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Friday, May 28, 2010


Sugars Provide Early Look at Embryogenesis


Berkeley Lab chemical biologist Carolyn Bertozzi led a team that successfully attached imaging probes to glycans — the sugar molecules that are abundant on the surfaces of living cells — in the embryos of zebrafish less than seven hours after fertilization. Glycans are key regulators of the processes that guide cell development, and zebrafish are a top vertebrate model organism of embryogenesis. This new technique enables scientists to study the physiological changes cells undergo during embryogenesis without invading and doing damage to the embryos. More>

People: Keasling on Capitol Hill for Synthetic Biology

KeaslingJay Keasling, Berkeley Lab’s acting deputy director and CEO for the Joint BioEnergy Institute, testified yesterday before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce at the Hearing on Developments in Synthetic Genomics and Implications for Health and Energy. The hearing was in response to the J. Craig Venter Institute’s announcement that researchers there have constructed the first self-replicating, synthetic bacterial cell. Keasling described for committee members his use of synthetic biology to develop a much cheaper means of making artemisinin, today’s most powerful anti-malaria drug. This same technology, he said, is also being used to produce advanced biofuels. Go here to view the congressional testimony.

ResearchResearch: The Search for Improved Carbon Sponges Picks Up Speed

Jeffrey Long’s lab will soon host a round-the-clock, robotically choreographed hunt for carbon-hungry materials. The Berkeley Lab chemist leads a diverse team of scientists whose goal is to quickly discover materials that can efficiently strip carbon dioxide from a power plant’s exhaust, before it leaves the smokestack and contributes to climate change. More>

Facilities: Receiving Gets a New Conveyor System, Makover

FacilitiesThe grand opening of the new conveyor system in the Facilities Division’s Receiving group was held last week, with Facilities Division Director Jennifer Ridgeway (pictured, center) cutting the ribbon while members of the team involved in the project looked on. The new system is designed to increase efficiency and safety, and provides a more ergonomic work process for the staff. In addition to the conveyor system, both the Receiving and Shipping areas were completely remodeled.

EBIEBI: Call for Research Proposals Issued

The Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), a partnership between UC Berkeley, the University of Illinois and Berkeley Lab, has issued a call for research proposals in five different focus areas of investigation: the Socioeconomic and Environmental Impacts of Biofuels, Feedstocks, Deconstruction/Depolymerization, Fuel Synthesis, and Fossil Fuel Applications. EBI, which is funded by a $500 million grant from BP, has in its first three years awarded 68 research grants. The deadline for submitting pre-proposals is June 20. Go here for a detailed description of each focus area and instructions for submitting pre-proposals.

Construction: Work at ALS Affects Parking and Access

DASTWNext Thursday and Friday, parking and access around the Advanced Light Source will be closed in order to lift new rooftop equipment. On Thursday, a crane will be positioned in the parking area in front of the ALS next to Building 7, and equipment delivery trucks will be staged around Building 52 and 53 during the morning. On Friday, a concrete pump boom truck will be positioned in the same area during the morning. Parking and traffic control measures will be in place and bus routes may be affected at times to accommodate the closure. The hours of operation for this lift are from 6 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. each day. Pedestrian traffic will be re-routed from the main entrance and patio area of the ALS during this time. For more information, contact Dan Galvez (x6213).

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