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2003 Biotechnology Division Flyer
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by NIST 08 the future of Food & Biotech

NIST Biotechnology Divisions
The mission of the NIST Biotechnology program is to advance the commercialization of biotechnology by developing the scientific/engineering technical base, reliable measurements, standards, data and models to enable U.S. industry to quickly and economically produce biochemical products with appropriate quality control.

As with all NIST programs, a major emphasis of the NIST biotechnology program is to enhance the development of the scientific/engineering technical base by advising and collaborating with industry, other government agencies and the scientific community.

DNA Technologies Group

The DNA Technologies Group focuses on research efforts to meet goals and objectives in areas of measurement science, standards and data dissemination. Projects include the measurement of DNA damage and DNA repair, the characterization of DNA including mutation detection and genetic toxicology, human identity profiling, and the development of DNA Standard Reference Materials (SRMs).

Bioprocess Engineering Group
Bioprocess Engineering Group is developing measurement methods, databases, and generic technologies related to biomolecules and biomaterials in manufacturing.

Structural Biology Group
The Structural Biology Group is located at the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology (CARB) on the University of Maryland Shady Grove campus about four miles from NIST. CARB is a joint collaboration of the Biotechnology Division and the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. Scientists at CARB develop and apply measurement methods, databases, and state-of-the-art modeling methods to advance the understanding of protein structure/function relationships. X-ray and NMR methods are used to measure the structures of prototypical proteins, enzymes, enzyme-substrate complexes and other macromolecular systems. Structural information is combined with molecular biology and physical measurement methods including calorimetry and spectroscopy to understand and control structure/function relationships such as thermodynamic stability, the energetics of protein folding, protein substrate interactions and enzymatic reaction pathways. Computational chemistry is used to look at the details of the active sites of enzymes. Bioinformatics is used as a tool to archive primary structural data for the scientific community and to probe the vast recent wealth of genome sequence data for evolutionary relationships.

Biomolecular Materials
A current trend in materials development is to employ biological molecules and/or principles that are inspired by biology. Such materials are sometimes referred to as "biomimetic," indicating they have characteristics such as self-assembly, molecular recognition, specific chemical responses, and complex molecular architecture which lead to unique structural and/or functional characteristics. Chemically controlled biomimetic surfaces are essential components of biosensors, bioelectronics, biocatalytic systems, and many diagnostic devices. Biomolecular materials thus influence diverse applications such as health care, environmental pollution monitoring, agriculture, and chemical manufacturing. An underlying need for these applications of biotechnology is the characterization and control of biomolecules at interfaces.

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