The SIG Beat: New and Renamed SIGs

News From and About the Scientific Interest Groups

NEW SIG: QIS and Quantum Sensing in Biology

Studies in quantum information sciences (QIS) and quantum sensing in biology (QSB) are rapidly advancing for biomedical applications. Many cellular and subcellular phenomena such as photosynthesis, neurotransmission and cognition, enzyme tunneling, and mitochondrial electron transfer involve quantum physicochemical components. Advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantum computer designs have made it possible for applications in biomedical sciences such as sensing weak electromagnetic signals in neurons and tissues, in vivo imaging, biomolecular modeling, data encryption, privacy, and storage to become fruitful areas of exploration. These developments will affect the understanding of complex disease biology and enable new modalities for drug and biomarker discovery in the next decade.

The QIS and QSB SIG, initiated by NIMH and NCATS with participation from several other institutes, will be a resource for NIH intramural scientists, fellows, graduate students, and interns. Data and information scientists, bioengineers, chemists, biologists, physicists, and clinicians may be interested in this SIG’s activities, too.

The SIG will hold seminars and workshops featuring invited national and international experts in QIS or QSB, and identify opportunities for learning, training, and workforce development for fellows and trainees in coordination with academia, industry, and government agencies. For more information, go to or contact Geetha Senthil, NIMH (; Paige Derr, NCATS (; or G. Sitta Sittampalam, NCATS (

NEW SIG: Science of Science Communication

Effectively communicating research results to a broad range of audiences is integral to the scientific process. The ability to tell rigorous and compelling stories of science can elevate a researcher’s profile, facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations, and increase the impact of their scholarly publications within the scientific community. Perhaps more importantly, strong communication can also enhance public engagement with science, allowing researchers to build bridges of trust with nontechnical audiences and instill a sense of curiosity and wonder among inquiring minds.

Although artistry is no doubt critical to communications, there exists an underlying body of literature that draws from fields including psychology, sociology, and political science that provides a theoretical foundation for scientific communications. The NIH Science of Science Communication Interest Group (ScioSciComm-SIG) plans to focus specifically on the scientific design and evaluation of science communication, with seminars and journal clubs highlighting measures of effectiveness and methods to increase general success or target efforts to respond to specific goals. A combination of face-to-face meetings and remote webinars will be held monthly (days and times to be determined).

The ScioSciComm-SIG is chaired by Chris Gunter (NHGRI) and Maryam Zaringhalam (NLM). Membership in the SIG is open to all interested individuals within NIH. Join the LISTSERV newsletter at For more information, go to contact Chris Gunter ( or Maryam Zaringhalam (

Renamed SIG: Patent Law, Industry, & Technology Transfer Interest Group

The Patent Law & Technology Transfer Interest Group has been expanded and renamed to include the biotechnology industry. The goal of the PLITT SIG is to provide educational and networking opportunities for NIH scientists interested in patent law, industry, and technology transfer. The SIG will include members of the NIH Office of Technology Transfer, technology development coordinators from the NIH institutes, and bench scientists with interests in intellectual property and the biotechnology industry, as well as past fellows who have transitioned into applicable careers in local institutions or companies.

The SIG will hold seminars with invited representatives from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, law firms, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies; host mini symposia (at the annual NIH Research Festival) featuring former intramural investigators who have gone on to found or have successful careers in patent law, technology transfer, or in the biotechnical industry; host poster sessions on careers in technology transfer and business development; and provide opportunities and support for trainees interested in industry through job fairs, networking events, technology demonstrations, and field trips to local companies and facilities. The SIG will also support the annual Philip S. Chen Lecture on Technology Transfer and Innovation. Meetings and activities will be coordinated with local chapters of the Technology Transfer Society, the Licensing Executives Society, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer.

Steven Ferguson (OD) and Ulisses Santamaria (NIAID) are co-chairs. For more information and instructions for joining the LISTSERV newsletter, go to