Two scientists in the Area, Greg Hura and Vivek Mutalik, are heading up research projects that are part of the Department of Energy’s Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE) initiative. Yasuo Yoshikuni, a scientist at the Joint Genome Institute, is part of a third project that is being led by Brookhaven National Laboratory. These projects will leverage bioimaging expertise to develop better therapies and vaccines for viruses, develop a high-throughput platform to rapidly design countermeasures to drug-resistant pathogens, and unlock the molecular basis of plant-pathogen interactions to create resilient bioenergy crops.
Berkeley Lab and Genentech are collaborating to make the next generation of lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), the drug delivery technology used in the COVID-19 vaccines. With their combined expertise in structural biology and pharmaceutical science, the team is designing LNPs that can precisely deliver vaccines and therapeutics to target tissues while improving the product’s shelf life and duration of action.
The SIBYLS beamline at the Advanced Light Source was used to characterize proteins dreamt up by a reinforcement learning algorithm. The algorithm, developed by researchers in David Baker’s lab at the University of Washington, is powered by the machine learning strategy behind computer programs capable of defeating top human players at board games like chess and go. The advance could create a pathway to greater control when designing therapeutic proteins, vaccines, and other molecules.
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.
Mary Maxon, Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) for Biosciences, has been granted a one-year leave of absence to help advance science and technology opportunities for engineering biology and the U.S. bioeconomy. Beginning August 23, Maxon will work on temporary assignment with Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, as they launch a significant effort to seed the next wave of engineering biology and bioeconomy innovation.
Paul Adams, Director of the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division, has been asked by Lab Director Mike Witherell to serve as the ALD for Biosciences over the coming year. While Adams is serving as Biosciences ALD, MBIB Deputy for Science Junko Yano will take on the role of Interim MBIB Division Director; Greg Hura has agreed to step into the role of Interim MBIB Science Deputy; and Susan Tsutakawa will be the Interim Head of the Structural Biology Department for the coming year.