16-Sep-2015 Q&A: Biologist describes milestone in watching proteins boogie
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.
8-Sep-2015 Making the most from carbon in plants
Researchers are looking for more effective ways to get at all the carbon in biomass to create more energy and biochemicals. However, a lot of the carbon is in lignin -- support tissues in plants, which makes up about a third of the biomass. International teams of scientists are utilizing EMSL's expertise and capabilities to better understand how lignin can be efficiently deconstructed to release its carbon for a more renewable and sustainable energy future.
1-Sep-2015 Time-lapse analysis offers new look at how cells repair DNA damage
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.
20-Aug-2015 X-ray duo's research helps launch human trial for treatment of arsenic poisoning
Graham George and Ingrid Pickering, a husband and wife X-ray research team, have worked for decades to understand how contaminants in water and soil are taken up by the body and affect human health. Much of that research has taken place at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), a DOE Office of Science User Facility at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, where both are former staff scientists.
20-Aug-2015 Carbon number crunching
A booming economy and population led China to emerge in 2006 as the global leader in fossil-fuel carbon emissions, a distinction it still maintains. But exactly how much carbon China releases has been a topic of debate, with recent estimates varying by as much as 15 percent.
18-Aug-2015 Viral comparisons
An Oak Ridge National Laboratory team of comparative genomics and computational science researchers compared approximately 4,000 complete virus genomes downloaded from a public database known as GenBank. By compressing the sequence files, the team created a virus dendrogram that maps out the relationships among all the different virus families.
29-Jun-2015 Magnetic attraction
Researchers studying a broad spectrum of science, including biofuel production processes, climate effects on carbon cycling in the soil and carbon transformations in the atmosphere will soon have access to EMSL's new 21 Tesla Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer. Scientists are eager to start getting molecular-level information for their research, and six inaugural studies were selected to use the new instrument through a Special Science Call.
24-Jun-2015 Berkeley Lab scientists to develop better way to screen chemicals for cancer-causing effects
Berkeley Lab scientists are developing a cell culture that could help researchers better identify chemicals that increase breast cancer susceptibility. The scientists will grow the culture using adult stem cells obtained from breast tissue. Their test will show if a chemical causes a breakdown in cell-to-cell communication, a fundamental defect of cancer.
18-Jun-2015 Adapting nanoscience imaging tools to study ants' heat-deflecting adaptations
A new study shows that the tiny hairs of Saharan silver ants possess crucial adaptive features that allow the ants to regulate their body temperatures and survive the scorching hot conditions of their desert habitat. To study how the hairs allow the creatures to control electromagnetic waves in this manner, the Columbia Engineering research team turned to the resources and expertise available at Brookhaven Lab's Center for Functional Nanomaterials.
1-Jun-2015 Meraculous: Deciphering the 'book of life' with supercomputers
A team of scientists from Berkeley Lab, JGI and UC Berkeley, simplified and sped up genome assembly, reducing a months-long process to mere minutes. This was primarily achieved by 'parallelizing' the code to harness the processing power of supercomputers, such as NERSC's Edison system.
27-May-2015 The 'why' of models
An international team of researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Macquarie University, the University of Western Sydney and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry set out to assess how two Free-Air CO2 Enrichment projects compared to eleven vegetation models that simulate various ecological processes. Instead of only benchmarking whether or not an individual model matched the experimental data, the researchers developed an 'assumption-centered' approach to evaluate why certain models performed better than others.
12-May-2015 Finding the missing particles
For the past 20 years, a large portion of the particles measured in the atmosphere were missing from models. At best, models were able to explain one-tenth of the carbon-rich secondary organic aerosols measured in the air. The problem turned out to be a series of fundamental assumptions used in the models due to a lack of experimental data. All of the assumptions were proven false by Dr. Alla Zelenyuk and her colleagues.
8-May-2015 New method relates Greenland ice sheet changes to sea-level rise
Climate models are not yet able to include full models of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and to dynamically simulate how ice sheet changes influence sea level. Early schemes failed to accurately account for mass increase due to snowfall and mass loss due to snow melt. These changes depend on ice sheet elevation and region. A new method that includes the effects of elevation and region was developed.
6-May-2015 Heat's role in the Madden-Julian Oscillation
Tropical monsoons in Indonesia and floods in the United States are both provoked by the Madden-Julian Oscillation, a process that results in pulses of clouds and precipitation moving eastward around the globe. Despite the MJO's importance, global models often struggle to simulate the oscillation accurately. Researchers showed that MJO simulations are most sensitive to the existence of lower level heating in the atmosphere.
6-May-2015 Genetics of wood formation
To begin to understand the complex genetic interactions that control a potential bioenergy crop, scientists built a robust high-throughput pipeline for studying the hierarchy of genetic regulation of wood formation using tissue-specific single cells known as protoplasts.
1-May-2015 New tool shrinks big data in biology studies at SLAC's X-ray laser
A team led by Stanford scientists has created software that tackles the big data problem for X-ray laser experiments at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The program allows researchers to tease out more details while using far fewer samples and less data and time.
1-May-2015 New mathematical method enhances hydrology simulations
Just as a racecar's engine needs the right fuel to get the best performance, so climate models need finely tuned parameters to accurately simulate the impacts of different technologies and policies. Led by researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a team applied sophisticated mathematical solutions to fine tune the water and energy exchange parameters, numerical stand-ins for complex processes, to better simulate water and energy fluxes.
30-Apr-2015 Model captures how nitrogen limitation affects hydrological processes
Rising atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide act as a fertilizer for plants, speeding their growth and altering how they use water and interact with the climate. However, an insufficient supply of nitrogen can limit the rapid growth caused by increased carbon dioxide. Researchers adapted the Community Land Model to represent how nitrogen limitation affects plant growth.
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.