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PHYSICAL BIOSCIENCES DIVISION ONE STOP



Doudna Whiteboard JBEI Oenophiles Scheller & Loque Yachandra/Yano Protein Brush
Doudna Hopes to Fix Faulty Genes — Hear More
JBEI Researchers Harness Power of Microbes — Read More
PBD's Scheller & Loqué Receive 2014 R&D 100 Award — Read More
NPR’s Science Friday Notes NERSC, ESnet, CRD, PBD, SLAC Collaboration — Read More
Scientists Create New Protein-Based Material With Some Nerve — Read More

Latest News


  • Jay Keasling to Give Keynote at Campus Synthetic Biology Conference

    Keasling The gathering, co-sponsored by UC Berkeley and the University of Copenhagen, takes place November 10th-12th and focuses on “Optimal Production of High-Value Compounds — Dialogue Between Fields for More Efficient Output.” In addition to JBEI CEO Keasling, Faculty Biologist Kris Nyogi and Dominique Loque, Director of Cell Wall Engineering at JBEI, will also speak at the event.

  • A Day in the Life of the Lab Documented During Instagram Takeover

    Patrick Shih From morning coffee at the ALS to a JBEI researcher watering his plant specimens to a turkey taking in the view from the Hill, staff from all over the Lab took pictures documenting their day during a Lab-wide Instragram takeover last week. Participants from PBD were Jane Tanamachi (Sr. Administrator, Beamline 8.3.1), Patrick Shih (JBEI Post Doc), Corie Ralston (Head of the BCSB), Eva Pan (JBEI strain archivist), and Tina Clarke (Sr. HR Division Partner) with the PBD Operations Team.

  • Scientists Create New Protein-Based Material With Some Nerve

    Protein Brush PBD Faculty Bioengineer Sanjay Kumar and his group have taken proteins from nerve cells and used them to create a “smart” material that is extremely sensitive to its environment. This marriage of materials science and biology could give birth to a flexible, sensitive coating that is easy and cheap to manufacture in large quantities.

  • ALS Progression Linked to Increased Protein Instability

    ALS Protein Snake A new study by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute, Berkeley Lab (including PBD's Rambo & Dyer), and other institutions suggests a cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The study provides evidence that those proteins linked to more severe forms of the disease are less stable structurally and more prone to form clusters or aggregates.

  • In Hopes Of Fixing Faulty Genes, One Scientist Starts With The Basics

    Doudna In an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition, Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist with the Physical Biosciences Division and professor at UC Berkeley, described her research in genome editing, how it could facilitate personalized medicine, and why she decided to become a scientist.

  • JBEI Researchers Harness Power of Microbes for Work and Winemaking

    JBEI Oenophiles For the past four years, Trent Northen and Chris Petzold have put molecules to work in their home-based wine making project. Both scientists are very interested in microbial communities in their work, and they make the connection that microbial communities are also what they’re using to make wine.

  • NPR’s Science Friday Notes NERSC, ESnet, CRD, PBD, SLAC Collaboration

    SPOT Suite National Public Radio’s Science Friday show recently asked listeners to submit their observations of interesting science. Among the favorites selected to highlight was a collaboration between NERSC, ESnet and SLAC, which has used SPOT Suite, a collection of software and data analysis tools developed by the Computational Research Division.

  • RCas9: A Programmable RNA Editing Tool

    RCas9 Jennifer Doudna of the Physical Biosciences Division led a study that demonstrates that the CRISPR/Cas9 protein complex, a powerful scientific tool for editing DNA instructions, can also be applied to RNA.

  • Ehud Isacoff among recipients of NIH awards to advance brain initiative

    LiGluR The National Institutes of Health today announced its first research grants through President Barack Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, including three awards to the University of California, Berkeley, totaling nearly $7.2 million over three years. PBD Faculty Biologist Ehud Isacoff, director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute and professor of molecular and cell biology, and Richard Kramer, the CH and Annie Li Chair in Molecular Biology of Diseases and professor of molecular and cell biology, will receive $1.5 million over three years from the NINDS to add photoswitches to all the neurotransmitter receptors in the brain so they can be turned on or off with light to study their roles in brain circuits.

  • Stimulating Insulin Production in the Fight Against Type-II Diabetes

    Takeda Structure 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).

  • 4 Minutes With…Seema Singh, Director-Biomass Pretreatment, JBEI

    Singh 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.

  • Lab Partners with Campus and UCSF in BRAINseed

    Maharbiz The Lab is contributing both financially and intellectually to BRAINSeed, a partnership with UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco to accelerate “innovative but risky” brain research through nanoscience and optogenetic technologies. Berkeley Lab scientists, including two of PBD's Faculty Scientists, Ehud Isacoff and Michel Maharbiz, and facilities such as NERSC and the Foundry will be playing key roles in these projects.

  • Industry@ALS: Caribou Biosciences Has Roots at the ALS

    Caribou Biosciences 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

    Saphire & Roberto 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.

  • PBD 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 &
    VP-Deconstruction, JBEI

    Simmons 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 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.

  • BCSB to Receive $5M from HHMI to Build a New Microfocus Crystallography Beamline

    GEMINI The Berkeley Center for Structural Biology (BCSB) has helped hundreds of crystallographers to determine the structures of more than 1,000 proteins. To ensure users have access to state-of-the-art instrumentation and support, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has pledged $5 million over the next 3 years for the construction of a new cutting-edge microfocus macromolecular crystallography beamline.