News

July 1, 2020

UC Berkeley launches trial of saliva test for COVID-19

Scientists from the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), the same UC Berkeley group that rapidly popped up a state-of-the-art COVID-19 testing laboratory in March, are now trialing a quicker way to obtain patient samples: through saliva.
July 1, 2020

Light Shows the Way to Build “Smart” Infrastructure

Rather than close the New York City subway Canarsie Tunnel for repairs, a team including Kenichi Soga, Berkeley professor of civil engineering, developed a plan to strengthen the walls with fiber-reinforced polymer and install fiber optic sensors to remotely monitor the tunnel’s vulnerability to future damage. Soga explained his work to advance this technology and speed its implementation in major infrastructure projects. His work is supported by the Bakar Fellows program.
June 30, 2020

Remembering the history of polio can help in finding a coronavirus vaccine

On a spring morning in 1955, a pair of press officers greeted a mob of reporters in a stately hall on the University of Michigan campus. The officers had hot news: A clinical trial of the long-awaited polio vaccine had proved it to be safe and effective. The reporters nearly rioted in their scramble to spread the word. Once they did, church bells rang, and people ran into the streets to cheer.
June 29, 2020

Students’ expertise helps map 11 days, 125 acts of U.S. police violence

Five hundred videos in 10 days. That’s the job 10 students and alumni at UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Investigations Lab and students at Cambridge University recently tackled with researchers from Amnesty International’s Citizen Evidence Lab to map police violence across the U.S. in the wake of the May 25 killing of George Floyd in police custody. Together, they searched for, examined and verified digital content shot by citizens and posted on social media.
June 26, 2020

Want to persuade an opponent? Try listening, Berkeley scholar says

The nation is locked in a state of polarization unprecedented in the past half-century, with deep, volatile divisions around issues of politics, race, religion and the environment. These issues can split families, break friendships and create enormous stress in communities — and yet, having a constructive discussion about the disagreements often seems impossible.
June 25, 2020

COVID-19 has already cost California insurers $2.4 billion, new study estimates

The COVID-19 pandemic has cost California’s public and private insurers an estimated $2.4 billion dollars in testing and treatment — about six times the annual cost to treat seasonal influenza in the state, according to a new study by researchers at the Nicholas C. Petris Center at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.
June 25, 2020

Record-breaking metalens could revolutionize optical technologies

Traditional lenses — like the ones found in eyeglasses — are bulky, heavy and only focus light across a limited number of wavelengths. A new, ultrathin metalens developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, uses an array of tiny, connected waveguides that resembles a fishnet to focus light at wavelengths spanning from the visible to the infrared with record-breaking efficiencies.
June 25, 2020

Berkeley Changemaker Technology Innovation Grant awardees announced

If necessity is the mother of invention, more than a few winners of the campus’s first-ever Berkeley Changemaker Technology Innovation Grants found inspiration in the teaching and learning challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Other initiatives address the timely topics of racial justice and equality.
June 24, 2020

Rogue’s gallery of dusty star systems reveals exoplanet nurseries

Astronomers this month released the largest collection of sharp, detailed images of debris disks around young stars, showcasing the great variety of shapes and sizes of stellar systems during their prime planet-forming years. Surprisingly, nearly all showed evidence of planets.
June 24, 2020

Berkeley Public Health Is on the Frontline of Research into How Racism Affects Public Health

Race- and ethnicity-based inequities in health outcomes for Americans are not news to public health specialists. Here at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, our faculty, researchers, and students have been working to illuminate the many ways in which racism affects who gets healthcare, how that healthcare is delivered, and possible solutions to entrenched problems like police brutality.
June 24, 2020

Four Berkeley engineers receive awards for COVID-19 research

The newly formed research consortium C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute has made awards to 26 research projects led by top scientists and engineers to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Four of the recipients have faculty appointments at UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering.
June 22, 2020

Winner of campus’s new Bakar Prize hopes to harness sun’s power

A few years ago, Junqiao Wu, a UC Berkeley professor of material science and engineering, figured out how he could use thermal power to transform materials: roofs that adapt to temperatures and save energy, new types of sunglasses and even tools that could screen for cancer or monitor hidden defects in buildings.
June 18, 2020

A new test can see -- almost literally -- infectious bacteria

Up to 20 percent of UTIs are caused by a particularly resistant microbe known as ESBL-producing bacteria. These infections do not respond to the standard antibiotic treatment. With support as a 2019-2020 Bakar FellowNiren Murthy, professor of bioengineering, and colleagues have developed a 30-minute, low-tech test, called DETECT, to identify ESBL-producing bacteria on a patient’s first visit to the doctor.
June 15, 2020

Pandemic could decimate environmental, outdoor science education programs

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens the survival of organizations nationwide that provide critical outdoor environmental and science education to K-12 students, with an alarming 63% of such groups uncertain about their ability to ever reopen their doors, according to a study released this week by the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley.
June 15, 2020

Diluting blood plasma rejuvenates tissue, reverses aging in mice

In 2005, University of California, Berkeley, researchers made the surprising discovery that making conjoined twins out of young and old mice — such that they share blood and organs — can rejuvenate tissues and reverse the signs of aging in the old mice. The finding sparked a flurry of research into whether a youngster’s blood might contain special proteins or molecules that could serve as a “fountain of youth” for mice and humans alike.
June 14, 2020

Racial discrimination ingrained in jury selection, law school report finds

An eye-opening report from Berkeley Law’s Death Penalty Clinic finds that racial discrimination is a consistent aspect of jury selection in California. The exhaustive studyinvestigates the history, legacy, and ongoing practice of excluding people of color—especially African Americans—from state juries through prosecutors’ peremptory challenges. 
June 12, 2020

Of virulent viruses and reservoir hosts

As the public health community races to contain the current global pandemic, researchers are working diligently to understand the novel coronavirus. Such efforts cross many facets of scientific research — from virology to wildlife ecology to medicine — with the ultimate hope of containing the virus and developing a vaccine.
June 11, 2020

Miniature Sensors Can Detect Potential Dangers of CO2

CO2 concentration in fresh air is about 400 parts per million (ppm). But get a group of people packed in a closed indoor space, and CO2 concentration can rise quickly.  Recent studies suggest that as levels increase above 1,000 ppm, decision-making and other cognitive abilities decline. Roya Maboudian studies the properties of nano-materials, including how their surfaces affect their performance. As a 2019-2020 Bakar Fellow, she is developing small, inexpensive and sensitive CO2 sensors.
June 11, 2020

Corey Goodman awarded Gruber Neuroscience Prize

Neuroscientist Corey Goodman, a longtime researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, who went on to start numerous biotech companies and, most recently, co-founded a venture capital firm, has been awarded the 2020 Gruber Neuroscience Prize.
June 10, 2020

COVID-19 in the global south: Economic impacts and recovery

COVID-19 is threatening the health and economic security of communities around the world, with dire implications for those living in poverty. As the pandemic unfolds, the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) is committed to sharing practical insights that can support evidence-based responses in the Global South.
June 9, 2020

How reforms could target police racism and brutality — and build trust

In the turbulent days since the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Jack Glaser has been following the storm of protests, including dozens of incidents in which police appeared to escalate conflicts, use excessive force and target journalists. Like millions of others in the United States and worldwide, he is alarmed by what he’s seen.
June 8, 2020

Emergency COVID-19 measures prevented more than 500 million infections, study finds

Emergency health measures implemented in six major countries have “significantly and substantially slowed” the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to research from a UC Berkeley team published today in the journal "Nature". The findings come as leaders worldwide struggle to balance the enormous and highly visible economic costs of emergency health measures against their public health benefits, which are difficult to see.
June 5, 2020

Are crowd-control weapons dangerous? Very, says UC Berkeley expert

Protests and demonstrations, like those erupting after the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed when a white police officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, are a daily occurrence in our world. But what happens when police use crowd-control weapons, or CCWs, against those exercising their democratic rights?
June 4, 2020

Fitful nightly sleep linked to chronic inflammation, hardened arteries

Disrupted nightly sleep and clogged arteries tend to sneak up on us as we age. And while both disorders may seem unrelated, a new UC Berkeley study helps explain why they are, in fact, pathologically intertwined. UC Berkeley sleep scientists have begun to reveal what it is about fragmented nightly sleep that leads to the fatty arterial plaque buildup known as atherosclerosis that can result in fatal heart disease.
June 4, 2020

George Floyd’s death is a reminder that black voices are still ignored

The excruciating stretch of eight minutes when four Minneapolis police officers ignored George Floyd’s pleas for one of the officers to take his knee off Floyd’s neck is the most recent occurrence in a long history of black people’s urgent cries for help being ignored by America’s white power structure. A Q&A with Nikki Jones, UC Berkeley professor of African American studies who, for 10 years, has worked with research partners to collect and analyze hundreds of video recordings of police encounters with the public.
June 3, 2020

Mining with Microbe “Animal Magnetism”

They’re microscopic miners. Some species of aquatic bacteria draw in dissolved iron from their watery environment and store it in specialized compartments called magnetosomes. They use its magnetic properties to navigate, sort of like ancient mariners using a lodestone to keep their bearings. Arash Komeili, Professor of Plant and Microbial Biology and one of this year’s Bakar Fellows, aims to understand what controls and maintains the microbes’ novel traits.
June 1, 2020

Berkeley study: Protests in Minneapolis, country rooted in systemic racial issues

The upheaval in response to the killing of George Floyd comes as no surprise to Stephen Menendian, director of research at UC Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute, who last year released a report examining how, 50 years after the 1967 Kerner Commission first examined the causes of black unrest, little had changed in policing.  
May 28, 2020

A Nano Strategy Overcomes Barriers to Plant Genetic Engineering

It’s like a Trojan horse on an incredibly small scale, a vehicle designed to slip through the tough defensive wall of plant cells and deliver the potent gene editing system, CRISPR-Cas9. Once inside, CRISPR- Cas9 can snip out a targeted gene to boost crop yields. The delivery vehicles are nanotubes, developed by Markita Landry. With support as a Bakar Fellow, Landry is now refining the technique and working with experts in agricultural science, business and other fields needed to reach the marketplace.
May 22, 2020

Berkeley Talks: The global politics of waste

“All waste is global,” said Kate O’Neill, a professor in the the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, at a campus event in February.
May 22, 2020

Drought ‘refuges’ protect young coho salmon from summer heat

For young coho salmon, summer is not all fun in the sun: Extended heat and drought can sometimes dry up the small freshwater streams where the endangered fish spend the first year of their lives, leaving them trapped in small pools with limited food and oxygen.
May 21, 2020

Google search data reveal Americans’ concerns about abortion

Residents of states with limited access to contraceptives and high rates of unplanned pregnancies are more likely to turn to the internet for information about abortion. These are the findings of a new study of Google search data across all 50 states by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
May 14, 2020

Saving livestock by thinking like a predator

New study describes how getting in the mind of predators — considering the ecology of how they hunt, how their prey behaves and how they interact with the landscape around them — will help farmers and wildlife managers target interventions to discourage wild carnivores from preying on valuable livestock.
May 13, 2020

Campus lab takes COVID-19 testing to utility workers, underserved

A month after opening, a COVID-19 testing lab at the University of California, Berkeley, has branched out from evaluating symptomatic students to assessing a broader range of people potentially exposed to the new coronavirus, including residents of local nursing homes, the East Bay’s homeless population, front-line firefighters and police officers and, now, utility workers around the state.
May 8, 2020

To climb like a gecko, robots need toes

Robots with toes? Experiments suggest that climbing robots could benefit from having flexible, hairy toes, like those of geckos, that can adjust quickly to accommodate shifting weight and slippery surfaces.
May 7, 2020

UC Berkeley team probes violent storms, lightning on Jupiter

Studying the turbulent weather of Jupiter, research reveals a special cloud structure near a massive cluster of lightning flashes: a three-way combination of deep clouds made of water, large convective towers, and clear regions with downwelling, drier air outside the convective towers.
May 6, 2020

COVID-19 and the media: The role of journalism in a global pandemic

To inform the public during these uncertain times, newsrooms across the country have made pandemic coverage a priority. But the ever-changing and sometimes unverified nature of COVID-19 data being released has left journalists and researchers with challenges in providing accurate information to the public.
May 4, 2020

New research shows hydrological limits in carbon capture and storage

Our energy and water systems are inextricably linked. Climate change necessitates that we transition to carbon-free energy and also that we conserve water resources as they become simultaneously more in demand and less available. Policymakers, business leaders, and scientists seeking to address the urgency of climate change are increasingly looking to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) to help meet global climate goals.
May 4, 2020

Berkeley psychologist wins two prestigious awards

UC Berkeley psychologist Stephen Hinshaw has won two distinguished awards for his vast body of research, including his work on developmental psychopathology, the stigmatization of mental illness and longitudinal studies of girls and women with ADHD.
May 4, 2020

The lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our healthcare delivery system

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages across the country, it has brought unprecedented strain on hospitals and clinics, from a shortage of testing and medical supplies to issues in access among rural and underserved populations. The disease has put a spotlight on some of these inequities, while also revealing holes in the healthcare delivery system that can have lasting side effects on patients and providers.
May 4, 2020

Financial impacts of COVID-19 on higher education in California

In the last twenty years, California’s 10-campus University of California system and 23-campus state university system have seen significant declines in financial support from the state’s politicians, a trend that will only become more worrisome as California responds to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn.
May 1, 2020

Looking forward: How can we safely reopen the economy?

Pressure is mounting to reopen the economy, and some locales are rushing to do so. Deciding how and when it’s safe for people to return to work, school, and public life is a complex topic that involves implementing widespread testing; accurate assessment of exposure risks; ensuring health care system capacity; putting in place procedures and routines to protect workers; setting guidelines for mass behavior changes; and restoring public trust. How can we go about making these decisions and getting plans in place?
April 30, 2020

Election 2020: The pandemic changes everything

The streets are largely empty. People are secluded in their homes, forced to seek haven from a deadly virus. With shops, factories and offices closed, the economy is tottering. Voters arrive in protective masks to cast primary election ballots, while other primaries have been postponed or canceled. Protesters, meanwhile, gather at state capitols, demanding a return to normalcy — and some of them are armed.
April 29, 2020

National Academy, Royal Society elect new UC Berkeley members

Chemist Dean Toste, biochemist James Hurley and astrophysicist Eliot Quataert are the latest University of California, Berkeley, faculty members elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a group that has provided policy guidance to the U.S. government since 1863.
April 28, 2020

Students’ shoebox-sized satellite gets green light for launch

Most graduating seniors expect to write a final thesis, or perhaps co-author a paper or present a poster or talk at an academic conference. By the time Paul Kӧttering graduates from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2021, he and his team hope to have launched a satellite.
April 27, 2020

What COVID-19 antibody tests can tell us, and what they can’t

As the United States and much of the world move toward relaxing shelter-in-place restrictions to let people move about more freely, public health experts hope to rely on antibody tests to determine who has been infected with the COVID-19 virus and may be immune — at least temporarily — and who is still susceptible.
April 27, 2020

Calm amid COVID-19: Gratitude

In the third in a series of short videos, UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner talks about the benefits of practicing gratitude. Expressing appreciation is a key component of Keltner’s Science of Happiness course, which he has taught to inmates at San Quentin State Prison, among thousands of other students.
April 27, 2020

Urban slums are uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19. Here’s how to help

Government-enforced social isolation may help relatively affluent populations limit the spread of COVID-19, but these measures can be devastating for the nearly 1 billion people around the globe currently dwelling in urban slums, where physical space is scarce, and many rely on daily wage labor for survival.
April 27, 2020

Climate change and COVID-19: Can this crisis shift the paradigm?

Ever so slowly, communities around the globe are cautiously easing shelter-in-place orders, and people are heading back to work — bringing with them damaging behaviors that hurt the environment and impact climate change, such as increased reliance on single-use plastic grocery bags.
April 23, 2020

Nine faculty elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Nine UC Berkeley faculty members from a wide range of disciplines have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), a 240-year-old organization honoring the country’s most accomplished artists, scholars, scientists and leaders.
April 21, 2020

Understanding and seeking equity amid COVID-19

In today’s Berkeley Conversations: COVID-19 event, Jennifer Chayes, associate provost of the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society and dean of the School of Information, spoke with three UC Berkeley experts about how relying on data and algorithms to guide pandemic response may actually serve to perpetuate these inequities — and what researchers and data scientists can do to reverse the patterns.
April 17, 2020

COVID-19: Mental health and well being for ourselves and our children

The intense social isolation, stress and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is shaping up to be its own mental health pandemic. Already, spikes in post-traumatic stress disorder are being documented among vulnerable populations, health workers and other front-line personnel.
April 16, 2020

Fighting back against coronavirus misinformation

Misinformation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic is different from other online conspiracies in at least one important aspect. People may die as a result of coronavirus misinformation.
April 14, 2020

Cal Students Launch Resource 19 to Connect Creators with Hospitals in Need

Healthcare workers across the globe are facing dire shortages of critical equipment needed to treat the coronavirus. Each day, news outlets show images of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals struggling with inadequate or non-existent PPE (personal protective equipment). The public is left at home wondering what can be done to help.
April 14, 2020

Health center expands testing for those with COVID-19 symptoms

With the University of California, Berkeley’s COVID-19 diagnostic lab up and running, University Health Services (UHS) is expanding its coronavirus testing for symptomatic students, aiming for a 24-hour turnaround that will allow medical staff to better manage patients and help them understand the extent of infection in the campus community.
April 14, 2020

Coronavirus: science and solutions

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate communities around the world, researchers at UC Berkeley are racing to find solutions that will both secure our health and help get the economy back on its feet.
April 14, 2020

Learning to learn

When children play with toys, they learn about the world around them — and today’s robots aren’t all that different. At UC Berkeley’s Robot Learning Lab, groups of robots are working to master the same kinds of tasks that kids do: placing wood blocks in the correct slot of a shape-sorting cube, connecting one plastic Lego brick to another, attaching stray parts to a toy airplane.
April 14, 2020

Calm amid COVID-19: Compassion

In the second in a series of short videos, UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner discusses the benefits of compassion for others and ourselves.
April 13, 2020

Looming nightmare in mortgage industry, experts warn

Berkeley Haas Professors Nancy Wallace and Richard Stanton were some of the few voices to forewarn of the massive risk posed by shoddy practices in the mortgage industry prior to the 2008 financial crisis. Unfortunately, history seems to be repeating itself.
April 10, 2020

Berkeley Talks: How the real estate industry undermined black homeownership

In 1968, following a wave of urban uprisings, politicians worked to end the practice of redlining by passing the Housing and Urban Development Act. While the act was meant to encourage mortgage lenders and the real estate industry to treat black homebuyers equally, the disaster that came after revealed that racist exclusion hadn’t been eradicated, but rather transformed into a new phenomenon of predatory inclusion.
April 10, 2020

COVID-19: Economic impact, human solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic is confronting every level of the U.S. economy with an unprecedented challenge, and the government must mount a sustained, ambitious economic response lasting months and perhaps years, UC Berkeley economists said in an online forum today.
April 10, 2020

COVID-19’s unequal toll on black Americans: A Q&A with Tina Sacks

The recently-released data are shocking: COVID-19 is infecting and killing black people at an alarmingly high rate. An Associated Press analysis — one of the first attempts to examine the racial disparities of COVID-19 cases and deaths nationwide — has found that, of nearly 3,300 of the 13,000 deaths so far, about 42% of the deceased were African American. Black Americans account for about 21% of the total population in the areas covered by the AP analysis.
April 9, 2020

Economic fix: Deliver aid to as many as possible — fast

Congress and President Donald Trump have approved a gargantuan $2 trillion stimulus package to protect businesses, workers and the economy, but UC Berkeley economist Hilary Hoynes says the next step may be more difficult: administering the relief programs so that government funds get to vulnerable Americans as fast as possible.
April 9, 2020

Racist harassment of Asian health care workers won’t cure coronavirus

Violent hate crimes against Asian Americans have surged across the United States recently due to xenophobic perceptions that all Asian people are carriers of COVID-19. But some forms of harassment have been directed specifically at the Asian physicians and nurses risking their own health and safety to battle the spread of the virus in hospitals across the country.
April 7, 2020

Creating informed responses: Berkeley’s computing and data science in action

In a live webcast on Tuesday, April 7, an interdisciplinary cast of Berkeley faculty members joined Nobel laureate Saul Perlmutter, director of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science, and Michael Lu, dean of Berkeley’s School of Public Health, to discuss how data is guiding our society’s response to the pandemic and how more and better data is needed to help us emerge from the crisis.
April 6, 2020

SCET launches COVID-RX program to help companies adapt

The University of California, Berkeley, one of the world’s premier public universities and worldwide center for innovation, is taking a leading role in response to the COVID-19 health crisis and is convening industry and its vast internal expertise to launch real time initiatives to help firms accelerate and adapt to the new environment. With its new COVID-RX initiative, the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET) will be conducting targeted projects in partnership with leading companies to focus on adapting and innovating under adversity.
April 6, 2020

COVID-19 stimulus is a good start, but more is needed, says Berkeley economist

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have taken strong first steps to provide economic support to businesses and their workers suffering from COVID-19-related shutdowns and unemployment, said Jesse Rothstein, UC Berkeley professor of public policy and economics. But Rothstein advised that more will be needed to protect vulnerable small businesses and employees from the impact of the pandemic.
April 3, 2020

CITRIS Invention Lab opens to produce COVID-19 supplies

While UC Berkeley observes California’s shelter-in-place order, with most research labs shuttered, the CITRIS Invention Lab has received a rare exemption to operate the makerspace to fabricate products and prototypes designed to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis, including Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), ventilator adaptors, and materials needed by campus researchers. 
April 2, 2020

Returning used N95 masks to duty quickly — and safely

Bioengineering professor Amy Herr is part of a multi-university research consortium, N95Decon, providing a scientific consensus on existing and emerging decontamination methods. The consortium is assessing existing research, designing new systems and — importantly — actively debunking misinformation, with the goal of providing healthcare staff with scientifically proven ways to more safely reuse the masks.
April 2, 2020

Getting the right equipment to the right people

Hospitals are suffering from an acute shortage of emergency medical supplies, including masks, gowns, gloves and ventilators. However, the medical industry is struggling to determine the places that need them the most. Bin Yu, a professor of statistics and of electrical engineering and computer sciences, is working with nonprofit organization Response4Life to connect suppliers with hospitals in need.
March 31, 2020

On Mars or Earth, biohybrid can turn CO2 into new products

University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers report a milestone in packing bacteria (Sporomusa ovata) into a “forest of nanowires” to achieve a record efficiency to convert and store solar energy.
March 30, 2020

UC Berkeley scientists spin up a robotic COVID-19 testing lab

As doctors around the country scramble to diagnose cases of COVID-19, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley’s Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) are creating from scratch a diagnostic lab with the capability to process more than 1,000 patient samples per day.
March 27, 2020

International group of researchers race to find treatment for COVID-19

The international team of researchers is testing an unusual new approach to identify potential antiviral drugs with proven efficacy to treat SARS-Cov-2 infections. Given the world crisis, the strategy of testing known/approved drugs could help reduce the numbers of deaths in the near term while the world health community battles the epidemic.
March 26, 2020

Coronavirus skeptics, deniers: Why some of us stick to deadly beliefs

Many young adults are defying the 6-feet-apart social distancing rules. What causes certain people to stick to their beliefs and act with skepticism despite overwhelming contradictory evidence? Berkeley News asked Celeste Kidd, a UC Berkeley computational cognitive scientist who studies false beliefs, curiosity and learning.
March 26, 2020

COVID-19 first target of new AI research consortium

The University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) are the headquarters of a bold new research consortium established by enterprise AI software company C3.ai to leverage the convergence of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and the internet of things (IoT) to transform societal-scale systems.
March 20, 2020

What use is worry? Psychologist explains anxiety’s pros and cons

Excessive worry about COVID-19 is becoming a mental health pandemic unto itself. But when is anxiety useful, and when is it destructive? At UC Berkeley, Sonia Bishop, associate professor of psychology and cognitive neuroscience, has studied anxiety and how it affects decision-making. 
March 19, 2020

High-speed microscope captures fleeting brain signals

Electrical and chemical signals flash through our brains constantly as we move through the world, but it would take a high-speed camera and a window into the brain to capture their fleeting paths. University of California, Berkeley, investigators have now built such a camera: a microscope that can image the brain of an alert mouse 1,000 times a second, recording for the first time the passage of millisecond electrical pulses through neurons.
March 18, 2020

Reanalysis of global amphibian crisis study finds important flaws

Though biodiversity is in crisis globally, amphibians in particular face a variety of threats. One such threat comes from pathogens like the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Bd causes chytridiomycosis, a disease that research indicates contributes to the decline of some amphibians. New research, however, now calls into question some prior evidence that links the widespread pathogen to hundreds of amphibian declines.
March 18, 2020

New technique ‘prints’ cells to create diverse biological environments

Like humans, cells are easily influenced by peer pressure. Take a neural stem cell in the brain: Whether this cell remains a stem cell or differentiates into a fully formed brain cell is ultimately determined by a complex set of molecular messages the cell receives from countless neighbors. Understanding these messages is key for scientists hoping to harness these stem cells to treat neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
March 18, 2020

New Netflix docuseries based on work by UC Berkeley investigative reporter

As a reporter with the Los Angeles Times, Garrett Therolf discovered that Los Angeles County’s system to protect abused children was failing: Case workers did not remove children from homes with histories of violence, and children were dying at the hands of their own parents every single year.
March 17, 2020

How to cope when school closures keep kids at home

A legitimate abundance of coronavirus caution has sent tens of millions of schoolchildren home for the foreseeable future, leaving families scrambling to navigate daily life without the help of an established routine. So, how to cope with household cabin fever that could last weeks, and even months?
March 17, 2020

With testing still limited, coronavirus remains a ‘moving target’

In a new interview, Swartzberg underscores the fact that — in part due to poor leadership by the executive branch of our government, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which failed to deliver adequate testing on time — we still don’t have enough data on the virus to really know how widespread the disease will ultimately become, or how long these drastic social distancing measures will last. But, he says, preventing transmission through hygiene and limited social contact remain crucial to avoid overloading our hospital system.
March 16, 2020

Clean hands save lives, so wash up, Berkeley expert says

You don’t have to remind David Levine, UC Berkeley professor of business administration, to carry hand sanitizer and wash his hands thoroughly with soap. But why do many of us — from children to adults — lack these habits, even in a pandemic?
March 12, 2020

A graphene innovation that’s music to the ears

For lovers of high-fidelity audio, or for those who just want the coolest new thing, revolutionary, distortion-free earphones based on high-tech graphene will soon be coming your way, courtesy of basic research at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab.
March 12, 2020

New funding lifts L.A. schools, but disadvantaged students still lag

High schools in Los Angeles that have received new funding under California’s ambitious 2013 education reform achieved positive results, with clear improvement in student achievement and teacher working conditions. But after five years and $5 billion in fresh funding, educators failed to narrow wide racial disparities in learning, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
March 10, 2020

America’s health insurance gaps could speed spread of coronavirus

While public health officials and policymakers race to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in the United States, they must also grapple with a daunting reality: Approximately 27 million Americans, or about 9% of the population, live without any form of health insurance. In the state of California, those without insurance number about 3 million and about 7.5% of the population.
March 4, 2020

Why are American public schools still segregated?

As a child growing up in Los Angeles, Elise Boddie remembers being bused to a public school outside of her local school district. It was the late 1970s, more than two decades after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed segregated schools, and the busing was part of a statewide effort to integrate those schools that were still segregated.
March 2, 2020

New telescope to look for laser pulses from life around other planets

Are advanced civilizations in our galaxy trying to communicate with us by means of laser blasts? A team of University of California, San Diego, UC Berkeley, Harvard University and California Institute of Technology astronomers are building a pair of fly’s-eye observatories to find out.
February 26, 2020

Women firefighters face high exposure to toxic ‘forever chemicals’

San Francisco’s women firefighters are exposed to higher levels of certain toxic PFAS chemicals than women working in downtown San Francisco offices, shows a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, San Francisco, and Silent Spring Institute.
February 25, 2020

Rucker Johnson elected to National Academy of Education

Rucker Johnson, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, has been elected to the National Academy of Education.  Professor Johnson is a labor economist who specializes in the economics of education, with an emphasis on the role of poverty and inequality in affecting life chances.
February 25, 2020

David Card: Debunking myths about the value of education

In an era of financial insecurity and cultural tension, a dystopian vision of university education has gained traction in the United States: The cost of public higher education is too high, critics say, and when student debt and job insecurity are factored in, the benefits are too few. But for UC Berkeley economist David Card, that critique ignores a mass of positive data. While profound challenges confront American higher education, he says, universities still bring enormous economic benefits to individual students and to the nation.
February 21, 2020

Brain cells protect muscles from wasting away

While many of us worry about proteins aggregating in our brains as we age and potentially causing Alzheimer’s disease or other types of neurodegeneration, we may not realize that some of the same proteins are aggregating in our muscles, setting us up for muscle atrophy in old age. UC Berkeley scientists have now found brain cells that help clean up these tangles and prolong life in worms and possibly mice. This could lead to drugs that improve muscle health or extend a healthy human lifespan.
February 21, 2020

Mighty California, the Super Tuesday kingmaker? Don’t bet on it.

The Democratic presidential field is divided and public opinion is fragmented and in flux. For California primary election voters, it’s an opportunity to step up on Super Tuesday to cast a vote that could propel one candidate into the frontrunner’s position.
February 20, 2020

How the monkeyflower gets its spots

The intricate spotted patterns dappling the bright blooms of the monkeyflower plant may be a delight to humans, but they also serve a key function for the plant. These patterns act as “bee landing pads,” attracting nearby pollinators to the flower and signaling the best approach to access the sweet nectar inside.
February 19, 2020

Professor pushes for diversity in teacher workforce

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 1994, two-thirds of public school students were white. More than 20 years later, fewer than half were. In contrast, today, male teachers of color make up less than 10% of the workforce, and black males represent 1.9% of all public school teachers in the country, but have one of the highest rates of turnover. Through his research with black male teachers of color in Boston public schools, Travis Bristol found that black male teachers were leaving at higher rates because of poor working conditions and a lack of resources from school administrators.
February 14, 2020

Breakthrough Listen scans Milky Way Galaxy for beacons of civilization

The Breakthrough Listen Initiative today (Friday, Feb. 14) released data from the most comprehensive survey yet of radio emissions from the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy and the region around its central black hole, and it is inviting the public to search the data for signals from intelligent civilizations.
February 14, 2020

Algorithms are better than people in predicting recidivism, study says

In a study with potentially far-reaching implications for criminal justice in the United States, a team of California researchers has found that algorithms are significantly more accurate than humans in predicting which defendants will later be arrested for a new crime.
February 12, 2020

Nine young faculty named 2020 Sloan Fellows

Nine young faculty members at UC Berkeley have been awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship, an honor given yearly to the brightest up-and-coming scientists in the United States and Canada.
February 10, 2020

5 Berkeley SkyDeck startups that might change the way we live

UC Berkeley is not just one of the best research universities in the world, but also a unique place for entrepreneurs, students and alumni to grow and build their own innovative startups. Many of the ideas are based on issues young entrepreneurs first encountered in Berkeley classes or labs. Examples of which were presented at Berkeley SkyDeck’s annual Demo Day, where entrepreneurs pitched new devices, apps or inventions that, they hope, will provide big, bold fixes to the world’s problems, from climate change to disease.
February 10, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak raises question: Why are bat viruses so deadly?

It’s no coincidence that some of the worst viral disease outbreaks in recent years — SARS, MERS, Ebola, Marburg and likely the newly arrived 2019-nCoV virus — originated in bats. A new University of California, Berkeley, study finds that bats’ fierce immune response to viruses could drive viruses to replicate faster, so that when they jump to mammals with average immune systems, such as humans, the viruses wreak deadly havoc.
February 6, 2020

Molecular ‘switch’ reverses chronic inflammation and aging

Chronic inflammation, which results when old age, stress or environmental toxins keep the body’s immune system in overdrive, can contribute to a variety of devastating diseases, from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to diabetes and cancer.
January 30, 2020

Impeachment defenses risk our constitutional order, says Berkeley Law dean

As the impeachment of President Donald Trump moved through the U.S. House of Representatives, and now moves through the Senate, his defenders frequently cast it as a political process seeking to cause political damage. Some outspoken partisans have sought to discredit the entire process as “political theater” and a “political circus.”
January 29, 2020

Neuroscientist John Ngai named director of NIH BRAIN Initiative

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has picked long-time UC Berkeley neuroscientist John Ngai to head its BRAIN Initiative, a multibillion-dollar federal research push to develop new tools that will help scientists understand how the brain works and lead to new treatments for brain dysfunction.
January 23, 2020

For families of Oakland murder victims, police practices add to trauma, study says

An epidemic of murders in Oakland, California, has claimed hundreds of lives in the past decade, and the victims’ families often face discriminatory treatment by police, devastating financial burdens and psychological trauma with inadequate government support, says a report from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Berkeley Law).
January 13, 2020

New helmet design can deal with sports’ twists and turns

As a neurologist, Robert Knight has seen what happens when the brain crashes around violently inside the skull. And he’s aware of the often tragic consequences. So, Knight invented a better helmet — one with more effective padding to dampen the effects of a direct hit, but more importantly, an innovative outer shell that rotates to absorb twisting forces that today’s helmets don’t protect against.
January 9, 2020

Lab-made proteins mimic cellular gatekeepers

In a new study published in the journal Nature, engineers at UC Berkeley and their collaborators describe the first lab-made versions of gatekeeper proteins that filter good from bad just as well as the real thing.
January 6, 2020

Ooh là là! Music evokes at least 13 emotions. Scientists have mapped them

UC Berkeley scientists have surveyed more than 2,500 people in the United States and China about their emotional responses to thousands of other songs from genres including rock, folk, jazz, classical, marching band, experimental and heavy metal. The upshot? The subjective experience of music across cultures can be mapped within at least 13 overarching feelings: Amusement, joy, eroticism, beauty, relaxation, sadness, dreaminess, triumph, anxiety, scariness, annoyance, defiance, and feeling pumped up.
January 3, 2020

Brain scans could flag children’s future mental health problems

It can take years to diagnose children with psychiatric or attention deficit disorders, forcing them to endure a lot of frustration and suffering. But a new study has found evidence that brain scans, if conducted early, can predict whether a youngster is susceptible to mental health or attention problems down the road.
January 1, 2020

New library project explores Mark Twain’s famous friendships

Throughout his life, American writer and humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, formed friendships with many notable figures in history that shaped his work and the way he saw the world. A new multimedia project published by the UC Berkeley Library, “Six degrees of Mark Twain,” has pulled from a vast collection of the library’s Mark Twain Papers and Project — the largest collection of Twain’s private writings and manuscripts — to explore how Twain’s life intersected with six people: P.T. Barnum, Nikola Tesla, Helen Keller, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Ulysses S. Grant