As the Safety Manager for the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI) at Berkeley Lab, Beatriz Rett has found a way to blend her lifelong fascination with science and her desire to make an immediate difference in the lives of other people. “When employees feel heard and taken care of, they are more likely to stick around,” she said. “I’m happy to be a part of that work at Berkeley Lab.”
In the summer of 2015, Adam Session was a postdoc working at the DOE Joint Genome Institute with Dan Rokhsar, who also holds a joint appointment with the University of California, Berkeley. Nowadays, Session is an Assistant Professor at Binghamton University in New York. He and Rokhsar have recently published a Nature Communications paper that builds off their early collaborations that could help crop breeders and researchers predict how crops and model organisms may evolve.
To do anything, viruses must find a host, and not just any host will do. It must be a specific host the virus has adapted to commandeer. For bacteriophage viruses, these hosts are microbes like bacteria, not humans. With metagenomic sequencing, researchers have found more of these viruses than ever before, in all kinds of ecosystems. However, matching these viral genetic sequences to their hosts is crucial to understanding what these viruses can do. Building on existing virus-host prediction approaches, researchers have created a new program called iPHoP (pronounced “eye-pop”, freely available online).
High-throughput stable isotope probing (SIP) proved to vastly reduce labor and improve results. Applying this method to the study of a particular fungi, researchers identified novel interactions between bacteria and the fungi.
JGI users studied microbial communities at hydrothermal vents and underwater volcanoes. They found a wealth of diversity in the microorganisms there, which could lead to the development of new biotechnologies around clean energy, biofuels and bioproducts.