Today at Berkeley Lab

New Crystallization Screen Reaches the Market

Protein crystals are the critical starting point for X-ray data collection and macromolecular structure determination. Bioscientists led by Paul Adams and Jose Henrique Pereira have developed a new crystallization screen with 96 conditions proven to be highly effective. The screen is now commercially available to the wider X-ray crystallography community. More>

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New Tracking Method Helps Understanding of Energy Flow in Photosynthesis

Harvesting energy from sunlight in synthetic organic semiconductors requires “exciton” energy to migrate to an interface where electronic charges are unleashed to generate electricity. Naomi Ginsberg of the Biosciences Area developed the most direct method to date to track this nanoscale process that occurs in the initial picoseconds after light absorption. More>

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Feb. 27 Women’s Panel on Transitioning from Academia to the Biotech Industry

The Women Entrepreneurs of Berkeley will host a panel discussion about transitioning from academia to the biotech industry on Feb. 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. Panelists include the Lab’s Jill Fuss of CinderBio, Rachel Haurwitz of Caribou Biosciences, and Sarah McWhirter of the STING Program at Aduro. Registration required. More>

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Gene Enhancers Are Important Despite Apparent Redundancy

An enhancer doesn’t have a one-to-one relationship with the gene it controls. Instead, there are many more enhancers than genes, and their relationship is unclear. Do many enhancers regulate a given gene’s expression in a given tissue, providing redundancy? Researchers investigated this question, and the overall importance of enhancers to development, in two recent studies. More>

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Super-Resolution Microscopy Reveals Fine Detail of Cellular Mesh

Ke Xu of the Biosciences Area used super-resolution microscopy to reveal the geodesic mesh supporting red blood cells, enabling them to be sturdy yet flexible enough to squeeze through narrow capillaries as they carry oxygen to tissues. The discovery could help uncover how malaria parasites hijack this mesh and destroy red blood cells. More>

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Silencing Is Golden: Molecules Vital for Gene Regulations Modeled

Lab scientists use cryo-electron microscopy to gain a deeper understanding of the structure of a regulatory complex. Their research could open up new possibilities for cancer therapies. More>

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Doudna Honored by National Academy of Sciences

Jennifer Doudna of the Lab’s Biosciences Area will receive the 2018 National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Sciences. She was recognized for her pioneering discoveries on how RNA can fold to function in complex ways and her co-invention of the CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing tool. More>

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Real-World Native Biocrusts: Microbial Metabolism

Biological soil crusts can exist for extended periods in a dormant state. When it rains, microbes in those crusts become metabolically active, altering both the community structure and the soil chemistry. Using a simplified test-tube system and “exometabolomics,” can help understand the connection between the chemical diversity of soil and microbial diversity in a real-world setting. More>

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A First Step Toward CRISPR Cure of Lou Gehrig’s Disease

For the first time, University of California, Berkeley scientists have used CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to disable a defective gene that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in mice, extending their lifespan by 25 percent. The team was led by Berkeley Lab bioscientist David Schaffer. More>

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Researchers ID Plant ‘Sunscreen’ Protein

A protein that protects plants from damage caused by too much light energy has been found. Plants with deficient levels of the lipocalin protein are less able to dissipate excess light energy. Researchers will explore how this energy dissipation process is turned on and off, and whether manipulation of light usage could lead to higher crop yields. More>

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