Duke University will be the host to a new evolutionary science center and will work with the University of North Carolina as well as North Carolina State University thanks to a $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center will be used to study the genetics, behavior and structure of millions of different plants, humans, animals, algae and other forms of life.

Clifford Cunningham, a Duke biologist, will run the center.

“This new center will transform evolutionary biology by tackling long-standing questions in a new way through science that is collaborative, and that synthesizes results,” said Sam Scheiner, program director in NSF’s emerging frontiers division, which funded the center, in a statement.

Biologists, physicians, paleontologists, crop scientists and computer scientists will use the center.

“Information about biological evolution has exploded in the past several decades, fueled by advances in biodiversity, computation, genomics and many other fields,” said Joel Kingsolver, a biologist at UNC and the center’s associate director for science and synthesis. “Now is the time for synthesizing this information to gain a new level of scientific understanding about evolution, and to apply this understanding to important societal issues.”