Each year, the Berkeley Lab Director’s Achievement Award program recognizes outstanding contributions by employees to all facets of Lab activities. Several Biosciences Area personnel are among the 2022 honorees.
A team led by UC Berkeley’s Jill Banfield discovered DNA structures within a methane-consuming microbe that appear to supercharge the organism’s metabolic rate. In a nod to the Star Trek universe, they named the genetic elements “Borgs” because the DNA within contains genes assimilated from many organisms.
Aparajitha Srinivasan placed third and Ying Wang was awarded People’s Choice in the Berkeley Lab Research SLAM competition on September 22. Srinivasan, a postdoctoral researcher at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in the Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division, detailed her research on utilizing computational modeling to select the best routes to creating aroma additives. The Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology (EGSB) Division’s Wang covered how to determine which microbes eat which carbon molecules.
Biosciences researchers are among the recipients of four new DOE awards. Two awards will focus on reducing carbon emissions while producing bioenergy. The other two are aimed at understanding the role of microbiomes in the biogeochemical cycling of elements like carbon.
Advances in cryogenic electron microscopy have enabled an international team of experts to visualize the structure of a cyanobacterial phycobilisome with nearly atomic resolution. The work, a collaboration among researchers at Michigan State University, UC Berkeley, Berkeley Lab, and the University of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic, was published in Nature. Knowing the position of different proteins and pigments helps scientist better understand this natural process and can inspire future applications in areas such as renewable energy and environmental remediation.