With help from Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source, scientists from UCLA recently designed a cage made of proteins. The nano-sized cage, which boasts a record breaking 225-angstrom outside diameter, could lead to new biomaterials and new ways to deliver drugs inside cells.
Here’s another reason to pay close attention to microbes: Today’s climate models probably overestimate the amount of carbon that will be released from soil into the atmosphere as temperatures rise, according to a Berkeley Lab computer model that explores the feedbacks between microbes, carbon, and climate change.
Scientists have identified a mechanism that could be contributing to warming in the Arctic and melting sea ice. They found that open oceans are much less efficient than sea ice when emitting in the far-infrared region of the spectrum, a phenomenon that is likely contributing to polar climate warming.
Synthetic biology may hold the key to long-termed manned explorations of Mars and the Moon. Berkeley Lab researchers show that biomanufacturing based on microbes could make travel to and settlement of extraterrestrial locations more practical and bearable.
Saul Perlmutter of the Physics Division and Jennifer Doudna of the Physical Biosciences Division were among the featured recipients of the 2015 Breakthrough Prizes in Fundamental Physics and Life Sciences. Twelve prizes in all, totaling $36 million, were announced November 10, at gala in Mountain View, CA.
Lab researchers have helped show that short carbon nanotubes can make excellent artificial pores within cell membranes. These nanotubes can self-insert into a cell membrane or other lipid bilayers. The artificial channels could be used for more robust DNA sequencing, drug delivery, and novel biosensors.
Berkeley Lab scientists have published a new study assessing the health effects of thirdhand smoke constituents present in indoor air. They found that thirdhand smoke continues to have harmful health impacts for many hours after a cigarette has been extinguished.
Lab scientists have developed a way to genetically rewire plants to allow for a high level of control over the spatial pattern and levels of gene expression. Now they’ve launched a startup called Afingen to apply this technology to developing low-cost biofuels that could compete with gasoline and corn ethanol.
As part of an international collaboration, Berkeley Lab scientists have helped create the coldest cubic meter in the universe. The chamber—roughly the size of a vending machine—was chilled to -273.144 degrees Celsius in preparation for an experiment to study neutrinos, ghostlike particles that could hold the key to the existence of matter.
In the on-going effort to develop advanced biofuels as a clean, green and sustainable source of liquid transportation fuels, researchers at DOE’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified microbial genes that can improve both the tolerance and production of biogasoline in engineered strains of Escherichia coli.