Contribution to Program Goal (Harness the Power of Our Living World)

Within the Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program, the Life Sciences, Climate Change Research, Environmental Remediation, and Medical Applications and Measurement Science subprograms contribute to Program Goal by advancing fundamental research in climate change, environmental remediation, genomics, proteomics, radiation biology, and medical applications. BER supports leading research programs that provide world-class, peer-reviewed research results. Discoveries at these frontiers in science will bring revolutionary and unconventional solutions to some of our most pressing and expensive challenges in energy and the environment. We will understand how living organisms interact with and respond to their environments to be able to use biology to produce clean energy, remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and help clean up the environment.

Our understanding of global climate change and our ability to predict climate over decades to centuries will enable us to develop science-based solutions to reduce and minimize the impacts of climate change and to better plan for our Nation�92;s future energy needs. Understanding the biological effects of low doses of radiation will lead to the development of science-based health risk policy to better protect workers and citizens. BER will lead the way in discovering innovative approaches along unconventional paths to energy independence and environmental cleanup.

Building on this work, BER develops novel radiopharmaceuticals to image defective genes that cause disease.
In addition, research advances the development of a broad range of intelligent biomimetic electronics that can both sense and correctly stimulate the nervous system, e.g., an artificial retina that will enable the blind to read large print and devices that restore neurosensory and motor function to the paralyzed (spinal cord recovery, hearing, bladder control, etc.). This effort builds on leading research programs that provide world-class, peer-reviewed research results. The research capitalizes on the National Laboratories�92; unique resources and expertise in biological, chemical, physical, and computational sciences for technological advances related to human health. The National Laboratories have highly sophisticated instrumentation (neutron and light sources, mass spectroscopy, and high field magnets), lasers and supercomputers that directly impact research on human health. This research is highly complementary to and coordinated with clinical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and to basic research in the NIH intramural and extramural programs.

In addition, BER plans, constructs, and operates reliable, world-class scientific facilities to serve thousands of researchers at universities, national laboratories, and private institutions from all over the world. Activities include structural biology research beam lines at the synchrotron light sources and neutron sources; the operation of the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) (including the Molecular Sciences Computing Facility) where research activities underpin longterm environmental remediation and other DOE missions in energy and national security; the Production Genomics Facility and the Laboratory for Comparative and Functional Genomics (�93;Mouse House�94;); and the climate change research facilities �96; the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) and the Free- Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) facilities. The following indicators establish specific long term goals in Scientific Advancement that the BER program is committed to, and progress can be measured by the Program Assessment Rating Tool..

  • Life Sciences: Characterize the multi protein complexes (or the lack thereof) involving a scientifically significant fraction of a microbe's proteins. Develop computational models to direct the use and design of microbial communities to clean up waste, sequester carbon, or produce hydrogen.
  • Climate Change Research: Deliver improved climate data & models for policy makers to determine safe levels of greenhouse gases for the Earth system. By 2013, substantially reduce differences between observed temperature and model simulations at subcontinental scales using several decades of recent data.
  • Environmental Remediation: Develop science-based solutions for cleanup and long-term monitoring of DOE contaminated sites. By 2013, a significant fraction of DOE's long-term stewardship sites will employ advanced biology-based clean up solutions and science-based monitors.
  • Medical Applications and Measurement Science: Develop intelligent biomimetic electronics that can both sense and correctly stimulate the nervous system and new radiopharmaceuticals for disease diagnosis.
  • Facilities: Manage facilities operations to the highest standards of overall performance using merit evaluation with independent peer review.