UC Santa Barbara receives two grants for Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics
June 01, 2012
The University of California Santa Barbara recently announced that it received two grants totaling $2 million to support innovation research at its Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP). With $1.6 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and $400,000 from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the KITP will launched a new physics and biology program and support current workshops, studies and fellowships in biology.
The new program, called the Santa Barbara Advanced School for Quantitative Biology (SBASQB), is set to begin in 2013, when the first class of students will begin a summer study that aims to merge biology and physics.
UCSB explains that the project's long term goals are to unite researchers from the two disciplines to develop mathematical explanations of biological functions. For example, they hope to one day assign numbers to every process in the development of an embryo so scientists can identify when and where abnormalities occur. This capability could potentially lead to medical breakthroughs in the future.
"Biologists like myself have become very good at collecting data, but we're only fair at making sense of that data," said Joel Rothman, chair of UCSB's Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. "We're missing a major instrument, and that is the math. Math is the language and the tool that really allows you to get insights."