NSF Awards 26 New Grants to Seed Plant Systems Biology
Focus includes genome-enabled research in plants of economic value and development of novel tools
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made 26 new awards totaling $85.8 million during the tenth year of its Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP).
These awards--which cover two to five years and range from $400,000 to $7.9 million--support research and tool development to further knowledge of genome structure and function. They will also increase understanding of gene function and interactions between genomes and the environment in economically vital crop plants such as corn, rice and cotton.
"Plant biologists continue to exploit genomics tools and sequence resources in new and innovative ways," said James Collins, NSF assistant director for biological sciences. "It's exciting to see research involving biologists and mathematicians, computer scientists and engineers, all working to address major unanswered questions in plant biology. These latest projects will also have a significant impact on how we train the next generation of plant scientists to carry out research at the cutting edge of the biological sciences."
The new awards--made to 45 institutions in 28 states--include international groups of scientists from Asia, Australia and Europe.
First-time recipients of PGRP awards include Auburn University, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, SUNY Stony Brook, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Toledo, and University of Virginia.
The wealth of genomics tools and sequence resources developed over the past ten years of the PGRP have opened up exciting, new comparative approaches in plant biology. PGRP researchers continue to uncover gene networks that regulate plant development and growth in concert with environmental signals, such as temperature, light, disease and pests.
These projects include:
PGRP is also continuing to support the development of tools to enable researchers to make breakthroughs in understanding the structure and function of economically important plants -- from the gene level to the whole plant.
Example projects include:
The PGRP, which was established in 1998 as part of the coordinated National Plant Genome Initiative by the Interagency Working Group on Plant Genomes of the National Science and Technology Council, has the long-term goal of advancing the understanding of the structure and function of genomes of plants of economic importance.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
Useful NSF Web Sites: