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Chasing Their Tails but Getting Somewhere: Reimagining the Shape of Noise Leads to Improved Molecular Models

A Berkeley Lab intern and his mentor develop an algorithm that will extract better structures from low-quality crystallography diffraction data

Focusing in on Aquatic Microbes: Berkeley Lab Scientists Receive Grant for New Microscopy Approach

A trio of Berkeley Lab scientists has been awarded a grant by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop a unique microscopy technology that can be used to study symbiosis in aquatic microbes – biological relationships that have a large influence on ecosystems and the planet’s climate. The grant is part of a three-year, $19-million project within the Foundation’s Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative.

New Algorithm Sharpens Focus of World’s Most Powerful Microscopes

Blurry photo? There’s a photoshop tool for that. Blurry molecular structure map? Now, there’s a tool for that too.

Study Finds ‘Missing Link’ in the Evolutionary History of Carbon-Fixing Protein Rubisco

The discovery of a primitive form of a photosynthetic enzyme will help scientists understand how carbon-fixing organisms oxygenated the atmosphere and how modern plants evolved

Jennifer Doudna Wins 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Biochemist Jennifer Doudna, a professor at UC Berkeley and faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab, is co-winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her co-discovery of CRISPR-Cas9, a groundbreaking genetic engineering technology.

Synthetic Pathways Turn Plants into Biofactories for New Molecules

Plants can produce a wide range of molecules, many of which help them fight off harmful pests and pathogens. Biologists have harnessed this ability to produce many molecules important for human health — aspirin and the antimalarial drug artemisinin, for example, are derived from plants. Now, scientists at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) are using

Transforming Waste into Bio-Based Chemicals

Researchers at Berkeley Lab have transformed lignin, a waste product of the paper industry, into a precursor for a useful chemical with a wide range of potential applications. Lignin is a complex material found in plant cell walls that is notoriously difficult to break down and turn into something useful. Typically, lignin is burned for

Providing New Technologies for Vaccine Development

Vaccines, which help the body recognize infectious microorganisms and stage a stronger and faster response, are made up of proteins that are specific to each type of microorganism. In the case of a virus, viral proteins – or antigens – can sometimes be attached to a protein scaffold to help mimic the shape of the

Machine Learning Takes on Synthetic Biology: Algorithms Can Bioengineer Cells for You

If you’ve eaten vegan burgers that taste like meat or used synthetic collagen in your beauty routine – both products that are “grown” in the lab – then you’ve benefited from synthetic biology. It’s a field rife with potential, as it allows scientists to design biological systems to specification, such as engineering a microbe to produce a cancer-fighting agent. Yet conventional methods of bioengineering are slow and laborious, with trial and error being the main approach.

New Partnership Seeds Microbiome Research

Microbiomes are integral to all life, from human health and food security to ecosystem processes and global nutrient cycling. Collaborative research – performed by scientists spanning the vast biological and bioinformatics fields – is key to developing a predictive understanding of microbiome function and could lead to advancements in areas such as biomanufacturing, food production,