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A Matchmaker for Microbiomes

A unique neural network tool is making it possible to accurately infer the interactions between the microbes that are present in a community and the metabolites they produce – a capability that will greatly advance research into the microbiomes in the environment and inside our bodies.

When Solids and Liquids Meet: In Nanoscale Detail

To better understand how a liquid interacts with the surface of a solid, Berkeley Lab researchers developed a platform to explore these interactions under real conditions at the nanoscale using a technique that combines infrared light with an atomic-scale probe.

Underwater Telecom Cables Make Superb Seismic Network

Adapted from a news release by UC Berkeley: Fiber-optic cables that constitute a global undersea telecommunications network could one day help scientists study offshore earthquakes and the geologic structures hidden deep beneath the ocean surface. In a recent paper in the journal Science, researchers from UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), Monterey Bay

Gaming Protein Structures: X-Ray Studies Confirm Power of Crowdsourcing

The unique ways in which proteins fold dictate their interplay with diseases and medicines, so understanding their twists and turns is key to designing effective drugs. While new drug design is serious work, discovering how proteins fold can be fun, too: A crowdsourcing game called Foldit allows players to try different fold configurations for points

Perfectly Raw or Cooked to Perfection? How Food Preparation Affects the Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome undergoes rapid and dramatic changes in species composition and gene expression when the host switches between eating cooked or raw vegetables, according to a new study published in Nature Microbiology.

New MOF Can Take On Toxic Sulfur Dioxide Gas

An international team has developed a robust material that can selectively take in toxic sulfur dioxide gas at record concentrations and preserve it for use in chemical production.

Trash to Treasure: Scientists Convert Municipal Waste to Biofuel Precursors

As the need for energy security grows, scientists are investigating nonfood biomass sources that can be used to create valuable biofuels and bioproducts. Among these sources is municipal solid waste (MSW) — in other words, trash that’s produced every day around the world in significant amounts. 

Simple Materials Offer a Peek into the Quantum Realm

As reported in Nature Physics, a Berkeley Lab-led team of physicists and materials scientists was the first to unambiguously observe and document the unique optical phenomena that occur in certain types of synthetic materials called moiré superlattices. The new findings will help researchers understand how to better manipulate materials into light emitters with controllable quantum

Can Cellphones Help Cities Be More Energy Efficient?

Buildings currently consume about 40% of all the electricity used in the United States, most of them located in urban areas that are growing rapidly. Because electricity generation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, making urban buildings more energy efficient could help mitigate global climate change.  In order to achieve

Decoding Messages in the Body’s Microscopic Metropolises

A study aimed at identifying and examining the small messenger proteins used by microbes living on and inside humans has revealed an astounding diversity of more than 4,000 families of molecules – many of which have never been described previously.