NSF's Big Ideas: Understanding the Rules of Life and The Quantum Leap

Who: Angela Wilson, NSF
When: 
Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Where: 
Online

Recently the National Science Foundation unveiled a set of "Big Ideas" that are bold, long-term research and process ideas that all scientists should be aware of if they seek funding opportunities for their research.

For instance, a half-century after the discovery of the double helix, new DNA sequencing methods began our feverish race towards more and more data on the linear sequences of genomes, from microorganisms to humans. In 2018 there is potential uncover deeper codes embedded in DNA—those involving non-Watson-Crick bases like the epigenome and non-Watson-Crick folding like G-quadruplexes—in order to fully translate the code into a cellular symphony.

In addition to the former research opportunity, many of today's technologies like lasers, computers, GPS, and LEDs rely on the interaction of matter and energy at extremely small and discrete dimensions. That said how do we control the behavior of particles and energy at dimensions at least a million times smaller than the width of a human hair? There could be great impact with a new approach toward spectroscopic investigations with non classical light, where a new view of electronic states may be possible with the consideration of entangled states of light.

Join Angela Wilson of NSF, Cynthia Burrows of the University of Utah, Theodore Goodson of the University of Michigan, and Glenn Ruskin of ACS for an introduction of two of the most impactful "Big Ideas" as well as an overview of this innovative NSF program that will advance prosperity, security, health, and well-being in the United States. 

What You Will Learn

  • What are the National Science Foundation’s “Big Ideas” and how to learn more about funding opportunities
  • How a combination of methylation and oxidation of DNA bases can ‘write’ markers onto the genome that are later ‘read’ and ‘erased’
  • Why oxidative stress, a normal process in cells responding to their environment, sets up a DNA response that can be considered not just as ‘DNA damage’ but also as a form of epigenetics
  • How guanine-rich sequences may be positioned in the genome to act as sensors of oxidative stress by impacting the folding of G-quadruplexes
  • What are entangled states of light and why they can be used to probe electronic processes in molecules
  • Why Quantum entangled processes may play a role in our understanding of biological processes
  • What are some of the new spectroscopic methods being developed to probe molecules with non classical states of light

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