With the 21st Century dawns what many have called the
"biological century," in which advances in biologyspurred by achievements in
genomic research, including the sequencing of the human genomewill bring
revolutionary and unconventional solutions to some of mankindís most pressing
and expensive challenges in health, energy, the environment, and national
Using an X-ray laser at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, researchers have for the first time directly seen myoglobin move within quadrillionths of a second after a bond breaks and the protein releases a gas molecule. The Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser is a DOE Office of Science User Facility, and its short, bright pulses were essential for observing these ultrafast, atomic-scale motions.
Time-lapse imaging can make complicated processes easier to grasp. Berkeley Lab scientists are using a similar approach to study how cells repair DNA damage. Microscopy images are acquired about every thirty minutes over a span of up to two days, and the resulting sequence of images shows ever-changing hotspots inside cells where DNA is under repair.
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.