Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology’s Jill Banfield will receive the 2017 V. M. Goldschmidt Award this summer. The Goldschmidt Award recognizes major achievements in geochemistry or cosmochemistry consisting of either a single outstanding contribution or a series of publications that have had great influence on the field. The award will be formally presented at the Goldschmidt 2017 conference in Paris, France this August. Read more on the Geochemical Society website.
In honor of National Women’s History Month, Berkeley Lab, in this on-line article, looked back at how the Lab’s Women Scientists & Engineers Council (WSEC) got started and what issues it is currently working on. The WSEC is a program of the Lab’s Diversity and Inclusion Office (DIO) and was founded in 2008 by what longtime members like to call the “founding mothers”—Natalie Roe of the Physics Division, Nancy Brown of the Energy Technologies Area, and Cecilia Aragon, formerly of the Computational Research Division.
At the moment, WSEC board members from Biosciences include Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology Division’s Astrid Terry and Lauren Lui; Susan Tsutakawa of the Molecular Biophysics & Integrative Bioimaging Division currently serves as the committee chair.
Biosciences researchers collaborated with a team at the Salk Institute that developed a computational algorithm that integrates two different data types to make locating key regions within the genome more precise and accurate than other tools. The team’s method, recently described in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help researchers conduct vastly more targeted searches for disease-causing genetic variants in the human genome, such as ones that promote cancer or cause metabolic disorders. Joseph Ecker, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and director of Salk’s Genomic Analysis Laboratory, was senior author of the study. Diane Dickel, Axel Visel and Len Pennacchio of the Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology Division, were co-authors, along with other researchers at the Salk Institute, UC San Diego, and UC San Francisco. Read more about the study in the Salk Institute press release.
Seven LBNL Biosciences Area researchers are among the 47 new investigators chosen by the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub to receive up to $1.5 million each to conduct cutting-edge biomedical research — with no strings attached. The investigator awards are the first individual grants by the CZ Biohub as it seeks to foster unconventional scientific exploration and encourage researchers to invent new tools to accelerate the pace of discovery. Senior investigators will each receive 1.5 million over five years while the younger faculty will receive half the amount, $750,000.
Biosciences Area’s senior investigators are: Jill Banfield and Michal Maharbiz (EGSB), Dan Fletcher and Amy Herr (BSE). The junior investigators are Ke Xu (MBIB) and Wenjun Zhang (EGSB). Read more at UC Berkeley News.
Adam Arkin, senior faculty scientist in the Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology Division, will lead the new NASA Center for the Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space (CUBES). One of two Space Technology Research Institutes (STRIs) funded, CUBES will advance research into an integrated, multi-function, multi-organism biomanufacturing system to produce fuel, materials, pharmaceuticals and food on long-term space missions.
In a New Scientist article profiling the new STRIs, Arkin said, “CUBES will work on an integrated way to use biology, starting from the available building blocks, to create all the things that astronauts and settlers will need, from food to pharmaceuticals to fuel.” Read more in the NASA press release.