U.S Army Research Office
P.O. Box 12211
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2211
Commercial: (919) 549-4361
Fax: (919) 549-4384
Fundamental non-medical research in the life sciences aims to investigate biological processes with potential to impact Soldier sustainment, survival, and performance as well as Army logistics, networks, and intelligence.
The Life Sciences Division supports the following research areas:
Dr. Micheline Strand
Dr. Micheline Strand
This program emphasizes basic research in molecular genetics and genomics that will enable optimization of Soldier cognitive and physical performance, Soldier protection, and Army logistics. This includes human performance and protection under normal conditions and when affected by a variety of stressors that are likely to be encountered in battlefield situations, such as dehydration, heat, cold, sleep deprivation, fatigue, caloric insufficiency, microbial factors, and psychological stress. Genetic and genomic research areas include identification and characterization of gene function, gene regulation, genetic interactions, gene pathways, gene expression patterns, mitochondrial regulation and biogenesis, and nuclear and mitochondrial DNA replication, mutagenesis, oxidative stress, and DNA repair.
Dr. Stephanie McElhinny
This program focuses on fundamental studies in biochemistry, structural biology, cell biology, and biophysics that will facilitate the development of novel systems and processes to enhance Soldier protection and performance. Research areas include biomolecular self-assembly, molecular recognition, protein and nucleic acid structure-function relationships, enzymology, signal transduction, cell-cell communication, macromolecular structure, and synthetic biology. This program also supports basic research in biomolecular power and energy generation, sensing capabilities of biomolecules and cells, protein engineering for novel or enhanced enzymatic function, and structural studies of molecular and macromolecular organization for novel materials or surfaces.
Dr. Wallace Buchholz
This program supports fundamental studies in microbial physiology, genetics, ecology, and evolution. These studies include research to elucidate antimicrobial resistance mechanisms, microbial community interactions, communications & population dynamics, studies of organisms that are not culturable, studies of organisms at the single cell level and studies of organisms that have adapted to extreme environments. Areas of special concern to the Army include methods to enhance stabilization of materiel and to prevent microbial growth. Also included is the development and exploitation of microbial systems for unique biotechnological applications and bioengineering processes. This might include approaches such as synthetic biology or protein evolution and use individual microbial species or consortia of microorganisms, emphasizing the control, stability, and mechanisms of the basic cellular processes involved. Other research areas that will be considered include studies of the biochemical and physiological mechanisms underlying the biodegradative processes in normal, extreme, and engineered environments, fundamental studies on organisms in these environments, the properties of materials that make them susceptible or resistant to biological attack, basic concepts for anti-fungals, and studies of microbiological mechanisms with potential for contributing to the remediation of sites contaminated with toxic wastes.
Neurophysiology and Cognitive Neuroscience
Dr. Frederick Gregory
Research areas of interest in this program include studies in the perception and cognition subfields of neurophysiology and the cognitive neurosciences, covering several or all areas of electrophysiology, psychophysiology, sensory and perceptual physiology, computational neurobiology, psychophysics, neuropsychology, and integrative neurobiology. Specific examples can include physiological, neuro-psychological and/or cortical/cognitive mechanisms underlying successful completion of complex task behaviors applicable to non-laboratory environments under non-ideal conditions, to include amelioration of induced losses as well as enhancement in defined perceptual, cognitive and/or motor abilities. Investigations can span the gamut from multi-unit recordings through evoked potentials and neuro-imaging technologies to humoral and psychological correlates of both central and peripheral nervous system function. Non-medically oriented research in both human volunteers and animal models designed to elucidate the fundamental physiology underlying cognition and possible non-invasive methods of monitoring cognitive states and processes during normal activity is appropriate. Perceptual and/or psycho-physiological implications of mind-machine interfaces ranging from optimizing auditory, visual and/or somatosensory display and control systems based on physiological or psychological states through modeling of individual cognitive dynamics and decision making is appropriate to this research area.
Cultural and Behavioral Science
Dr. James Harvey
This program supports scientific research that focuses on the basic theoretical foundations of human behavior at various levels (individual actors to whole societies) and across various temporal and spatial scales. This includes, but is not limited to, research on the evolution and dynamics of social systems and organizations, human adaptation and response to both natural and human induced perturbations (e.g., global climate change, mass migration, war), interactions between human and natural systems, the role of culture and cognition in accounting for variations in human behavior, human decision-making under risk and uncertainty, the search for organizing principles in social networks, and the emergent and latent properties of dynamic social systems and networks. Such research can apply a wide range of approaches including computational modeling, mathematical modeling, agent-based simulations, econometric modeling and statistical modeling, to name a few. The program also recognizes the fact that the building and validation of models in the social sciences is often limited by the availability of adequate and appropriate sources of primary data. Thus, research that includes the collection of primary data for the development and testing of models is encouraged. Finally, the program also supports the development of methodologies (e.g., data collection, statistical methods and research designs) that have the potential to help advance the Army's understanding of human behavior.
Institutional and Organizational Science
Dr. Elisa Bienenstock (IPA)
This program focuses on studies to understand the emergence, maintenance, and evolution of human organizations and institutions, including but not limited to societies, states, religions, markets, economic systems, legal systems, bureaucracies, political parties, social movements, and formal and informal networks. Currently, subject matter expertise, which varies in quality and is subjective and unreliable, is the main tool of policy and decision makers in this area. Social scientific analysis, when applied, is applied post-hoc once crises are over to provide important insights and lessons learned, but are not employed to anticipate crises or evaluate social change in real time. This is to a large degree because current methods for collecting and analyzing data are too time consuming and costly to employ until an area of operation and specific research question are identified. Two specific goals of this Program Area are to i) identify general theory, abstracted from the details of particular social contexts, to be used universally across the globe to anticipate crises or change, and ii) make data collection and analysis less costly and sufficiently efficient to make feasible the consistent monitoring of events around the globe. Research projects in this Program Area can include a broad range of approaches including empirical approaches that require primary data collection, such as random control trials, quasi experiments, field experiments, surveys, comparative and observational studies, as well as the use of secondary data sources, such as archival data or news reports, and also formal, mathematical or computational approaches. Of special interest is research on the reciprocal effect of individuals on institutions and institutions on people: how do institutions shape attitudes and opportunities and constrain behavior and how do the choices and actions of people and groups, impact and change institutions.