At a glance:
Computational Infrastructure | Research Programmers | Grant Writing | Outreach/Education | Project Management | Science Communication | Team Science Experts | Spatial Analysis Technicians | Time-shared Trainee/Personnel Support

NIMBioS Services and Support

We provide solutions for researchers who are working towards ambitious research goals in the quantitative life sciences. Instead of asking each researcher to re-invent, re-envision, or re-discover best practices for collaborative, multidisciplinary research, we leverage our decade-long experience, our diverse expertise, and an economy of scale to help make audacious goals achievable.
Computational Infrastructure

To provide computing resources needed by quantitative life sciences researchers, we maintain Rocky, a High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster comprised of compute heavy nodes, memory intensive nodes, Ceph storage subsystem, and virtual hosting.  We grow and refine these systems over time, according to the needs of our users. By maintaining these resources in-house, we ensure that we can seamlessly guide researchers through their use, lowering the barrier for entry into computational research for life scientists.

Check out the Spatial Analysis Laboratory at NIMBioS

Outreach and Education Experts

An ever-increasing focus on Broader Impacts and Outreach from funding agencies has left many researchers struggling to become expert science communicators as well as excellent researchers. At NIMBioS, we maintain a number of programs to allow researchers to choose à la carte from a menu of fully supported options for translating their research into educational games, podcasts, and even summer camp activities, with help from expert science communicators, K-12 educators, and entertainers.

Research Programmers and Programming Consultants
For researchers who may not have the time or expertise to implement and analyze computational models, we maintain a cohort of expert programmers and IT professionals. We have free office hours for small projects. Larger projects can buy out time for each of these professionals, guaranteeing easy access to experienced experts without the need to create new positions, conduct a hiring search outside of the PI’s area of expertise, or compete with permanent offers from industry for the best talent for each new project.
Team Science Experts
Many of the most ambitious projects NIMBioS supports involve research teams that span a diversity of disciplines, represent people from many different backgrounds, and involve researchers at every stage of career. Such teams often face challenges in establishing healthy and productive working environments that bridge these potential pitfalls in communication and interoperability. At NIMBioS, we rely on the experiences we have gained in hosting over 400 different inter- and multidisciplinary project teams and on our in-house experts in the science of team science to provide services ranging from design consultations to ongoing, active team facilitation.
Time-shared Trainee/Personnel Support
One of the biggest limitations faced by researchers is how to provide support for sufficient effort and expertise to accomplish their research goals within the practical funding limits of individual awards. Funding a graduate student, postdoctoral researcher, or other research specialist (e.g., a technician or data analyst) can be a prohibitive cost if the work required for the project is only a few months of effort, but recruiting such a person requires a semester- or year-long commitment of support. At NIMBioS, we can help researchers leverage economies of scale, matching researchers with different grants to support a researcher who has (or is learning) the skills they need to contribute to both/all projects, but allowing each PI to contribute only the level of funding needed for their individual projects. When appropriate, NIMBioS coordinates and helps enact a shared mentoring plan, ensuring that researchers who are jointly funded in this way benefit from the experience.
Grant Writing

Writing proposals for funding about quantitative life sciences research has its own unique set of challenges. The audience for a single proposal is likely to include disciplinary experts whose expertise covers only one part of the proposed research, but who must still be able to understand why the other components are themselves interesting and important. Many proposals are destined to be evaluated by multiple review panels. NIMBioS has a strong track record of helping researchers frame and communicate their proposed efforts in ways that highlight the importance of advancing inter-, multi-, and transdisciplinary science to a diverse audience of reviewers and funders. Researchers considering writing their next proposal can come to NIMBioS for help at any stage in the process from refining the initial concept to organizing the proposal to be coherent and compelling, to polishing the presentation.

Project Managers
For projects that are highly collaborative among large teams, we offer an experienced project manager. Many projects are not large enough to require full-time effort and it is difficult to attract excellent managers into part-time roles. Again, we leverage an economy of scale as an Institute to allow funded projects to pay only for the time they need from an experienced individual who understands the nuances of quantitative life sciences research.
Science Communications

For field experts, early career and established researchers, former participants or anyone else in the mathbio community who would like to promote their efforts, our communications manager can help tailor specific content to promote your work. We can design social media posts, assist with writing and pitching press releases as well as crafting compelling messages to share with a general audience about any ongoing research efforts, projects, publications, or whatever you want to highlight, but aren't sure where to begin. We recognize the unique nature of mathbio research, and we're ready to assist you in connecting with your target audience.

Spatial Analysis Technicians and Experts
For researchers who would like to add a spatial aspect to their research, we offer three main categories of services: (1) consulting for data analyses and geospatial modeling, (2) drone data collection, and (3) terrestrial laser scanning (lidar). We maintain licenses to dedicated software for spatial analyses (e.g., ArcGIS) and an array of geospatial equipment (e.g., lidar scanner; drones; thermal, multispectral, and hyperspectral cameras; etc.), a lab bench imaging system, and many useful equipment accessories.

NIMBioS offices have recently moved

NIMBioS is centrally located on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville campus in the Philander P. Claxton Education Building, 1122 Volunteer Boulevard.

We have recently moved down the hall, still on the ground floor to Claxton 114.


Our mission is to foster the growth of transdisciplinary approaches within mathematics and biology


1122 Volunteer Blvd, Claxton 114
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-3410

Nina Fefferman, Director


From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Any options, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Stay updated on all things NIMBioS