Today at Berkeley Lab

Archives for June 2011

Ovarian Cancer Genome Mapped, Opens Door to Personalized Medicine

Scientists have developed the first comprehensive catalog of the genetic aberrations responsible for an aggressive type of ovarian cancer that accounts for 70 percent of all ovarian cancer deaths. Hundreds of researchers from more than 80 institutions, including scientists from Berkeley Lab, deciphered the genome structure and gene expression patterns in high-grade serous ovarian adenocarcinomas from almost 500 patients. The result is the most expansive genomic analysis of any cancer to date and a major step toward the personalized treatment of ovarian cancer. More>

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ESD’s Greengenes Reaches Million-Sequence Milestone

This past March, Greengenes, an international database of bacterial biomarker 16S rRNA genes developed and sustained by an Earth Sciences Division team led by Todd DeSantis accepted its 1,000,000th high-quality DNA sequence, making it one of the largest curated collections of such sequences in the world. Greengenes is being applied to a number of different scientific investigations, including biofuels, medicine and microbial diversity. More>

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Three Biomedical Funders to Launch Open Access Journal

[Science Magazine] The Wellcome Trust, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Max Planck Society are launching a free online biology journal aimed at publishing the very best papers within a few weeks of submission. Another model for open access publishing, the Public Library of Science (PLoS), has been unable to cover the costs of its elite journals with author fees. Berkeley Lab’s Michael Eisen, a PLoS co-founder and board member, said launching another journal edited by “elite” scientists seems “mildly reactionary” and that paying reviewers “might not scale” to other journals. But there are “lot of things fantastic about this,” he says. “The instinct here is that peer review needs to be shaken up.” More>

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Can One Idea be Energy’s Holy Grail?

[CNN] Michel Laberge quit his job to invent a “glorified jackhammer” that he hoped would save the planet. That was 10 years ago. Now, investors are betting more than $30 million on that jackhammer idea, which may yield a safe, clean and unlimited power source called hot fusion. Laberge is trying to do something that no one has ever done: create a controlled “net gain” fusion reaction that creates more energy than is required to produce it. It’s the same process that powers our sun. If it works, it could solve huge problems like climate change, the energy crunch and reliance on foreign oil. More>

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Outdoor Movies Shown in Downtown Berkeley During August

[Berkeleyside] The “Center Street Summer Cinema” offers free screenings of movies under the stars (evening fog permitting) in downtown Berkeley on four consecutive Saturdays in August. Movies will be projected onto the west wall of the old UC Printing building, and the Bank of America parking lot will serve as the seating area for movie-goers. Food, entertainment and music will precede the movies, which will be shown around sundown. More>

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Splitsville for Boron Nitride Nanotubes

Alex Zettl of the Materials Sciences Division led the development of a technique for mass-producing defect-free boron nitride nanoribbons (BNNRs) of uniform lengths and thickness. BNNRs are predicted to display magnetic and electronic properties that hold enormous potential for future devices. Zettl group members working on this project were Kris Erickson, Ashley Gibb, Michael Rousseas and Nasim Alem. More>

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The Straight Story on Graphene

Those who hope to capitalize on graphene’s extraordinary properties will need to keep the material straight and flat. The Molecular Foundry’s David Prendergast was part of a multi-institutional team that imaged electron clouds on the surface of graphene. The team discovered that surface folds, ripples and other distortions can impair graphene’s ability to conduct electrons. More>

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Atop TV Sets, a Power Drain That Runs Nonstop

[New York Times] Those little boxes that usher cable signals and digital recording capacity into televisions have become the single largest electricity drain in many American homes, with some configurations eating more power than a new refrigerator and even some central air-conditioning systems. But energy efficiency experts say that technical fixes could eliminate or minimize the waiting time and inconvenience of rebooting sleeping cable boxes, some at little expense. Low-energy expert Alan Meier of Berkeley Lab said of the U.S. industry, “I don’t want to use the word ‘lazy,’ but they have had different priorities, and saving energy is not one of them.” More>

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QUEST Features Stories on Lab Supercomputing and Climate Modeling

KQED’s QUEST science series recently featured two Lab research projects. The first is on the extreme energy use of supercomputers and how Lab scientists are hoping reduce that energy load using technology in your cell phone. The second focuses on resolving clouds in the climate change models and includes a Q&A with earth scientist Bill Collins.

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CC2.0 Seminar on Photovoltaic Approaches to Artificial Photosynthesis

Joel Ager of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis and Materials Sciences Division will present the next CC 2.0 LDRD seminar on Thursday, June 30, at 2 p.m. in Building 15-253. Ager will discuss “Artificial Photosynthesis and Novel Photovoltaics.” The fundamental steps involved in developing an artificial photosynthesis scheme will be discussed, along with the scientific barriers, which have prevented development of a feasible system to date. More>

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