News Center

Rare Disease Q&A: What Rare Diseases Are and Why That Matters

Berkeley Lab’s Chris Mungall and Nomi Harris explain how agreeing on precise definitions of each rare disease can lead to more accurate diagnoses and better treatments, and share new evidence showing this endeavor is more important than ever.

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.

Six Berkeley Lab Scientists Named AAAS Fellows

Berkeley Lab’s Rebecca Abergel, Roland Bürgmann, Cheryl A. Kerfeld, Michael Manga, Natalie Roe, and David V. Schaffer have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as a AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

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.

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. 

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.

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.