The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Fisk University funds to establish a Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) - Center for Biological Signatures and Sensing (BioSS). The center activities started on April 1, 2016 and the research activities will unite the efforts of three research teams from several academic units and additional Fisk faculty participating in the Center research and professional skills development activities and a number of additional faculty members at Vanderbilt and national laboratories collaborators who are also engaged in the training of graduate students participating in the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge program.
The objective of the Center’s presence is to establish a strong interdisciplinary, collaborative, and innovative research program promoting the creation of new knowledge by fostering collaborations among Fisk faculty members from multiple disciplines and scientists from other universities, national labs, and industries. BioSS will produce a synergistic understanding of biological sensing modalities that become the basis of the next generation of sensors serving a multitude of applications. The projects topics range from fundamental research in molecular biology, biochemistry, and computation to the development of practical solutions for deploying biosensors, chemical sensors and radiation sensors and imagers for biological applications. The investigators will develop modular course opportunities and train undergraduate, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and will also include a component of outreach to students enrolled at local community colleges and facilitate their transition to 4-year colleges though involvement in summer research internships. The outcomes of this center of excellence will have a significantly effect on workforce development of the next generation of scientists in an exploding area for research while engaging students from groups that are underrepresented in research careers.