The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed over 110 lives and more than 170 cases have been reported. While there is no known cure for the virus, basic research is providing insight into the viral mechanism. Recently, a team led by Erica Ollman Saphire (Scripps) elucidated one of the structures of an Ebola virus protein VP40 using data collected in the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology at the Advanced Light Source. Further studies illustrate how VP40 assumes various structural conformations to enable different functions. All structures were solved using PHENIX, automated crystallography software developed under the direction of Paul Adams in the Physical Biosciences Division. More>
Posts Tagged ‘Science/Research’
The bad news: a major transformation of our current energy supply system is needed in order to avoid a dangerous increase in global temperatures. The good news: the technologies needed to get there are mostly readily available. These are some of the main conclusions reached by Berkeley Lab experts and their Working Group III co-authors on the Fifth Assessment Report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Lab contributors included Jayant Sathaye, Ryan Wiser, Ashok Gadgil, Lynn Price, James McMahon, Ali Hasanbeigi, and Stephane de la Rue Du Can, all of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division. More>
David Danielson, Assistant DOE Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, visited the Lab Monday to tour FLEXLAB, the Facility for Low-Energy experiments in Buildings, and to meet with executives of Webcor. The construction firm is partnering with FLEXLAB to test building energy performance for a new building for Genentech. The research will take place in FLEXLAB’s rotating testbed, a unit that rotates 270 degrees to allow the study of building energy use in a variety of orientations relative to the sun. Danielson also met with Lab researchers and Lab Director Paul Alivisatos and toured the Molecular Foundry. More>
Stanford University scientists, with help from Jim Ciston at Berkeley Lab’s National Center for Electron Microscopy, have found a new, highly efficient way to produce liquid ethanol from carbon monoxide gas. This promising discovery could provide an eco-friendly alternative to conventional ethanol production from corn and other crops, say the scientists. Their results are published in the April 9 advanced online edition of the journal Nature. Go here to read a Stanford University news release on the research.
The UC Berkeley College of Chemistry has launched a new collaborative research center, the California Research Alliance by BASF (CARA), a multidisciplinary effort focused on innovation and technology transfer. Along with Berkeley and the chemical company BASF, CARA academic partners include UCLA and Stanford University. CARA is led by Berkeley Lab scientists and UC Berkeley chemistry professors Peidong Yang and Omar Yaghi. More>
V2G Sim, a vehicle-to-grid simulation program developed by EETD researchers, will help government authorities, power markets, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders harness the resource offered by the growing fleet of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The PEV fleet can be used to avoid potential shortages of electricity during peak times, and provide extra storage capacity when the grid is generating more than it needs to satisfy demand. Learn more about the research here.
Berkeley Lab researchers working at the ALS have observed an unusual pairing that seems to go against a universal scientific truth–that opposite charges attract and like charges repel. The researchers demonstrated that, when hydrated in water, positively charged ions (cations) can actually pair up with one another. Read more…
The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), part of the third Sloan Digital Sky Survey, pioneered quasar studies of dark energy. Andreu Font-Ribera of the Physics Division has led a new kind of quasar analytical method. Combined with older methods, it establishes the universe’s expansion rate at redshift 2.34 within two percent: 68 kilometers per second per million light years, the most precise measurement of expansion since galaxies formed. BOSS PI David Schlegel remarks that when the technique was first suggested, “some of us were afraid it wouldn’t work,” but “our precision measures are even better than we optimistically hoped for.” More>
Nanostructures half the breadth of a DNA strand could improve the efficiency of light emitting diodes (LEDs), especially in the “green gap,” a portion of the spectrum where LED efficiency plunges, simulations carried out at NERSC have shown. The semiconductor indium nitride (InN), which typically emits infrared light, will emit green light if reduced to 1 nanometer-wide wires, University of Michigan researchers calculated. What’s more, the color of light could be controlled by changing the width of nanowire, leading to natural-looking, white light that can be “tuned” to taste, for example sunlight, lamp light or even candle light. More>
Jay Keasling, ALD for Biosciences, and Mary Maxon, who heads strategic planning and development for Biosciences, are spearheading a proposal to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) called BOB – for Berkeley Open Biofoundry. If successful, this proposal would create a new type of user facility in which industrial, academic, and government stakeholders will have access to engineered biological systems, including microbes, plants and tissues, at all stages of the engineering process, including design, building, testing and learning. BOB recently passed a crucial first test when DARPA awarded the Lab $1.5 million to proceed with a “Task Area 1” (TA1) design and study phase. The Lab submitted the BOB proposal in partnership with four private corporations, Amyris, Agilent, Lockheed Martin and 20n Labs. More>