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Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems


Biophotonics


CONTACTS
Name Email Phone Room
Leon  Esterowitz lesterow@nsf.gov (703) 292-7942   
Steven  M. Zehnder szehnder@nsf.gov (703) 292-7014   


PROGRAM GUIDELINES

Apply to PD 20-7236 as follows:

For full proposals submitted via FastLane: standard NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide proposal preparation guidelines apply.
For full proposals submitted via Grants.gov: the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov Guidelines applies. (Note: The NSF Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov website and on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=grantsgovguide)

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 19-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after February 25, 2019. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 19-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


DUE DATES

Full Proposal Accepted Anytime

Proposals for this program will be accepted throughout the year. For additional information regarding the removal of deadlines for this program, please refer to the Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 18-082) and Frequently Asked Questions (NSF 18-083).

Proposals submitted to other program announcements and solicitations, including the Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER), must meet their respective deadlines; please refer to the deadline dates specified in the appropriate announcement or solicitation. Proposals for EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) or Rapid Response Research (RAPID) can be submitted at any time but Principal Investigators (PIs) must contact the cognizant program director prior to submission. Proposals for supplements or workshops can be submitted at any time, and PIs are encouraged to contact the cognizant program director prior to submission.


SYNOPSIS

The Biophotonics program is part of the Engineering Biology and Health cluster, which also includes: 1) the Biosensing program; 2) the Cellular and Biochemical Engineering program; 3) the Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering program; and 4) the Engineering of Biomedical Systems program.

The goal of the Biophotonics program is to explore the research frontiers in photonics principles, engineering and technology that are relevant for critical problems in fields of medicine, biology and biotechnology.  Fundamental engineering research and innovation in photonics is required to lay the foundations for new technologies beyond those that are mature and ready for application in medical diagnostics and therapies.  Advances are needed in nanophotonics, optogenetics, contrast and targeting agents, ultra-thin probes, wide field imaging, and rapid biomarker screening. Low cost and minimally invasive medical diagnostics and therapies are key motivating application goals. 

Research topics in this program include:

  • Macromolecule Markers: Innovative methods for labeling of macromolecules. Novel compositions of matter. Methods of fabrication of multicolor probes that could be used for marking and detection of specific pathological cells. Pushing the envelope of optical sensing to the limits of detection, resolution, and identification.
  • Low Coherence Sensing at the Nanoscale: Low coherence enhanced backscattering (LEBS). N-dimensional elastic light scattering. Angle-resolved low coherence interferometry for early cancer detection (dysplasia).
  • Neurophotonics: Studies of photon activation of neurons at the interface of nanomaterials attached to cells. Development and application of biocompatible photonic tools such as parallel interfaces and interconnects for communicating and control of neural networks.
  • Microphotonics and Nanophotonics: Development and application of novel nanoparticle fluorescent quantum-dots. Sensitive, multiplexed, high-throughput characterization of macromolecular properties of cells. Nanomaterials and nanodevices for biomedicine. 
  • Optogenetics: Novel research in employing light-activated channels and enzymes for manipulation of neural activity with temporal precision.  Utilizing nanophotonics, nanofibers, and genetic techniques for mapping and studying in real-time physiological processes in organs such as the brain and heart.

Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas may be considered. However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the PI contact the program director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.

INFORMATION COMMON TO MOST CBET PROGRAMS

Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field.  Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and/or industry of success in the research.  The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.

The duration of unsolicited proposal awards in CBET is generally up to three years.  Single-investigator award budgets typically include support for one graduate student (or equivalent) and up to one month of PI time per year (awards for multiple investigator projects are typically larger). Proposal budgets that are much larger than typical should be discussed with the program director prior to submission. Proposers can view budget amounts and other information from recent awards made by this program via the “What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)” link towards the bottom of this page.

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged.  Award duration is five years.  The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Learn more in the CAREER program description

Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements: PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the program director before submission of the proposal.

Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate.  Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission.  Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged. Please note that RAPID, EAGER, and GOALI proposals can be submitted anytime during the year. Details about RAPID, EAGER, and GOALI are available in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Part 1, Chapter II, Section E: Types of Proposals.  

Compliance: Proposals that are not compliant with the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.


What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program