JBEI Hosts National Student Leadership Conference
The Joint BioEnergy Institute hosted 76 students who are taking part in a summer biotechnology program run by the National Student Leadership Conference (NSCL). Every summer the NSLC invites a select group of outstanding high school students, from the US and abroad, to participate in its fast-paced, high-level, interactive summer sessions.
The iCLEM Program: An Atypical Summer Job for Bay Area High School Students
Eight Bay Area high school students have been conducting scientific research on bioenergy as part of “iCLEM,” which stands for Introductory College Level Experience in Microbiology. This program provides a paid summer internship for high-potential, low income high school students who have finished their junior or sophomore year. Sponsored by the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (Synberc), the program gets funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Postcards from the Photosynthetic Edge:
Berkeley Lab Researchers Take Femtosecond Snapshots of Photosynthetic Water Oxidation
Using the world’s most powerful x-ray laser, an international collaboration led by Berkeley Lab researchers took femtosecond “snapshots” of water oxidation in photosystem II, the only known biological system able to harness sunlight for splitting the water molecule. The results should help advance the development of artificial photosynthesis for clean, green, and renewable energy.
PBD's Scheller and Loqué Among Recipients of R&D 100 Awards
Two members of PBD and JBEI, Henrik Scheller and Dominique Loqué, are among the recipients of the 2014 R&D 100 awards. They were recognized for their Tissue-Specific Cell-Wall Engineering for Biofuels and Biomaterials, a suite of precision genetic tools that will improve crops bred for production of food, biofuels, industrial polymers, and pharmaceuticals.
Adam Arkin to be Featured on ‘Through the Wormhole’ Program
Adam Arkin, Director of the Physical Biosciences Division, will appear on the popular Science Channel program, "Through the Wormhole," on July 9th at 10 PM. The show, “Will We Become God?” looks at the scientific breakthroughs that are seemingly granting humans “divine” abilities.
New Discovery in Living Cell Signaling
Berkeley Lab researchers help find that what was believed to be noise is an important signaling factor. A breakthrough discovery into how living cells process and respond to chemical information could help advance the development of treatments for a large number of cancers and other cellular disorders that have been resistant to therapy.
Mobile Microscopes: Snapping The Future Of Health Care
Physical bioscientist Daniel Fletcher’s pioneering research is discussed in a Forbes story about the smartphones’ new healthcare applications, such as the CellScope, a microscope he developed that can be used in the field.
A CRISPR Way to Fix Genes
NPR’s “All Things Considered” program profiles Berkeley Lab’s Jennifer Doudna and her contributions to the development of a revolutionary genetic engineering technique, a major breakthrough in the fight against hereditary diseases.
NIH funding boosts development of new biophysical technique
The National Institutes of Health have provided important support for the development of Fluctuation X-ray Scattering (FXS) by awarding an R01 grant to Dr. Peter H. Zwart, Biophysicist Research Scientist in the Physical Biosciences Division. The funding, 1.7M USD over the next five years, will be used by Dr. Zwart and his team to develop theory and software for the analyses of FXS data.
The JBEI GT Collection: A New Resource for Advanced Biofuels Research
The JBEI GT Collection, the first glycosyltransferase clone collection specifically targeted for the study of plant cell wall biosynthesis, is expected to drive basic scientific understanding of GTs and better enable the manipulation of plant cell walls for the production of biofuels and other chemical products.
PBD's Fleming Group Creates Dynamic Spectroscopy Duo
Graham Fleming, UC Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Research and a faculty senior scientist with Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division, led the development of a new experimental technique called two-dimensional electronic-vibrational spectroscopy (2D-EV). By combining the advantages of two well-established spectroscopy technologies – 2D-electronic and 2D-infrared – this technique is the first that can be used to simultaneously monitor electronic and molecular dynamics on a femtosecond (millionth of a billionth of a second) time-scale. The results show how the coupling of electronic states and nuclear vibrations affect the outcome of photochemical reactions.
JCAP Researchers Stabilize Semiconductors for Artificial Photosynthesis
Artificial photosynthesis is achieved by using light to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Recently, researchers at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), utilizing three of the National User Facilities at Berkeley Lab, were able to address one of the major challenges in artificial photosynthesis – the stabilization of semiconductor materials under the harsh conditions required for water splitting. The Physical Biosciences Division’s Ian Sharp led the team that developed and tested this novel method, published recently in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Tobacco Gets a Makeover as New Source for Biofuel
KQED’s ‘QUEST’ highlights research program, Folium, that includes Lab scientists, among them PBD Faculty Affiliate Cheryl Kerfeld. Folium is backed by a $4.8 million grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a U.S. Department of Energy agency that funds the research and development of emerging energy technologies. FOLIUM is a research project aimed at producing high-density liquid fuels in the green biomass of tobacco. Through bioengineering, tobacco could be made to produce hydrocarbon fuels in its leaves and stems and have increased efficiency of carbon dioxide uptake and solar energy capture.
Keasling Wins 2014 Eni Award’s Renewable Energy Prize
Jay Keasling, Berkeley Lab’s ALD for Biosciences and the CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), has won the 2014 Renewable Energy Prize portion of the prestigious Eni Awards for his achievements in “the microbial production of hydrocarbon fuels.” Sponsored by Eni, a global multibillion dollar energy company headquartered in Rome, the Eni Awards were created to “develop better use of renewable energy, promote environmental research and encourage new generations of researchers.” The Renewable Energy Prize comes with a gold medal and a 200,000 Euros cash award. Keasling is recognized as a world leader in the burgeoning field of synthetic biology and its applications to the production of clean, green advanced biofuels and other valuable chemicals.
Berkeley Lab Programs Facilitate Blood Cancer Research
Two Berkeley Lab resources, the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology at the Advanced Light Source and the Phenix X-ray crystallography software developed in the Physical Biosciences Division, were integral to the solution and refinement of the kinase/pseudokinase structure of JAK family member, TYK2.
Based on this structural information, the team from Genentech proposed a mechanism for how these mutations could cause blood cancers.
Emeryville Home to Bio-Incredibles Like JBEI & ABPDU
Both the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and Advanced Biofuels Process Development Unit (ABPDU) were mentioned in a BiofuelsDigest story about the team at Industrial Microbes, a new company across the street.
How Sweet It Is
JBEI researchers have developed a powerful new tool that can help advance the genetic engineering of “fuel” crops for clean, green and renewable bioenergy - an assay that enables scientists to identify and characterize the function of nucleotide sugar transporters, critical components in the biosynthesis of plant cell walls.