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U.S. Department of Energy | Biological and Environmental Research Program

Genomes to Structure and Function Workshop Report 2022 Released

Background and Overview

The roles of DOE’s user facilities, which offer unique and powerful resources for such research projects, are evolving, and expectations for the facilities are increasing. To respond to users’ needs, the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) initiated the Facilities Integrating Collaborations for User Science (FICUS) program in 2014. This collaboration has grown into a popular and successful program, advancing more than 100 multidisciplinary projects to date. Similarly, the new interfacility collaborations among the JGI, EMSL, and user resources for DOE’s Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Program’s structural biology and imaging at the Basic Energy Science (BES) Program’s synchrotron and neutron facilities are becoming essential for cutting-edge transdisciplinary science.

To further explore the need for the BER research community to combine genomic, functional, and structural approaches to advance their research, an organizing committee was formed to develop and jointly host a three-part workshop. The committee’s members represented seven DOE national laboratory user facilities. The “Genomes to Structure and Function” virtual workshop was composed of three sessions. The first session, titled “Molecular Structures” (October 27–28, 2021), highlighted diverse integrative experimental and computational approaches correlating structural data with sequencing and functional information as well as predicting protein structures to model complex biological systems. The second session, “Intracellular Organization, and Material Synthesis and Decomposition” (December 15–16, 2021), covered imaging methods for observing, quantifying, and manipulating biosystems. The third session, “Imaging the Rhizosphere and Cellular Organization” (January 26–27, 2022) emphasized advanced and noninvasive imaging techniques applied to plant root-microbial-soil interactions.