The projects of 22 Biosciences Area scientists and engineers received funding through the FY23 Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program.
Researchers in the Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division are collaborating with colleagues at the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center to adapt the nascent technology of laser-driven ion accelerators to make a more effective type of radiation more readily available to patients. The mutually beneficial partnership gives BELLA scientists a real-world application around which to refine their experimental laser platform, and gives the biologists a chance to test how living tissue responds to laser-driven proton beams at FLASH dose rates.
Blake Simmons, Director of the Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division and Chief Science & Technology Officer at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), was featured in a series of online seminars hosted by iBiology.
In his first talk, he provides an overview of the advantages of using biofuels and walks through the biochemical processes required in order to convert biomass into usable fuels. He also discusses the ideal properties for advanced biofuels, the projected markets for these fuels in the coming years, and some of the key challenges associated with optimization of advanced biofuel production.
Three projects, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), leverage Berkeley Lab’s strengths in artificial intelligence, sensors, and ecological biology to make agriculture more sustainable and more profitable. They aim to quantify and reduce the carbon intensity of agriculture—including the farming of biofuel feedstocks such as corn, soy, and sorghum—while also increasing yield. Two of the new projects are part of the SMARTFARM program of DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). This initiative aspires to make the biofuel supply chain carbon negative, which would greatly improve biofuel’s benefits to the broader economy and environment.
Berkeley Lab is part of a multi-laboratory working group that recently received DOE Office of Science funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to conduct R&D to help improve the nation’s COVID-19 testing capabilities. Three of our Biosciences Area researchers are helping to lead the Lab’s efforts.