BRaVE: Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment

Transforming the nation’s ability to prepare for and respond to future biological threats by leveraging distinctive DOE capabilities


In March 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science (SC) established the National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory (NVBL). Harnessing capabilities across all 17 DOE national laboratories, NVBL made critical advances by leveraging decades of DOE investments in basic science and experimental user facilities—including X-ray and neutron sources, leadership computing facilities, nanoscale science research centers, and biological characterization laboratories. This foundational research delivered the expertise and capabilities necessary to meet some of the greatest scientific challenges facing the community during the pandemic.

In FY 2022, Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE) was initiated, which leverages the highly successful framework established by the NVBL and broadens its capabilities to provide new capabilities for biopreparedness, taking advantage of its unique capabilities and facilities in physical, computational, and life sciences and its integrative, cross-disciplinary, and collaborative tradition across experiments, models, and analyses.

BER-supported BRaVE projects are using computational and experimental approaches to study the molecular basis of host-pathogen interactions. These insights can lead to new methods for disease detection and design of targeted therapies as well as advance understanding of plant pathogens of crops central to DOE bioenergy programs.

Current Awards

The Office of Science supported 10 awards in 2023 that include multi-institutional teams, led by individual national laboratories with partners from other national laboratories and universities, including historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions.. BER supported four of these new projects, which focus on innovative multidisciplinary experimental and computational technologies to understand molecular mechanisms underlying host-pathogen interactions to develop new approaches for disease detection and design of targeting interventions. Additional awards by ASCR and BES focus on developing more complete models of how epidemics spread, designing novel anti-pathogen materials, and providing innovations in DOE’s user facilities.

Lead PIProjectPI OrganizationYear
Starkenburg, Shawn Decoding Host-Pathogen Dynamics with 4D (Epi)GenomicsLos Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)2023
Cheung, MargaretEnhancing Biopreparedness Through a Model System to Understand the Molecular Mechanisms That Lead to Pathogenesis and Disease TransmissionPacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)2023
Mutalik, VivekPhage Foundry: A High-Throughput Platform for Rapid Design and Development of Countermeasures to Combat Emerging Drug-Resistant PathogensLawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)2023
Liu, Qun Unlocking the Molecular Basis of Plant-Pathogen Interactions to Create Resilient Bioenergy CropsBrookhaven National Laboratory (BNL)2023