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QIS and Quantum Sensing in Biology Interest Group

Studies in Quantum Information Sciences (QIS) and quantum sensing in biology (QSB) are rapidly advancing for biomedical applications. Many cellular and sub-cellular phenomena such as photosynthesis, neuro-transmission and cognition, enzyme tunneling, mitochondrial electron transfer have been shown to involve quantum physicochemical components. With advances in AI/ML and quantum computer designs, applications in biomedical sciences such as sensing weak electromagnetic signals in neurons and tissues, in-vivo imaging, biomolecular modelling, data encryption, privacy and storage have become fruitful areas of exploration. These developments will impact the understanding of complex disease biology and enable new modalities for drug and biomarker discovery in the next decade.

The QIS and Quantum Sensing in Biology Interest Group was initiated by NIMH and NCATS on behalf of broader NIH biomedical community with participation from NCI, NIDA, NIBIB, NINDS, NHLBI, NIAMS, NLM and others as a resource for NIH intramural scientists, fellows, graduate students, and interns. Since quantum science is evolving at the cutting-edge of both computer science, materials technology and biology, activities of this SIG will be of wider interest to data/information scientists, bioengineers, chemists, biologists, physicists, and clinicians at NIH. 

A major goal is to identify biomedical problems that may be amenable for quantum information/sensing applications for the measurement of highly sensitive and specific biological and cellular signals in normal and diseased states. In addition, we hope to illuminate use cases that can be optimized and developed further for wider adoption by the community through enabling development of easily accessible bench-top instrument and portable devices and wearables. These goals will be accomplished through invited seminars, workshops from national and international experts in QIS/QSB, identifying opportunities for learning, training and workforce development for fellows and trainees in collaboration with academia, industry, and government agencies. 

Principal Contacts:
Geetha Senthil, PhD, Program Director, Division of Translational Research, NIMH,
Paige Derr, PhD, Scientist, Division of Preclinical Innovation, NCATS,
G. Sitta Sittampalam, PhD, Senior Advisor to the Director, NCATS,

Reference Links:

  1. Emani PS et al., “Quantum computing at the Frontiers of biological sciences,” Nat.Methods, 
  2. “Quantum Science Concepts in Enhancing Sensing, and Imaging Technologies: Applications for Biology A Workshop,” March 8-10, 2021, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC,
  3. National Academies quantum sensing workshop publication and summary,
  4. Office of Science & Technology Policy, The White House: Quantum Sensing Technology White paper,
  5. Office of Science & Technology Policy, The White House: Quantum Information Science and Technology Workforce Development,

The page was last updated on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - 9:43am