Several Biosciences Area personnel are among the 2023 Berkeley Lab Director’s Awards honorees. This annual program recognizes outstanding contributions by employees to all facets of Lab activities. A complete list of winners can be found here. The 2023 Director’s Achievement Awards ceremony will take place on November 8 from 3:00 – 4:15 PM in the Building 50 Auditorium and virtually on streaming.lbl.gov.
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.
Researchers have leveraged machine learning to create proteins that toggle between two different shapes in response to biological triggers, overcoming a limiting challenge in computational protein design and broadening the potential functionality of designed proteins. Study co-author Banumathi Sankaran, a research scientist in the Molecular Biophysics and Bioimaging Division, used the Advanced Light Source (ALS) beamlines in the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology (BCSB) to validate results with X-ray crystallography data.
Senior Scientist Junko Yano has been named Director of the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division. Over her 22-year career at Berkeley Lab, Yano has become known for her research in natural and artificial photosynthetic systems. She will continue to be a co-principal investigator in the DOE-funded Energy Innovation Hub, the Liquid Sunlight Alliance (LiSA), and the Center for Electrochemical Dynamics and Reactions on Surface (CEDARS), a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center.
Stanford researchers have used cryogenic 3D imaging at the National Center for X-ray Tomography (NCXT) to identify a new pathway for clearing misfolded proteins from cells. This work presents a potential therapy target for age-related disorders like Alzheimer, Parkinson, and Huntington Diseases.