Today at Berkeley Lab

Do Bacteria Ever Go Extinct? New Research Says Yes, Big-Time

Patrick Shih of the Joint BioEnergy Institute and Biosciences Area collaborated with a team of researchers led by the University of British Columbia in a new study that has found that bacteria go extinct at substantial rates, but appear to avoid the mass extinctions that have hit larger forms of life on Earth. More>

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Local Seventh-Graders Donate $1,000 for EcoPOD Research

Brandeis School of San Francisco students presented a check to the Berkeley Lab Foundation to support research by the Biosciences Area EcoPOD team. EcoPODs are intermediate-size closed ecosystems that will bridge the gap between the lab bench and field. Parents donated money in lieu of traditional bar and bat mitzvah gifts to teach students about philanthropy through their Tzedek Program.

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New Methods to Control Bacterial Factories for Biotech Aims

Researchers affiliated with the Lab’s Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Division and Michigan State’s MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory developed two new methods to facilitate the construction of synthetic versions of bacterial microcompartments. Scientists want to retrofit these miniature factories to perform desired functions, such as producing biofuels, industrial materials, or nanoscale medical devices. More>

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DOE Program Fosters Next Generation of Lab Leaders

DOE’s Oppenheimer Science and Energy Leadership Program has helped the national labs build a deep bench of stewardship among mid-career professionals with expertise in the sciences, operations management, and policy. Computing Sciences’ Katie Antypas completed the program this April, and Biosciences’ Trent Northen completed the program in 2017. More>

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Volunteer Judges Needed for Aug. 11 Student Poster Competition

Volunteer judges are needed for Biotech Partners’ poster competition on Aug. 11 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Berkeley High School. Expertise in science is not required. If you’d like to volunteer, contact Linda Gayden, executive director of Biotech Partners, by Wednesday, July 25. More>

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Ultrathin Membrane Opens Door for Building Biohybrid Electrochemical Systems

Biosciences researchers have developed a novel nanoscale membrane that opens up a large design space for building scalable biohybrid electrochemical systems for a variety of applications, including electricity generation, waste remediation, and resource recovery, in addition to chemical synthesis. The paper describing their work was recently published in Nature Communications. More>

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KBase Flagship Paper Published in Nature Biotechnology

The DOE’s Systems Biology Knowledgebase, or KBase, is a collaborative, open software and data platform designed to meet the grand challenge of predicting and designing biological function from the biomolecular to the ecological. An overview of the platform and assessment of its impact was recently published in Nature Biotechnology. More>

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Mortimer Participates at AAAS Forum on Science & Technology Policy

Jenny Mortimer (Biosciences Area) participated in a recent AAAS Forum on Science & Technology Policy panel on “Science Competitiveness in Relation to Public Support for Science.” Panelists discussed how the scientific community must work to maintain societal relevance and build trust. Mortimer presented a code of ethics for scientists recently developed by the World Economic Forum’s Young Scientists community. More>

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Planning for Proposed BioEPIC Research Facility Gets Under Way

Conceptual planning has begun for the Biological and Environmental Program Integration Center (BioEPIC), a unique scientific facility proposed for the Lab’s Bayview site, following approval of the “mission need” by the Department of Energy in late March. More>

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Former Senior Biophysicist John Lyman — Inventor of Lyman Model — Dies at 86

John Tompkins Lyman, a former senior biophysicist at Berkeley Lab who researched the biological effects of ionizing radiation, passed away on May 30 at the age of 86 in Walnut Creek. His widely used analysis and method of optimization for radiation treatment became known as the Lyman Model. There will be a celebration of his life this Saturday, June 23, at 5:30 p.m. at Postino Restaurant in Lafayette. More>

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