Establishing Collaborations or Driving Biomedical Projects at the CMMB
The Center for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics (CMMB) brings the most advanced molecular modeling, bioinformatics, and computational technologies to bear on questions of biomedical relevance. The technologies are developed in response to experimental progress, the emerging needs of the biomedical research community, and through collaborations with biomedical researchers which serve to direct and test technological development.
Scientists may collaborate with the CMMB via two paths: a Collaboration, or a Driving Biomedical Project (DBP). A Collaboration makes use of CMMB software in its currrent form, or with only minor modification. A DBP involves major challenges that require significant further development of the CMMB's existing software tools, or entirely new software tools. In their application to the CMMB, scientists are asked to identify the type of research they are suggesting, and how it qualifies as a DBP if identified as such.
Collaborations and DBPs are established at the CMMB via an application and review process. A Collaboration or a DBP involves joint exchange of research data between the collaborating researchers. In most cases, Collaborations and DBPs lead to joint publications.
Researchers interested in developing a Collaboration or a DBP collaboration must submit an application describing how the proposed effort falls within CMMB goals and capabilities, including the following:
• Overview of the Collaboration or DBP: a concise statement of the proposed research should lead off the application, providing a brief description of the subject of the research, the anticipated relationship with CMMB researchers, resources required for the research, and a proposed time frame for the collaboration. Applicants must also identify if the proposed research is a Collaboration, or a DBP.
• Statement of the Scientific Problem and its Biomedical Relevance: as an NIH-funded Center, the CMMB seeks collaborations focused on problems relevant to advancing biomedical science. Applicants must propose a specific biomedical research problem, as opposed to a broad area of research, and argue convincingly that a solution of the stated problem will have a significant impact in biomedicine. Applied biomedical science problems will be given preference over basic biomedical science problems.
• Quality/Originality of the Research and Conceptual Approach: part of the CMMB's mission is leading-edge development of conceptual and methodological foundations of molecular modeling in the fields of cell biology, membrane biology, mechanobiology, photobiology, nanomedicine, and interactive modeling. Applicants' proposed research must be original and meet the highest standards.
• Challenges to VMD, NAMD and Cell Modeling Software Tools (required for DBP applications): Any proposed DBP must pose a challenge to the Center's existing software tools. It is not sufficient that the proposed research will just utilize software in its current form, rather the collaboration must push CMMB software development in significantly new directions.
• Challenging Computational Demands: related to, but separate from, challenges to the development of Center software is that any suggested research effort should be computationally demanding. The CMMB seeks to press the limits of current computing resources, not only on the desktop or local cluster, but also on available supercomputing systems. Applicants must describe how their proposed effort will be computationally challenging, for example to existing hardware resources or current algorithms.
• Match with Center Membership Abilities and Interests: the CMMB is limited to projects that fall within the areas of expertise of its current membership. Before submitting an application, those interested in developing a Collaboration or DBP with the CMMB should review recent publications, and review group member profiles to see if the suggested project falls within the expertise of Center members. Applicants will be expected to identify CMMB members (including at least one faculty member) to whom they think the proposed research will be of interest.
• Applicant Quality/Experience: those seeking to work with the CMMB must be prepared to carry their portion of the project, as lead scientists or collaborators; the work relationship is that of an interacting colleague, rather than the relationship a scientist may have to a resource that operates a large tool or piece of equipment where work is submitted and then returned without little or infrequent interaction. Applicants must describe their background in and ability to carry out the proposed research.
Notes: please note that while the CMMB is funded by the NIH, it does not have grant funds to distribute, i.e., do not write asking for funding of a project. The application form listed below provides areas to answer, in paragraphs, the questions above. Any supporting materials (papers, vitas, etc.) should be submitted only at the request of the CMMB. Review of applications is on a quarterly basis starting on January 1, however that schedule cannot be guaranteed due to faculty member and other schedule complications. Brief letters of intent will be answered as quickly as possible.