News Center

Plants Really Do Feed Their Friends

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley have discovered that as plants develop they craft their root microbiome, favoring microbes that consume very specific metabolites. Their study could help scientists identify ways to enhance the soil microbiome for improved carbon storage and plant productivity.

Beyond the WIMP: Unique Crystals Could Expand the Search for Dark Matter

A new particle detector design proposed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab could greatly broaden the search for dark matter – which makes up 85 percent of the total mass of the universe yet we don’t know what it’s made of – into an unexplored realm.

Digging Deep: Harnessing the Power of Soil Microbes for More Sustainable Farming

How will the farms of the future feed a projected 9.8 billion people by 2050? Berkeley Lab’s “smart farm” project marries microbiology and machine learning in an effort to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and enhance soil carbon uptake, thus improving the long-term viability of the land while increasing crop yields.

Thirdhand Smoke Found to Increase Lung Cancer Risk in Mice

Researchers at Berkeley Lab identified thirdhand smoke, the toxic residues that linger on indoor surfaces and in dust long after a cigarette has been extinguished, as a health hazard nearly 10 years ago. Now a new study has found that it also increases lung cancer risk in mice.

Teaching Computers to Guide Science: New Machine Learning Method Sees the Forests and the Trees

While it may be the era of supercomputers and “big data,” without smart methods to mine all that data, it’s only so much digital detritus. Now researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley have come up with a novel machine learning method that enables scientists to derive insights from systems of previously intractable complexity in record time.

Gene Enhancers Are Important Despite Apparent Redundancy

Scientists answered a long-standing question about the role of enhancers. And by better linking the genomic complement of an organism with its expressed characteristics, their work offers new insights that further the growing field of systems biology, which seeks to gain a predictive understanding of living systems.

Silencing Is Golden: Scientists Image Molecules Vital for Gene Regulation

Lab scientists use cryo-electron microscopy to gain a deeper understanding of the structure of a regulatory complex. Their research could open up new possibilities for cancer therapies.

Real World Native Biocrusts: Microbial Metabolism

Specific compounds are transformed by and strongly associated with specific bacteria in native biological soil crust (biocrust) using a suite of tools called “exometabolomics.” Understanding how microbial communities in biocrusts adapt to harsh environments could shed light on the roles of soil microbes in the global carbon cycle.

Berkeley Lab Researchers ID Plant ‘Sunscreen’ Protein

Berkeley Lab researchers have identified a protein that protects plants from damage caused by too much light energy. They found that plants with deficient levels of the lipocalin protein, found in chloroplasts, are less able to dissipate excess light energy.

Detailed View of Immune Proteins Could Lead to New Pathogen-Defense Strategies

Biologists at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley used cryo-EM to resolve the structure of a ring of proteins used by the immune system to summon support when under attack, providing new insight into potential strategies for protection from pathogens. The researchers captured the high-resolution image of a protein ring, called an inflammasome, as it was bound to flagellin, a protein from the whiplike tail used by bacteria to propel themselves forward.