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Jennifer Weller, Ph.D.: Bioinformatics Funding at the National Science Foundation: The Advances in Biological Informatics Program

Friday, September 21 at 12 p.m. in IT 252


The Division of Biological Infrastructure in the BIO Directorate at NSF funds innovative research and provisioning of infrastructure for the biological sciences. This includes the acquisition and development of new sensors and instrumentation, creation and digitization of collections, human infrastructure development in the form of training fellowships for undergraduates, graduates, post-docs and early career scientists, and computational infrastructure development and deployment to effectively serve a research community. New solicitations will be released in August 2018 that slightly broaden and redefine the current Advances in Biological Informatics program tracks, that focus on: 1) the creation of innovative computational biology tools and methods 2) the provisioning of a larger research community with successfully implemented informatics resources and 3) sustaining essential computational resources for research communities. In this seminar I will explain the distinctions and what a successful application should include for each type of proposal. I will also discuss how the Broader Impacts requirement came about, what a proposal should include, and some ideas for how to be as creative with these activities as those in the Intellectual Merits section. I will also discuss the new no-deadline policy for application submission and will entertain questions regarding the new Rules of Life initiative.

About Jennifer Weller

Jennifer Weller, Ph.D. is a program officer in the Division of Biological Infrastructure at the National Science Foundation, where she manages the Advances in Biological Informatics program, funding innovation and development activities in bioinformatics and computational biology. She received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Montana in 1990, working on structure-function relationships in ribosomes. A subsequent post-doc at the DOE Plant Research Labs at Michigan State University and then the Carnegie Institute for Plant Biology at Stanford University led to research into the methods for genomic marker surveys of host-pathogen relationships in the barley-powdery mildew system. Her first senior professional position was at Applied Biosystems, Inc., where she developed several high-throughput molecular marker systems, combining high-throughput lab methods with applications designed to handle the data. She moved to the National Center for Genome Resources in Santa Fe, NM, in 1999 as a program manager for Genomics, focusing on  information management for biological data, leading teams that designed and implemented software applications aimed at particular biological problems in genetic and transcriptomic data management and analysis; these continue to be her research focus. She has had academic positions at Virginia Tech, George Mason University and, currently (on leave) at UNC at Charlotte.