Abstract collage of science-related imagery

BioXFEL Science and Technology Center (BioXFEL)

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived.

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


The NSF Science and Technology Center "Biology with X-ray Lasers" (BioXFEL) pursues the creation of an integrated research, education and management structure to realize the potential of the new hard X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) facility at the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at Stanford, for biological structural determination. The Center represents a consortium comprising of The University at Buffalo, Arizona State University, Cornell University, The Hauptman-Woodward Institute, The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, The University of California, San Francisco, Stanford University and Rice University. At the heart of the Center are the X-ray free-electron lasers produced at SLAC that provide hard X-rays with short pulses (10 femtoseconds) allowing the study of a wide variety of samples on a timescale that brings an unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution to biological samples and consequently new and deeper knowledge for revealing biological processes. The general approach is to devise XFEL methods for investigating difficult problems in structural biology and use the information gained to develop tools and techniques for interfacing biological samples with the XFEL beam. The three critical areas of XFEL technology development are (i) growth of nanocrystals as samples for measurement, (ii) sample delivery to the XFEL beam and (iii) the development of data processing and phasing algorithms that will allow the interpretation of accrued data.

The BioXFEL Center integrates its scientific aims and education and outreach activities with the primary objective of building a culturally and intellectually diverse and academically inclusive community of scholars around XFEL science applied to biology to ensure the training of the next generation of XFEL scientists. The education program promotes diversity and unites students and researchers from various disciplinary scientific areas and across diverse institutions through modular education and training courses in XFEL and biological sciences. The community is linked to "Scientific Villages" that incorporate project-driven educational outreach courses associated with XFEL science and serve as a conduit for outreach to high schools. The Center educates the public in an effort to engender new excitement in the possibilities of XFEL technology for structural biology.

The Center, guided by an interdisciplinary team of scientists and educators, through its technology development, will allow scientists to examine biological systems in previously unknown realms while ensuring its sustenance by training the next generation of XFEL scientists.

Program contacts

Dragana Brzakovic
Program Officer
dbrzakov@nsf.gov (703) 292-8040
Robert D. Fleischmann
rfleisch@nsf.gov (703) 292-7191