The programmatic goals are to support fundamental radiochemistry and imaging instrumentation research aligned with the BER mission specific needs for developing new methodologies for real-time, high-resolution imaging of dynamic biological processes in living systems.
The program supports fundamental research for developing new methodologies for real-time, high-resolution imaging of dynamic biological processes in living systems (e.g., biofuel plants and microbial communities) of interest to DOE. This research has two integrated goals: (1) the research supports the DOE Science mission-related activities in bioenergy and fundamental processes; (2) the fundamental methodologies developed under DOE-funded research may serve as tools leading to transformational new technologies for use in nuclear medicine research and applications supported by NIH and industry. Radiochemistry research, in particular, involves improvements in the synthetic methodology for incorporating the radionuclides into a wide range of organic molecules using methods designed to allow dual or multiple labeling of the targeting molecule for dual energy or hybrid imaging techniques to study biological process in living systems. Radionuclide imaging instrumentation research is focused on the design and development of new or improved radionuclide detection and imaging instrumentation that can achieve the following goals. First, to significantly increase the accuracy of quantitative assessments of the three dimensional spatial and temporal distribution of radiotracers in living systems; second, to allow the screening of a large number of intact living systems (e.g., plants); and third, to improve the signal-sensitivity especially when limited by the amount and the binding affinity of the radiotracer probe introduced into the living biological system for in vivo imaging. This research will seek to visualize metabolic networks and regulatory systems underlying cell, tissue and organ function based on biochemical differentiation of gene expression, enzyme actions, transport kinetics, metabolism, macromolecular interactions, symbiotic interactions, intracellular signal transduction and environmental sensing including cell to cell communication. Another important focus of the program has been to train the future work force for highly specialized field of radiotracer imaging-radiochemistry and allied scientific disciplines expressing an urgent need for trained radiochemists.
Program Funding Opportunity Announcements
Announcements are posted on the DOE Office of Science Grants and Contracts Web Site and at grants.gov Information about preparing and submitting applications, as well as the DOE Office of Science merit review process, is available at the DOE Office of Science Grants and Contracts Web Site.
For current announcements visit BER Funding Opportunities.
Why the Program's Research is Important
Historically, an important focus of BER and its predecessor offices has been to promote research advances in physics, chemistry, material sciences and high speed computing to translate knowledge of radioactive-decay and its detection into innovative radiotracer imaging technology for use in biological and nuclear medicine research. The radiotracer and radionuclide imaging technologies already developed under this program have been used to solve critical problems in biology and nuclear medicine, and constitute a large part of the scientific foundations of nuclear medicine today.
The historical focus of radionuclide imaging, which stands out as a singular tool for studying living systems, has shifted from addressing human health-relevant diagnostics and therapeutics to addressing bioenergy- relevant imaging of plants and microbial metabolism in a manner that is highly quantitative, three dimensional, temporally dynamic, and non-perturbing of the natural biochemical processes under study.
Radiotracer imaging methods provide new opportunities for quantitative measurement of in situ chemical reactions in living systems. The activity encompasses applications of new innovative technologies for biological systems with primary benefits for DOE mission needs while also providing fundamental research and tool development that may translate to nuclear medicine diagnostic and therapeutic research.
More Information about the Program and Its Accomplishments
DOE Report (1.6MB) on New Frontiers of Science in Radiochemistry and Instrumentation for Radionuclide Imaging
Program Accomplishments (1.2MB)
Prem Srivastava, Ph.D.
Biological Systems Science Division, SC-23.2
U.S. Department of Energy, GTN Bldg.
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20585-1290
Phone: (301) 903-4071
Fax: (301) 903-0567