Life Science Company and Industry News Briefs

UIUrbana Awarded $8 Million NASA-Funded Research Grant

Posted by Anita Zhang on Mon, Apr 28, 2014

The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has been awarded a five-year grant totaling approximately $8 million as one of five new research institutions selected by the NASA Astrobiology Institute to study the origin and evolution of life.

Professor Nigel Goldfeld, leader of the Biocomplexity research theme at the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, will serve as the principal investigator in the research. Professor Goldfeld and his research team will leverage the multidisciplinary sources, including the fields of microbiology, geo-biology, computational chemistry, genomics, and physics, to define and characterize “universal” biology and the fundamental principles governing the origin and evolution of life anywhere in the universe.

The evolution of computers gives an excellent example of “universal” computation. It is hard to believe that a modern computer or a smart phone is the same machine compared to the first room-sized computer that was invented in the 1940s. From Professor Goldfeld’s point of view, they are all categorized into universal computation. This example provides analogous general principles for living, evolving organisms in universal biology.

The Illinois research team will use genomics to examine carefully the evolutionary relationships in cells and to explore deep evolutionary time, looking for signatures of early collective states of life.

Researchers will also perform laboratory work to study in detail how individual cells respond and adapt to changing environments. By looking for the major transitions that life must make, which indicate that the evolution changes biological characters from early life as a commune to the modern era that have traceable individual organism lineages, researchers aim to develop the field of universal biology, which will help people to understand that life is generic and is an expected outcome of the laws of physics.

In addition, the grant will support novel educational activities related to the field of astrobiology both online and at the undergraduate level at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. These novel educational activities and programs aim to help students to answer perhaps the most important basic questions in life science, such as “how does life begin and evolve?” and “is there life beyond Earth?” as well as “why does life exist at all?”

The NASA award reflects the creativity and excellence of the research in the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Last year, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign attracted over $58 million funding from the National Institute of Health and has received grants of over $12 million from the NIH as of April 28th 2014.

Laboratory supply companies cannot afford to miss a networking opportunity with such a richly funded marketplace. The BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign provides this opportunity by gathering laboratory supply companies and researchers in the targeted marketplace at the University of Illinois.

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In the annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event, organized by Biotechnology Calendar, Inc., the laboratory supply companies will be able to demonstrate their products and services to a broad audience of researchers. By participating in this event, researchers will have a chance to boost the awareness of the newest products and technologies, which can help them further develop their research and projects.

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About 300 attendees participated in the BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign in 2013. Of these attendees, 27% were professors and post docs, 14% were lab managers and laboratory supply purchasing decision makers.  The next event will be held on April 30th 2014.

If you are a laboratory supply company and would like to know more information about the Urbana-Champaign BioResearch Product Faire™ Event on April 30, 2014, please click the button below.


Get More UI Urbana-Champaign Info Here


If you would like to check out more information about the BioReseach Product Faire™ Event at different institutions cross the nation, please read the National Show Schedule for 2014.





Tags: 2014, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, UIUrbana, research grants, UIChgo, nasa

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