Understanding the fundamentals of the natural systems around us is the key motivation for the biology research taking place at NCI. Researchers are conducting exciting, forward looking investigations into plant biology and agricultural methods, ecological systems, and the fundamentals of molecular biology.
Just as the field of biology covers a huge range of small- and large-scale processes, so does the research looking into it at NCI. Molecular modelling about photosynthesis and crops helps support and develop future sources of food while other researchers are also learning about climate impacts on agriculture and the molecular processes that underpin the biology around us.
Understanding the fundamental aspects of protein interactions involves modelling molecules comprising thousands of atoms using a supercomputer. The computational power available at NCI allows researchers around the country to advance our knowledge in areas like drug design, disease diagnosis and treatment, and human genomics. It is about understanding life at its most basic level.
Other biological researchers are looking at molecular activity to understand plants and the complex photosynthesis process that underpins our food and environmental systems. By combining a fundamental biological approach with chemistry, biophysics and computational science, researchers are learning about how photosynthetic efficiency might be increased to produce healthier, more efficient and more productive crops. At this level of molecular detail, quantum mechanics, chemistry, physics and more are all playing significant roles in even the most common biological interactions.
Biological research at NCI necessarily crosses disciplinary boundaries. The research, working typically at molecular scales, leads to improved crops and better understanding of plant biology by way of chemical, physical and computational methods. Similarly, the outcomes point towards benefits for health, the environment and even industry. The ease with which researchers can apply complex, cross-disciplinary tools to their biological problems demonstrates the imp