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Review of the Department of Energy’s Genomics: GTL Program
analysis and modeling and simulation of microbial systems to inform experiments and predict their outcomes.
Facility for modeling and analysis of cellular systems. This facility will focus on the study of microbial communities under highly controlled conditions that mimic natural environments. The goal would be to gain an understanding of microbial communities through analysis of functional properties of individual species or multispecies consortia by using imaging techniques that allow nondestructive monitoring of the molecular makeup of cells within the communities. Instrumentation would include cultivation technologies for microbial communities under highly controlled environmental conditions and imaging instrumentation to resolve the molecular makeup of cells spatially and temporally. Computational capabilities would focus on data analysis and modeling, including simulating complex microbial communities.
The committee examined the current Genomics: GTL program and the challenges that it faces in achieving DOE’s mission goals. The committee enthusiastically concluded that the case for DOE to play a leading role in systems biology is extremely strong. On the basis of that assessment, the committee considered whether high-throughput capabilities in protein production, proteomics, molecular imaging, and systems biology would facilitate the advancement of Genomics: GTL research in a cost-effective, efficient and scientifically optimal manner. Finally, the committee examined the current plan for the four proposed user facilities, its own proposed alternative plan, and discussed the pros and cons of the two plans.