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Bioscience research is focused on synthetic biology, radiobiology, computational biology and structural biology and the characterization of biological systems. The department is home to Radiotracer Chemistry, Instrumentation and Biological Imaging (RCIBI), a suite of tools available for researching plant metabolism, drug development and neuroimaging. Together with the Collider-Accelerator Department, Biosciences operates the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL), used by radiobiologists and physicists to study space radiation effects.

Computational Biology & Bioinformatics

Work in this area focuses on quantitative predictive models of complex biological systems and their underlying networks. Research is concentrated on understanding how they achieve robustness against noise and perturbations, and how they change in the course of evolution.

Plant Sciences

The Plant Sciences group's goal is to understand the principles underlying carbon capture, conversion, and storage in living systems; and develop the capability to model, predict and optimize these processes in plants and microorganisms.


The radiobiology group pursues basic radiobiology research and provides user and beamline experimental support at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) and the Tandem Van de Graaff. These facilities are some of the few in the world that can simulate the harsh cosmic and solar radiation environment found in space, as well as exploring promising new avenues for cancer and disease treatments.

Radiotracer Chemistry, Instrumentation and Biological Imaging

The goal of the Radiotracer Chemistry, Instrumentation and Biological Imaging (RCIBI)  program is to develop methodologies to help achieve our nation’s goal of increased use of renewable energy. The program is structured into four R&D areas including radiotracer chemistry, imaging instrumentation, radiotracer methodology and biological applications with a major focus on the whole plant and bioenergy grasses.

Molecular & Structural Biology

This group studies structures and biological functions of proteins. We develop facilities for x-ray crystallography at the NSLS and NSLS-II for use by the scientific community, and continue to improve the T7 expression system developed here for producing proteins from cloned genes. Research explores the types of protein structures found in nature, elucidates large protein complexes by single-molecule Cryo-EM, and analyzes protein folding, interactions and enzyme function in a variety of biological systems.

The Biosciences Department is part of the Environmental, Biological, and Computational Sciences Directorate at Brookhaven National Laboratory.