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The Biological, Environmental and Climate Sciences Department is the steward for Brookhaven National Laboratory's capabilities in biology and biotechnology, environmental science, climate science, radiobiology, structural biology, and bio-imaging, including radiotracer development and their applications in plant biology and neuroscience.

Biological Sciences

Computational Biology & Informatics

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.

Radiochemistry and Biological Imaging

Develops 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. 

Environmental & Climate Sciences

Atmospheric System Research (ASR)

A research program to advance understanding of the key interactions among aerosols, clouds, precipitation, radiation, dynamics, and thermodynamics, with the ultimate goal of reducing the uncertainty in global and regional climate models.

Atomspheric Radiation Measurement (ARM)

The ARM External Data Center (XDC) identifies and acquires data from sources outside of the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARM Climate Research Facility and makes it available to climate researchers around the world.


The goal of the FAst-physics System TEstbed and Research (FASTER) project is to narrow uncertainty and biases in climate models.Tracer Technology

Tracer Technology

The Tracer Technology Group uses perfluorocarbon tracers as a tool for understanding the processes that transport air, heat, water, and pollutants.

Environmental Technology

Scientists from BNL have installed an array of solar radiation detectors and cloud sensors at the Long Island Solar Farm (LISF), a 32-megawatt power-generating photovoltaic array that characterize the performance of LISF as a function of the prevailing meteorological conditions.

Terrestrial Ecosystem Science & Technology

The Terrestrial Ecosystem Science and Technology (TEST) group seeks to improve the representation of ecosystem processes in Earth System Models in order to increase our ability to understand and project global change.  We study processes that have a global impact on climate and focus on ecosystems that are poorly understood, sensitive to global change, and inadequately represented in models