Chemistry of Life Processes  (CLP)

Name Email Phone Room
Catalina  Achim (703) 292-2048  E 9335  
Robin  McCarley (703) 292-7514  E 9329  
Herman  O. Sintim (703) 292-7244   
Max  Funk Primary E-Mail  Off-Site  
Pui  S. Ho (703) 292-7054  Off-Site  


Proposals submitted to this program (including individual and collaborative proposals, GOALIs) must be submitted to the CHE Disciplinary Research Programs solicitation.


  • RUI proposals must be submitted to the RUI Solicitation during the regular proposal submission window for this program.
  • Proposals submitted in response to another solicitation (CAREER) should follow the solicitation guidelines (e.g. CAREER)
  • Conference, workshop, EAGER, RAPID or RAISE proposals must be discussed with a Program Officer before submission, and then should only be submitted as instructed.


The Chemistry of Life Processes (CLP) Program supports fundamental, experimental and computational studies at the interface of chemistry and biology. Such studies should promote the fundamental understanding of the molecular underpinnings of life processes. The proposed research should be based on innovation(s) in chemistry and address an important question about a biological process.  Proposals should make clear both the original contribution to the chemistry knowledge that is being pursued and how the research project will directly address a biologically relevant question.

The scope of the program is broad, reflecting the power of chemistry and diversity of biology.  Subject areas include bioorganic and bioinorganic chemistry; chemical biology; lipids, membranes, and membrane-proteins; and protein, enzyme, nucleic acid and carbohydrate chemistry. Research projects must use or create innovations in chemistry that advance the understanding of biological function. Chemical methods development is also acceptable when such methods are applied to answering specific biological questions. Other topics of interest include: the development and application of bio-orthogonal chemistry for probing cellular function; biomolecular design and synthesis aimed at understanding biological function; the use of theory, computation, modeling, and simulation as applied to the chemical aspects of biological systems; and chemical aspects that underlie the function of the brain.

Note: The CLP Program is not interested in projects that are disease-related or that have drug discovery/design/development goals.

Through the Critical Aspects of Sustainability (CAS) program, the Division of Chemistry looks to support basic research aimed at improving the sustainability of resources for future generations while maintaining or improving current products within a global society. Examples of projects that fit in the Chemistry of Life Processes Program that would also fit in the CAS program include, but are not limited to, those that focus on the mechanism of enzymes that (1) play a role in the sensing and transport of heavy metals that are toxic or (2) catalyze chemical transformations of biological compounds that generate chemical knowledge applicable to bioremediation.

PIs are encouraged to monitor current funding priorities identified by the Foundation and the Executive and Legislative Branches, and to highlight relevant synergies in their Project Summaries and Program Descriptions.

PIs uncertain of the suitability of their proposals for the CLP Program and of their synergy with other funding priorities and/or programs are strongly encouraged to contact a CLP Program Director.

For recent awards made by the program, search NSF award database with the Program Element Code 6883. 


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