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Monday, Sept. 29, 2008


virusResearch Update: After First Decade, Metagenomics Growth Expected

Metagenomics is an increasingly popular approach for extracting the genomes of uncultured microorganisms and discerning their specific metabolic capabilities directly from environmental samples. Now, some ten years after the term was coined, metagenomics is going mainstream and already paying provocative dividends according to Joint Genome Institute microbial ecology program head Philip Hugenholtz and MIT researcher Gene Tyson. A story on this research is published in the Sept. 25 edition of Nature. More>

detectiveIn The News: Detector Identifies Crime Scene DNA Quickly

[Technology Review] A new portable DNA analyzer performs real-time analysis of blood samples left at the scene of a crime. UC Berkeley researchers — including Berkeley Lab physical bioscientist Richard Mathies — developed the device, which packs microfluidics, electronics, optics, and chemical detection technology into a single briefcase-sized unit. "While previous groups have developed lab-on-a-chip systems, none of them have succeeded in making a completely portable, robust system that can be used at a scene," says Mathies. More>

labIn The News: Director Chu Visits Underground Lab in South Dakota

[Black Hills Pioneer] Berkeley Lab Director Steve Chu toured the Sanford Underground Laboratory at Homestake in Lead last Wednesday, where he also met with Gov. Mike Rounds. "I came to Homestake to thank the Governor and the people of South Dakota for their unwavering commitment to this important project and for their far-reaching vision," Chu said. More>

runnersEmployee Activities: Lab's Runaround Fun Race to be Held Oct. 10

The Lab's 31st annual Runaround fun race will take place on Friday, Oct. 10. The 1.86-mile race begins at noon at the Firehouse and ends with music and an awards ceremony at the cafeteria. No signup is required. All participants and volunteers will receive a bottle of water, a snack, and t-shirt. The entire Lab community can enjoy a BBQ lunch on the lawn for $6. Those interested in volunteering can contact Lee Aleksich (x2994). Managers and supervisors are asked to permit time off for staff who want race or volunteer. For those who'd rather pedal than jog, a Bikearound will start at the Firehouse at 11:30 a.m.

Safety: Some Electrical Work Requires Protective Equipment

Electrical safety is critically important at the Laboratory. Those who perform work that can cause exposure to electrical shock or arc flash injury may need Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE for electrical shock protection includes insulating gloves certified for electrical protection. PPE for arc flash protection includes special fabrics and face shields certified to withstand intense heat. After work has been authorized, the PPE will be made available to staff performing the duties. For more information, contact Keith Gershon (x 4694).

Benefits: Tomorrow is Deadline for 2007 SHPS Transactions

Employees enrolled in the Health Care Reimbursement Account (HCRA) have until tomorrow to resolve their outstanding card transactions from 2007.  Employees unable to obtain receipts to validate their claims based on IRS rules must reimburse SHPS for ineligible amounts. If not, the spending account card will be inactivated for the remainder of 2008 and UC must consider the outstanding overpaid amount as a debt to the University. More>

Policy Note: Proposed Change to RPM Section on Compensation Policy

The Laboratory is proposing to change the RPM section describing its compensation policy. Section 2.06 has been revised to consolidate compensation policies into one location, and to update or remove obsolete language, procedures, and non-policy verbiage. This policy applies to non-represented employees only. Represented employees should contact their union representative or consult their collective bargaining agreement. To comment on this proposed change, contact [email protected] by Oct. 29. Go here to review the proposed revision.