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New Studies of Ancient Concrete Could Teach Us to Do as the Romans Did

A new look inside 2,000-year-old concrete – made from volcanic ash, lime, and seawater – has provided new clues to the evolving chemistry and mineral cements that allow ancient harbor structures to withstand the test of time.

Researchers ID New Mechanism for Keeping DNA Protein in Line

Electrostatic forces known as phosphate steering help guide the actions of an enzyme called FEN1 that is critical in DNA replication and repair, finds a new study led by Berkeley Lab researchers. The findings help explain how FEN1 distinguishes which strands of DNA to target, revealing key details about a vital process in healthy cells as well as providing new directions for cancer treatment research.

What’s On Your Skin? Archaea, That’s What

It turns out your skin is crawling with single-celled microorganisms – and they’re not just bacteria. A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Medical University of Graz has found that the skin microbiome also contains archaea, a type of extreme-loving microbe, and that the amount of it varies with age.

2-D Material’s Traits Could Send Electronics R&D Spinning in New Directions

Researchers created an atomically thin material at Berkeley Lab and used X-rays to measure its exotic and durable properties that make it a promising candidate for a budding branch of electronics known as “spintronics.”

Study Sheds Light on How Bacterial Organelles Assemble

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and Michigan State University are providing the clearest view yet of an intact bacterial microcompartment, revealing at atomic-level resolution the structure and assembly of the organelle’s protein shell. This work could benefit research in bioenergy and pathogenesis, and it could lead to new methods of bioengineering bacteria for beneficial purposes.

Researchers Find a Surprise Just Beneath the Surface in Carbon Dioxide Experiment

X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab, coupled with theoretical work, revealed how oxygen atoms embedded very near the surface of a copper sample had a more dramatic effect on the early stages of a reaction with carbon dioxide than earlier theories could account for. This work could prove useful in designing new types of materials to make reactions more efficient in converting carbon dioxide into liquid fuels and other products.

How X-rays Helped to Solve Mystery of Floating Rocks

Experiments at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source have helped scientists to solve a mystery of why some rocks can float for years in the ocean, traveling thousands of miles before sinking.

Designing Cyclic Oligomers: Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts

-Written By Lida Gifford Cyclic proteins that assemble from multiple identical subunits (homo-oligomers) play key roles in many biological processes, including cell signaling and enzymatic catalysis and protein function. Researchers in Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division worked with University of Washington’s David Baker, who led a team to design in silico

How X-rays Pushed Topological Matter Research Over the Top

Pioneering X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS) helped bring to life decades-old theories about exotic states of matter, and the ALS continues to play an important role in this flourishing field of topological matter research.

Researchers Gain Insight into Protein Critical to Zika Virus Reproduction

Berkeley Lab researchers collaborated with colleagues from the University of Indiana and Texas A&M University to solve the atomic structure of a Zika virus protein that is key to viral reproduction. The X-ray studies were conducted at the Advanced Light Source in the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology.