News Center

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.  In a new study published in the journal ChemSusChem,

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. The research, led by Stanford University and now published in Cell, lays the groundwork for

Getting Teens Hooked on STEM

The Introductory College Level Experience in Microbiology (iCLEM) – an immersive summer science program hosted by the Joint BioEnergy Institute – has an impressive track record of helping socioeconomically disadvantaged high schoolers pursue college education. Hoping to share the secret sauce of their instructional model, a group of former and current scientific advisors have now published the iCLEM curriculum.

A Community-Driven Data Science System to Advance Microbiome Research

The National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC), a new initiative aimed at empowering microbiome research, is gearing up its pilot phase after receiving $10 million of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

Can We Reuse Polluted Water? Yes, Add Bacteria

Every year, hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells generates billions of gallons of contaminated water. Scientists at Berkeley Lab and the CO School of Mines believe microbes could be the key to turning this waste into a resource.

Epic Research Endeavor Reveals Cause of Deadly Digestive Disease in Children

Nearly ten years ago, a group of Israeli clinical researchers emailed Berkeley Lab geneticist Len Pennacchio to ask for his team’s help in solving the mystery of a rare inherited disease that caused extreme, and sometimes fatal, chronic diarrhea in children. Now, following an arduous investigative odyssey that expanded our understanding of regulatory sequences in the human genome, the multinational scientific group has announced the discovery of the genetic explanation for this disease.

Berkeley Lab Receives DOE Support for Building to Study Microbe-Ecosystem Interactions for Energy and Environmental Research

Berkeley Lab recently received federal approval to proceed with preliminary design work for a state-of-the-art building that would revolutionize investigations into how interactions among microbes, water, soil, and plants shape entire ecosystems. Research performed in the building could help address many of today’s energy, water, and food challenges.

A Frog Worth Kissing: Natural Defense Against Red Tide Toxin Found in Bullfrogs

A team led by Berkeley Lab faculty biochemist Daniel Minor has discovered how a protein produced by bullfrogs binds to and inhibits the action of saxitoxin, the deadly neurotoxin made by cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Scientists Hit Pay Dirt with New Microbial Research Technique

Long ago, during the European Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci wrote that we humans “know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot.” Five hundred years and innumerable technological and scientific advances later, his sentiment still holds true. But that could soon change. A new study in Nature Communications details how an improved method for studying microbes in the soil will help scientists understand both fine-grained details and large-scale cycles of the environment.

Blue Pigment from Engineered Fungi Could Help Turn the Textile Industry Green

A new biosynthetic production pathway developed by scientists at the Joint BioEnergy Institute could provide a sustainable alternative to conventional synthetic blue dye. The highly efficient fungi-based platform may also open the door for producing many other valuable biological compounds that are currently very hard to manufacture.