4 Minutes With…Seema Singh, Director-Biomass Pretreatment, JBEI
Seema Singh, one half of JBEI's biomass deconstruction duo (the other half is Blake Simmons), hails from India, and was compelled to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry to have a positive impact on the environment and energy security. Learn more about Singh, a leader in R&D efforts to advance efficient, affordable, and scalable pretreatment technologies, in this short piece by Jim Lane.
Industry@ALS: Caribou Biosciences Has Roots at the ALS
When Rachel Haurwitz joined PBD faculty scientist Jennifer Doudna's lab in 2007 as a graduate student, little did the two women know that the interesting bacterial immune system they were studying would be the subject of news headlines and the basis for a biotech startup just a few years later.
ALS User Develops Drug to Help to Save Lives of Ebola Victims
With the Ebola virus outbreak worsening and the news of two Americans recovering thanks to a cutting-edge drug treatment, structural biologist Erica Ollmann Saphire has been thrust into the news as a spokesperson for the scientific community. It’s a new role for the Ebola virus researcher, whose Scripps Research Institute lab played a key part in understanding and fine-tuning the much-lauded Ebola treatment that saved an American doctor and nurse last month. Saphire, who has been an Advanced Light Source user for the past 16 years, recently took some time away from her new on-camera role to talk about her experience.
Berkeley Lab Makes Three Permanent Hires Through Project SEARCH
Kem Robinson, director of the Engineering Division of Berkeley Lab and coach of a soccer team for special needs teenagers, says that many people are uncomfortable interacting with people with disabilities. So when he heard about Project SEARCH, a national program that helps adults with developmental disabilities get employed, he thought it made a lot of sense to bring it to the Lab, which has a strong commitment to inclusion and diversity. The NERSC, Engineering, and Physical Biosciences Divisions have permanently hired employees through Project SEARCH.
4 Minutes With…Blake Simmons, CSTO &
Blake Simmons cheers on the team behind the Large Hadron Collider (who found the famed Higgs boson in 2013), hails from one of the most enthusiastic small towns in the entire Advanced Bioeconomy (Blair, Nebraska), and is a Navy vet. Learn more about Simmons, one of the primary forces behind the rise of ionic liquids for pretreatment, in this short piece by Jim Lane.
Physical Biosciences Division’s Susan Marqusee Named Biophysical Society Fellow
Marqusee, a faculty biologist, was named by the Biophysical Society to the 2015 class of Society Fellows. Marqusee was recognized as “one of the world’s top experimentalists in the field of protein folding.” Her work to understand how a protein’s primary sequence and cellular environment effect folding and dynamics continues to have a significant impact on the field.
DOE 'Knowledgebase' Links Biologists, Computer Scientists to Solve Energy, Environmental Issues
Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Rebecca Harrington describes how the DOE Systems Biology Knowledgebase (KBase) enables biologists who aren’t programmers to tackle big questions in computational biology (for example, determining the way in which a particular gene variant might increase a plant’s yield for producing biofuels). This press release triggered a number of articles in online publications that cover topics including energy, biology, and US government technology news.
The Economist Recognizes JBEI’s CEO Jay Keasling for Anti-Malarial Effort
On Sept. 10, The Economist announced Jay Keasling, CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), is the winner of its 2014 Innovation Award in the Bioscience category. Keasling, who is also Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of California-Berkeley and Senior Faculty Scientist and Associate Lab Director at Berkeley Lab, was recognized for his development of synthetic artemisinin used to treat malaria.
PBD Winners of the 2014 Director's Awards for Exceptional Achievement
PBD congratulates all of the recipients of the 2014 Director’s Awards for Exceptional Achievement, which includes eight people affiliated with the Physical Biosciences Division. Scientists, postdocs, and administrators were honored in the areas of Service (Mary Maxon, Individual Award); Tech Transfer (Afingen Team: Dominique Loque and Henrik Scheller); Diversity (iClem Team: Jorge Alonso-Gutierrez, Kevin George, Ee-Been Goh, and Kristen McIntosh) and Societal Impact (Pamela Ronald, Individual Award).
Going to Extremes for Enzymes: Berkeley Lab Researchers at EBI Look to Nature and Nurture for Biofuel Cellulases
In the age-old nature versus nurture debate, Douglas Clark, Faculty Scientist in the Physical Bioscience Division at Berkeley Lab and current Dean of the College of Chemistry at University of California (UC) Berkeley, is not taking sides. In the search for enzymes that can break lignocellulose down into biofuel sugars under the extreme conditions of a refinery, he has prospected for extremophilic microbes and engineered his own cellulases. Speaking at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Francisco, Clark discussed research for the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) in which he and his collaborators are investigating ways to release plant sugars from lignin for the production of liquid transportation fuels.
Blake Simmons Nominated as EMSL Wiley Research Fellow
Physical Biosciences' Blake Simmons, Chief Science and Technology Officer and Vice President for Deconstruction at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), has been nominated as an Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) Wiley Research Fellow. The nomination reflects Simmons’ important contributions to this national user facility extending well beyond his specific research interests as an individual researcher.
Stimulating Insulin Production in the Fight Against Type-II Diabetes
Adult-onset diabetes, characterized by abnormally high blood sugar, affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide. New treatments have centered on targeting the human receptor protein GPR40 to enhance sugar-dependent insulin secretion. Recently, Takeda researchers published their drug’s mechanism of action using protein structures solved at the ALS (Berkeley Center for Structural Biology, beamline 5.0.3).