Life Sciences Division Newsletter
In this issue:
Scientific News »
- ALS Provides Detailed Look at a DNA Repair Protein in Action »
- Life Scientists Identify Potential Therapeutic Target for Huntington’s Disease »
- Ben Bowen Co-Organizes LBNL-UCSF Image Analysis Workshop »
- Ben Bowen Presents Game-Changing OpenMSI Concept at Science at the Theater Event »
- Embryogenesis and Genomics Function Topics of October Bioimaging Talk »
- In the News »
- Recent Publications »
- Helen Budworth Receives Huntington’s Disease Human Biology Project Award »
- Sylvain Costes Appointed Associate Editor of Radiation Research »
- Event Honors the Careers of Lab Women in STEM »
- Life Sciences Welcomes Ben Brown as New Computational Biologist Staff Scientist »
- Life Sciences Welcomes Ke Xu as Chemistry Faculty Scientist »
- Life Sciences Promotes Four Researchers to Level of Career Staff Scientists »
- Mina Bissell Featured in Trailer of Frederick Wiseman’s Film ‘At Berkeley’ »
- Winners of Runaround Race – Co-Organized by Derenzo - Announced »
- Highlights of the Lab’s Celebration of Cultural Diversity »
- New UC President Janet Napolitano Visits Lab--Meets Kathleen Bjornstad and Jill Fuss »
- Bay Area Life Tech Blogspot Features Aniek Janssen »
- New Hires and Departures: Welcomes and Goodbyes »
John Tainer, Life Sciences Division, and Greg Hura, Physical Biosciences Division, led the invention of a new technique for studying the process by which certain errors in the genetic code are detected and repaired. The technique is based on a combination of hybrid nanomaterials and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), which was performed at the SIBYLS beamline of the Advanced Light Source. It holds important implications for synthetic biology, microbial adaption and pathogenesis. Also contributing to this work were Chi-Lin Tsai, Shelley Claridge, Marc Mendilloc, Jessica Smith, Gareth Williams, Alexander Mastroianni, Paul Alivisatos, Christopher Putnam and Richard Kolodner. More »
Today at Berkeley Lab, October 25, 2013
In a recent publication of Human Molecular Genetics Berkeley Lab scientists describe a potential therapeutic target for Huntington’s Disease (HD), a devastating neurodegenerative disorder for which there are currently no disease-modifying treatments. The team led by Life Sciences’ Cynthia McMurray includes Do Yup Lee (now at Kookmin University in Korea), Christie Canaria (now a fellow at SBIR/NIH/NCI), together with lead author Eugenia Trushina of the Mayo Clinic.
Cholesterol accumulates in primary neurons from animals expressing the Huntington disease protein
Huntington’s Disease (HD) is hereditary neurodegenerative disease that is influenced by genetics and environmental factors, and has an age-dependent presentation. Despite knowledge of the genetic defect, however, the basis for neuronal pathology is poorly understood. The authors report that the underlying culprit is the abnormal mis-localization of cholesterol. Cholesterol is important for brain function and even small disturbances in its homeostasis can be problematic to neuronal function and synapses. The authors discovered, using Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) de-quenching, that there is a direct interaction between mutant Huntington’s protein (mhtt) and caveolin-1 (Cav1), the major structural component of lipid-rich vesicles and a key modulator of cholesterol trafficking in the cell. The aberrant interaction results in redistribution of cholesterol to the wrong places. The cell “fills up” with cholesterol and wreaks havoc on receptor signaling, vesicle transport, and cytoskeleton structure.
The authors demonstrate that defects in caveolar-related cholesterol trafficking directly contribute to the mechanism of HD in vivo. They generated a new mouse model that expresses mutant Huntington’s protein, but has partial or total loss of caveolin-1 (Cav1) expression. Mhtt-expressing neurons exhibited cholesterol accumulation and suppressed caveolar-related post-Golgi trafficking from ER/Golgi to plasma membrane. Loss or reduction of Cav1 expression in a knock-in HD mouse model rescues the cholesterol phenotype in neurons and significantly delays the onset of motor decline and development of neuronal inclusions. The aberrant interaction between Cav1 and mhtt plays a direct causative role in the onset of HD pathophysiology in vivo. Caveolin 1 is dispensable, and, therefore, it is a feasible target for therapeutics, the authors propose.
Trushina E, Canaria CA, Lee DY, McMurray CT. Loss of caveolin-1 expression in knock-in mouse model of Huntington's disease suppresses pathophysiology in vivo. Human Molecular Genetics. 2013 Sep 10. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24021477 Abstract »
Leadership from Berkeley Lab and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have been meeting over the past year and a half to discuss opportunities for broad-based collaborations with a series of three workshops: Omics Integration and Analysis for Precision Medicine (March 2012); Computational Challenges for Precision Medicine (November 2012); and Imaging Challenges for Precision Medicine (June 2013). At these meetings, numerous collaborative opportunities were identified. To further a small set of these, a focused collaboration workshop under the heading of "Image Analysis" was held at Berkeley Lab on Monday, October 28.
The goal of this workshop, co-organized by Life Sciences Ben Bowen, was to bring a small, pre-selected group of specialists together to brainstorm about ways that Berkeley Lab’s high-performance computational approaches to imaging and visualization can be integrated with some specific human biomedical problems posed by UCSF clinical researchers. The agenda was structured to maximize group discussion of ideas and structured brainstorming. There were three main topics for discussion during the morning, introduced briefly by individuals whose work is impacted by the problem, followed by group interaction as the participants worked together to further specify the issues, identify potential ongoing workgroups, and imagine solutions. The morning sessions were “Emerging technologies: accelerate the application of advanced technology by increasing access to large, difficult to understand approaches”; “Diagnostic algorithms: building a knowledge network that is well-suited for machine learning approaches”; and “Multiscale data integration: multimodal and multiscale imaging informs the knowledge network.” Workshop participants included experts in computing, analysis, and medical imaging; organizers included Bowen, Yushu Yao of NERSC; Sri Nagarajan and Kate Rankin of UCSF.
Berkeley Lab's Science at the Theater event announcement read: “Eight Berkeley Lab scientists present eight game-changing concepts in eight minutes each. Join us for a fast-paced evening of wonder and awe.” Presenters included Peter Nugent (supercomputing and the search for supernovae), Seung-Wuk Lee (generating electricity from viruses), Peter Ercius (imaging atoms in 3-D), Kristin Persson (a Google for materials), Ian Hinchliffe (how the universe works), Rebecca Abergel (a pill to treat people exposed to radioactive materials), Jeff Urban (synergist materials for energy applications), and Life Sciences Ben Bowen who spoke on “Coming to a hospital near you: mass spectrometry imaging.” The evening event took place on October 28 at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, in Berkeley.
Bowen, who timely finished his talk in 7.5 minutes, presented to a captivated audience why mass spectrometry imaging is important but currently difficult to implement due to challenges in analyzing the large files generated. He explained how OpenMSI, a new cloud computing platform for mass spectrometry imaging, may bring this new imaging technique from one used by just a few specialists to one widely used by a diversity of researchers. A recording of the event can be found on the Friends of Berkeley website (Bowen’s talk starts at 12:00) and individual videos of each topic here; more on OpenMSI here.
The October LBNL Integrated Bioimaging Seminar held October 2 at 717 Potter Street featured Luis Comolli, Life Sciences Division, who spoke on “Correlating genomics and function through 3-D Cryo-TEM of intact environmental microbial cells,” and David Knowles, also of the Life Sciences Division, speaking on “Creating digital atlases of embryogenesis.” Seminars are held the first Wednesday of the month and cover diverse topics in the area of bioimaging. The next Bioimaging seminar will be held on November 6, in Bldg. 15 “on the hill,” with Dan Fletcher and Paul Adams, both of the Physical Biosciences Division, presenting. More »
A review of Life Sciences researchers, staff, and students who have appeared in the news media. This is but a sampling of our coverage. Please note that some links may expire after time.
An Oct. 23 Science Daily story featured work led by the Lab’s Greg Hura and John Tainer, who found new ways to observe DNA repair protein in action.
An Oct. 17 Huffington Post story on the dangers of smoking cited work by the Lab and quoted Lara Gundel.
A Sept. 19 Science News story highlighted cancer research by the Lab’s Mina Bissell.
A Sept. 17 Daily Cal story highlighted work by the Lab’s Jonathan Tang and Sylvain Costes showing the risk of radiation on young girls.
What follows is a review of Life Sciences recent publications.
Baran R, Ivanova NN, Jose N, Garcia-Pichel F, Kyrpides NC, Gugger M, Northen TR. Functional genomics of novel secondary metabolites from diverse cyanobacteria using untargeted metabolomics. Marine Drugs. 2013 Sep 30;11(10):3617-31. PMID: 24084783 Abstract »
Baran R, Northen TR. Robust automated mass spectra interpretation and chemical formula calculation using mixed integer linear programming. Analytical Chemistry. 2013 Oct 15;85(20):9777-84. Epub 2013 Sep 27. PMID: 24032353 Abstract »
Benjamin DI, Cozzo A, Ji X, Roberts LS, Louie SM, Mulvihill MM, Luo K, Nomura DK. Ether lipid generating enzyme AGPS alters the balance of structural and signaling lipids to fuel cancer pathogenicity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A. 2013 Sep 10;110(37):14912-7. Epub 2013 Aug 26. PMID: 23980144 Abstract »
Bilgin CC, Kim S, Leung E, Chang H, Parvin B. Integrated profiling of three dimensional cell culture models and 3D microscopy. Bioinformatics. 2013 Oct 15. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24045773 Abstract »
Bleichert F, Balasov M, Chesnokov I, Nogales E, Botchan MR, Berger JM. A Meier-Gorlin syndrome mutation in a conserved C-terminal helix of Orc6 impedes origin recognition complex formation. Elife. 2013 Oct 8;2:e00882. PMID: 24137536 Abstract »
Boudreau A, Tanner K, Wang D, Geyer FC, Reis-Filho JS, Bissell MJ. 14-3-3s stabilizes a complex of soluble actin and intermediate filament to enable breast tumor invasion. Proceedings of the National Accademy of Sciences of the USA. 2013 Oct 8;110(41):E3937-44. Epub 2013 Sep 25. PMID: 24067649 Abstract »
Bowen JD, Huang Q, Gullberg GT, Seo Y. Design of 20-aperture multipinhole collimator and performance evaluation for myocardial perfusion imaging application. Physics in Medicine and Biology. 58(20):7209–7226, October 21, 2013. Abstract »
Bowman GR, Perez AM, Ptacin JL, Ighodaro E, Folta-Stogniew E, Comolli LR, Shapiro L. Oligomerization and higher-order assembly contribute to sub-cellular localization of a bacterial scaffold. Molecular Microbiology. 2013 Sep 16. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24102805 Abstract »
Chatterjee P, Plesca D, Mazumder S, Boutros J, Yannone SM, Almasan A. Defective chromatin recruitment and retention of NHEJ core components in human tumor cells expressing a Cyclin E fragment. Nucleic Acids Research. 2013 Sep 9. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24021630 Abstract »
Crown KN, Savytskyy OP, Malik SB, Logsdon J, Williams RS, Tainer JA, Zolan ME. A Mutation in the FHA Domain of coprinus cinereus Nbs1 leads to Spo11-Independent meiotic recombination and chromosome segregation. G3 Genes, Genomes, Genetics (Bethesda). 2013 Sep 23. pii: g3.113.007906v1. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24062528 Abstract »
Fallahi-Sichani M, Honarnejad S, Heiser LM, Gray JW, Sorger PK. Metrics other than potency reveal systematic variation in responses to cancer drugs. Nature Chemical Biology. 2013 Nov;9(11):708-14. Epub 2013 Sep 8. PMID: 24013279 Abstract »
Fan Y, Ge N, Wang X, Sun W, Mao R, Bu W, Creighton CJ, Zheng P, Vasudevan S, An L, Yang J, Zhao YJ, Zhang H, Li XN, Rao PH, Leung E, Lu YJ, Gray JW, Schiff R, Hilsenbeck SG, Osborne CK, Yang J, Zhang H. Amplification and overexpression of MAP3K3 gene in human breast cancer promotes formation and survival of breast cancer cells. Journal of Pathology. 2013 Oct 1. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24122835 Abstract »
Glaeser RM. Replication and validation of cryo-EM structures. Journal of Structural Biology. 2013 Sep 12. pii: S1047-8477(13)00237-2. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24036314 Article »
Griffith OL, Pepin F, Enache OM, Heiser LM, Collisson EA, Spellman PT, Gray JW. A robust prognostic signature for hormone-positive node-negative breast cancer. Genome Medicine. 2013 Oct 11;5(10):92. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24112773 Abstract »
Hura GL, Tsai CL, Claridge SA, Mendillo ML, Smith JM, Williams GJ, Mastroianni AJ, Alivisatos AP, Putnam CD, Kolodner RD, Tainer JA. DNA conformations in mismatch repair probed in solution by X-ray scattering from gold nanocrystals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 2013 Oct 7. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24101514 Abstract »
Knowles DW, Biggin MD. Building quantitative, three-dimensional atlases of gene expression and morphology at cellular resolution. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology. 2013 Nov;2(6):767-79. Epub 2013 Feb 4. PMID: 24123936 Abstract »
LaBarge MA. Breaking the canon: indirect regulation of Wnt signaling in mammary stem cells by MMP3. Cell Stem Cell. 2013 Sep 5;13(3):259-60. PMID: 24012364 Abstract »
Liu X, Hammel M, He Y, Tainer JA, Jeng US, Zhang L, Wang S, Wang X. Structural insights into the interaction of IL-33 with its receptors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 2013 Sep 10;110(37):14918-23. Epub 2013 Aug 26. PMID: 23980170 Abstract »
Louie KB, Bowen BP, Cheng X, Berleman JE, Chakraborty R, Deutschbauer A, Arkin AP, Northen TR. 'Replica-extraction-transfer' nanostructure-initiator mass spectrometry imaging of acoustically printed bacteria. Analytical Chemistry. 2013 Oct 10. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24111681 Abstract
Mitchell JM, O'Neil JP, Jagust WJ, Fields HL. Catechol-o-methyltransferase genotype modulates opioid release in decision circuitry. Clinical and Translational Science. 2013 Oct;6(5):400-3. Epub 2013 Jun 13. PMID: 24127930 Abstract »
Rübel O, Greiner A, Cholia S, Louie KB, Bethel EW, Northen TR, Bowen BP. OpenMSI: A high-performance web-based platform for mass spectrometry imaging. Analytical Chemistry 2013 Oct 2. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24087878 Abstract »
Shatsky M, Arbelaez P, Glaeser RM, Brenner SE. Optimal and fast rotational alignment of volumes with missing data in Fourier space. Journal of Structural Biology. 2013 Aug 28. pii: S1047-8477(13)00212-8. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23994045 Abstract »
Shell SM, Hawkins EK, Tsai MS, Hlaing AS, Rizzo CJ, Chazin WJ. Xeroderma pigmentosum complementation group C protein (XPC) serves as a general sensor of damaged DNA. DNA Repair (Amst). 2013 Sep 16. pii: S1568-7864(13)00218-8. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24051049 Abstract »
Stamper EL, Rodenbusch SE, Rosu S, Ahringer J, Villeneuve AM, Dernburg AF. Identification of DSB-1, a protein required for initiation of meiotic recombination in Caenorhabditis elegans, illuminates a crossover assurance checkpoint. PLoS Genetics. 2013 Aug;9(8):e1003679. Epub 2013 Aug 8. PMID: 23990794 Abstract »
Stovall DB, Wan M, Miller LD, Cao P, Maglic D, Zhang Q, Stampfer MR, Liu W, Xu J, Sui G. The regulation of SOX7 and its tumor suppressive role in breast cancer. American Journal of Pathology. 2013 Sep 5. pii: S0002-9440(13)00546-4 [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24012678 Abstract »
Tang J, Fernandez-Garcia I, Vijayakumar S, Martinez-Ruiz H, Illa-Bochaca I, Nguyen DH, Mao JH, Costes SV, Barcellos-Hoff MH. Irradiation of juvenile, but not adult, mammary gland increases stem cell self-renewal and estrogen receptor negative tumors. Stem Cells. 2013 Aug 23. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24038768 Abstract »
Timmerman LA, Holton T, Yuneva M, Louie RJ, Padró M, Daemen A, Hu M, Chan DA, Ethier SP, van 't Veer LJ, Polyak K, McCormick F, Gray JW. Glutamine sensitivity analysis identifies the xCT antiporter as a common triple-negative breast tumor therapeutic target. Cancer Cell. 2013 Oct 14;24(4):450-65. Epub 2013 Oct 3. PMID: 24094812 Abstract »
Trushina E, Canaria CA, Lee DY, McMurray CT. Loss of caveolin-1 expression in knock-in mouse model of Huntington's disease suppresses pathophysiology in vivo. Human Molecular Genetics. 2013 Sep 10. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24021477 Abstract »
Zheng Y, Patel AB, Narayanaswami V, Bielicki JK. Retention of a-helical structure by HDL mimetic peptide ATI-5261 upon extensive dilution represents an important determinant for stimulating ABCA1 cholesterol efflux with high efficiency. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 2013 Oct 12. pii: S0006-291X(13)01677-X. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24129191 Abstract »
Zhu Q, Kim YH, Wang D, Oh SP, Luo K. SnoN facilitates ALK1-Smad1/5 signaling during embryonic angiogenesis. Journal of Cell Biology. 2013 Sep 16;202(6):937-50 Epub 2013 Sep 9. PMID: 24019535 Abstract »
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The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) announced that four research grants have been awarded to launch the Society’s new research initiative, the HDSA Huntington’s Disease (HD) Human Biology Project. Life Sciences Helen Budworth, a biochemist project scientist in the McMurray lab, was selected to receive one of these first-ever fellowship awards for her project “Metabolomic and gene expression analysis of fatty acid metabolism biomarkers of Huntington’s disease.”
Helen Budworth (Image by Roy Kaltschmid, LBNL)
Budworth summarizes her research project as follows: “Since HD primarily affects the brain, monitoring the onset of symptoms and progression of the disease are extremely difficult. Biological markers of disease that are present in the blood of patients would be of great utility in tracking the disease and also in testing how effective prospective therapies are. Huntington’s disease is known to affect a patient’s metabolism. For example, patients often experience dramatic weight loss despite increased caloric intake. Therefore, we will use metabolic markers of disease that are present in the blood, such as fatty acids, to help us better track disease progression and test effectiveness of novel therapies. This metabolic profile will be integrated with a gene expression profile from the same human HD blood to create a ‘metabolomic signature’ for HD.”
The Huntington’s Disease Society of America is the largest non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of everyone affected by Huntington’s disease. Totaling $575,000, the 2013 HDSA HD Human Biology Project Fellowships emphasize the importance of bringing basic and clinical researchers together to facilitate Huntington’s disease science beyond animal models into human data and with the participation of HD patients. More information about the awards and a complete summary of all four research projects can be found here.
Adapted from Today at Berkeley Lab, October 25, 2013
Life Sciences Sylvain Costes has been appointed associate editor of Radiation Research, the official journal of the Radiation Research Society (RRS). The journal publishes original and review articles dealing with radiation effects and related subjects in the areas of physics, chemistry, biology and medicine, including epidemiology and translational research. Costes, a staff scientist whose laboratory specializes in various aspects of computational biology, officially accepted the appointment at the 59th Annual RRS Meeting in September 2013 in New Orleans, LA. His lab’s areas of expertise are radiation biology, modeling and radiation system biology, three-dimensional microscopy, and high-content image analysis.
On October 18, 15 Lab women working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields were honored at a special “Women @ The Lab” event, hosted by the Diversity & Inclusion Office and the Women Scientists and Engineers Council. By promoting their achievements, we hope to encourage a new generation of women to enter the STEM workforce, Lab Director Paul Alivisatos told the gathering.
The inaugural celebration highlighted only a few of the success stories at the Lab -- from cancer research to climate modeling to mechanical engineering -- of women scientists, engineers, and technicians who are working to change the world for the better. By promoting the achievements of these 15 women, the organizers hoped to encourage a new generation of women to enter the STEM workforce, where their participation could lead to important breakthroughs. Deputy Laboratory Director Horst Simon hosted the event, held in the Lab cafeteria.
Honorees include (l-r) Life Sciences Susan Celniker and Jill Fuss, Rachel Segalman, Deborah Agarwal, Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, Natalie Roe, Vera Potapenko (HR), Alivisatos, Life Sciences Mina Bissell, Horst Simon (Deputy Director), Rosio Alvarez, Susan Hubbard, and Rebecca Abergel. Honorees not pictured are Nancy Jean Brown, Beate Heinemann, Dawn Munson, Susannah Green Tringe, and Kathy Yelick. Visit the newly launched Women @ the Lab website to learn more about these remarkable women and what inspired them to pursue STEM careers. Berkeley Lab staff can also nominate other women to be featured on the website.
Adapted from Today at Berkeley Lab, October 22, 2013
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The Life Sciences Division welcomes James Bentley “Ben” Brown of UC Berkeley who came out on top of a very impressive group of applications for the widely advertised position of staff scientist. The extensive, academic style search was led by Ken Downing and search committee members included Abby Dernburg, Trent Northen, John Tainer, Damir Sudar, and Claire Tomlin. Brown started with Life Sciences as a computational biologist staff scientist on September 3 at Potter Street where he has his research offices on the second floor.
Director Gary Karpen summarized the justification for the appointment by expressing the Division’s strong need for Brown’s expertise in biostatistics and bioinformatics and saying that “he is a rising star and a rare find, and will be essential to many Life Sciences and Biosciences Area goals for many years to come.” Brown’s “experience and expertise, and research goals, are well aligned with the Biosciences Strategic Plan, (in particular) the Health component,” he wrote. “Having Ben on board will fill a critical gap in the expertise needed to validate and analyze the data we will produce.”
As a graduate student at UC Berkeley, Brown was trained in high level biostatistical analyses by Peter Bickel, a world leader in the field. As a postdoc, he continued with Peter and also joined Sue Celniker’s lab here at Berkeley Lab to receive additional training in genomics and molecular biology. Throughout his education, Brown has gained international recognition for his contributions to statistical and analysis methods in the genomics field, in particular his contributions to the ENCODE and modENCODE projects. He focused in particular on development of methods to validate and analyze high throughput sequencing data. The work he lead on RNA-seq resulted in a huge increase in quality annotations of the fly, worm and human genomes. As a result, he received a coveted K99 career transition award last year. He is now applying his expertise to solve critical problems in the big data arena, in particular how to effectively reduce the complexity of and integrate multilevel omics data, as well as and imaging and video measurement modalities.
An interview with Brown entitled “Ben Brown: Mathematical Rigor for ENCODE and ModENCODE” by the editorial director for GenomeWeb, Bernadette Toner, can be found here.
Life Sciences welcomes Ke Xu who has joined the Division as a chemistry faculty scientist, and is also an assistant professor and Chevron Chair in Chemistry in the Chemistry Department at UC Berkeley. His research interests are focused on biophysical chemistry, physical origin of order in living systems, spatial cell biology and super-resolution microscopy. He currently leads a research program of that aims to understand how order emerges in biological systems at the nanometer-scale from the interaction between biomolecules. His team is achieving this goal experimentally through physicochemical approaches.
As a faculty scientist in the Life Sciences Division, Xu will be supported by the Department of Energy to develop joint research efforts that will answer complex scientific questions by utilizing and extending the Lab’s advanced imaging methods, including super-resolution microscopy and single-molecule imaging/tracking. His collaborative research is expected to open up new opportunities for research funding for the Division and the Lab, and will extend the Lab’s efforts in promoting the LBNL Integrated Bioimaging Initiative, and the establishment of a world-class center for imaging technology.
Xu presented on "A novel, periodic cytoskeleton in neurons revealed by sub-10 nm super-resolution fluorescence microscopy" at the LBNL Integrated Bioimaging Seminar on September 4 (recording); his UC Berkeley website, including CV, can be found here.
Life Sciences Division Director Gary Karpen on October 9 announced the promotion of four highly valued life scientists to the level of career staff scientist. They include Mark LaBarge, Greg Bizarri, Woon-Seng Choong and Claudia Wiese.
In his level-one announcement, Karpen noted that “these individuals have been recognized for establishing themselves as scientific leaders in their fields as well as for their successful management of innovative and independent research programs. They are contributing to larger divisional and inter-divisional projects critical to achieving the strategic goals of the Life Sciences Division and the missions of the Laboratory. We view our staff scientists as potential future leaders, both in the area of scientific innovation and in the management of LBNL, and we look forward to their ideas and partnership in ensuring the continued and future success of the Division and LBNL.” He concluded: “I hope you will join me in congratulating Mark, Claudia, Woon-Seng and Greg for their outstanding accomplishments and their valued contributions to the Division.”
Greg Bizarri --Promoted to Career Physicist Staff Scientist
Bizarri manages a vigorous research program in scintillation detector development, an area that has many “legs” for both funding and applications in medical physics, homeland security and fundamental physics research. There is a continuing need in the Life Sciences Division for work in the area that Bizarri brings, and new talent is needed to expand the vision for detector development based on fundamental properties of matter. The systematic approach that is now being applied should take this field forward much more rapidly than in previous years. Medical applications are closely linked to the Division’s mission, but new applications include development of new technologies that will contribute to the LBNL multi-scale bioimaging initiative. Bizarri’s work also provides continued opportunities for collaboration with Life Sciences biologists, as well as other Berkeley Lab divisions including the ALS, Materials Sciences and Nuclear Sciences.
Woon-Seng Choong –Promoted to Career Physicist Staff Scientist
Choong has become an expert in the field of nuclear medical imaging instrumentation and his research has been recognized world-wide. His work has largely been in instrumentation, developing both individual components and systems for nuclear medical imaging. His work on novel photodetectors has some overlap with others in the Life Sciences Division who are doing photon detection, either with optical microscopy or at synchrotron beamlines. The radiation detection aspects of his work are synergistic with several other divisions at Berkeley Lab; he has collaborated with researchers in the Physics, Engineering, and Nuclear Sciences Divisions. Choong has the experience, knowledge and the personal attributes to step into the career staff scientist position.
Mark LaBarge -- Promoted to Career Biologist Staff Scientist
Over the last four and a half years LaBarge, as a career-track staff scientist, has built and now leads a vigorous independent research group that uses an integrative biological approach that has the ultimate goal of understanding the aging process in human mammary epithelium and its implications for mammary carcinogenesis. He is very highly regarded in his field of cell biology and has already established a very significant international reputation for excellence in breast cancer research, especially in relation to mechanisms underlying its age dependence. His research interests in breast cancer and aging are a perfect fit with the strengths and mission of the Life Sciences Division. In addition, he brings much-needed expertise in stem biology plus the power of a truly inter-disciplinary approach, combining cell biology with physics and engineering, and a highly collaborative approach to his research.
Claudia Wiese -- Promoted to Career Biologist Staff Scientist
Wiese’s research interests in the mechanisms for maintaining genome stability in the face of
environmental challenges are a perfect fit with the strengths and mission of the Life Sciences Division, and with the Biosciences Strategic Plan. She brings much-needed expertise in the biochemistry and molecular cell biology of homologous recombination, which plays a key role in breast cancer etiology, and she utilizes a highly collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach. Wiese’s work and contributions are held in high regard by her colleagues and by the senior management team.
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Berkeley Lab Distinguished Scientist Mina Bissell is among those featured in famed documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s new film entitled “At Berkeley.” She is featured at 5:18 in the trailer below, which was filmed during her talk at the Lab’s 2010 Open House. The film will be shown locally at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco and the Elmwood Theater in Berkeley for one-week run starting Dec. 6. Check with the theaters for specific screening times. More »
Adapted from Today at Berkeley Lab, October 29, 2013
Steve Whitelam of Materials Sciences won the male division of the Runaround with a time of nine minutes and 46 seconds, while Jennifer Doyle of the Engineering Division won the female contingent with a time of 11 minutes and 17 seconds. Whitelam also won in 2007 and Doyle won last year. The winner of the t-shirt design contest was Chengyu Song, also of Materials Sciences. Nearly 700 runners and walkers completed the course. Go here to view photos of the event. The event was organized by Life Sciences Steve Derenzo, Anytra Henderson, and Christina Debernardi.
Adapted from Today at Berkeley Lab, October 18, 2013
On October 23, employees came together to celebrate the rich and diverse cultural heritage represented by the Berkeley Lab. The booths and performances displayed a strong cross-section of our individual identities, expressed through food, dance, music, and cupcake challenges. Organizers wish to thank the volunteers, performers, and attendees who helped make the event successful. Life Sciences participation included Jill Fuss (photo) and Kathleen Bjornstad (photo), a Norwegian descendant, who represented the Lab’s Women Scientists & Engineers Council and the Diversity and Inclusion Council, respectively. To help improve future events, participants are asked to fill out this evaluation form. Additional photos of the event are available here.
Adapted from Today at Berkeley Lab, October 28, 2013
Newly appointed UC President Janet Napolitano, the 20th president of the University of California, came to Berkeley Lab for a daylong visit on October 15 that included discussions with senior leadership as well as presentations from a variety of Lab scientists highlighting various aspects of the Lab’s research, and committee members.
Kathy Bjornstad (right bottom in lilac) and Jill Fuss (left top at table) meet with UC President Napolitano ( right center at table). (Image by Roy Kaltschmid, LBNL)
Kathleen Bjornstad, Life Sciences Division Diversity and Inclusion Council representative, and Jill Fuss, Women in Science Council member, were both invited to attend an hour long meeting with Napolitano and both were able to interact with Napolitano directly. “Napolitano has made Diversity and Inclusion a top priority in her mission to manage the UC system,” says Bjornstad. "We were her last agenda hour and she gave us additional time. As she leaned in, she asked very direct questions and was very interested in our mission for mentoring and diversity. She was very approachable, warm and eager to learn from the rank and files. We were able to highlight our Women in Science achievements and our Life Sciences Division Early Career mentoring and UC campus scientific collaborations."
While here, Napolitano also toured the ALS, Molecular Foundry, and NCEM. The Berkeley Lab stop is part of a statewide tour Napolitano is conducting to familiarize herself with all UC institutions. In a note to the UC community about her tour to date, Napolitano stated, “it is clear to this freshly minted Californian that you have much to be proud about, and I myself am proud to be in your midst.” Napolitano took over as UC President on Sept. 30.
Adapted from Today at Berkeley Lab, October 18, 2013
Karpen lab member Aniek Janssen, from the Netherlands, was one of three speakers at a Bay Area LifeTech (BALT) networking event at the Netherlands Consulate General, Office of Science and Technology (NOST) in San Francisco. Founded by Luke Lightning, BALT hosts local meet-up events that bring together members of biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries, as well as academics, investors, executives, and clinicians, to foster an interactive, health sciences-based community. The event included a meet-and-greet happy hour followed by three short presentations by local postdocs on cutting-edge research focusing on angiogenesis, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer therapy. Read the full (Sept 28) story by Karen Ring on the BALT Blogspot here.
New Hires:William F Tivol, scientific engineer associate, Auer lab, per October 3
Qingsu Cheng, biologist postdoc fellow, Parvin lab, per October 1
Aditya Anand, research assistant, Tainer lab, per October 17
Jennifer He, research associate, Butland lab, per October 12
Tannaz Safari Vejin, student assistant, Bizarri lab, per October 12
Pengju Zhang, biologist project Scientist, Mao lab, per October 12
Cyrus M Ghajar, bioinformaticist postdoctoral fellow, Bissell lab, per October 8
Torsten Goesser, biophysicist project scientist, Cooper lab, per October 2
Dinah Levy Groesser, senior research associate, Bissell lab, per October 2
Chloe S Courchesne, research assistant, Moses lab, per October 1
Matthew B Miller, student assistant, Maltz lab, per October 1
Ann Parplys, biologist postdoctoral fellow, Wiese lab, per October 1
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