Research Groups

Scientists and engineers at ORNL conduct basic and applied research to create scientific knowledge and technological solutions that strengthen the nation’s leadership in key areas of science, including bioenergy, bioremediation, and carbon cycling and biomedicine. The Laboratory provides a unique environment for addressing important national, global, energy, and environmental issues by fostering collaborations between scientists from many disciplines and providing access to state-of-the-art technologies and facilities. The researchers in this project are affiliated with major facilities at ORNL, other Science Focus Areas (SFAs), the University of Tennessee, and other DOE facilities.

ORNL Groups:

Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry Group The Bioanalytical Mass Spectrometry Group at ORNL led by Bob Hettich, focuses on development and deployment of high-performance mass spectrometry techniques for analytical characterization and chemical imaging of non-volatile biomolecules, including proteomes and metabolomes, to address key science questions of interest to a variety of programs supported by the Department of Energy and National Institutes of Health.

Molecular and Cellular Imaging Group The Molecular and Cellular Imaging Group at ORNL led by Jenny Morrell-Falvey,  focuses on the characterization, integration, and understanding of natural and synthetic systems across multiple spatial and temporal scales. A continuing emphasis is to define how natural systems are organized at the molecular scale and understand how this organization contributes to complex behavior and emergent biological function.

The Plant Systems Biology Group The Plant Systems Biology Group led by Jay Chen, seeks to explore and understand the network of genes, proteins, metabolites, and environmental signals that lead to improved plant characteristics and performance. As a group, our research primarily focuses on the underlying molecular genetics, physiological processes, and mechanisms influencing plant-microbe interactions and bioenergy feedstock productivity and sustainability.

Integrative Microbiomics Group Research in the Integrative Microbiomics Group led by Dale Pelletier, focuses on the roles of microbes and fungi in plant growth and development, and in regional and global elemental cycles related to bioremediation and climate change; the human microbiome and its role in health and disease; and integrating genomic and microbiological approaches to study novel lineages of archaea and bacteria. 

Computational and Predictive Biology Group The Computational and Predictive Biology Group led by Bob Cottingham, brings together and collaborates with scientists from related experimental, computational, and technical disciplines to build increasingly detailed computational models of biological systems. 


Other Science Focus Areas (SFA):

SEED  The Secure Ecosystem Engineering and Design (SEED) project is funded by the Genomic Science Program of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) as part of the Secure Biosystems Design Science Focus Area (SFA).

Bio-Scales The Bio-Scales SFA focuses on understanding the intricate ways that interactions between genes and traits influence outcomes on the ecosystem scale. 

ENIGMA ENIGMA researchers collaborate to create a predictive model of the impacts of microbial communities on critical processes within the ecosystem

The University of Tennessee has two resources affiliated the PMI project:

 UT Bredesen Center and UT Graduate School of Genome Science and Technology