April 18, 2003 Search the Currents Archive

   Berkeley Honors Its 18 Nobelists


Berkeley Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl presided over the unfurling last Friday of banners along Telegraph Avenue that honor the 18 Nobel laureates from UC Berkeley. In his comments, he expanded on a sentiment expressed by Ernest O. Lawrence, the campus’s first Nobelist in 1939.

"On being informed of his having won the Nobel, Lawrence said, ‘It goes without saying that it is the Laboratory that is honored, and I share the honor with my co-workers past and present.’ And indeed, Berkeley’s Nobel Prizes themselves are in a sense only emblematic of the work that went into the enormous achievements they recognize," said Berdahl. "The honor is shared with all the other scholars who contributed, the learning community that engendered this kind of work, the city that fostered it, and all of us who celebrate and support the ever-widening horizons of human knowledge."

Sixty-seven banners will adorn not only six blocks of Telegraph Avenue, but Bancroft Way between Bowditch and Dana Streets and one block of Durant Avenue as well.

The project — jointly produced by Telegraph Avenue’s merchants and the campus — was the idea of Cody’s proprietor Andy Ross, who wanted to highlight Telegraph’s connection to the rich intellectual community of Berkeley and the campus.

The banners will remain in place until the December holidays.

Travel Office Brings Costs Down to Earth

By Ron Kolb

It’s fair to say that no one’s job has changed quite as dramatically over the last four years as Carol Johnson’s. She is Berkeley Lab’s travel manager, and back in 1999 things were so healthy in the business that the Lab was actually making money on transactions handled by an agency.

Then came Internet bookings, and the elimination of airline commissions to travel agents. Then came 9/11, and a drop in air travel of almost 10 percent. Travel at the Lab was no longer a revenue generator, but was now a cost center. And then came Iraq.

“The way the travel industry operates has changed dramatically,” Johnson said in an understatement. “Our challenge was to generate savings while our costs were going up.”

She and her travel staff in the Administrative Services Department in Building 937 were more than up to the challenge. They promoted a self-booking tool, streamlined operations, and negotiated lower fees with Maritz, the Lab’s commercial travel partner. And there’s more to come – a new computer-based travel management system will be activated this summer, and savings are anticipated to be about 80 percent over current processing costs.

Travel at Berkeley Lab is big business. With an annual average of about 5,000 employee trips a year, the Lab spends close to $3 million a year in air travel alone. That includes acquiring the lowest ticket prices through on-line bookings or with Maritz’ help – 17 percent lower than the industry standard for domestic flights, 200 percent lower for international flights.

While she was fighting the inflationary stresses of the field, Johnson said she was careful to balance savings with convenience. While it is true that employees booking flights through the “BTS” electronic program can save the Lab $25 to $55 per trip, the Maritz direct-dial option is still available for those who wish to book with an agent.

Travel Office Manager Carol Johnson

“Through communication, education and training, we increased our online booking from 3 percent in 2001 to 40 percent this year,” Johnson said. “But if people aren’t sure about what they’re doing, they should call Maritz. They provide services for the Lab like tracking unused tickets, 24-hour emergency service, hotel no-show waivers, consulting and reports.”

Still, the savings of self-service through the computer are unmistakable. BTS is like using Maritz, but without the transaction fee. It is estimated that, for the first quarter of this calendar year, online bookings saved the Lab $20,000 over agency booking. Johnson is so committed to “no-touch” (e-tickets) and “light-touch” (paper ticket) web-based reservations that she’s devoted an entire staff member to supporting self-booking.

She’s Maxine Redfearn, and she teaches “travel power” classes at the Lab. Available for answers to any questions about the BTS booking system, she is at MJRedfearn@lbl.gov, or X6177. She’ll find the lowest fares, she looks at every foreign BTS booking to make sure appropriate carriers are used, and she answers questions about other bookings. “We find that people who book their own rates on the web tend to pick lower fares when they can see them and choose them,” Johnson said. “We probably save 5 percent more when we see all the options.”

Another major savings effort that Johnson and Company initiated in the last couple of years is the use of “Y-Cal” fares, state-negotiated discount coach fares for domestic travel. An estimated $1 million a year in Lab savings results from the use of those lower rates.

But this might all pale by comparison to the forthcoming “Gelco” automatic web-based expense voucher system. Today, the Lab’s labor-intensive, somewhat antiquated system of forms and personal data entry costs about $100 per voucher, from trip authorization to reimbursement. Once the automated Gelco system, called Travel Manager, is in operation and employees are trained to use it, the voucher processing cost should come down to around $15, according to Johnson.

“We estimate the Lab should save around $300,000 the first year,” she said. “Our travel office will then become a ‘help desk’ rather than a processing center.”

In the meantime, Johnson reminds the Lab that for answers to questions about travel, there’s a one-stop e-mail address (TravelHotLine@lbl.gov) and phone number (X4500). She also has some suggestions for how employees can help reduce travel costs, which in the long run means more money for laboratory science. These include:

• Use the online booking tool when appropriate.

• Book hotels with Maritz so the Lab benefits from commissions.

• Book cars with Maritz to ensure contract rate, with insurance coverage.

• Avoid calling after-hours service – a higher fee – unless it is urgent

• Acquire non-refundable tickets in most instances.

Help guests and students (not eligible to use Maritz or BTS) to follow policy for full reimbursement, Y-Cal fares, and risk management through the use of car contracts that include insurance.

Call Maxine Redfearn. If there are savings to be found, she’ll find them.

Getting to the Bottom of Things at the Earth’s Core

By Paul Preuss

Rich Muller

Not all Hollywood sci-fi movies are implausible — 1998’s “Deep Impact” even got a good review in Science magazine — but too many are like “The Core,” described by the New York Times as “monumentally dumb.”

Seems Earth’s core has stopped “spinning.” The collapse of the magnetic field is signaled by failed cardiac pacemakers, a space shuttle thrown off course (navigating by magnetic compass?), and the far wanderings of the Northern Lights — never mind that without a magnetic field there would be no Northern Lights.

In fact Earth’s magnetic field has often failed and reversed — the process takes thousands of years, not months — but no one knows why.

“We know more about the surface of the sun than the deep earth,” says Rich Muller of the Lab’s Physics Division, a professor of physics at UC Berkeley. Last October, in an article in Geophysical Research Letters titled “Avalanches at the core-mantle boundary,” Muller published what he considers the most plausible hypothesis yet of what’s behind geomagnetic field reversals.

Avalanches down below

What we know about the core — a solid inner sphere of pure iron the size of the Moon, an outer liquid core rich in iron the size of Mars, and an irregular boundary between the liquid core and the bottom of the rocky mantle — comes mostly from studying how seismic waves travel through the earth. Conditions that could produce these seismic signatures have been simulated by computer and in the laboratory.

Most scientists agree that the magnetic field arises from convection currents in the liquid outer core, a “geodynamo.” Convection probably starts as pure iron crystallizes on the surface of the inner core, about 5,000 kilometers beneath Earth’s surface. Lighter components like oxygen, sulfur, and silicon rise toward the core-mantle boundary (CMB) 2,000 kilometers higher.

Here, where temperatures are a thousand degrees cooler, the lighter components condense as slushy sediments. Muller theorizes that tens of meters of these buoyant sediments accumulate each million years, “falling” upward onto the uneven topography at the base of the mantle, eventually to slip and slide.

“It’s a little like an avalanche on the sea floor, where mud mixes with water, causing turbidity flow,” Muller says. The turbid mixture causes cooled-off, denser iron to sink back toward the inner core — perturbing the geodynamo’s convection cells, nudging the field, and causing magnetic north and south to wander.

This normal process goes on all the time. Rare events could trigger really big avalanches at the CMB, however. If a massive asteroid or comet were to slam into Earth’s surface at an oblique angle, the lower mantle would jerk sideways, shearing off whole mountains of sediment. Downward-sinking masses of cool iron would completely disrupt convection cells; at the surface, the north-south field would collapse.

“My theory is not really a theory of field reversals,” says Muller. “Rather it’s a theory of how the field is turned off. Over thousands of years, as the large convective cells in the core gradually reestablish themselves, the dipole field at the surface would turn itself back on, with a fifty-fifty chance of opposite polarity.”

Gary Glatzmaier of UC Santa Cruz modeled Earth's geodynamo in 3-D on a supercomputer. Complex fields in the core contribute to a dipole field at the surface: inward flowing field lines (blue) at the North Pole, outward flowing field lines (yellow) at the South Pole.

Chaos or cosmic bombardment?

While the principal competing theory attributes field reversals to chaos, “when I look at the geological record, I see things that don’t look like chaos to me,” Muller says.

“There is a long literature on the association of asteroid/comet impacts and magnetic field reversals. The association of mass extinctions with impacts is well known, of course. And there is also an association of mass extinctions with flood basalts.”

How could impacts lead to flood basalts — outpourings of thin fluid lava covering vast areas? Muller surmises that a powerful oblique impact would unleash an avalanche big enough to strip a patch of the lower mantle bare. Hot iron would heat the exposed mantle rapidly; within a few million years a plume of magma would rise to the crust and burst out in titanic eruptions.

Thus the avalanche theory links impacts, mass extinctions, reversals of the magnetic field, and flood basalts, though not all of them every time. Several episodes appear to fit the model, including mass extinctions during the Permian and at the end of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods.

A vertical impact wouldn’t cause shear forces at the CMB; this probably happened at the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary, associated with mass extinctions and flood basalts but no field reversal. On the other hand, Muller realized that a really powerful oblique impact could strip most of the CMB of its insulating sediments.

Vast flood basalts would follow — and a very long period during which not enough sediment would accumulate to cause avalanches, and there would be no magnetic field reversals at all.

"Avalanches" of buoyant, slushy sediments at the core-mantle boundary could occur on any scale. All would locally warm the mantle and cool the liquid core. Cooler iron would sink toward the inner core, possibly disrupting the convection cells of the geodynamo.

Predicting the past

“There is a so-called ‘long normal’ period in the history of magnetic field reversals, a quiet period that started 120 million years ago and lasted 35 million years, during which there were no field reversals at all,” Muller says.

In the first draft of his paper he pointed out that his theory “predicted a huge basalt flow coincident with the beginning of the long normal period,” but to his annoyance, “there was no record of such a basalt flow. I could only hope one would be discovered some day.”

He mentioned his disappointment to geologist Walter Alvarez, an author of the impact theory of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinctions. Alvarez pointed out that Muller had been using a table that listed only continental flood basalts.

The largest flood basalt in the world, the Ontong-Java Plateau, lies under the Western Pacific Ocean. Its formation 120 million years ago precisely coincided with the onset of the long normal period. “So I had the pleasure of knowing I’d ‘predicted’ it,” Muller grins, “although it had already been discovered long before.”

Muller’s avalanche theory is highly plausible, but to prove it requires a journey to the center of the earth. Unfortunately, that adventure is likely to remain in the realm of unlikely science fiction for the foreseeable future.

For more about avalanches at the core-mantle boundary, look for next month’s online Science Beat.

Return of the Hulk (Crew)

It was almost a year ago to the day that Universal Studios first brought its film crew to Berkeley Lab to shoot scenes for its Summer 2003 action blockbuster, “The Hulk.” This week it returned to capture one final scene, on the patio of the Advanced Light Source. Oscar winning director Ang Lee took time to chat with Lab Deputy Director Sally Benson (left) before instructing actors Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno (right) on what he wanted them to do in the scene. Both he and Ferrigno, the original Hulk in the 1970s TV series, play campus security guards at "Berkeley Nuclear Biotechnology Institute," a fictitious research facility on a hillside in the East Bay. All will become clear on June 20, when "The Hulk" opens nationwide.


Security Alert Lowered

All DOE facilities have been directed to lower their security status to “Secon Level 3” to coincide with the Department of Homeland Security advisory system. The change particularly affects procedures for ID cards, gate access, and shuttle and visitor access. The following security measures are currently in place:

  • All vehicles must stop at the gate.

  • Vehicles with a valid parking permit and employees wearing a valid ID badge will be visually inspected; all others will be physically inspected.

  • Visitor cleared with advance registration will receive a temporary parking permit and may be asked for a photo ID.

  • Offsite bus riders must have either an LBNL ID, a student ID or a DOE ID.

  • All Lab employees must have a valid ID badge while on site and must either wear it or be able to produce it upon request.

The Blackberry Gate is open 24 hours a day. The Strawberry gate will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. on regular work days. The Grizzly Peak Gate is open for incoming traffic from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. during the week, but has been modified to open half way so vehicles will be able to exit the gate 24 hours a day.

For more information about internal Lab security, contact Sue Bowen at X6395.

Badge Needed for After-Hours Blackberry Gate Access

To enter the Blackberry Gate after hours and on weekends, please have your ID proximity card ready.

A new card reader at Blackberry Gate has been installed and is ready for use. Effective Friday, April 18, all employees entering the Laboratory after hours or on weekends will be required to use the card to get through. The card reader will indicate valid badges with a display of a green light. This process will greatly increase security at Berkeley Lab and protect the personal property of employees on the Hill. Questions or comments may be sent to Sue Bowen or Jim Breckinridge.

UC Sues AOL Time Warner

The University of California is filing an action in California state court against AOL Time Warner Inc.; its directors and officers; its auditor, Ernst & Young LLP; and the financial advisors involved in the 2001 AOL Time Warner merger — Citigroup, Salomon Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley Inc. — claiming securities fraud arising out of the collapse in the price of AOL Time Warner stock. The University's complaint will allege that AOL materially misrepresented its revenues and number of subscribers during the period prior to and immediately after its January 2001 merger with Time Warner Inc.

Berkeley Lab Currents

Published twice a month by the Communications Department for the employees and retirees of Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Ron Kolb, Communications Department head.

EDITOR: Monica Friedlander, (510) 495-2248, msfriedlander@lbl.gov

STAFF WRITERS: Lisa Gonzales, 486-4698; Dan Krotz, 486-4109, Paul Preuss,   486-6249; Lynn Yarris, 486-5375

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Jon Bashor, X5849; Allan Chen, X4210

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JGI Celebrates Human Genome
Sequencing, Genome Anniversary

By Charles Osolin

In a feat likened by one veteran scientist to emerging from the “dark ages of biology,” an international research team announced on Monday that the 13-year effort to decode the human genome is essentially complete.

The JGI invited Bay Area civic and educational leaders to its facility on Monday to watch the press conference announcing the completion of the Human Genome Project, hear briefings on the JGI’s role in the project and its plans for the future, and tour JGI’s state-of-the-art sequencing facility. The celebration also marked the 50th anniversary of the landmark paper by Francis Crick and James Watson revealing the double-helix structure of DNA.

Through the work of 20 sequencing centers in six countries, including the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in Walnut Creek, the order of about 98 percent of the three billion base pairs in human DNA has been determined to an accuracy of 99.99 percent. The sequence has been made publicly available on the World Wide Web and is already being used by thousands of scientists and pharmaceutical developers seeking new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat human diseases and disorders, as well as new clues to the evolution of life.

Joint Genome Institute staffer Tijana Glavina explains how genes are sequenced during a tour of the JGI on Monday — part of the celebration announcing the complete decoding of the human genome.

JGI Director Eddy Rubin said the availability of the human DNA sequence “marks the beginning of an era that promises profound insights into the molecular functioning of all forms of life. Our understanding of cellular processes, the impact of organisms on each other and on the Earth’s environment, as well as fields of biological investigation yet to be identified, will be directly influenced by the discoveries and technologies of genomics.”

Added Elbert Branscomb, a senior bioscientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the founding director of JGI, “We simply can’t get at those questions in the sort of medieval ignorance that has been our lot until now.”

DOE Office of Science associate director Ari Patrinos, who heads the Office of Biological and Environmental Research, said the achievement marks a “wonderful paradigm shift in biological research.” Patrinos predicted that DOE’s Microbial Genomics and Genomes to Life programs, which will build on the data and technology developed by the Human Genome Project, will provide “innovative and effective solutions” to such problems as environmental cleanup and global warming, as well as “wondrous new energy sources for the United States and the world.”

The JGI, a consortium formed in 1997 by Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, and Los Alamos national laboratories, was responsible for sequencing human chromosomes 5, 16, and 19, which make up about 11 percent of the genome. The JGI has also sequenced the genomes of a variety of microbes, marine animals, and other organisms to provide points of comparison that could shed light on the nature and functioning of the human genetic code.

Berkeley Scientists Make New Type of Nanotubes

By Lynn Yarris

To the growing list of nanosized objects created in a laboratory you can now add nanotubes synthesized from the prized semiconductor gallium nitride. A team of Berkeley Lab scientists has created gallium nitride nanotubes with diameters ranging between 30 to 200 nanometers. By comparison, a human hair has a diameter of about 100,000 nanometers.

“These gallium nitride nanotubes are electronically and optically active and, because they’re made from single crystals, exceptionally durable and uniform in their properties,” says Peidong Yang, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and a professor with UC Berkeley’s Chemistry Department who led this research. “They offer a wide range of opportunities for technological applications.”

These images taken with a scanning electron microscope show (a) arrays of zinc oxide nanowires which serve as cocoonlike templates for the creation of (b) arrays of nanotubes made from gallium nitride. The insert in (a) shows a cross section of the zinc oxide nano-wires and the insert in (b) shows gallium nitride nanotubes broken off from the substrate.

Results of this research were published in the April 10 issue of the journal Nature. Co-authoring the paper with Yang were Yanfeng Zhang, Sangkwon Lee, and Heon-Jin Choi of Berkeley Lab, and Joshua Goldberger, Rongrui He and Haoquan Yan of UC Berkeley.

Gallium nitride is considered by many to be the next important semiconductor material after silicon. As a brilliant light emitter capable of operating at high temperatures, it is a leading candidate to be the key material for the next generation of high frequency, high power transistors. The major drawback to gallium nitride technology has been the cost of growing gallium nitride crystals. A relatively inexpensive means of mass producing high-quality uniform gallium nitride nanotubes should create a lot of interest in the high-tech community.

The gallium nitride nanotubes created by Yang and his colleagues are hollow cylinders with wall thickness that range from 5 to 50 nanometers. That gives these tubes both an inner and outer surface to which other molecules, especially organic molecules, can readily attach, making them ideal candidates to serve as nanoscale chemical sensors. Because their surfaces are essentially transparent, these nanotubes could also be used as a cage to hold molecules in place for spectroscopic studies. Yang believes that gallium nitride nanotubes also lend themselves to nanoscale techniques in fluidics and electrophoresis.

Peidong Yang led the research on the gallium nitrade nanotubes.

“These nanotubes could mimic ion channels like those in a biological cell, or they could be used to separate molecules in the same way as the microscale labs-on-a-chip,” he says.

In 1991, Japanese chemist Sumio Iijima created hollow cylinders of carbon measuring only a billionths of a meter in diameter, which he dubbed “nanotubes.” Carbon nanotubes created a big sensation in the materials sciences, but ever since researchers have sought to synthesize nanotubes from solids other than carbon, especially from semiconductors. While there has been some success in that direction, these tubes have either been amorphous or polycrystalline, which made them too fragile for practical use.

Yang and his colleagues overcame this problem through the development of a fabrication technique Yang calls “epitaxial casting.” It is based on a technique he and his group developed earlier to make “nanowire nanolasers,” perhaps the smallest ultraviolet light-emitting lasers ever produced.

The nanowires are made from pure crystals of zinc oxide that grow vertically in aligned arrays like the bristles on a brush. These zinc oxide “bristles” range from 2 to 10 microns in length, depending upon how long the growth process is allowed to proceed. Typically, millions of zinc oxide nanowires form on a sapphire wafer substrate over a period of about 10 minutes.

For the gallium nitride nanotubes, Yang and his colleagues used the zinc oxide nanowires as templates over which they grew crystals of gallium nitride through chemical vapor deposition. Heat was then applied to evaporate away the zinc oxide cores (gallium nitride being a much more thermally stable material), leaving only the gallium nitride sheaths: a high-density, ordered array of nanosized tubes.

“Electron diffraction measurements showed that our gallium arsenide nanotubes are single crystals,” Yang says. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first example of the formation of single crystal gallium arsenide nanotubes.”

Scanning electron microscopy showed that the tubes Yang and his colleagues made were of uniform length, about two to five microns. Yang says that the epitaxial casting technique allows tube length to be controlled and that it should be no problem to grow tubes 20 or more microns in length. He also notes that while most of the tubes they produced remained attached to the sapphire substrate and were open at one end only, others broke off from the substrate and were open at both ends. This property of tubes being open at one or both ends is another factor that can be controlled, he says.

Yang says the epitaxial casting technique should also work for making nanotubes out of many other semiconducting materials. He and his group expect to incorporate their nanotubes into a device, such as a transistor or a sensor, in the near future.

New Clues in the Debate Over
High-Tc Superconductivity

By Paul Preuss

Electronic interference patterns change with voltage.

On April 10 the journal Nature published a remarkable series of scanning-tunneling-microscope (STM) images, made last summer by J. C. Séamus Davis of the Materials Sciences Division and his colleagues. The images show long-predicted but never before seen electronic interference patterns in a high-transition-temperature (high-Tc) superconductor, Bi-2212.

In contrast to low-temperature superconductivity, nobody knows how high-Tc superconductors work. Electronic interference is hard to see in these complex copper-oxygen ceramics. But patterns seen previously have led some theorists to suggest that high-Tc superconductivity is inseparable from the so-called "stripe phase."

The stripe phase refers to one-dimensional stripes of charge in the copper-oxygen plane, evenly spaced at four times the crystal lattice dimension and separated by insulating regions. If high-Tc superconductivity necessarily involves stripes, interference patterns would be confined to four times the lattice dimension at all energies.

The patterns seen by Davis and his group are not confined to these dimensions. Instead they correspond to "quasiparticle interference" — scattered electrons interfering with themselves — and change dimensions as the STM bias voltage is increased.

Thus there seems to be no necessary connection between the stripe phase and the electronic structure of at least one high-Tc superconductor, Bi-2212.

A full article about quasiparticle interference in Bi-2212 can be found at http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/MSD-8-fold-quantum-states.html.

Mice Offer Lesson in Aging

By Dan Krotz

There’s a lot to learn from a mouse. Live simply, avoid trouble, and if you want to reach old age, maintain your genome. The last lesson comes by way of an international team of researchers who use mice to explore how and why people age.

The team, which includes Berkeley Lab cell biologist Judy Campisi, alters mice to carry rare disease-causing genes that accelerate aging. They’re learning how these genes disrupt genome maintenance — the ability to repair damaged DNA — and how this disruption leads to cataracts, hearing loss, and other trappings of old age which, in severe cases, affect even children. Their inquiry not only sheds light on syndromes with names like Cockayne and trichothiodystrophy, but the genetic roots of aging in everyone. Ultimately, they hope to parlay their research into pharmaceutical therapies for both rare diseases and the everyday aches and pains of growing old.

“We’re not talking about a fountain of youth, but adding a few years of healthy life,” says Campisi, a senior staff scientist in the Lab’s Life Sciences Division.

Campisi is among a vanguard of researchers worldwide who employ the latest scientific tools to investigate the oldest of mysteries. Some are learning how caloric intake influences life span, some are discovering how hormones affect longevity, and some, like Campisi’s team, search for clues in life’s blueprint.

It’s a likely suspect. The human genome has approximately 50,000 genes and countless DNA sequences that regulate their expression, each of which is continuously bombarded by molecules that inflict oxidative damage. Although the body works hard to quickly repair this damage, the constant struggle is far from perfect, especially as people age. Blame it on a Darwinian tradeoff: genome maintenance requires enormous energy, so evolution only ensures our genes are properly repaired through our reproductive years. After that, evolutionary pressures slacken and genome maintenance slows. This means that as people age, the barrage of genetic damage outpaces the body’s ability to correctly repair it. This leads to mutations, which explains why cancer rates increase with age. It may also explain aging itself — which is where mice come in.

“If genome repair is important for aging, then we should be able to deliberately disrupt a genome maintenance system and see accelerated aging,” Campisi says.

To make this connection, Campisi’s collaborators genetically modified mice to carry Cockayne syndrome. The disease is caused by a mutation in two genes responsible for repairing oxidative lesions that sometimes appear when a gene is converted into a protein. In healthy people, these genes recruit repair complexes that quickly patch the lesion before it’s passed along. Unfortunately, this critical step is hobbled in people who carry the mutation, and something strange happens. Early in life, patients develop characteristics normally seen in old people, such as neural decline and retinal degeneration.

Remarkably, the same mutation also speeds the aging process in mice, which suffer from tremors as well as premature ear and eye defects. These ailments reinforce earlier research in which tissue samples exhibited mutation-related degeneration. They also push the science of aging a critical step forward by portraying how compromised genome repair affects an entire organism.

“The mouse models are very consistent with what we find at the cellular level,” says Campisi. “And they’re strong circumstantial evidence that a genome maintenance problem can cause premature aging.”

The team also successfully introduced trichothiodystrophy into mice. The disease is caused by a mutation that cripples the XPD gene’s ability to repair DNA lesions. It causes premature tissue degeneration in people, and similar breakdowns in mice. For example, the liver of an eight-month-old mouse with the mutation appears almost three years old — yet another way defective genome maintenance reveals itself.

The next step is to link these outward signs of aging to impaired genome repair. In other words, how does uncorrected DNA damage lead to an aged liver, or to hearing loss? Are hormone imbalances to blame, or does the problem lie with poorly functioning cells? Fortunately, the needle-in-haystack search for these middle steps is made simpler by the mouse. As Campisi explains, biologists can induce organ degeneration in mice and hunt tissue-by-tissue, cell-by-cell, even gene-by-gene for the culprit.

And once the complete storyline of aging is revealed, say from blunted genome repair to DNA damage to cellular degeneration to wrinkled skin, scientists can develop pharmaceutical remedies. In the case of Cockayne syndrome, this could mean breeding mice that possess the mutation with mice that possess high levels of enzymes that curb oxidative damage. If this combination dampens the disease’s symptoms, then antioxidants probably shield the genome from damage and should be pursued as a therapy.

Or, even further in the future, antioxidants may lengthen everyone’s life. People could take a pill that tacks on a few extra years of robust genome maintenance, and a few extra years of healthy life. The goal isn’t to perfect genome repair, which is impossible, but to nudge it along and narrow the ever-widening gap between oxidative damage and maintenance.

“That’s still science fiction, but it’s not out of the question,” Campisi says. “With a mouse model, we can see correlations between how mice and people age, and more importantly, use these correlations to develop interventions.”

The team’s work is discussed in the paper, “Aging and genome maintenance: lessons from the mouse?” which appeared in the Feb. 28, 2003 issue of Science. Jan Vijg and Paul Hasty of the University of Texas Health Science Center, Jan Hoeijmakers of the Netherlands’ Erasmus University, and Harry van Steeg of the Netherlands’ National Institute of Public Health and Environment contributed to the research.

2003 CalPERS Long-Term Care Program
Offers More Choices than Ever

Applications are now being accepted through June 30 for the 2003 CalPERS Long-Term Care program. This year applicants will have a broader array of benefit options to choose from than ever before. For instance, all new applicants who are issued coverage on or after April 1, will have a choice of five different nursing home daily benefit amounts. In addition, the amount offered for assisted living expenses has been increased.

Coverage is available to all California public employees (including non-CalPERS members), retirees, their spouses, parents, parents-in-law, and siblings (ages 18 and over).

CalPERS Long-Term care (LTC) pays for the extended care that might be needed when, due to a chronic illness, injury or frailty of old age, help is required with basic activities such as dressing, bathing, or eating. LTC plans can help pay for extended care at home, care in an assisted living facility, adult day care center, or in a nursing home.

This program continues to draw an increasing number of individuals concerned about the high — and rising — cost of prolonged health care.

To learn more about the CalPERS Long-Term Care program, call 1-800-266-1050 for an employee seminar in your area or visit the CalPERS website at http://www.calpers.ca.gov/longtermcare/. For other information, contact Jeanne Schafer at the CalPERS Office of Long-Term Care, (916) 326-3925 or Jeanne_Schafer@ calpers.ca.gov.

Second Chance at Linux Security Course

By popular demand, the “Linux Security Hands-on” course will be held again on Tuesday, May 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Building 51 trailer. The full-day course is designed to help technical staff understand the specific security measures that are needed to safeguard Unix and Linux systems. Attendees will go through step-by-step procedures for tightening the security of a RedHat Linux system, and will test each implemented measure to ensure that it works.

Enrollment is limited and is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. To sign up, see https://hris.lbl.gov/.

Dance Club Readies for Polynesian Spring Gala

The LBNL Dance Club is now selling tickets for its annual spring gala, scheduled for Saturday, May 3 from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. This year’s event, entitled “A Tropical Night on the Hill,” will feature a Polynesian theme and will be held in the Lab cafeteria.

The dining area will be specially decorated for the gala and furnished with a dance floor. Festivities will include dancing to all styles of music, two dance lessons, a cash bar, and a large spread of Polynesian and Asian-influenced hors d’oevres and appetizers. Attire ranges from Polynesian casual to semiformal.

Because this year’s gala will be held onsite, parking will be free and convenient and the views unbeatable. Moreover, the event will offer a great opportunity for Lab employees to show off the Lab in a different light to their spouses and friends.

Tickets are $30 per person and are on sale through April 25. To purchase a ticket or for more information, contact Joy Kono, Sharon Fujimura, Roby Berninzoni, Anna Smith, Linda Senft, Virgil Alonzo, or Michael Botello.

Two-Day Spring Blood Drive

Berkeley Lab, in partnership with the American Red Cross Blood Services, encourages all eligible employees to participate in the next onsite blood drive, to be held on Tuesday, May 6 and Thursday, May 8 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Building 70A, Room 3377. (Please note that this time the blood drive is not held on consecutive days).

Donors must be in good health, at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not have donated blood in the last 56 days. Additional eligibility criteria and other information can be found on the BeADonor website.

Appointments can be made online at http://www.beadonor.com/ (use company/group code “LBL”) or by calling Charlotte Bochra at X4268.

Flea Market


‘94 MAZDA MPV minivan, V6, AT, 151K mi, ac + rear ac, pwr steer/win/locks, cruse, am/fm/cass, leather, tint win, tow packge, good cond, trans rebuilt 10K mi ago, smogged, dark grn $4,400/bo, Nick, X6314 or 525-1223 until 8 pm

‘91 VW JETTA, 92K mi, sunrf, runs very well, good mileage, new tires/brakes, CD player/radio, $2,500, Greg, 527-4757

‘85 VW JETTA, 4 dr sedan, sunroof, one owner, exc cond, great gas, mi, $1,000, Don, 339-2377

‘39 CHEVROLET COUPE, street legal hot rod, all new running gear, paint & int, $19,000/bo, Larry, X5406, 235-9268


96 CHAPARRAL 2335 SS cuddy cabin w/trailer, 250 HP Mercruiser, 350 V8, alpha one stern drive, dual batt, porta-potti, press water, bimini top, 1 owner, stored on trailer, major service 4/03, $24,500, Jerry, X6370, (707)-425-2355


ALBANY, nice neighbrhd, 1 bdrm apt, incl water/garbage/parking, 12-mo lease, no pets/smoking, nr pub trans, $950/mo, John, (415) 309-1288

BERKELEY, 1 bdrm in 3 bdrm house, share with 2 friendly grad students, kitchen, 2 bth, lge liv rm, small backyrd, w/d, avail 5/1 & 7/1, nr University & San Pablo/pub trans, $600/mo + util pasqua@socrates. berkeley.edu, Jeff, 364-3722, 664-2903, Andrea

BERKELEY, 1 bdrm in 4 bdrm/1 bth apt, with 2 other mature, responsible, neat & friendly roommates, nr UC campus/BART/entert/shopping, $400/mo, 2-mo dep, pref grad student/vis professor, no pets, Richard, 665-4346

BERKELEY, 734 The Alameda, 4 bdrm/2 bth single fam home, modern kitchen, sep breakfast rm, lge sep din rm, mahogany flrs, wood paneling, deck, unfurn, avail 6/1 for 1 yr or more, no smoking/pets, nr pub trans $2,500/mo, Bob/Barbara, (301) 951-9646, budnitz1@llnl.gov

BERKELEY, quiet furn rm w/TV/VCR, kitchen privil, 1 bl from Solano shops/pub trans, bicycle avail for use, long or short term, vis scholars welcome, $625/mo, avail immed, Annette, 527-0605, 435-5506 night

BERKELEY, resid community of scientists & grad students, Hearst Commons, 1146-60 Hearst nr University & San Pablo, studio townhouses w/decks, hardwd flrs, skylights, dw, ac, intercom, sec, avail 6/03-7/03, or 2004, $895/mo, can be part furn for vis scientists, Joshua, 644-9741, editeur@earthlink.net

CENTRAL BERKELEY, nice furn rms, kitchen, laundry, TV, DSL, hardwd flrs, linens, dishes, contin breakfast, walk to pub trans/shops, $950/mo incl utils, $350/wk, Jin or Paul, 845-5959, jin.young@juno. com, Paul X7363

CLAREMONT, 2 bdrm/2 bth eleg furn home, avail 6/1-3/15/04, walk to campus/shops, kitchen, formal din rm, beautiful patio, garden, eleg living, ideal for a vis professor & small family, $3,000/mo, George, 666-1389

NORTH BERKELEY HILLS, 10 min walk to Lab, furn rm, own bth + use of kitchen in shared house, fast internet + wireless incl computer, avail 4/1-9/30 to vis scientist, vgo@pacbell.net

NORTH BERKELEY, furn 1 bdrm, garden cottage, ~500 sq ft, skylights, tile flrs, light, sunny, clean, small upstairs bdrm w/view of hills, gated priv entr, nr bus/BART, bike path to UC, nr shopping, avail mid 6/03, 1-yr lease pref, $1350/mo + util, first, last & $700 dep, no smoking indoors, pets possibly, 527-0210, najet@earthlink.net

NORTH BERKELEY, furn lge sunny 1 bdrm apt, walk to campus/shuttle, all comfort, priv garden, gated carport, Geoffrey, gfchew@ mindspring.com, 848-1830

PLEASANT HILL, 3 bdrm/3 bth, 2600 sq ft, tri level home, sep office, upgraded granite kitchen, 2 car ga-rage, lge landscaped backyrd w/gardener service, 20 min from LBNL, avail 7/1 neg, furn negot, no pets/smoking, $2,350 + dep, Eran, (925) 827-9453, ERAN27@hotmail.com.

RICHMOND, furn 3 bdrm, 3 bth, avail 7/03 for 12-18 mo to vis scientist, 2200 sq ft, cathedral ceilings, panor bay views, on bus route, $2,400/mo, no smokers, Avril, X4098, alquarrie@ lbl.gov, 233-3359


LAB EMPLOYEE & family need 3+ bdrm house for long term lease, 6/1/03 preferred or 7/01, access to good elem school essential, prefer within 25 min drive of Lab Monica, X2524, mmiller@lbl.gov

LAB FEMALE EMPLOYEE seeks 1+ bdrm house/apt in East Bay for long term, non-smoking, no pets, after 7/1/03, Gail, X4722

LBNL SCIENTIST seeks inexpensive small house or apt w/encl yrd for quiet, friendly dog, pref Albany/Berkeley/Kensington area, non smoking, willing to consider long-term lease and share accommodations, Nigel, nwquinn@ lbl.gov

VISITING SCHOLAR, wife & 4-year old child seek  1 bdrm apt in Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito, nr pu trans, non-smoking, start 06/1, 10/mo or longer, Michael, X2913, MVTeplitsky@lbl.gov


3COM SDSL 784/784 Router $40; 2x Sony Clie PEGA-UC500 synch cradles with 5.7v AC pwr adapter, $20, Anna, X7734

CLASSIC LUDWIG, 5 pc drum set w/cymbals, stands & throne, $500, Mike, X5241, 234-5578

GAME CUBE, w/2 games, 1 controller, 1 memory card, $170/bo; radio, two speaker stereo system, recordable tape deck, 3 disk CD changer, $65/bo, Romee, X7067, Mike, 666-0928

MOVING SALE: dryer $175; microwave $20; twin bed w/brass head/foot brds & sheets, $175; 2 antique rocking chairs, $25 ea; solid wood comp desk, $100; portable dishwasher, $150, more, Mary Ann, 528- 4101


LOST: CAR KEYS, blk car key & blk alarm chirper, Teresa, X6749

FOUND: BLACK KEY, circuit board type, found nr Bldg 2, contact Security, X4855


CARPENTER, affordable assistance with various home improvement jobs, 601-5757


PARIS, FRANCE, nr Eiffel Tower, furn elegant sunny 2 bdrm/1 bth apt, avail yr round by week/month, close to pub trans/shops, Geoff, 848-1830, gfchew@ mindspring.com

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, chalet in Tyrol area, furn, sleeps 8, sunny deck, $150/day + $75 cleaning fee, Angela, X7712, Pat/Maria 724-9450

Flea Market Policy

Ads are accepted only from LBNL employees, retirees, and onsite DOE personnel. Only items of your own personal property may be offered for sale.

Submissions must include name, affiliation, extension, and home phone. Ads must be submitted in writing (e-mail: fleamarket@lbl.gov, fax: X6641, or mailed/delivered to Bldg. 65.

Ads run one issue only unless resubmitted, and are repeated only as space permits.

The deadline for the May 2 issue is Thursday, April 24.

LBNL Golf Club Tournament Results

March 15, Roddy Ranch

Flight 1
John Christman (70)
Mark Campagna (73)
T Samatua (74)

Flight 2
Bryan Taylor (69)
Bruce Estes (70)
Victor Hou (72)
Flight 3
Sam Birky (68
Don Prestella (75)
Rob Duarte (76)

Current Point Leaders
Bruce Estes (15)
Don Prestella (14)
Victor Hou (12)

Giants Game Added to Baseball EAA Outings

Tickets to the Giants – N.Y. Mets game on May 15 in San Francisco are on sale on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the noon hour in the cafeteria lobby. Also available are tickets to the baseball game in Oakland on June 21 between the A’s and the Giants. Both begin at 7 p.m. Checks and money orders will be accepted. For more information call Lisa Cordova of the Employee Activities Association at X5521.

Daughters and Sons to Work

Thursday April 24

For the tenth consecutive year, Berkeley Lab will host Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (DSTW) — a day of science and fun for young guests of Lab employees (girls and boys aged 9 to 16). This year’s event will be held on Thursday, April 24. Space is limited to 240 children.

The program consists of morning and afternoon workshops, opening assembly, lunch, and an ice cream social. Workshops and activities will include glass blowing, liquid nitrogen, medical imaging, DNA spooling, and firehouse activities.

For more information contact Joe Crippen in CSEE at X5816, JRCrippen@lbl.gov, or see http://www.lbl.gov/Education/CSEE/dstw/2003schedule.html.