Life Sciences

Extramural Basic Research Life Sciences

U.S Army Research Office
P.O. Box 12211
Research Triangle Park, N.C. 27709-2211

Commercial: (919) 549-4361
DSN: 832-4361
Fax: (919) 549-4384

Fundamental nonmedical 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:

Division Chief

Dr. Micheline Strand
(919) 549-4343

Molecular Genetics

Dr. Micheline Strand
(919) 549-4343

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
(919) 549-4240

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. Robert Kokoska
(919) 549-4342

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 and 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 of 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 antifungals, 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
(919) 549-4318

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, neuropsychological and/or cortical/cognitive mechanisms underlying successful completion of complex task behaviors applicable to nonlaboratory environments under nonideal 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 multiunit recordings through evoked potentials and neuroimaging technologies to humoral and psychological correlates of both central and peripheral nervous system function. Nonmedically oriented research in both human volunteers and animal models designed to elucidate the fundamental physiology underlying cognition and possible noninvasive methods of monitoring cognitive states and processes during normal activity is appropriate. Perceptual and/or psychophysiological 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.

Social and Behavioral Science

Dr. Micheline Strand
(919) 549-4343

The goal of this program is to promote the scientific study of human behavior by supporting positivistic research to discover basic theoretical foundations of human behavior at all levels, from individual actors to whole societies, for all temporal and spatial scales. Two specific goals of this program are to (i) develop generalizable approaches that reliably and accurately measure social and behavioral concepts, and (ii) discover and test causal theories that describe, explain and predict behavioral responses to physical, environmental, psychological or social stimuli. Research in this program can include a broad range of empirical and theoretical approaches including empirical studies that require primary data collection, such as random control trials, quasi experiments, laboratory and field experiments, surveys, comparative and observational studies, or the use of secondary data sources, such as archival data or news reports, as well as formal, mathematical or computational approaches. The program encourages the collection of primary data for the development and testing of theoretical models and for the development and advancement of methodologies for data collection, statistical methods, and research designs that have the potential to help advance scientific understanding of human behavior. This includes, but is not limited to, research on physiological and/or behavioral responses to social situations at multiple levels of analysis that includes, population level adaptation and response to natural and human induced perturbations, which includes, but is not limited to, climate change, mass migration, war, and attempts at democratization, which includes the role of culture, cognition, institutions and other intermediary level factors in accounting for variations in human behavior; the impact of social context on individual human decision-making under risk and uncertainty; and the search for organizing principles to describe emergent and latent properties of dynamic social systems and networks. The development of a systematic and efficient approach to collect and analyze data to describe fundamental social processes and detect changes in institutional structures combined with theories of cause and outcomes in the behavioral realm will provide military decision makers with the capability to anticipate and mitigate behaviors that impact U.S. interests and national security.

Additional Information


Last Update / Reviewed: December 30, 2014