Northwestern receives $10 million grant to fund quantitative biology research


Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

Hogan Biological Sciences Building, home of the biological sciences department. Biological sciences Prof. Richard Carthew will serve as the director of the NSF-Simons Center for Quantitative Biology.

Jonah Dylan, Campus Editor

Northwestern received a $10 million grant to fund research in quantitative biology, the University announced Thursday.

The grant was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Simons Foundation. It will establish the NSF-Simons Center for Quantitative Biology, which will focus on collaborative research in mathematics and molecular, cellular and organismal biology.

Molecular biosciences Prof. Richard Carthew will serve as the center’s director, according to a news release.

“The center will apply mathematics to developmental biological research, which is uncommon today,” he said in the release. “The hope is that mathematics will revolutionize the study of biology in a manner emulating the impact that mathematics has had on physics research.”

The center will bring together experts from different fields for the interdisciplinary work. A number of professors, including McCormick Prof. Madhav Mani and molecular biology Prof. Carole LaBonne, will work at the center.

Researchers will study lab animals — including fruit flies, worms and frogs — will focus on questions about how life develops and will examine cells and their development, the release stated.

“Fundamental, discovery-driven science is at the heart of the center and is the essential foundation that translational and applied research can later build on,” LaBonne said in the release. “Curiosity-driven studies using these model organisms have led to 11 Nobel Prizes and fueled countless major discoveries that have both advanced medical research and transformed our understanding of the natural world.”

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