Mina Bissell, distinguished senior scientist in the Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division, is one of five recipients of the 2020 Canada Gairdner International Award – an annual honor given to scientists who have contributed to transformative human health research.More »
The Mammalian Functional Genomics Laboratory in Biosciences’ Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology (EGSB) Division has developed a higher-throughput transgenic mouse assay to evaluate the disease-causing potential of human variants in enhancers that turn on gene expression during development. The new approach leverages the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to create transgenic mice that carry an enhancer-reporter construct at a specific “safe harbor” location in the mouse genome. Because the transgenes are integrated in the same location in the genome there are no position effects, so fewer mice are needed to get reproducible results. To demonstrate proof of principle, the researchers used the new method—which they dubbed enSERT (enhancer inSERTion)—to examine nearly a thousand variants of one of the most well-characterized human enhancers that is associated with polydactyly (extra fingers or toes).More »
Many of the chemicals used to deter or eliminate disease-carrying mosquitoes can pollute ecosystems and drive the evolution of even more problematic, insecticide-resistant species – but thankfully, we may have better options soon.More »
Heinz Frei, a senior scientist in Biosciences’ Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division, seeks to engineer devices that emulate photosynthesis – the sunlight-driven chemical reaction that green plants and algae use to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into cellular fuel. If the necessary technology could be refined past theoretical models and lab-scale prototypes, this idea, known as artificial photosynthesis, has the potential to generate large sources of completely renewable energy using the surplus CO2 in our atmosphere.
Frei’s team has developed an artificial photosynthesis system, comprised of nanosized tubes, that appears capable of performing all the key steps of the fuel-generating reaction. Their latest paper, published in Advanced Functional Materials, demonstrates that their design allows for the rapid flow of protons from the interior space of the tube, where they are generated from splitting water molecules, to the outside, where they combine with CO2 and electrons to form the fuel. Fast proton flow is essential for efficiently harnessing sunlight energy to form a fuel.More »
UC Berkeley researchers have created a new technique that can rapidly “print” two-dimensional arrays of cells and proteins that mimic a wide variety of cellular environments in the body. The technique could help scientists better understand the complex cell-to-cell messaging that dictates a cell’s final fate. 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, is co-senior author on the paper describing the work published in Science Advances.More »