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Alber Memorial Fund

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Fri, 06/13/2014 - 04:21

To honor Professor Tom Alber, the Alber Family and the faculty together have set a goal of raising $50,000 to permanently name a lecture series in his memory. We hope that you will join us in celebrating Tom and that you will consider making a gift to help establish a lecture series that will bear Tom's name in perpetuity.

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Conboy Lab discovers oxytocin aids muscle regeneration

Department of Bioengineering - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 10:36
New research from professor Irina Conboy's lab shows that oxytocin, known as the 'trust hormone', is indispensable for healthy muscle maintenance and repair, and that in mice it declines with age.
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Chemical engineer Jay Keasling wins renewable energy prize

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 06/09/2014 - 14:37
Chemical engineer Jay Keasling wins renewable energy prizeJay Keasling, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and CEO of JBEI, has won the 2014 Renewable Energy Prize portion of the prestigious Eni Awards for his achievements in “the microbial production of hydrocarbon fuels.” The award is sponsored by Eni, a global multibillion dollar energy company headquartered in Rome.

Chang and Rape Finalist for Blavatnik Award

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Mon, 06/09/2014 - 08:17

Howard Hughes Investigator and Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology Christopher Chang and Howard Hughes Investigator and Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology Michael Rape are both among 30 national finalists for the 2014 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists.

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Herr Lab expands highly specific protein measurements to single cells

Department of Bioengineering - Thu, 06/05/2014 - 13:39

A major limiting factor in biological research is the challenge of quickly and accurately identifying specific proteins in a single cell. The workhorse single-cell tool, flow cytometry, suffers from limited performance, while the highly-specific Western blot has not been able to measure proteins in a single cell.

Using microfluidic design and commonly-available materials, members of bioengineering professors Dave Schaffer and Amy Herr’s labs have introduced a new tool that allows the highly specific measurements made with Western blots to be applied to single cells. Their approach advances microarray-like formats to include tiny electrophoretic separations to sort proteins by size, followed by the standard antibody-based detection. The single-cell Western (scWestern) detects as many as eleven protein targets in one cell. The tool can assay about 2,000 individual cell in under four hours.

scWestern blot

Single-cell western blots expand study of single-cell variation to the proteome. Image AJ Hughes.

Having the capability to measure single-cell protein levels with high specificity could change the way we probe protein-mediated signaling within the cell. Identification of fleeting interactions and similar but unique proteins are two major areas where the new measurements could assist. This could be especially useful in understanding stem cell differentiation and differences among rare cell types, like circulating tumor cells.

This research was published online in Nature Methods June 2014, with lead authors Alex Hughes (BioE Phd 2013) and Dawn Spelke (BioE graduate student). In the first week of publication the article was ranked the #1 most emailed and #4 most read.

Read more at Nature Methods.

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Keasling wins renewable energy prize

Department of Bioengineering - Wed, 06/04/2014 - 12:36
Jay Keasling, professor of chemical & biomolecular engineering and bioengineering and CEO of JBEI, has won the 2014 Renewable Energy Prize portion of the prestigious Eni Awards for his achievements in “the microbial production of hydrocarbon fuels."
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Black hole tug-of-war between gravity and strong magnetic fields

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:00
Black hole tug-of-war between gravity and strong magnetic fieldsAlexander Tchekhovskoy, a UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab postdoctoral fellow, has probed the strong magnetic fields around black holes and discovered that they can exert a force equal to the gravity pulling material into the black hole. This could cause some matter to levitate just above the object, pulled in two directions at once.

Tobacco gets a makeover as new source for biofuel

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 13:52
Tobacco gets a makeover as new source for biofuelPeggy Lemaux, UC Berkeley cooperative extension specialist, is working with Berkeley Lab and the University of Kentucky to develop a genetically engineered tobacco plant that will produce oil that can be used as a biofuel. KQED Science wrote this story about the research effort.

New grant to help science, tech majors stay the course

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 05/29/2014 - 10:40
New grant to help science, tech majors stay the courseA new five-year, $1.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute will help UC Berkeley's Biology Scholars Program share its successful strategies for supporting and retaining undergraduate biology majors throughout the Berkeley campus, in areas ranging from chemical biology to environmental science.

BioE’s top 2014 Senior Class Gift

Department of Bioengineering - Wed, 05/28/2014 - 13:24

How much do BioE students love Berkeley? SO much that they put their money where their hearts are. Congratulations 2014 BioE Bears – top fundraisers for the senior class gift!

senior gift award

Categories: Science News

Dueber named new Bakar Fellow

Department of Bioengineering - Wed, 05/28/2014 - 12:32

Bioengineering Assistant Professor John Dueber has been named a Bakar Fellow at UC Berkeley.

DueberThe Bakar Fellows Program supports innovative research by early career faculty at UC Berkeley with a special focus on projects that hold commercial promise in the fields of Engineering, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences or multidisciplinary work in these disciplines. Faculty members selected as Bakar Fellows each receive discretionary research support for a maximum of five years. In addition, the Fellows become part of and contribute to an ecosystem that brings together faculty, post-docs, students, staff and alumni to form a strong network that assists researchers in introducing their discoveries to the market.

Read more at the UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research.

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Dillin Pain Receptor Research in the News

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Wed, 05/28/2014 - 10:36

Howard Hughes Investigator and Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development Andrew Dillin is the focus of a research profile by the UC Berkeley NewCenter that focuses on his research on pain receptors their effect on insulin response and aging.

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A. Martin Selected as Bakar Fellow

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Tue, 05/27/2014 - 11:06

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology Andreas Martin has been selected as a 2014-15 Bakar Fellow. The Bakar fellows program supports innovative research by early-career campus faculty pursuing projects that hold commercial promise.

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Five early-career faculty named 2014-15 Bakar Fellows

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 05/27/2014 - 10:42
Five early-career faculty named 2014-15 Bakar FellowsFive UC Berkeley faculty members have been selected as 2014-15 Bakar Fellows. Launched in 2012, the Bakar program supports innovative research by early-career campus faculty pursuing projects that hold commercial promise. (Read background on the program here.)

Mimicking nature’s enzymes to design better catalysts

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 05/27/2014 - 09:32
Mimicking nature’s enzymes to design better catalystsChemists Alexander Katz of UC Berkeley and David Dixon of the University of Alabama have taken a hint from nature's enzymes to redesign a metal catalyst so that certain binding sites can switched on or off. The feat could led to better catalysts that use less energy and produce valuable products with less wasteful by-products.

Four Berkeley professors launch new nonprofit to advance the publishing rights of authors in the digital age

College of Letters & Science - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 14:18

With the advent of global digital networks has come unprecedented potential for authors to reach new readers. The Authors Alliance, a new nonprofit launched Wednesday (5/21) by four Berkeley professors -- including Dean Carla Hesse -- empowers authors to harness that potential.

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How an L&S economist and a colleague got rare access to IRS tax records

College of Letters & Science - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 11:31

Emmanuel Saez was one of a pair of economists who created a big media splash with a 2013 study showing that social mobility correlates with where the children grew up. A new report in Science magazine reveals how they got a hold of  IRS data.

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Pain killers may improve health of diabetics and the obese

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 11:26
Pain killers may improve health of diabetics and the obeseUC Berkeley and Salk researchers have found that mice lacking the capsaicin pain receptor live around 14 percent longer than other mice, and they retain a more youthful metabolism as well. Receptor blockers could not only relieve pain, but increase lifespan, improve metabolic health and help diabetics and the obese.

Lisko Receives Hellman Fellowship

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 10:29

Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology Polina Lishko is a 2014 recipient of the Hellman Fellowship. The purpose of the Fellowship is to support substantially the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their research.

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Berkeley trio shortlisted for prestigious early-career Blavatnik Awards

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 05/22/2014 - 10:17
Berkeley trio shortlisted for prestigious early-career Blavatnik AwardsCampus researchers Christopher Chang, Ali Javey and Michael Rape are among 30 national finalists for the 2014 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists. A national jury selected them from a field of 300 nominees.