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On the Path Toward Bionic Enzymes

This graphic depicts a view into the bionic enzyme, an artificial metalloenzyme created by Berkeley Lab scientists. Within the protein (grey) is a porphyrin (red), a component of natural heme proteins, with iridium as the active site (purple). The enzyme converts the molecules at the top left and right to those at the bottom left and right by reaction at a carbon-hydrogen bond and carbon-carbon double bond, respectively. (Credit: John Hartwig Lab/Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley)

Berkeley Lab chemists have successfully married chemistry and biology to create reactions never before possible. They did this by replacing the iron normally found in the muscle protein myoglobin with iridium, a noble metal not known to be used by living systems.

Copper is Key in Burning Fat

Chris Chang and UC Berkeley graduate student Sumin Lee carry out experiments to find proteins that bind to copper and potentially influence the storage and burning of fat. (Credit: Peg Skorpinski/UC Berkeley)

A new study led by a Berkeley Lab scientist and UC Berkeley professor establishes for the first time copper’s role in fat metabolism, further burnishing the metal’s reputation as an essential nutrient for human physiology.

New Path Forward for Next-Generation Lithium-Ion Batteries

A new study by Berkeley Lab researchers Dong-Hwa Seo, Alex Urban, Jinhyuk Lee, and Gerd Ceder (from left) sheds light on how lithium-rich cathodes work, opening the door to higher capacity batteries.

A team led by Gerbrand Ceder has made a major advance in understanding the chemical processes in “lithium-rich cathodes,” which hold promise for a higher energy lithium-ion battery.

‘Disruptive Device’ Brings Xenon-NMR to Fragile Materials

This illustration shows how the new method works. Hyperpolarized xenon-129, which can sense molecular ordering within the samples, diffuses through hollow membrane fibers containing viscous liquids. Different chemical environments, including phases (gas, liquid or solid) and types of molecular order, correspond to highly resolved xenon-129 chemical shifts, represented here by different colors of xenon atoms. (Image credit: Ashley Truxal)

A new device will enable nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, coupled with a powerful molecular sensor, to analyze molecular interactions in viscous solutions and fragile materials such as liquid crystals.

Weaving a New Story for COFS and MOFs

Omar Weaving art illustation feature

An international collaboration led by Berkeley Lab scientists
has woven the first 3D covalent organic frameworks (COFs) from helical organic threads. The woven COFs display significant advantages in structural flexibility, resiliency and reversibility over previous COFs.

Seeing the Big Picture in Photosynthetic Light Harvesting

Through the miracle of photosynthesis, plants absorb sunlight in their leaves and convert the photonic energy into chemical energy that is stored as sugars in the plants’ biomass. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

Berkeley Lab scientists have created the first computational model that simulates the light-harvesting activity of thousands of antenna proteins that would interact in the chloroplast of an actual leaf. The results point the way to improving the yields of food and fuel crops, and developing artificial photosynthesis technologies for next generation solar energy systems.

Nanocarriers May Carry New Hope for Brain Cancer Therapy:

3HM nanocarriers for brain cancer therapy

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a new family of nanocarriers, called “3HM,” that meets all the size and stability requirements for effectively delivering therapeutic drugs to the brain for the treatment of a deadly form of cancer known as glioblastoma multiforme.

It Takes a Thief

The overall architecture of Cas1–Cas2 bound to protospacer DNA with line segments that indicate DNA lengths spanning a total of 33 nucleotides.

The discovery by Berkeley Lab researchers of the structural basis by which bacteria are able to capture genetic information from viruses and other foreign invaders for use in their own immunological system holds promise for studying or correcting problems in human genomes.

Cellular Contamination Pathway for Plutonium, Other Heavy Elements, Identified

From left to right, Rebecca Abergel, Stacey Gauny, Manuel Struzbecher-Hoehne, and Dahlia An. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have reported a major advance in understanding the biological chemistry of radioactive metals, opening up new avenues of research into strategies for remedial action in the event of possible human exposure to nuclear contaminants.

Unlocking the Rice Immune System

Rice is a staple for half the world’s population and the model plant for grass-type biofuel feedstocks (Photo courtesy of IRRI)

JBEI, UC Davis and Berkeley Lab researchers have identified a bacterial signaling molecule that triggers an immunity response in rice plants, enabling the plants to resist a devastating blight disease. Rice is not only a staple food, it is the model for grass-type advanced biofuels.