Large Infrastructure



Integrated Digitized Biological Collections (iDigBio) 

Description: The mission of iDigBio is to develop a national infrastructure that supports the vision of the Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections (ADBC) program (see above) by overseeing implementation of standards and best practices for digitization; building and deploying a customized cloud computing environment for collections; recruiting and training personnel, including underserved groups; engaging the research community, collections community, citizen scientists, and the general public through outreach activities; and planning for long-term sustainability of the national digitization effort.

Managing Program Director:

Dr. Roland Roberts 


The iPlant Collaborative

Description: The iPlant Collaborative is a dynamic virtual organization developed to create an innovative, comprehensive, generic, and foundational cyberinfrastructure (CI) in support of plant biology and life science research. iPlant is developing CI that enables scientists from diverse fields to address Grand Challenges in new ways, to stimulate and facilitate cross-disciplinary research, to promote biology and computer science research interactions, and to train the next generation of scientists on the use of CI in both research and education.

Managing Program Director:

Dr. Karen Cone


National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)

Description: SESYNC’s mission is to foster synthetic, actionable scholarship related to the structure, functioning, and sustainability of socio-environmental systems. SESYNC facilitates collaboration between natural, social, and computational scientists, and aims to accelerate socio-environmental research and synthesis by providing this diverse community of researchers with an array of support and activities, as well as a physical collaborative space.

Managing Program Director:

Dr. Saran Twombly


National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS)

Description: NIMBioS brings together biologists, mathematicians, and computer scientists in order to develop and apply new quantitative methods to the study of complex biological systems. Through crossdisciplinary research, NIMBioS aims to improve our understanding of the biological world, how it came to be, and how it may change in the future. NIMBioS is also committed to enhancing education at the interface of mathematics and biology.

Managing Program Director:

Dr. Sam Scheiner


Bio/computational Evolution in Action CONsortium (BEACON)

Description: BEACON is devoted to the study of evolution in real time. Using computer modeling, BEACON researchers are able to elucidate evolutionary processes by digitally simulating evolutionary phenomena occurring in the natural world. In turn, by applying evolutionary theory to computer science, BEACON researchers use mathematical algorithms of evolution to work toward solving real world problems. Using museum exhibits, online materials, and other multimedia, BEACON shares evolution in action with students and the public.

Managing Program Director:

Dr. George Gilchrist 


Biology with X-Ray Free Electron Lasers (BioXFEL)

Description: The mission of BioXFEL is to develop X-ray free electron laser beam technology for use in structural biology. X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFEL) produce a stream of intense X-rays in short pulses that can capture images of the fastest biological processes. At BioXFEL, there are four main areas of research and development: sample development, sample injector technology, data acquisition at the beam line, and algorithm development for image reconstruction. The center is also developing an education plan aimed at building communities of BioXFEL scientists that range from undergraduates to established investigators.

Managing Program Director:

Dr. Robert Fleischmann


National Ecological Observatory Network

Description: NEON is a continental scale research instrument consisting of geographically distributed infrastructure, networked via cybertechnology into an integrated research platform for regional to continental scale ecological research.  Cutting-edge sensor networks, instrumentation, experimental infrastructure, natural history archive facilities, and remote sensing will be linked via the internet to computational, analytical, and modeling capabilities to create NEON’s integrated infrastructure. The Observatory is already capturing high-quality data that are being used to assess, understand, and manage land use, environmental events, and natural processes such as wildfires and El Niño.

Management Team:

Science Advisor for Center and Cooperative Agreements: Dr. Anne Maglia

Program Director: Dr. Elizabeth Blood

Project Manger: Montona Futrell-Griggs 

Program Director: Dr. Tim Kratz

Program Director: Dr. Steve Ellis


Protein Data Bank

Description: The Protein Data Bank has achieved global recognition as the sole, authoritative repository for macromolecular structure information. As such, this resource provides information about the 3D shapes of proteins, nucleic acids, and complex assemblies that helps students and researchers understand all aspects of biomedicine and agriculture, from protein synthesis to health and disease.

Managing Program Director:

Dr. Peter McCartney


University of California Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN)

Description: The mission of UC CEIN is to use a multidisciplinary approach to ensure the responsible use and safe implementation of nanotechnology in the environment. This mission is being accomplished by the development of environmental decision making tools that consider the environmental impact of engineered nanomaterial. Researchers at UC CEIN measure and analyze the impact of engineered nanomaterials on many levels of biological organization, including cellular, organismal, community, and ecosystem. These research activities are combined with educational programs that inform the public, students, federal and state agencies, as well as industrial stakeholders, of the impact of CEIN’s research on the safe implementation of nanotechnology in the environment.

Managing Program Director:

Dr. Irwin Forseth


Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT)

Description: CEINT is exploring the relationship between a vast array of nanomaterials— from natural, to manufactured, to those produced incidentally by human activities— and their potential environmental impacts. CEINT performs fundamental research on the behavior of nano-scale materials in laboratory and complex ecosystems. Additionally, CEINT is developing risk assessment tools to provide guidance in assessing existing and future concerns surrounding the environmental implications of nanomaterials. The Center is also training the next generation of nanoscale scientists, engineers, and regulators to anticipate and mitigate the potential future environmental hazards of nanotechnology

Managing Program Director:

Dr. Irwin Forseth