People playing betting games engage two main areas of the brain: the medial prefrontal cortex and the striatum. Ming Hsu of UC Berkeley and Eric Set of the University of Illinois scanned 12 genes involved in dopamine regulation in these areas and found that people's genetic variants affected how they dealt with trial-and-error learning and belief learning.
Jay 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.
Alexander 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.
A 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.
Five 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.)
Chemists 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.
UC 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.
The weight of water pumped from California's agricultural heartland, the Central Valley, over the past 150 years was enough to allow Earth's crust to rebound upward, raising surrounding mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges, some six inches. Winter rains and summer pumping cause annual up and down movements that could affect earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault.
Rebecca Peters’ IQ score measured so low in fourth grade that her school did not deem her to be college material. Her parents didn’t buy it, and neither did she. Today she's a diehard clean-water-access warrior, the winner of three of America's top 10 scholarships -- and UC Berkeley's top graduating senior Also: University Medal runners-up find ‘turning point’ at Berkeley
The polar bear diverged from the brown bear, or grizzly, as recently as several hundred thousand years ago, according to a genome comparison by UC Berkeley, Chinese and Danish researchers. They pinpointed genes involved in fat metabolism that could provide insights that will help humans deal with health problems caused by high-fat diets.
New in ‘Breakthroughs’ from CNR: Food banks shift to better nutrition, UC team stamps out fires, and more
Berkeley's Center for Weight and Health reports that America's food banks are making progress in their efforts to give out more fresh, healthful foods, according to the College of Natural Resources' new edition of Breakthroughs magazine, which also features articles on a UC team fighting fires, the "king of quinoa" and more.