Dr. Amy Swain

About Dr. Amy Swain

Amy is currently acting director of Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology and oversees a portfolio of biomedical technology programs transferred from the former National Center for Research Resources. With a background in crystallography, she specifically manages technology grants for structural biology and for informatics, and she is a key contact for NIH synchrotron activities.

Biomedical Technology Research Resources: Funding and Access Opportunities

Our Biomedical Technology Research Resources (BTRRs)—until recently known as Biomedical Technology Research Centers—develop and disseminate cutting-edge technologies and methods that allow scientists nationwide to advance their projects beyond the levels that could be attained using commonly available laboratory resources.

If you’re a researcher who works collaboratively to create and integrate potentially transformative biomedical technologies and are interested in providing service and training to the scientific community, you may want to apply for a BTRR grant. The first step is to submit your concept in a pre-application. Feedback from its review can help you decide whether to submit a full application.

If you’re a biomedical researcher with a project in need of technology resources, you may be able to access them at an existing BTRR. The Biomedical Technology Resources Portal Exit icon includes descriptions of the available resources Exit icon, including those funded through NIH’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and instructions for accessing them Exit icon.

Before granting use of its technologies (whether remotely or in-person), the BTRR will evaluate your research project for demonstrated need as well as the level of engagement and assistance that would be required of resource staff. It’s also possible that, if your project has potential for advancing a newly emerging technology, you’ll be able to collaborate with BTRR investigators as they develop it. This close collaboration benefits your research and also furthers innovation at the BTRR.

For more details about the BTRR program, please contact me or Doug Sheeley.

Wanted: Informatics Program Director

We’re recruiting for a program director (also known as a “health scientist administrator/program officer”) to manage research grants and other types of awards in the Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Candidates should have research experience in more than one of the following areas: computational biology, computer science, informatics, genomics data, data analytics, data integration.

Excellent oral and written communication skills are required, as well as the ability to integrate a formal area of expertise with other scientific fields.

More information about what a program director does, the position requirements and detailed application procedures are on the NIH HSA Web site. This is a global recruitment for program officer positions throughout NIH, so your application materials should emphasize aspects of your training, expertise and research interests that are relevant to this position.

The vacancy announcement closes on June 26.

Biomedical Technology Resources for the Research Community

Roughly two-thirds of the biomedical technology research and development programs formerly in the National Center for Research Resources are now part of NIGMS. Housed in the Biomedical Technology Branch of our Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology, the programs meet the needs of biomedical researchers by supporting cutting-edge research and development activities through a variety of award mechanisms.

In this post, I will focus on the Biomedical Technology Research Centers (BTRC) program, which supports the development and advancement of technologies needed to address today’s compelling biomedical research questions.

The 65 national resource centers—34 are funded by NIGMS and 31 by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering—are available to scientists doing basic, translational and clinical biomedical research, providing them access to instruments, methods, software, expertise and hands-on training. With priority given to NIH-funded investigators, scientists have the opportunity to work closely and collaboratively with experts at the centers to:

  • Adapt BTRC tools to further the specific aims of their projects.
  • Contribute to the generation of pioneering technologies that can open up new research paths.

The BTRC program has been developing and providing access to state-of-the-art resources for 50 years, and it is directly responsible for such milestone innovations as:

  • The introduction of the computer into the laboratory setting.
  • The evolution of magnetic spin resonance from an observed scientific phenomenon to an analytical research tool to a clinical imaging technique.
  • The development of technologies for harnessing synchrotron radiation for biomedical research.
  • The creation of informatics approaches that allow for secure access to and sharing of huge volumes of dissimilar data.

At the half-century mark, the BTRC program remains vital and responsive to the scientific community. Ongoing centers continue to evolve and create innovative technologies, while new centers form as needs emerge.

We encourage you to take advantage of these valuable research resources. For more information about the NIGMS-funded BTRCs or other biomedical technology programs, please feel free to call 301-435-0755 or e-mail one of the following program directors: