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29-Jan-2016 Meet Crysten and Ian Blaby
The US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory welcomes two new biologists, Crysten and Ian Blaby, who have been brought to the Lab to explore the many genes that play a role in a plant's ability to harness energy and what those genes could mean for enhancing bioenergy crops.
4-Jan-2016 Q&A: Biologist describes milestone toward a universal flu vaccine
Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute and the Crucell Vaccine Institute have now designed a protein fragment called mini-HA that stimulates the production of antibodies against a variety of influenza viruses. A key part of the work took place at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, a DOE Office of Science User Facility at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, where the scientists used a technique called X-ray crystallography to look at the atomic structure of the mini-HA at each stage of its development.
29-Dec-2015 2015's Top 10 Scientific Advances at Brookhaven National Laboratory
From creating the tiniest drops of primordial particle soup to devising new ways to improve batteries, catalysts, superconductors, and more, scientists at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory pushed the boundaries of discovery in 2015. Here, in no particular order, are our picks for the top 10 advances of the year.
23-Dec-2015 Scratching the surface
Oceans cover almost three-quarters of the planet and are major contributors to atmospheric aerosols in the form of sea spray particles. These sea spray aerosols are rich in organic materials that impact cloud formation and the world's climate. Despite their abundance and significance, sea spray aerosols are not well understood. Researchers in collaboration with EMSL scientists are learning more about the chemistry of sea spray aerosols and their role in cloud formation to better account for them in climate models.
21-Dec-2015 Study forecasts disappearance of conifers due to climate change
A new study, led by Los Alamos National Laboratory, suggests that widespread loss of a major forest type, the pine-juniper woodlands of the Southwestern US, could be wiped out by the end of this century due to climate change, and that conifers throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere may be on a similar trajectory.
8-Dec-2015 Innovation boosts study of fragile biological samples at SLAC's X-ray laser
Researchers at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have found a simple new way to study very delicate biological samples -- like proteins at work in photosynthesis and components of protein-making machines called ribosomes -- at the atomic scale using SLAC's X-ray laser.
9-Nov-2015 Molecular clocks control mutation rate in human cells
Every cell in the human body contains a copy of the human genome. Through the course of a lifetime all cells are thought to acquire mutations in their genomes. Some of the mutational processes generating these mutations do so in bursts and these will often be through external exposures such as sunbathing or tobacco smoking. Other mutational processes, however, may be internal to the cell and generate mutations continuously, at a constant rate over decades.
26-Oct-2015 The silent treatment: EMSL's quiet wing
Scientists are advancing the understanding of biological and environmental systems by conducting at least part of their research in EMSL's Quiet Wing, one of the most advanced quiet laboratories in the world for high-resolution imaging capabilities. Scientists are using this facility for a wide range of research areas, including: to study bacteria in complex soil aggregates, to understand the behavior of a unique multicopper oxidase and to explore remediation methods using porous clay.
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.
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.