News Center

Basics2Breakthroughs Video Series

Research at Berkeley Lab starts with basic science which leads to innovative breakthroughs that have changed the world. The Basics2Breakthroughs video series focuses on early career scientists discussing their research and what they hope for the future in that research.




Episode 12 | Marlene Turner: Accelerating particles in plasma

Particle accelerators aren’t just a part of theoretical research, they play a big role in the science of our everyday lives, such as powering the machines used for cancer radiotherapy or allowing us to “see” the atomic structure of COVID-19 antibodies. Physicist Marlene Turner explains why the new generation of plasma-based accelerators are smaller, better, and faster than ever.

Episode 11 | Michael Whittaker: Sustainably sourcing lithium

Berkeley Lab Research Scientist Michael Whittaker develops tools and methods to view mineral resources in new ways, zooming in to the level of atoms to inspire ideas that will help transition towards sustainable extraction of critical elements like lithium.

Episode 10 | Mariam Kiran: AI for better networking

Berkeley Lab Research Scientist Mariam Kiran uses deep reinforcement learning and innovative multi-objective optimization techniques to train network controllers to predict network traffic and improve traffic engineering.

Episode 9 | Thomas Eng: Creating sustainable plastic

Research Scientist and Deputy Director of Host Engineering at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) Thomas Eng is using the gene editing tool CRISPR to create a more sustainable plastic.

Episode 8 | Lauren Lui: Observing the microbial genome

Project Scientist Lauren Lui is using the latest bioinformatics technology to study the genes of these immensely bountiful & diverse microbes so we can learn how they shape the environment – and how we could harness them for agriculture, medicine, and more.

Episode 7 | Tess Smidt: Improving machine learning to make big discoveries

Tess Smidt is a physicist and computer scientist developing machine learning algorithms that can model the complex geometry of the universe, from atomic arrangements to building designs.

Episode 6 | Jason Cooper: Harnessing energy from the sun

Berkeley Lab Research Scientist Jason Cooper talks about the process of artificial photosynthesis and how it’s used to convert sunlight into liquid chemical fuels.

Episode 5 | Mekena Metcalf: Harnessing quantum mechanics for real world applications

Berkeley Lab Postdoc Researcher Mekena Metcalf is a Quantum Wrangler who develops computer software and theory to control quantum systems with electromagnetic waves.

Episode 4 | Jonelle Basso: Deciphering the plant microbiome

Berkeley Lab Postdoc Researcher Jonelle Basso is getting to the root of plant-microbe interactions which can lead to more efficient and sustainable crops that produce food, plant-based biofuels, and bioproducts.

Episode 3 | Sean Lubner: Better energy storage to power a city with renewables

Berkeley Lab Research Scientist Sean Lubner is studying materials that can help better store renewable energy to power large scale systems.

Episode 2 | Natalia Molchanova: Mimicking nature with peptoids

Natalia Molchanova, a scientific engineering associate at the Molecular Foundry, works on synthetically produced proteins called peptoids which have advanced low-cost biotech solutions.

Episode 1 | Jennifer Pore: Exploring the universe, one superheavy element at a time

Berkeley Lab Project Scientist Jennifer Pore talks about how research in superheavy elements and isotopes can help us better understand the universe.