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News & Events 2008

AAAS12/18/2008 - AAAS honors six from QB3
Six QB3 faculty affiliates have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), bringing the total number of QB3 faculty affiliates who are AAAS fellows to 21. More >


CIRM12/12/2008 - State stem cell agency funds work to break through research barriers
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state's stem cell agency, awarded Steven Conolly, Robert Tjian, and David Schaffer grants totaling $1.8 million to create new tools to speed the translation of basic stem cell research into clinical therapies. More >


12/11/2008 - Berkeley chemists pioneer low-cost water testing devices
Matt Francis and colleagues have shown that protein hydrogels make an inexpensive detector for heavy metal contaminants in water, and can actually remove cadmium, mercury, arsenic and other toxic metals. He is trying different proteins in hydrogels to develop sensors for other chemicals, such as PCBs, dioxins, estradiol and other persistent organic pollutants. More >


12/11/2008 - Berkeley Center for Neglected Diseases receives $7 million pledge
UC Berkeley today announced a $7 million pledge from philanthropist Henry Wheeler to establish the Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases (CEND). The new program seeks to advance scientific discovery for diseases like tuberculosis, trypanosomiasis, and dengue fever that primarily impact people in developing countries. More >


12/1/2008 - Obama chooses Nobelist Steven Chu as secretary of energy
President-elect Barack Obama on Monday nominated Nobel laureate Steve Chu, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a physics professor at UC Berkeley, to be secretary of energy, calling him "uniquely suited" to lead the nation's energy policy. More >


November 2008 - The instruction manual of the genome
A squirrel, a squid and a spider appear as different as animals can be. Yet the building materials for each – a vast array of protein molecules – are by and large the same. So how can a squid have ultra-flexible tentacles while a spider has stiff, jointed limbs? It boils down to how those proteins are assembled. And the instruction manual for each body, like the code for each protein, is written within an organism's DNA. More >


Macrophage11/5/2008 - Proteomics study yields clues as to how tuberculosis might be thwarting the immune system
A link between the immune system and the self-cleaning system of biological cells may one day yield new weapons against tuberculosis and other deadly infectious diseases. Researchers in Carolyn Bertozzi's and Jay Keasling's labs have discovered proteins residing in both systems that point to “cross-talk” between them. More >


Energy Biosciences Institute10/22/2008 - EBI named tech-transfer "Deal of Distinction"
UC Berkeley's landmark $500 million biofuels research partnership with energy giant BP, signed nearly a year ago, has been named a "Deal of Distinction" by the Licensing Executives Society, an organization of U.S. and Canadian technology transfer professionals. More >


Barbara Boxer visits QB310/6/2008 - Senator Barbara Boxer visits Berkeley's Stanley Hall
Senator Barbara Boxer toured Stanley Hall on Monday and applauded the University for taking a lead in green energy research as part of a wider effort to "free our country from foreign oil."
More >


Robert Tjian9/30/2008 - Robert Tjian to head Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Robert Tjian has been elected president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, one of the world's largest private funders of biomedical research. More >


Sanjay Kumar9/22/2008 - Bioengineer receives NIH New Innovator Award
Sanjay Kumar is one of 31 recipients of the New Innovator Award, announced Sept. 22 by the National Institutes for Health. The $1.5 million award recognizes investigators in the early stages of their careers who have not previously held regular research grants from the NIH. More >


Miscanthus9/15/2008 - What we don't know about biofuels
How would the large-scale cultivation of biofuels affect food supply and food prices? What is their impact on soils, waterways, the air, and nearby food crops? Chris Sommerville, director of the new Energy Biosciences Institute, discusses the web of scientific, technical, and social questions that EBI researchers have begun to probe in an attempt to "truly understand" the potential benefits and pitfalls of large-scale biofuel production. More >


placozoan8/26/2008 - Genome sequence deepens mystery of inconspicuous sea creature
The newly sequenced genome of an easily overlooked marine animal, a pancake of cells called a placozoan, is helping biologists unravel the origins of animals. More >


8/21/2008 - Building an energy 'cathedral'
After years when he "goofed off," postdoc Clem Fortman is now on the cutting edge of scientific discovery in the lab of synthetic-biology guru Jay Keasling. This summer he helped open the gates of higher education to promising students who might otherwise never get a foot in the door. More >


Christopher Change & Michelle ChangAugust 2008 - QB3 researchers recognized as top innovators under 35
Christopher Chang, who wants to revolutionize cellular imaging by changing the way biologists tag the molecules they want to see, and Michelle Chang, whose work may lead to basic tools for engineering organisms to perform reactions that are too difficult or expensive with traditional chemistry, have been recognized by Technology Review magazine as among the world's top innovators under age 35. More >


6/30/2008 - Microarray technique promises new diagnostics
Researchers have invented a technique in which DNA or RNA microarrays, devices that measure gene expression, can be read and evaluated without elaborate chemical labeling or sophisticated instrumentation. Based on electrostatic repulsion, the technique is quick and inexpensive. More >


Dan Fletcher6/26/2008 - Fletcher selected as 2008 White House Fellow
Daniel Fletcher has been selected as a 2008 White House Fellow. The fellowship offers leadership development and public service at the federal level, with members taking part in roundtable discussions and study trips to examine U.S. policy in action. Fletcher’s research focuses on the development of new biomedical technologies and the study of cellular biophysics. More >


Richard Karp6/20/2008 - Richard Karp, renowned computer theorist, wins 2008 Kyoto Prize
Richard Karp, a UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, has been named a laureate of the 2008 Kyoto Prize, Japan's equivalent of the Nobel Prize, in recognition of his lifetime achievements in the field of computer theory. More >


oral cirri on the lancelet 6/18/2008 - Lancelet genome shows how genes quadrupled during vertebrate evolution
The ancestor of all chordates, a group that includes humans and other vertebrates, probably looked like a sand-dwelling invertebrate called the lancelet or amphioxus. Its newly sequenced genome confirms that, and shows how vertebrates evolved over the past 550 million years – through a four-fold duplication of the genes of our primitive ancestors. More >


Stem cell 6/10/2008 - Old muscle gets new pep in UC Berkeley stem cell study
When UC Berkeley bioengineers tweaked how adult stem cells reacted to biochemical signals regulating cell division, they gave muscle in old mice a shot of youthful vigor. The research sets the path for research on new treatments for age-related degenerative conditions, including muscle atrophy and Alzheimer's disease. More >


Yeast 6/2/2008 - Personal genomes may lead to personalized vitamin supplements
As the cost of DNA sequencing drops, it may become common for people to have their complete genomes sequenced. Personal genomes will not only tell people about their genetic susceptibility to cancer and heart disease, but also will tell them which vitamins can improve their health. More >


HHMI May 2008 - Distant relatives, common genes
Dan Rokhsar's research is not only providing new insights into our genetic heritage but also clearing a path toward a cleaner, greener future. More >


HHMI 5/27/2008 - HHMI investigators announced
Six QB3 faculty affiliates have received one of the most sought-after honors in biomedical research: appointment as Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators with guaranteed research support for five, 10 or more years into the future. This brings the total number of QB3 faculty affiliates who hold the prestigious appointments to 22. More >


Leslie Chung-Lei Sheu Spring 2008 - A magnet with a view
From physicists to chemists to bioengineers, UC Berkeley researchers are working to revolutionize magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to expand the technique's applications and reduce its price tag. More >


Leslie Chung-Lei Sheu 5/8/2008 - Top Berkeley senior is a disease detective
UC Berkeley senior wins the University Medal, honoring her scientific curiosity, academic success, and empathy for the downtrodden. Next stop: medical school at UCSF. More >


Mycobacterium tuberculosis 5/8/2008 - New campus-wide alliance for global health
From projects to prevent mothers from dying during childbirth to low-cost treatments and diagnostics for drug-resistant tuberculosis, UC Berkeley is bringing together global health research from across the campus in an ambitious interdisciplinary initiative to be officially launched on Wednesday, May 14. More >


Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences 5/7/2008 - CIRM awards $20 million for stem cell research facilities
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has awarded $20.18 million to UC Berkeley to build centralized stem cell laboratories in a new research building, the Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, now under construction.
More >


Energy Biosciences Institute 5/5/2008 - Energy Biosciences Institute funds first 49 projects
The BP-funded Energy Biosciences Institute has awarded its first 49 research grants, totaling $20 million and including a significant number looking at the environmental, economic, and societal impacts of meeting a growing portion of the world's energy needs through biofuels. More >


zebra fish 5/2/2008 - Glowing sugars light up zebrafish
Using artificial sugar and some clever chemistry, UC Berkeley researchers have made glow-in-the-dark zebrafish whose internal light comes from the sugar coating on their cells. The technique is a new tool for researchers, and will lead to a better understanding of the role of cell-surface sugars in health and disease. More >


CellscopeApril 2008 - Small microscope on a phone
A group of bioengineers led by Daniel Fletcher is developing an instrument to allow patients with chronic blood conditions to easily and inexpensively monitor their blood from home. The device fuses two straightforward technologies a camera-equipped cell phone and a basic optical microscope into one powerful tool: a portable microscope that can send annotated images of blood cells to labs or medical centers for analysis. More >


4/25/2008 - On the energy trail: Berkeley researchers find new details following the path of solar energy during photosynthesis
Graham Fleming and his research group have used a laser technique they developed to track the flow of excitation energy through both time and space. Now, for the first time, they’ve been able to connect that flow to energy-transferring functions during photosynthesis by providing direct experimental links between atomic and electronic structures in pigment-protein complexes. More >


4/3/2008 - Optical tweezers pick up the ribosome beat
Researchers led by Ignacio Tinoco, Carlos Bustamante, and Harry Noller have for the first time glimpsed the physical steps of the ribosome machine as it translates messenger RNA into a protein. Their findings are featured on the cover of the April 3 edition of Nature. More >


3/12/2008 - UC Berkeley and Stanford University launch joint stem cell research
UC Berkeley and the Stanford School of Medicine will join forces in a new stem cell initiative that will catalyze research and serve as a magnet for scholars from around the world. The Siebel Stem Cell Institute, established by the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation, is a joint initiative between the Berkeley Stem Cell Center and the Stanford Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Institute. More >


February 2008 - Statistical challenges in genomics
For biologists, DNA microarrays are a boon and curse alike. UC Berkeley's Sandrine Dudoit is coming to their assistance with statistical and computational methods needed to analyze and understand the mind-bogglingly large and intricate datasets these and other high-throughput biotechnologies generate. More >


February 2008 - Fellowship program to advance knowledge of human genes
Adding postdoctoral positions to a UC Berkeley research center may seem a routine step, but for the Center for Computational Biology, the anticipated impact will be far more momentous. The Center's Innovation Fellows will form a much-needed cadre of experts who will interpret vast data on the human genome and find new biological insights. More >


Choanoflagellates2/14/2008 - Genome of marine organism tells of animals' one-celled ancestors
A ubiquitous but little-known marine organism, the choanoflagellate, is the last one-celled ancestor of humans and offers clues to how cells learned to assemble into multicelled organisms. The genome of the choanoflagellate Monisiga has now been sequenced and offers clues to the origin of the glue holding many-celled animals together. More >


February 2008 - Students grab gold with bacteria-to-blood project
A team of QB3-UC Berkeley undergraduates has demonstrated how genetically modified E. coli bacteria might be converted into a cheap and safe blood substitute. The engineered product, called “Bactoblood,” addresses a global shortage of human blood for transfusions, particularly in developing countries and emergency situations, the young developers say. More >


1/28/2008 - Berkeley scientists bring MRI/NMR to microreactors
In a significant step towards improving the design of future catalysts and catalytic reactors, especially for microfluidic “lab-on-a-chip” devices, researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley have successfully applied magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to the study of gas-phase reactions on the microscale. More >


January 2008 - The copy machine of the cell
When UC Berkeley professor of biochemistry and molecular biology Mike Botchan first began studying chromosome copying, basic questions about the process remained unknown. Over the past three decades, Botchan has been instrumental in piecing together the story of what he calls "the elaborate dance of DNA replication." More >


1/9/2008 - Feeling the heat: Researchers make thermoelectric breakthrough in silicon nanowires
Energy now lost as heat during the production of electricity could be harnessed through the use of silicon nanowires synthesized via a technique developed by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley. More >



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