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.
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.
Genentech researchers used a suite of methods, including small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) to learn how an assembly of three proteins works together to transmit signals for cell division. The work reveals new targets for the development of drugs that fight certain types of cancer, including lung, colorectal, and pancreatic.
An imaging technique pioneered by Berkeley Lab is helping reveal the best antibodies to test for in rapid and reliable COVID-19 detection. Although current tests such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are highly accurate, these samples must be sent to an accredited lab for testing, causing a longer wait time for results. Michal Hammel, a research scientist in the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Division, and Curtis D. Hodge led a study that could help get reliable, self-administered tests with instant results on the market.
In a study appearing in Nature Plants, researchers from UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and Berkeley Lab report the discovery and characterization of a previously undescribed lineage of form I rubisco – one that the researchers suspect diverged from form I rubisco prior to the evolution of cyanobacteria. The novel lineage, called form I’ rubisco, gives researchers new insights into the structural evolution of form I rubisco, potentially providing clues as to how this enzyme changed the planet.
The work was led by Patrick Shih, a UC Davis assistant professor and the director of Plant Biosystems Design at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), and Doug Banda, a postdoctoral scholar in his lab.