When a plant needs to slow down its light gathering after a burst of activity, it adopts a drastic tactic: its photoreceptors, called phytochrome, destroy their regulating molecules, in turn assuring their own destruction. The discovery by Peter Quail of plant & microbial biology could have broad implications for agriculture and cancer research.
Trolling for real-world solutions to support ocean fisheries, the U.S. State Department sponsored a "Fishackathon" at five sites across the country over the June 14-15 weekend. A team from UC Berkeley's School of Information, working out of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, took home the national grand prize for a mobile app designed to help West African fishermen.
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.