Emerging Questions in Cancer Systems Biology (U01)

Emerging Questions in Cancer Systems Biology (U01)
Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of HealthsymposiumISB


The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to encourage research projects addressing challenging cancer problems using systems biology approaches. In support of this goal, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has initiated the Cancer Systems Biology Consortium (CSBC) through multiple FOAs. The CSBC network will consist of specialized U01 Research Projects (supported under this FOA), U54 CSBC Research Centers (supported under RFA-CA-15-014), and a U24 Coordinating Center (supported under RFA-CA-15-015).

CSBC Research Projects should address a well-defined, discrete, and circumscribed research question in cancer incorporating quantitative experimentation, analysis, modeling and validation, which are the hallmarks of systems biology. As part of the CSBC, investigators from the Research Projects will have the opportunity to share resources and expertise across the Consortium and participate in Consortium activities and annual meetings.


Research strategies that can integrate across molecular, genetic, and cellular events are required to understand the multivariate nature of cancer and to predict tumor behaviors, efficient treatment opportunities, and, ultimately, patient outcome. Cancer systems biology approaches provide the iterative experimental and analytical toolkit necessary for addressing complex problems in cancer research. Through development of measurement technologies, generation of rich datasets, and employment of computational, mathematical, and algorithmic tools, cancer systems biologists have made important strides in describing cancers as integrated systems of genes, networks, and intercellular interactions. Cancer systems biology is uniquely poised to address various important and/or emerging questions in cancer research that would be difficult, if not impossible, to explore fully using other, less comprehensive approaches.

Along with general cancer-related topics such as the heterogeneous nature of tumors and the widely variable genetic underpinnings of cancer, there are a variety of emerging directions in cancer research that are particularly amenable to a systems approach: (a) decoding dynamic tumor-stroma and/or tumor-immune system interactions; (b) integrating chemical, molecular, structural, network, and localization information across temporal and spatial scales to understand tumor behavior; (c) understanding how individual cell states shape the behavior of tumors and tumor ecosystems; (d) determining how the microbiome affects tumor initiation, progression or treatment; (e) forward engineering of cancer systems through the convergence of synthetic biology and systems biology; (f) bridging the many cancer hierarchies; and (g) utilizing cancer systems biology predictions to inform clinical trial design.

In addition to addressing specific biological hypotheses, the continued success of cancer systems biology depends on the development of new methodologies to address complex and multivariate questions, including new theoretical, mathematical and computational techniques, multi-scale modeling approaches capable of integrating across scales from the molecular to the population level, and new biological tools and systems for informing and testing cancer systems biology generated hypotheses.

General Information

Document Type: Grants Notice
Funding Opportunity Number: PAR-16-131
Funding Opportunity Title: Emerging Questions in Cancer Systems Biology (U01)
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Opportunity Category Explanation:
Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement
Category of Funding Activity: Education
Category Explanation:
Expected Number of Awards:
CFDA Number(s): 93.395 — Cancer Treatment Research
93.396 — Cancer Biology Research
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement: No
Posted Date: Mar 11, 2016
Last Updated Date: Mar 11, 2016
Original Closing Date for Applications: Nov 23, 2018  
Current Closing Date for Applications: Nov 23, 2018  
Archive Date: Dec 24, 2018
Estimated Total Program Funding:
Award Ceiling:
Award Floor:


Eligible Applicants:
Independent school districts
Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
Small businesses
Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)
State governments
Special district governments
Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
County governments
City or township governments
For profit organizations other than small businesses
Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
Private institutions of higher education
Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
Additional Information on Eligibility: Other Eligible Applicants include the following: Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions; Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISISs); Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government; Faith-based or Community-based Organizations; Hispanic-serving Institutions; Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized); Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Organizations); Regional Organizations; Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs) ; U.S. Territory or Possession.

Additional Information

Agency Name: National Institutes of Health
Description: The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is sponsoring a new Cancer Systems Biology Consortium (CSBC) that includes U54 CSBC Research Centers (RFA-CA-15-014), a U24 CSBC Coordinating Center (RFA-CA-15-015) and, through this FOA, well-defined, discrete and circumscribed Research Projects addressing emerging problems in cancer. The CSBC initiative aims to address challenges in cancer research through the use of experimental biology or population science combined with in silico modeling, multi-dimensional data analysis, and systems engineering.
Link to Additional Information: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-16-131.html
Contact Information: If you have difficulty accessing the full announcement electronically, please contact:

NIH OER Webmaster FBOWebmaster@OD.NIH.GOV
If you have any problems linking to this funding announcement, please contact the NIH OER Webmaster


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