Today at Berkeley Lab

Scientists Bring Polymers Into Atomic-Scale Focus

A Berkeley Lab-led research has adapted a powerful electron-based imaging technique to obtain a first-of-its-kind image of atomic-scale structure in a synthetic polymer. The research could ultimately inform polymer fabrication methods and lead to new designs for materials and devices that incorporate polymers. More>

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Scientists Capture Photosynthesis in Unprecedented Detail

Grab some popcorn: Berkeley Lab scientists have succeeded in capturing a more detailed picture than ever of the steps in the reaction mechanisms in photosynthesis, the process by which plants use sunlight to split water and produce oxygen while making the carbohydrates that sustain life on Earth. More>

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Postdoc Investigates the Interactions Between Soil Microbes and Plants

Lauren Jabusch has been passionate about sustainability and outreach since her early days as a freshman at UC Davis. Nearly a decade later, she has earned a bachelor’s, a master’s, and most recently a doctoral degree in biosystems engineering. Now a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Lab, Jabusch investigates the interactions between soil microbes and plants. More>

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Judith Campisi to Speak at EX-Ls Luncheon on Nov. 15

Biosciences’ Judith Campisi will give a talk on “The Essence of Senescence” at the next ‘EX-Ls’ Berkeley Lab Retirement Association luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 15, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton in the Berkeley Marina at 200 Marina Blvd. Registration costs $40. Questions? Contact Kathy Bjornstad, EX-Ls activity coordinator.

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Photosynthesis Like a Moss

Moss evolved after algae but before vascular land plants, such as ferns and trees, making them an interesting target for scientists studying photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight to fuel. Now Berkeley Lab researchers have made a discovery that could shed light on how plants evolved to move from the ocean to land. More>

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Plant Protection Plan: When Too Much of a Good Thing Is Bad

When green plants absorb more light energy than they can use, they avoid getting damaged by dissipating the excess energy as heat. But this protective response decreases their productivity. Engineering plants’ photoprotection capabilities to minimize this loss could increase crop yields. Two recent studies by Biosciences Area researchers provide several key insights into the molecular details of these mechanisms. More>

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EcoPods Team Participating in DOE Entrepreneurial Program

Biosciences Area researchers Esther Singer, Cinta Gomez Silvan, and Vega Shah are part of a Lab team developing pilot-scale ecosystems called EcoPods that participated in the opening session of DOE’s Energy I-Corps program earlier this month in Golden, Colorado. More>

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Berkeley Lab Team Takes Part in DOE’s Energy I-Corps Program

Biosciences Area researchers Marcin Joachimiak and Deepti Tanjore are representing the Lab at the U.S. Department of Energy’s I-Corps program, an intensive two-month training course that pairs national laboratory researchers with industry mentors to develop viable market pathways for their technologies. The pair presented their project during the opening session held October 1–5 in Golden, Colorado. More>

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Scientists Mining Metagenomes Find Miniature Molecular Scissors

By mining a database of microbial genomes and metagenomes managed by the Joint Genome Institute, a team of researchers has identified new CRISPR-associated enzymes in an ancient microbial lineage. Just one-third the size of the Cas9 protein — the business end of the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 — the new enzyme family, Cas14, is the smallest known functional CRISPR system. Cas14 may help improve CRISPR-based diagnostic tools. More>

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Science Meets Fiction: Researchers Use Lab Inspiration in Their Writing

When it comes to writing science fiction, authors Corie Ralston (Biosciences Area) and Joe Silber (Engineering Division) use their experiences at the Lab to inform the plots of their stories. “I have daily interactions with scientists and access to all of these lab spaces where science actually happens,” says Silber. “I experience the visual, sensorial aspects firsthand — all of that adds a lot of texture to my stories.” More>

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