The Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering is endowed by the AIChE Foundation in the name of fluid-dynamics pioneer Andreas Acrivos of the City College of New York. The prize recognizes outstanding progress in chemical engineering by a member of AIChE in their early career. The recipient of the 2020 Professional Progress Award is David Schaffer, a faculty scientist in Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB), as well as a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UC Berkeley, where he also directs the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences. Schaffer was recognized for implementing molecular and cellular engineering strategies to overcome challenges in the development of gene and cell therapies. In particular, he developed the concept of applying directed evolution to engineer targeted and efficient viral gene therapy vectors, which led to novel adeno-associated viral vectors being used in multiple human clinical trials. In addition, he has developed new technologies to investigate and control stem cell fate decisions. Read more from AIChE.
Elliot Perryman, a computer science and physics major at the University of Tennessee, began working with staff scientist Peter Zwart in the Center for Advanced Mathematics for Energy Research Applications (CAMERA) last fall through the Berkeley Lab Undergraduate Research (BLUR) program. Together they developed an algorithm that will extract better structures from low-quality crystallographic diffraction data.More »
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is supporting the development of a unique microscopy concept pioneered by researchers at Berkeley Lab as part of the Foundation’s Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative (SASI). The Berkeley Lab effort has received $500,000 and will be led by senior staff scientist Hoi-Ying Holman of the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division.More »
In recent years, cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) technology has advanced to the point that it can produce structures with atomic-level resolution for many types of molecules. Yet in some situations, even the most sophisticated cryo-EM methods still generate maps with lower resolution and greater uncertainty than required to tease out the details of complex chemical reactions.
In a study published in Nature Methods, a multi-institutional team led by Tom Terwilliger from the New Mexico Consortium and including researchers from Berkeley Lab demonstrates how a new computer algorithm improves the quality of the 3D molecular structure maps generated with cryo-EM.More »
Statistician Paul Williams, a staff scientist in the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division, specializes in investigating the instances where genetics and environment are most closely intertwined. His work focuses on a phenomenon called “quantile-dependent expressivity,” which describes the relationship between the genes that predispose people to certain traits that can be amplified by behavior and environmental factors.More »