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BioXFEL Strategic Plan 2013-2018
We present a strategic plan for the operation of BioXFEL, a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center, Biology with X-ray Lasers. The plan is the organic product of a meeting facilitated by Giant Leap at Arizona State University in February 2014, and covers the period 2013 – 2018.
BioXFEL will create a diverse and inclusive community of scholars who will transform our ability to visualize the building blocks of life, advancing from today’s static pictures to recording detailed motions. These ”movies” will lead to deeper understanding, and to the improvement of the quality of life on earth.
X-ray lasers provide snapshots of unprecedented clarity depicting the building blocks of life. The motions and arrangements of these blocks underlie all biological function.
The mission of BioXFEL is:
- To use X-ray lasers, to watch biomolecular machines in operation, the better to understand how life works at the molecular level.
- To understand how these molecular machines support life on earth.
- To invent, discover, develop and provide new tools and training to bring X-ray laser technology to the wider scientific community.
Deliverables and Challenges/Opportunities
BioXFEL is spread across 8 research institutions, and relies on a large national facility at the SLAC national laboratory to achieve many of its experimental goals. These goals include a set of deliverables that have the potential to transform structural biology as we know it, and to develop tools that will make this new style of structural biology broadly available. The distributed structure of BioXFEL presents a number of operational challenges that also represent opportunities to develop new mechanisms of training and communication.
At the conclusion of the grant period we expect to leave the scientific community a complex and valuable legacy.