Title: Dear Colleague Letter: Mathematical and Statistical
Research for understanding the "Omics" (genomics,
proteomics, transcriptomics, etc.) of biological threats.
Date: 10/30/09
NSF 10-006
Dear Colleague Letter: Mathematical and Statistical Research for
understanding the "Omics" (genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics,
etc.) of biological threats.
Dear Colleague,
The Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) at the National Science
Foundation (NSF) has a long history of supporting scientific research
to develop technology to secure the national defense. We have formed a
partnership with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to develop
the next generation of mathematical and statistical algorithms for the
detection of chemical and biological threats. In FY 2009, DMS issued a
Dear Colleague Letter, NSF09010, still in effect, that defined an
Area of Emphasis within the Computational Mathematics program. This
Dear Colleague letter describes an additional new Area of Emphasis for
FY 2010.
The introduction of the next generation of massively parallel
sequencing technologies led to an exponential increase in the amount
of available DNA sequence information for biological threats. As
sequence data is now produced faster than it can be meaningfully
analyzed, new approaches to the analysis of this information is one of
the most important recent challenges for the mathematical sciences.
New and improved mathematical and statistical methods and high
performance algorithms are needed to clear this bottleneck. Beyond
methods to sample and organize the sheer amount of data in a
meaningful way, challenges include development of quantitative methods
and models to estimate errors for the various sequencing platforms;
algorithms and mathematical estimates of the reliability of genomes
assembled from short gapped reads; approaches to distinguish
sequence-determination errors from biological polymorphism and
mutation; and means to distinguish among multiple genomes within a
single dataset, particularly when those different genomes are
represented at vastly different abundance.
Challenges especially relevant to the area of bio-detection include
the development of tools and models for fast identification of the
differences between the genomes of individuals of a species, and for
distinguishing between naturally-occurring biological heterogeneity
and newly-emerged or artificially produced pathogenic sequences in
complex samples. Mathematical models and methods to estimate the
significance of genomic variability as related to the corresponding
phenotypic variability belong to this area of research as well.
Approaches originating from all areas of the mathematical sciences are
welcome including but not limited to probability theory and
statistics, computational mathematics, applied mathematics, algebraic
geometry and topology.
The purpose of this letter is to make the mathematical sciences
community aware of this opportunity and to encourage the community to
formulate ideas and collaborations, and to assemble diverse groups of
mathematical sciences researchers who are actively working in these
areas.
DMS and DTRA recognize the needs and opportunities for the
mathematical sciences community to develop technology for controlling
and reducing the threat from biological and chemical attack. We seek
ambitious, transformative, and creative research proposals from
individual PIs and collaborative groups in the mathematical sciences
community. While experimental collaborations may serve an appropriate
supporting role for a project, proposals submitted should primarily
emphasize mathematical, statistical and algorithmic development rather
than experimental design. Proposals should include "ATD:" (Algorithms
for Threat Detection) at the start of the title and should be
submitted to the Mathematical Biology program
http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5690&org=DMS&from=h
ome of DMS within the submission window from December 18, 2009 to
January 13, 2010.
Dr. Mary Ann Horn, 703-292 4879, mhorn@nsf.gov
Dr. Leland Jameson, 703-292-4883, ljameson@nsf.gov
Dr. Tanya Vassilevska, 703-292-5043, tvassile@nsf.gov
Sincerely,
Peter March
Division Director
Division of Mathematical Sciences