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Berkeley Lab Nobel laureate George Smoot (seated in photo) will make a cameo appearance on the television comedy show “The Big Bang Theory,” in an episode scheduled to air on Monday, March 9. The show is about two brilliant but socially dysfunctional young CalTech physicist roommates, their brilliant but equally dysfunctional friends, and the beautiful but non-scientific “girl across-the-hall.” Despite being played for laughs, the highly rated show does strive to get its science right. An item on Smoot’s participation on the show appeared in a Los Angeles Times entertainment blog.
Researchers from UC Berkeley and the University of Iowa have turned a relatively benign virus into a highly infectious form that is ideal as a carrier for gene therapy. In its first gene therapy test, it completely cured human cystic fibrosis lung tissue in culture. This success with the benign adeno-associated virus (AAV), published this week in the online early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, overcomes a major problem of earlier virus-based gene therapy for cystic fibrosis, and sets the stage for tests in advanced animal models of the disease. Berkeley Lab physical bioscientist David Schaffer coauthored the study. More>
Susan Brady, head of Berkeley Lab’s Center for Science and Engineering Education (CSEE), was at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Chicago last week working a booth for DOE’s Office of Science Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists program. This group funds CSEE’s summer internship programs. The turnout of students, faculty members, teachers and other visitors stopping by the booth was good, Brady said. “I enjoyed the opportunity to work with colleagues at DOE and the other national labs and to recruit outstanding participants for our summer internship programs." Also working the booth from Berkeley Lab was CSEE’s Dale Koistinen.
The largest upgrade of the Advanced Light Source since it was originally commissioned in 1993 culminated with a successful top-off injection on Feb. 11. The top-off allows a continuous beam to be injected into the storage ring, which is of tremendous advantage for users. The constant beam current enhances the flux and brightness of the radiation while simultaneously improving the machine and beamline stability. Responses from users, who have anxiously anticipated the top-off operation, have been uniformly positive.
From a new Postdoc benefits orientations to a stress-relief workshop and an investment strategy clinic, the HR Benefits department hosts a number of events to help staff manage their work and life. To assist in tracking upcoming events, the department produces a monthly calendar, and the March edition is now available.