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Biosystems and Biomaterials Division

Welcome

Talapady Bhat developed Chem-BLAST, a software tool that allows researchers to search databases to identify new candidate drug molecules.

Talapady Bhat developed Chem-BLAST, a software tool that allows researchers to search databases to identify new candidate drug molecules. Image credit: NIST.


Some of the greatest technological challenges and business opportunities of our time center around biology. Despite impressive scientific and technical breakthroughs, our fundamental understanding and ability to predict biological processes are still relatively poor. The 'omics' revolution can provide large amounts of data about genes and proteins for an individual, but it is still unclear how to translate that data into predictive insight about response to cancer therapy, for example. Stem cell technologies promise cures for chronic diseases, but rarely are these products underpinned by a firm knowledge of mechanism of action.

To fully achieve the benefits of our investments in research, we need to increase scientific rigor in biological measurements. What is the significance of what is being measured? How accurate are the measurements? How do the computational tools being used to analyze and interpret the data add to uncertainty? These questions need to be addressed more explicitly in research publications. Without greater rigor, we will fail to achieve understanding of the fundamental principles, mechanisms and forces that drive biological processes.

The Biosystems and Biomaterials Division is focused on the measurements that will lead to better understanding of complex biological entities. We develop methods that allow for better characterization of the smallest complex unit of biology, the living cell, and the molecular scale events that control intracellular response. Our goal is to help the field of cell biology become a rigorous quantitative science through the dissemination of protocols, reference materials, and statistical methods, and by development of new measurement technologies that provide unique insight into complex biological systems.

Cooksey Photomicrographs

Credit: G. Cooksey, NIST

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Contact

Biosystems and Biomaterials Division

Anne L. Plant

Anne L. Plant, Chief

100 Bureau Drive, M/S 8310
Gaithersburg, MD 20899

General Information
301-975-3124 Telephone
301-330-3447 Facsimile