symbiosis, Defense & Self-recognition  

Clay Cook.  Symbiosis, Defense & Self-recognition

Kimberly Hammond.  Integrative Ecological Physiology

Michael Mishkind. Plant Biotic Interactions

Scott Santos.  Integrative Ecological Physiology

Elsbeth Walker.  Physiological Mechanisms and Biomechanics

William Zamer.  Physiological Mechanisms and Biomechanics



What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)
Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program
Frequently Asked Questions to NSF 16-505

IOS Cluster Descriptions



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