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Friday, Dec. 11, 2009


How H1N1 Virus Makes Jump From Swine to Humans

Jennifer Doudna and Andy Mehle of the Physical Biosciences Sciences Division have discovered a new biological pathway by which the H1N1 flu virus can make the jump from swine to humans. This pathway, a mutation in the influenza polyermase termed the SR polymorphism, may have played an important role in transmitting the virus into humans and could be used in future therapies. One way in which an influenza virus surmounts biological barriers to cross-species infection is through a mutational change in its polymerase, the enzyme that enables the virus to replicate. Identifying such mutations is a key to preventing influenza pandemics or devising new vaccines against infections. More>

neumarkPeople: Neumark Named Chair of UC Berkeley Chemistry Department

Daniel Neumark, a leading authority on chemical dynamics and spectroscopy who has directed Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division (CSD) since 2000, has been named to serve as the next chair of the UC Berkeley Chemistry Department. The appointment is effective July 1, 2010, and he has offered to remain on as CSD director until that time so a successor can be chosen without requiring the appointment of an acting director. As chair, Neumark will be succeeding Michael Marletta, a faculty chemist with an appointment in Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division. More>

Funding: Lab Gets $15.9 Million for ‘Net-Zero’ User Facility

lBerkeley Lab will build and operate a new National User Facility for Net-Zero Energy Buildings using a competitively selected award of $15.9 million in stimulus funds from the Department of Energy. Net-zero energy buildings (N-ZEB) generate as much energy as they use on an annual basis through highly aggressive energy efficiency and onsite renewable energy generation. The new facilities will help researchers develop, test and validate the technologies, systems and design approaches that will allow N-ZEB to be built and operated at an affordable cost. N-ZEB will consist of a series of unique energy-efficient building systems testbeds (similar to the EETD's Windows Facility, pictured) to be located in new and existing buildings at the Lab. More>

HR: UC Forum on Post-Employment Benefits Thursday

Lab staff are invited to attend an onsite forum on post- employment benefits hosted by the University of California on Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Building 50 Auditorium. The forum will include a presentation on the fiscal challenges facing UC and how retirement and medical benefits may be affected. Time will be allotted for attendees to ask questions. The forum will be webcast live and viewers can submit their questions via e-mail during the event. The webcast link and e-mail address will be provided in Today at Berkeley Lab on the day of the event.

Cafeteria: Closure Starts Monday; Alternative Service Arranged

lTo accommodate the installation of new flooring, the cafeteria and Peet’s Coffee Bar will be closed starting Monday and reopen on Jan. 13. Coffee drinks and other beverages will be served by Espresso Subito in a tent set up near the stage on the cafeteria lawn from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Food will be provided by Seoul on Wheels, a Korean BBQ catering truck, which will be parked near the cafeteria from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Go here to see a menu. There will be no catering truck or other food service on Friday, Dec. 18.

lSpecial Event: Earth Sciences ‘Distinguished’ Talk Today

As part of the Earth Sciences Division's Distinguished Scientist Seminar Series, Peter Keleman, a professor of earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University, will present a talk on “Enhanced, In-Situ Mineral Carbonation in Peridotite for Carbon Capture and Storage” today at 10:30 a.m. in the Building 50 Auditorium. More>

aEmployee Activity: Users Group Meets for Talk on Latest Mac Updates

The Lab’s Mac Users Group (MUG) will host its next meeting on Monday at noon with a talk on the new 27-inch iMac and the new Collaboration Services featured in the Mac Mini Leopard OS. The meeting takes place in Building 50B-4205. MUG meets semi-monthly at lunchtime to exchange information that allows Mac computer users to increase their proficiency and productivity. The normal location for meetings is Building 2-400F. More>

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