Creating a Global Network to Explore Living Systems

Herbert Levine

University Distinguished Professor Herbert Levine, physics and bioengineering, in collaboration with Princeton University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, William Marsh Rice University, and Yale University, is leading a $5.5M NSF grant for “International Physics of Living Systems Graduate Research Network.”

Abstract Source: NSF

The international Physics of Living Systems (iPoLS) graduate research network (GRN) connects graduate students across the globe who are using methods and concepts of physical systems to unravel the mysteries of living dynamics. This inherently interdisciplinary field has undergone a tremendous growth over the past decade, partly as a result of community efforts such as the iPoLS graduate research network. This network enables the creation of coherent training programs, forums for peer-to-peer learning and information transfer, and provides support for efforts to grow the faculty and student numbers in this field at US universities. The current project will continue building the network in the US, and one of the major goals continues to be fostering communication and cooperation across national boundaries.

The PIs plan to use network resources to share best practices related both to education and into the building and support of a diverse community. They will present innovative plans for the recruitment of undergraduate interns from underrepresented groups, based on the successful experience of several of the network nodes. The PIs will collectively explore mechanisms for advocating for the unique capabilities of PoLS research and PoLS researchers to the broader biology and biomedicine communities, including the creation of PoLS-based sessions at major society meetings in cell biology, neuroscience, and fundamental cancer research.

This project is being jointly supported by the Physics of Living Systems program in the Division of Physics and the Molecular Biophysics Cluster in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Related Faculty: Herbert Levine

Related Departments:Bioengineering