Aindrila Mukhopadhyay of the Physical Biosciences Division and Trent Northen of Life Sciences led a cross-divisional research team that performed molecular level analysis of desert biological soil crusts – living ground cover formed by microbial communities. Their study revealed how long-dormant cyanobacteria become activated by rainfall then resume dormancy when the precipitation stops. Also working on this study, which was funded through the LDRD program, were Lara Rajeev, Ulisses Nunes da Rocha, Niels Klitgord, Eric Luning, Julian Fortney, Seth Axen, Patrick Shih, Nicholas Bouskill, Benjamin Bowen, Cheryl Kerfeld, Ferran Garcia-Pichel and Eoin Brodie. More>
Posts Tagged ‘Physical Biosciences Division’
The Physical Biosciences Division presents its next ‘Science & Tech Talk tomorrow with a lecture by Ian Sharp at 12:30 p.m. in the Building 50 Auditorium. He will discuss his work at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), where researchers are investigating ways to devise new technologies capable of providing distributable power that is carbon neutral and renewable, yet price competitive.
Inspired by the way plants grow toward light sources, a phenomenon known as phototropism, scientists from UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division have created a hydrogel that could be manipulated by light. The new hydrogel, described earlier this month in the journal Nano Letters, could have future applications in the emerging field of soft robotics. The research was led by Seung-Wuk Lee, who last year unveiled a way to generate electricity from viruses. More>
The structures of most of the two million proteins in the human body are unknown because they can’t be crystallized. Peter Zwart of the Physical Biosciences Division and his colleagues have come up with a new algorithm for efficiently solving the structures of proteins and other big molecules in their more natural fluid states, using the “diffract before destroy” capability of free-electron laser light sources like SLAC’s LCLS. Called fluctuation x-ray scattering, the technique uses the average diffraction patterns of numerous particles in solution, all captured simultaneously. More>
The Physical Biosciences Division presents its next “Science & Tech Talk” tomorrow with a lecture by UC Berkeley Professor Ming Hammond. She’ll discuss “Privileged RNA Scaffold for In Vivo Function” at noon in the Building 66 Auditorium. Hammond’s research aims to provide new insights into the regulation of gene expression in bacteria and plants, which has applications toward engineering bacteria and plants for biofuel production and other biotechnology projects.
Doug Clark and Harvey Blanch of the Physical Biosciences Division, along with postdoc Harshal Chokhawala, used a strategy they call “B-factor guided mutagenesis” to substantially improve the ability of a cellulase enzyme — TrEGI — to operate at advantageously high temperatures. The production of biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass would benefit on several levels if carried out at temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees Celsius. Clark described B-factor guided mutagenesis at the recent national meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans. This study is being done through the Energy Biosciences Institute of which Berkeley Lab is a partner. More>
Doug Clark of the Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division has been named the dean of UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry. Clark is a pioneering researcher in the field of biochemical engineering, with particular emphasis on enzyme technology, biomaterials, extremophiles and all areas of biofuels research. Clark will begin his new responsibilities, pending formal approval of his appointment from the UC Regents, on July 1. He will succeed Richard Mathies — also with the Physical Biosciences Division — who has served as dean for five years. More>
The National Academy of Sciences announced the election of two Berkeley Lab researchers to this year’s class of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries. They were elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Representing Berkeley Lab this year are James Berger (left) from the Physical Biosciences Division and James Sethian from the Computational Research Division. More>
Four Lab researchers have been elected to the 2013 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary society founded in 1780 to recognize leading “thinkers and doers.” The new members affiliated with Berkeley Lab are (clockwise) Frances Hellman of the Materials Sciences Division, Don Tilley of the Chemical Sciences Division, Susan Marqusee of the Physical Biosciences Division, and Hitoshi Murayama of the Physics Division. All four also hold joint appointments as professors at UC Berkeley. More>
John Tainer of the Life Sciences Division and Rob Rambo of the Physical Biosciences Division have developed a new set of metrics for analyzing data from small angle scattering (SAS) experiments that should dramatically improve the ability of scientists to study the structures of macromolecules such as proteins and nanoparticles in solution. Among other advantages, the new SAS metrics will reduce the time required to collect data by up to 20 times and could be a game-changer for accurate high-throughput and objective analyses of flexible macromolecules. More>