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APHELION Kickoff Meeting Assessment of Physical Sciences and Engineering Advances in Life Sciences and Oncology .

February 1, 2012

Nastaran Z. Kuhn, PhD, Project Manager Office of Physical Sciences – Oncology (OPSO) Center for Strategic Scientific Initiatives (CSSI)

APHELION – A WTEC Study • Goal: To determine the status and trends of research and development whereby physical sciences and engineering principles are being applied to cancer research, oncology, and other biomedical research areas in leading laboratories and organizations via an on-site peer review process in Europe and Asia.

WTEC: World Technology Evaluation Center

Merging Physical & Life Sciences “New Biology” – 2009 “Intersection of the Physical & Life Sciences – 2010

A “Conference on Research at the Interface of the Life and Physical Sciences: Bridging the Sciences” was conducted on November 9, 2004, in Bethesda, MD. The meeting, sponsored by NIH/NIBIB and NSF, to obtain community input on how to bridge the life and physical sciences.

“Bringing physics, not just the physicists, to biology” – Harold Varmus, NIH Director Centennial Speech, APS March Meeting, 1999 “In biomedicine,…we can harness the historic convergence between life sciences and physical sciences that's underway today; undertaking public projects -- in the spirit of the Human Genome Project -- to create data and capabilities that fuel discoveries in tens of thousands of laboratories; and identifying and overcoming scientific and bureaucratic barriers to rapidly translating scientific breakthroughs into diagnostics and therapeutics that serve patients…” – President Obama, NAS Speech, April 2009

NCI Interest - Leveraging the Physical Sciences for New Frontiers in Oncology NRC convened 16 panelist on “New Biology”






NRC published – “New Biology”










~300 extramural participants Outcomes from Workshops Establish trans-disciplinary physical sciences-oncology centers Composed of integrated physical sciences-oncology teams Focus on theme(s) for center framework Centers led by physical scientist with senior co-investigator from oncology

PS-OC Program Goal and Vision The Specific Purpose for the PS-OC Initiative: To generate new knowledge and catalyze new fields of study in cancer research by utilizing physical sciences/engineering principles to enable a better understanding of cancer and its behavior at all scales. Not looking for new tools to do “better” science, but new perspectives and approaches to do paradigm-shifting science that will lead to exponential progress against cancer. Build trans-disciplinary teams and infrastructure to better understand and control cancer through the convergence of physical sciences and cancer biology.

New – “Schools of Thought”

Merging “Perspectives” Physical Scientist

Cancer Biologist/Oncologist What cell, molecule, tissue is it? What changed? What’s up/down regulated? Do I see the same thing in several tumors?

How much energy is needed to do this? How much force does it take to cross this barrier? Are reactions rates altered during this process? How much time does it take? What are the spatial effects?

Different ‘views’ of the same picture

Having both perspectives yields a more comprehensive (clearer) picture of what cancer is and how it functions at all levels – especially at the sub-molecular/atomic scales

APHELION General Areas of Interest • Merging of physical sciences perspectives and approaches to the life sciences • Technology development to accelerate life sciences research • Promotion and support of areas such as team science, innovation, and training • Other interests as defined by the panelists and sponsors

Recent NSF Program Announcements • NSF-12-514 Physical and Engineering Sciences in Oncology (PESO) Awards (aka Physical/LIfe Sciences Early-Stage Research (PLIER) Awards Program) • NSF, NCI • 56 projects, 6 funded, $2.6M awarded FY11

• NSF-11-505 Innovative Approaches to Science and Engineering Research on Brain Function • NSF, NINDS, NIMH, NIDA, NIDCD, NEI, NIBIB, NIAAA, NICHD, NCCAM, BMBF-Germany

• NSF-10-579 Joint DMS/NIGMS Initiative to Support Research at the Interface of the Biological and Mathematical Sciences • NSF, NIGMS

Recent NIH Program Announcements • PAR-10-141 Transforming Biomedicine at the Interface of the Life and Physical Sciences (R01) • NSF, NIBIB, NIGMS, NIAMS • 95 projects, 4 funded, $2.34M awarded FY11

• PAR-10-142 New Biomedical Frontiers at the Interface of the Life and Physical Sciences (R01) • NSF, NIBIB, NIGMS, NHLBI • 153 projects, 5 funded, $2.01M awarded FY11

• PAR-10-221/222 Biophysical and Biomechanical Aspects of Embryonic Development (R01/R21) • NICHD, NIBIB, NIGMS, NHLBI • RO1: 31 projects, 3 funded, $1.01M awarded FY11 • R21: 26 projects, 3 funded, $1.50M awarded FY11

Example Topic Area: “Cell Mechanics”

NIH Funding Source: RePORT ( NSF Funding Source: NSF Awards Search (

APHELION Expected Outcomes • The study panel, in consultation with the sponsors, will be instrumental in helping to develop a definitive scope of the study • Guide and justify U.S. research investments • Look for good ideas abroad (technology transfer, improving U.S. programs) • Look for opportunities for cooperation and collaboration • Compare U.S. R&D with that abroad

Thanks for your participation • • • • • •

Committed and potential sponsors Panelists Advisors Semahat Demir (NSF) WTEC Staff NCI Staff

APHELION Kickoff Slides - Nas Kuhn NCI  

Assessment of Physical Sciences and Engineering Advances in Life Sciences and Oncology Nastaran Z. Kuhn, PhD, Project Manager Office of Phys...