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NIST, UMBI to Expand Cooperation in Bioresearch

From NIST Tech Beat: August 16, 2007

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Contact: Michael Baum

Officials from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Aug. 10 designed to expand significantly the scope of joint research and educational activities in the biosciences between the two institutions.

The new MOU updates an existing relationship between NIST’s Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory and the University of Maryland that dates back to 1985, when they joined with Montgomery County, Md., to establish the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology (CARB), a joint research venture emphasizing work on the relationship between structure and function in biomolecules and the development of new technologies for the measurement, analysis and design of biomolecules.

“Our relationship with CARB over the past two decades has helped us to focus our significant investment in bioscience,” NIST Director William Jeffrey says, “Bioscience is one of the great frontiers of our time, and we look to this partnership to help us meet the challenges of that frontier.”

“UMBI researchers and our colleagues at NIST have produced many fruitful collaborations,” added UMBI President Jennie Hunter-Cevera. “As a partner with both the biotechnology industry and many federal agencies including NIST, UMBI is a key component in the continued growth of an important industrial sector for our region, nation and the world.”

Under the new agreement, the scope of the long-standing relationship will be broadened to include all four research centers under UMBI and all research laboratories at NIST. The MOU, which provides a general framework for future joint activities, allows for

  • interdisciplinary research programs that leverage NIST’s measurement and analysis expertise across the range of physical sciences with UMBI’s resources;
  • broadening access to the specialized research facilities of both institutions;
  • increased exchange of staff though temporary appointments; and
  • training programs for high school, undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral and visiting scientists, and interns that capitalize on the unique expertise and facilities at UMBI and NIST.

In addition to CARB in Rockville, Md., the UMBI system includes the Center for Biosystems Research (College Park, Md.), the Center of Marine Biotechnology (Baltimore, Md.) and the Medical Biotechnology Center (Baltimore, Md.). NIST facilities include the NIST Center for Neutron Research, the Advanced Chemical Sciences Laboratory, and the Advanced Measurement Laboratory, in Gaithersburg, Md., and the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, S.C.

For further information, see

  • University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute: www.umbi.umd.edu
  • Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology: www.umbi.umd.edu/centers/carb.html
  • NIST Structural Biology Group: www.cstl.nist.gov/biotech/StucturalBiology_CARB/Main_Page.htm