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About Us

The Life Sciences Division of the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) contributes to strategic Berkeley Lab and National efforts to address scientific questions and provide solutions in the areas of cancer, DNA damage and repair, radiation biology, genome structure and function, neurodegenerative diseases, structural biology, bio-fuel production and bioremediation.  This is accomplished by developing multi-disciplinary, multi-divisional and multi-institutional teams to approach problems of scale and/or technical complexity that can best be accomplished in a National Laboratory environment. Laboratory scientists participate actively in these multi-disciplinary programs while maintaining outstanding independent research programs in areas of Divisional strategic emphasis.  The Division is strongly committed to providing a safe and diverse work environment to support these research activities. It also supports an active Early Career Scientists Society (ECSS) which organizes an array of seminars and activities.

The Division is comprised of 45 Principal Investigators; about 240 scientists, technical, administrative and support staff; and approximately 200 participating guests (affiliates). Since April 2014, scientific staff are organized into three departments: Cell and Molecular Biology (head: Priscilla Cooper); Genome Dynamics (head: John Conboy); and Structural Biology and Imaging (head: William Moses).

In April 2014 several scientific programs were introduced (announcement), which complement the Division’s strengths (e.g. cancer biology), expand the integration with Berkeley Lab research, and align Division research efforts with Berkeley Lab's Biosciences Strategic Plan (BSP). The programs, which are not exclusionary, are: Mesoscale and Nanoscale Technologies Integrated by Structures (MANTIS); Mesoscale BioImaging Technologies (MesoBIT); Model Systems for Environmental Toxicology (ModSET); and Human Tissue and Microenvironment Biology (HTMB-Bioforge).

Funding for FY13 is approximately $42 M, 53% of which comes from the National Institute of Health (NIH); 18% from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), primarily in the Office of Science; and with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), state agencies, university, industrial, national and international collaborations adding another 29%. The budget includes an additional $2.7 M of Laboratory Directed Research & Development (LDRD) funding.

The Life Sciences Division is one of 14 scientific divisions at Berkeley Lab that contribute to and take advantage of advanced technologies in 6 National User Facilities operated by the Laboratory. The Division is affiliated with Berkeley Lab's Biosciences Area which is focused on four major areas of research: Energy, Environment, Health, and Biomanufacturing. The Division enjoys mutually beneficial interactions with UC Berkeley scientists in various departments, including Molecular Cell Biology, Physics and Bioengineering.