The Department of Energy’s Office of Science has selected three Oak Ridge National Laboratory research teams to receive funding through DOE’s new Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment, or BRaVE, initiative.

BRaVE, announced earlier this year, aims to build on biopreparedness research that delivered high-impact results in the fight against COVID-19. In the height of the pandemic, DOE national laboratory scientists combined fields such as biology, high-performance computing and manufacturing to bolster the national supply of personal protective equipment and improve virus testing and treatment.

“The advances made in this program will revolutionize our understanding of the science underlying a range of potential biological events and transform the nation’s ability to prepare for, and respond to, future biological threats,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of the DOE’s Office of Science. “Further, these advances will complement research efforts associated with other federal agencies and will be broadly applicable to understanding plant pathogens of crops that are central to DOE’s bioenergy program, as well as other biological systems.”    

The initiative encourages continued collaboration across disciplines to bolster DOE’s strategy for general biopreparedness and response to biological threats. BRaVE will provide $105 million in funding across three years to support research in five focus areas.

“ORNL’s expertise and facilities provided an invaluable resource to the fight against COVID. We are thrilled to have an opportunity to lead three new projects, each composed of multidisciplinary, multi-institutional teams, that will address complex biopreparedness challenges,” said ORNL Deputy for Science and Technology Susan Hubbard. “The new projects will take advantage of the Office of Science user facilities at ORNL — the Spallation Neutron Source, the High Flux Isotope Reactor, the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility — to advance BRaVE frontiers.”