Today at Berkeley Lab

Gut Bacteria’s Shocking Secret: They Produce Electricity

UC Berkeley scientists discovered that a common diarrhea-causing bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes, produces electricity using an entirely different technique from known electrogenic bacteria, and that hundreds of other bacterial species use this same process. The scientists worked with the Lab’s Caroline Ajo-Franklin on this research. More>

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Swimming Lessons: Team Follows Fish to Build Energy-Efficiency Algorithms

A research team including Lab computing postdoc Amneet Pal Singh Bhalla (now at San Diego State) developed a new approach to simulate how fluid swirls around a fish or any other solid object. With this new approach, Bhalla and his colleagues have resolved some long-standing challenges in understanding how fluids interact with solid structures. More>

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JBEI Researchers Pave the Way for Efficient Gene Expression at Any Scale

In the quest to find the key to a rainforest-dwelling bacterium’s lignin-degrading ability, researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have constructed a gene expression system that outperforms conventional systems. Controlling gene expression is crucial to scientists’ ability to perform basic science and biotechnological research to produce enzymes, bio-based products, and biofuels, both at the bench and on industrial scales. More>

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Molecular Structure Reveals Mechanism Behind Periodic Paralysis

A rare genetic disorder called hypokalemic periodic paralysis (hypoPP) causes sudden, profound muscle weakness in people who occasionally exhibit low levels of potassium in their blood, or hypokalemia. Researchers from the University of Washington have used the Advanced Light Source to see, at the molecular level, how a single mutation in a cell-membrane protein can cause this to happen and how it might be treated. More>

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Geometry, Physics, and Machine Learning Take on Climate Research Data Challenges

Two Ph.D. students who were Lab interns back in 2016 so impressed their Lab mentors, they are now spending six months a year at the Lab through 2020. The duo is developing more effective ways to detect and characterize extreme weather events in the global climate system and developing more efficient methods for analyzing the ever-increasing amount of simulated and observational data. More>

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Online Tool Fills Gap for Energy Retrofit Projects

A national online energy data management system is transforming how energy retrofit projects implemented by a wide variety of users develop projects and track performance. The eProject Builder energy project data management and benchmarking tool was developed by Berkeley Lab to standardize and monitor energy project performance data nationwide. The system has recently reached a milestone of 500 projects initiated and 1,000 users trained. More>

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NSF Institute to Include Lab Physicists in Big Data R&D

With $25 million in funding, the National Science Foundation’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Software will develop systems to help manage the large amounts of data produced by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). As part of this effort, Lab physicist Heather Gray and other Lab scientists (in association with UC Berkeley) will focus on reconstructing the paths of particles produced in LHC experiments. More>

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EESA Researchers on What’s Needed to Improve Climate Projections

In a recent article in Science magazine, Bill Collins, director of the Lab’s Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division, and research scientist Dan Feldman, argue that it’s time for climate models, which have been in use since the 1960s, to adopt a consistent method for calculating radiative forcing by CO2. More>

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New Insights into Semiconductors for Spintronic Applications

Spintronics holds promise for new types of information-processing and data-storage devices that are faster and more energy efficient than current electronics. Manganese-doped gallium arsenide are a promising material for spintronics, and Lab researchers have demonstrated the use of new X-ray spectroscopy techniques to illuminate the internal structure of manganese-doped gallium arsenide. More>

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Improving Soil Quality Can Slow Global Warming

Low-tech ways of improving soil quality on farms and rangelands worldwide — such as planting cover crops, optimizing grazing, and sowing legumes on rangelands — could pull significant amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere and slow the pace of climate change, according to a new study by researchers at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab. More>

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