The Common Fund's Building Blocks, Biological Pathways, and Networks program was designed to develop new technologies for studying molecular events that comprise biological pathways and networks in cells in order to catalyze studies of normal and disease-related processes. The components of the program were:
- National Technology Centers for Networks and Pathways (TCNPs)
- Metabolomics Technology Development
- Standards for Proteomics and Assessment of Critical Reagents for Proteomics
Researchers discover cellular interactions that play key role in gene silencing
Each eukaryotic cell has an enclosed nucleus that houses its genome. The barrier between the nucleus and the cytoplasm is the nuclear envelope. The nuclear envelope contains channels called nuclear pores, which allow the exchange of large molecules between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Each Nuclear Pore Complex (NPC) is, as its name implies, a sophisticated molecular machine composed of dozens of proteins, many of which have functions not well understood.
New approach allows for a greater understanding of how genomes are organized in cells
Genomes, contained within chromosomes, encode the hereditary information inside each of our cells. The Human Genome Project, completed in 2003, was a large scale effort to decode the full DNA sequence from humans. While this was a milestone in modern technology, we have now come to understand that in addition to the sequence, the three-dimensional conformation of the genome plays a fundamental role in the expression of genes.
This page was last updated Winter 2016
The Building Blocks, Biological Pathways, and Networks (BBPN) Program has transitioned from the Common Fund. Launched in 2004, with a planned 10-year timeline, BBPN was an original NIH Roadmap program with the goal of developing and applying improved technologies to advance understanding of cellular pathways and networks. These new technologies and resources would enable researchers to study molecular events as they unfold in real time.
Originally, the program consisted of the National Technology Centers for Networks and Pathways (TCNPs) and Metabolomics Technology Development. The TNCPs were comprised of a network of research centers that functioned as hubs of technology development that synergized with multiple existing research project grants supported by individual NIH Institutes and Centers. These centers created new tools for proteomics research. Metabolomics Technology Development focused on the development of new analytical tools for the study of metabolites, or metabolomics. The NIH later hosted a workshop titled Standards for Proteomics and Assessment of Critical Reagents for Proteomics that involved experts in analysis, processing, and validation of proteomics data. Workshop participants concluded that a database for mass spectrometric data was an essential need of the community.
The BBPN program significantly advanced the fields of both proteomics and metabolomics by developing novel technologies that have been adopted across the world. The transformative nature of the BBPN program can be witnessed by the birth of the Common Fund’s Metabolomics Program, that sprung from the knowledge gained and technological breakthroughs delivered by BBPN. Education was also a major part of the program. The centers successfully trained many fellows and graduate students and taught multiple courses to external investigators on how to use the techniques.
BBPN produced many research resources that are currently being utilized by the scientific community including:
This program was supported by the Common Fund from fiscal year 2004 to fiscal year 2014.
National Technology Centers
Fluorescent Biosensors for Networks and Pathways,
Carnegie-Mellon University/University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
Networks, Pathways and Dynamics of Lysine Modification,
The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)
New Tools for Exploring the Dynamic Interactome,
Rockefeller University (New York, NY)