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Lou GrossUT Knoxville beat out 18 of the nation’s top research institutions to win a $16 million award from the National Science Foundation to begin the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). The center will be directed by Louis Gross, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and math.

The award will fund a high-tech center on the Knoxville campus drawing hundreds of researchers from around the world each year to participate in workshops and conferences. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its Twin Creeks Science Center will play a key role in the institute’s work, with the park serving as a testing ground for many of the ideas that come from NIMBioS.