Bioimaging Research to Develop Imaging Instrumentation and Approaches

Funding Agency:
Department of Energy

The DOE SC Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Bioimaging Research program seeks to create a versatile “tool box” for imaging biological processes occurring within and among cells in living plants and microorganisms that may advance understanding in DOE’s energy and environmental missions. The program hereby announces its interest in receiving applications to support fundamental research towards enabling new bioimaging instrumentation capabilities for the study of plant and microbial systems which may be used in bioenergy research or other disciplines supported by BER.

New imaging instrumentation is needed to meet the significant challenges of 3-dimesional (3D) dynamic imaging of metabolic processes occurring deep within thick living plant tissue and among rhizosphere communities (e.g. in planta and in rhizosphere), which permits the real-time analysis of cellular structure and function with high spatiotemporal resolution, and overcomes the problems of photodamage and photobleaching, the limiting factors in imaging live cells. Biological processes of interest include, but are not limited to, measuring enzyme function within cells, tracking metabolic pathways in vivo, visualizing transport of materials within cells or across cellular membranes, and signaling processes among plant cells or during plant-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions.

Of interest is the development of multimodal imaging devices constructed by integrating several different yet complementary optical imaging modalities, and merging new, innovative and/or transformational improvements to existing multiphoton imaging capabilities. The aim is to increase penetration depth, making it possible to probe a variety of different biological processes and resolve cellular structures in a biologically functioning system, without sacrificing image quality and resolution. It is expected that applications in response to this FOA will offer new, innovative instrumentation capable of rapid, targeted access deep within plant tissues or among rhizosphere communities at high resolution for imaging of biological targets non-destructively and in real time, thereby dramatically enhancing our ability to measure biological processes in and among living cells.

This FOA is envisioned as involving expertise from various fields of the physical and biological sciences. This will require a multidisciplinary team effort from imaging and physical scientists, plant biologists, microbiologists, and engineers in conceptualizing integrative approaches and leveraging tools and resources (including those available at the DOE National Laboratories and national scientific user facilities) to advance the development of novel bioimaging capabilities from proof of principle to common research practice.[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[


  • Required Pre-application: Jan. 7, 2021
  • Application: Mar. 25, 2021

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant institutions are limited to no more than one pre-application or application for each PI at the applicant institution. DOE will consider the latest received submissions to be the institution’s intended submissions. • Pre-applications in excess of the limited number of submissions may be discouraged. • Applications in excess of the limited number of submissions may be declined without review.

Amount Description

Ceiling $750,000 per year

Floor $500,000 per year

DOE anticipates making awards with a project period of 3 years.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

January 7, 2021