Today at Berkeley Lab

New CellScope Device Enables Safe Treatment for River Blindness

CellScope Loa enables safe treatment of river blindness (onchocerciasis) by detecting parasitic Loa loa worms in the blood. Developed by Dan Fletcher of the Biosciences Area, CellScope tools have enabled studies of retinal disease in Thailand, monitoring water quality in southern California, and diagnosing childhood earaches with the clip-on otoscope. More>

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A New Pathway for Radionuclide Uptake

Scientists have reported a major advance in understanding the biological chemistry of radioactive metals, opening up new avenues of research into strategies for remedial action in the event of possible human exposure to nuclear contaminants. More>

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A Key Step Toward Custom-Made Nanoscale Chemical Factories

Scientists have for the first time reengineered a building block of a geometric nanocompartment that occurs naturally in bacteria. The new design provides an entirely new functionality that greatly expands the potential for these compartments to serve as custom-made chemical factories. More>

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New Galaxy-Hunting Sky Camera Sees Redder Better

A newly upgraded camera that incorporates light sensors developed at Berkeley Lab is one of the best cameras on the planet for studying outer space at red wavelengths too red for the human eye to see. More>

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JGI Describes First Seagrass Genome for Salt Tolerance Insights

Coastal seagrass ecosystems cover some 200,000 square kilometers and account for 15 percent of carbon fixed in global ocean. A European team including JGI researchers sequenced the seagrass genome eelgrass Zostera marina. The scientists are interested in understanding how these and other plants in the ecosystem adapt to climate change. More>

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Coupling Tabletop Accelerators Produces Fundamental Breakthrough

Scientists at Berkeley Lab’s BELLA Center demonstrated that a laser pulse can accelerate an electron beam and couple it to a second laser plasma accelerator, where another laser pulse accelerates the beam to higher energy —a fundamental breakthrough in advanced accelerator science. More>

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JBEI Discovery Leads to Improved Usage of Full Set of Sugars for Biofuel

Xylose utilization remains the primary bottleneck in fully using the renewable plant biomass. In a recent paper, JBEI researchers report the discovery and characterization of a yeast sugar transporter variant with superior Vmax (uptake rates) for xylose. This discovery will be valuable in developing biomanufacturing strains that can use the full set of sugars generated from plant biomass. More>

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Polar Vortices Observed in Ferroelectric

Berkeley Lab’s Ramamoorthy Ramesh and Lane Martin led a study in which polar vortices were observed in a ferroelectric material. These polar vertices appear to be the electrical cousins of magnetic skyrmions and hold intriguing possibilities for advanced electronic devices. The discovery could also rewrite our basic understanding of ferroelectrics. More>

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JGI Uncovers ‘Kryptonia,’ A Novel Bacterial Phylum

Harnessing the Integrated Microbial Genomes systems data sets, and using metagenomics and single cell genomics strategies, a team led by JGI researchers has uncovered a completely novel bacterial phylum dubbed “Kryptonia.” The work, reported in Nature Communications, is part of the DOE’s efforts to uncover the extent of the planet’s microbial diversity. More>

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What New Wearable Sensors Can Reveal About Perspiration

When Berkeley engineers say they are going to make you sweat, it is all in the name of science. Specifically, it is for a flexible sensor system that can measure metabolites and electrolytes in sweat, calibrate the data based upon skin temperature and sync the results in real time to a smartphone. The Lab’s Ali Javey is principal investigator for this research. More>

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