Investigators

The investigator portfolio builds from the concept that providing leading researchers with the resources and flexibility to follow their scientific instincts and conduct cutting-edge, often risky research leads to innovative, high-impact science. MMI investigators use a diversity of complementary scientific perspectives and tools (such as molecular ecology, evolutionary theory, geochemical analyses, and computational modeling) to change the paradigm for the field and, in so doing, help achieve our long-term goal of "uncovering the underlying principles that govern the interactions among microbes and that influence microbially mediated nutrient flow in representative marine microbial ecosystems." The investigators' research areas form synergistic themes such as studying marine biogeochemical cycles from multiple angles, developing computational models that span from intracellular and microscale phenomena to global scales, and studying the mutualistic and antagonistic interactions among the different domains of life and viruses.

Multidisciplinary Research, Novel Instrumentation and Methods Development

MMI seeks to overcome conceptual, disciplinary, technological, and methodological barriers that currently hinder scientists from understanding nutrient flow in the ocean; from deciphering the genetic and biochemical bases of microbial metabolism, physiology and ecology; and from understanding how microbes and viruses interact with one another and the consequences of these interactions. One grantmaking approach that MMI uses to address these goals is to fund multi-disciplinary research projects, which support collaborations of international scientists with diverse expertise to overcome these challenges using laboratory, field, theory, and computational techniques. MMI also supports instrumentation and methods development projects to enable technological and methodological breakthroughs for a particular discipline and at interdisciplinary interfaces.

Community Resources

Experimental Model Systems

We support scientists to accelerate the development of genetically manipulable experimental model systems for marine microbial ecology research. This international endeavor taps into the efforts of more than 100 scientists across 33 institutions with a broad range of expertise to collectively tackle the challenge of developing methods to bring the power of genetics and experimental model systems to the ocean. The genetic tools created through this portfolio will allow researchers to more easily disrupt the activities of microbial genes to understand how these organisms function in marine ecosystems. Developing robust model systems is complex and risky because the work is difficult and success is not guaranteed. By taking risks and funding challenging work with a high potential payoff, the foundation helps fuel innovation that can have a significant impact by enabling scientists to more deeply explain the natural world.

Learn more about our Experimental Model Systems grants here.

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IMPACT STATEMENT

Deciphering how the microbial engine of the ocean hums.

KEY DATA POINTS

Marine Microbial Communities

Supporting life on land and sea, driving ocean nutrient cycles, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and making half of the planet’s oxygen. 
  • first award

    Jan 2004

  • grants to date

    $230,083,810

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