Today at Berkeley Lab Berkeley Lab logo US Dept. of Energy logoBerkeley Lab logo
Monday, June 22, 2009

Lab Guest

DOE Under Secretary Kristina Johnson

Kristina Johnson, the new Under Secretary for Energy at the Department of Energy, visited Berkeley Lab last Wednesday for meetings with scientists and tours of national user facilities and laboratories. Johnson — pictured above with JBEI's Blake Simmons — is one of the highest-ranking DOE officials and has management responsibility for the applied energy programs and environmental and legacy management. In addition to learning about the Lab's energy efficiency and renewable energy research initiatives, Johnson toured the Old Town site and learned about the need for infrastructure modernization at the Lab.

In The News: Printing Artificial Cells

artificial cells[Chemistry World] In a step towards cell mimics, an inkjet printer is being used to make lipid-coated balls containing proteins. Daniel Fletcher, with Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division, and coworkers from the U.S. and France developed the method to make single-lipid vesicles — fluid spheres encased in a lipid bilayer. Fletcher explains that the work's significance is in allowing them to load complex biomolecular mixtures into cell-like particles. More>

World of Science: Bacteria Could Help Solve Energy Crisis

bacteria[KGO-TV] UC San Francisco researcher Christopher Voigt and his team at the school’s QB3 lab are on the trail of what amounts to synthetic gasoline. They've developed a process that uses organic materials like switchgrass. But if that sounds like just another version of ethanol or biodiesel, it's not. "In our case, we made the molecule that can be converted into gasoline," said Voigt. The secret is an obscure bacterium first discovered at a waste dump in France. The bacteria, which can be recreated in the lab, devour different types of agricultural waste, leaving behind a specific molecule that interacts with yeast. More>

obamaUC Update: Latest Employee Newsletter Includes Video of Obama’s UC Merced Speech

The latest edition of Our University, the Office of the President newsletter for faculty and staff, is now posted online. Highlights from this issue include a budget update, including a Q&A with the VP of budget and video message from President Yudof, video of Michelle Obama’s speech at UC Merced, and a story on the world’s largest laser.

IT: Retiring Staff Must Ensure Proper Archiving of Records

Before retiring from the Lab, employees should contact the Archives and Records Office (ARO) to ensure their records are properly archived. All records created at Berkeley Lab (regardless of media) are the property of the U.S. government or the University of California. They cannot be moved offsite and must be left with your supervisor, project team, and the ARO. Records are defined as documentary material created or received in the course of Lab business that pertain to policies, procedures, activities and decisions. Records include memos, reports, photographs, computer files, notebooks, e-mail and more. For details, see RPM §1.17 and the ARO website.

Policy: Employees Responsible for Reporting Improper Conduct

Employees have the right — and the responsibility — to identify and report improper governmental activities and environment, health and safety concerns without fear of reprisal. Employees are encouraged to discuss concerns with their supervisor, or any level of management. If employees are unable to raise issues, or are uncomfortable doing so, alternative mechanisms are available for reporting, evaluating and addressing concerns. In addition to the employee hotline number (800-403-4744), you may report concerns via the web. Internal and external resources are also available, as listed on Lab and UC posters displayed throughout the Lab.

Today at Berkeley Lab is produced by Public Affairs' Communications Department