On May 25, Berkeley Lab and Biosciences Area leadership officially welcomed the EcoPOD to its home at Potter Street in West Berkeley. The Lab’s Deputy Director for Research Horst Simon and Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences Mary Maxon opened the doors of the EcoPOD after Maxon cut the ceremonial ribbon.More »
Scientists and engineers from Berkeley Lab teamed up to create the EcoPOD, a unique platform that can be used to study all aspects of self-contained environments with unprecedented precision and control. Essentially a high-tech growing chamber, the EcoPOD is about the size of a Mini Cooper perched on one end, which allows plants to be grown under highly controlled conditions. The EcoPOD was developed to be able to study the interactions between plant biology, soil, and the atmosphere.More »
N. Louise Glass, a senior faculty scientist in the Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Division and professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, has been elected into the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) alongside 119 other distinguished new members and 30 international members.More »
Anaerobic fungi, which die in the presence of oxygen, thrive in herbivore guts and help them digest their host’s last leafy meal. In their evolutionary history, these fungi branched off early from aerobic fungi, which can breathe oxygen — just like we do. Oxygen is a rich source of energy, and because anaerobic fungi can’t harness it, scientists long held that these fungi don’t have the energy to make complex compounds called natural products. Yet, analyzing the genomes and genome products of four anaerobic fungal species has revealed that this group is unexpectedly powerful: they can whip up dozens of complex natural products, including new ones. The work was partly enabled by the “Facilities Integrating Collaborations for User Science” (FICUS) collaborative science initiative between the JGI and the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory. Read the full science highlight on the JGI website.
A team at the Berkeley Lab explored the genetic basis and physical mechanisms of tailocins, bizarre protein nanomachines produced by bacteria to kill their rivals under stressful conditions. These topics, and tailocins as a whole, have spurred the interest of microbiome researchers as well as those interested in pursuing alternatives to traditional antibiotics.More »