Biological Systems Science Division (BSSD)

The Biological Systems Science Division integrates discovery- and hypothesis-driven science with technology development on plant and microbial systems relevant to national priorities in energy security and resilience. Systems biology is the multidisciplinary study of complex interactions specifying the function of entire biological systems—from single cells to multicellular organisms—rather than the study of individual isolated components. The Biological Systems Science subprogram employs systems biology approaches to define the functional principles that drive living systems, from microbes and microbial communities to plants and other whole organisms.  The subprogram employs approaches such as genome sequencing, proteomics, metabolomics, structural biology, high-resolution imaging and characterization, and integration of information into computational models that can be iteratively tested and validated to advance a predictive understanding of biological systems from molecules to mesoscale.

Key questions that drive these studies include:

  • What information is encoded in the genome sequence?
  • How is information exchanged between different subcellular constituents?
  • What molecular interactions regulate the response of living systems and how can those interactions be understood dynamically and predictively?

Genomic Science

The Genomic Science activity supports research seeking to reveal the fundamental principles that drive biological systems relevant to DOE missions in energy security and resilience. These principles guide the interpretation of the genetic code into functional proteins, biomolecular complexes, metabolic pathways, and the metabolic/regulatory networks underlying the systems biology of plants, microbes, and communities. Advancing fundamental knowledge of these systems will enable new solutions to clean energy production, breakthroughs in genome-based biotechnology, understanding the role of biological systems in the environment, and adapting biological design paradigms to physical and material systems.

Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs) - The BRCs within the Genomic Science portfolio seek to provide a fundamental understanding of the biology of plants and microbes as a basis for developing innovative processes for bioenergy and bioproducts production from inedible cellulosic biomass. The four BRCs develop a range of advanced biofuels and bioproducts from sustainable biomass resources and provide high-payoff technology and early-stage research results that can be adapted for industry adoption and development of transformative commercial products and services.

Bioimaging Research

Supports fundamental research to develop novel in situ, dynamic and nondestructive approaches to enable multifunctional imaging and integrative analysis of bioenergy-relevant plant and microbial systems relevant to DOE’s energy and environmental missions.

Biological Systems Facilities and Infrastructure

  • DOE Joint Genome Institute - Advances genomics in support of the DOE missions in energy and environment.
  • Structural Biology - Develop and support DOE national user facilities for use in fundamental structural biology.

DOE Human Subjects Protection Program

Ensure compliance with Federal regulations and DOE Orders to protect human subjects. All research conducted at DOE, supported with DOE funds, or performed by DOE employees must comply.