Summary of FY2002 Budget Request to Congress - National Science Foundation


The FY 2002 Budget Request for the Integrative Biology and Neuroscience (IBN) Subactivity is $112.64 million, an increase of $980,000, or 0.9 percent, over the FY 2001 Current Plan of $111.66 million.

(Millions of Dollars)

   FY 2000
FY 2001
Current Plan
FY 2002
Amount Percent
Integrative Biology & Neuroscience Research Projects
Total, IBN

Research supported by the Integrative Biology and Neuroscience Subactivity (IBN) seeks to understand the living organism - plant, animal, and microbe - as a unit of biological organization. IBN provides support for studies of the mechanisms by which organisms develop, grow, reproduce, regulate their physiological activity, and respond to their environment. The integration of molecular, subcellular, cellular, and functional genomics approaches is essential to a full understanding of the development, function, neurobiology, and behavior of organisms. IBN supports the development and use of a wide diversity of organisms to assist both in identifying unifying principles common to all living beings and in documenting the variety of mechanisms that have evolved in specific organisms. Genome-enabled science and systems biology will complement other strategic approaches to investigate how organisms carry out basic biological processes.

Example: The evolution of color patterns in animals is poorly understood because it is difficult to conduct evolutionary experiments in the laboratory. IBN funds a project that uses live Blue Jays trained to search computer displays for the presence of digital "moths". The moths exist in an artificial population maintained in computer memory, a "virtual ecology," with a genetic system derived from the genetics of real moths. The virtual moths breed and evolve through successive generations based on whether the live Jays detect them when they are displayed on screen. Changes in color patterns over time mimic many of the evolved features of color patterns in real insects. In addition to advancing understanding of the complex dynamics involved in predator-prey interactions over evolutionary time, these studies will also test the validity of virtual ecology for studying evolutionary dynamics, potentially adding a powerful new technique to the scientific study of organic evolution.

The FY 2002 Budget Request includes funding for the following areas:

  • "2010 Project": IBN is participating in an important research priority to understand the function of all genes in Arabidopsis within their cellular, organismal and evolutionary context by the year 2010. As part of the "2010 Project," IBN will focus on the support of integrative approaches to the study of plant form and function at the whole plant, organ, and tissue levels of organization. Integrated studies will yield information and models that can provide insight into the interaction of biological, physical, and social systems.

  • Biocomplexity in the Environment (BE): IBN is participating in the BE priority area to encourage biologists to collaborate with mathematical modelers and computational scientists to achieve a truly integrative understanding of living organisms in their environment. For example, integrative analyses that capitalize on mathematical modeling will enable the understanding of behavior from molecular and genetic studies to the understanding of neurological function, as well as provide insight into how natural selection acts on individual organisms.

  • Genome-Enabled Science: Biologists are assimilating a new paradigm. After a generation of characterizing genes one or a few at a time, biologists can now access the complete genome sequence of specific organisms, or a proxy thereof, in powerful electronic databases. Access to this information, and new tools that exploit it, will profoundly alter the ways in which we pose and answer questions in biology. IBN will support research that integrates genomics-based approaches into the study of whole organisms that cross heretofore traditional levels of analysis to address basic physiological or functional questions.

  • Systems Biology: An area of emerging opportunities in IBN is integrative research that includes close linkages between theory, modeling, observation, and experimental studies. The recent explosion of novel data provides the opportunity to investigate mechanistic biology of the whole organism in its environment and to study biological processes not only at individual scales but also across scales. IBN support will focus on the integration of these vast new resources in order to understand how organisms function and develop.

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