Request for Information (RFI): Biological Research Needs for High Spatial Resolution Imaging Supported by the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health

Notice Number: NOT-GM-20-021

Key Dates
Release Date: March 12, 2020
Response Date: May 06, 2020

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science (SC)


The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science (SC) seek input on approaches to apply high-resolution bioimaging technologies at sub-nanometer to micrometer resolution from atoms to cells. Input is requested on the specific needs of the biological research community to match existing technical approaches and instrumentation to significant biological questions, and on prioritizing the development of novel bioimaging technologies that might be in demand for anticipated biological and potential medical applications.


The DOE and NIH support national centers and dedicated instruments for high-resolution bioimaging at national facilities. Capabilities include X-ray microscopy and tomography, 3D electron microscopy, cryo-electron microscopy, infrared imaging, light microscopy and live cell imaging, image analysis, dynamics, computing, software development, and data management. Recognizing that new directions in science are often inspired by new tools and methods as well as new biological concepts, the agencies also support the development of new bioimaging tools and methods at these centers and in the laboratories of independent researchers.

The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to ask researchers how existing resources supported by the DOE and NIH might be best matched to pressing biological questions. A joint NIH-DOE bioimaging working group has organized a dialog series between the NIH- and DOE-supported research communities. A series of public webinars were designed to (1) inform the biological research community about advanced bioimaging capabilities and how to access them and (2) describe associated data challenges. In parallel, the working group is soliciting information from the research community about unaddressed research needs.

Webinar Series on NIH-DOE Bioimaging

  • March 11, 2020: DOE and NIH Centers & Facilities for Bio-Imaging: Data Acquisition and Available Techniques
  • April 15, 2020: DOE and NIH Centers for Imaging Data Analysis, Management and Knowledge

Information Requested

The NIH and DOE seek input from key extramural community stakeholders, including researchers in academia and industry, clinicians, and scientific societies and advocacy organizations, as well from interested members of the public, on strategies to advance the utility of high resolution bioimaging technologies that already exist and that need to be created. Imaging techniques of interest have resolutions from sub-nanometer to micrometer and would be applied to biological samples from nanometer to millimeter size. Input sought includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Identify biological research that could be advanced with existing bioimaging capabilities and could drive priorities for new capabilities
  2. Identify gaps and challenges in research capabilities or new technology development that limit how bioimaging currently advances biological research
  3. Identify scientific, methodological, engineering or operational barriers that limit the use of existing bioimaging capabilities by the biological community
  4. Identify ways to promote movement of imaging technologies from non-biological fields into biomedical research applications
  5. Identify ways to promote greater use of existing NIH and DOE supported bioimaging facilities
  6. Identify methods for disseminating technology and services to non-expert scientists with a need for advanced imaging
  7. Any other comments that might accelerate biological research with new bioimaging technologies and methods

How to Submit a Response

Responses to this RFI will be accepted through May 6, 2020. All comments will be anonymous and must be submitted via a web form at or communicated by email to

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. The Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information provided and respondents will not receive individualized feedback. This RFI is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the United States Government. NIGMS will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion. NIGMS does not intend to make any type of award based on responses to this RFI or to pay for either the preparation of information submitted or the United States Government's use of such information.

The information submitted will be analyzed and may be shared internally, appear in reports or be reflected in future solicitations, as appropriate and at the Government's discretion. Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s) or other activities. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government's use of such information

Related Information

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Department of Energy (DOE)

  • Basic Energy Sciences (BES)
  • Biological and Environmental Research (BER)


Please direct all inquiries to:

or to:

Paul Sammak, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

Peter Lee, Ph. D.
DOE, Office of Science (SC), Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES)

Amy Swain, Ph. D.
DOE, Office of Science (SC), Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER)

Shumin Wang, Ph.D.
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)