News

February 14, 2019

Greener Days Ahead for Carbon Fuels

Researchers discover copper has potential as a catalyst for turning carbon dioxide into sustainable chemicals and fuels without any wasteful byproducts, creating a green alternative to present-day chemical manufacturing
February 14, 2019

Writing slavery back into American business history

Caitlin Rosenthal, an assistant professor of history at UC Berkeley, has brought history into fresh focus with her new book, Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management, which examines how white owners of enslaved black people were early innovators of many business practices and terms we use today.
February 11, 2019

U.S. patent office indicates it will issue third CRISPR patent to UC

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a notice of allowance for a University of California patent application covering systems and methods for using single molecule guide RNAs that, when combined with the Cas9 protein, create more efficient and effective ways for scientists to target and edit genes.
February 11, 2019

Literally Switching Strategies to Handle the Internet Data Flood

Cloud applications and the ever-increasing demand by large enterprises to transmit and analyze “big data” are stretching the capacity of even the largest data center servers. A new optical, or photonic, switch capable of record-breaking speed is an alternative to the traditional switch bottleneck.
February 4, 2019

Scientists find new and smaller CRISPR gene editor: CasX

In a mere seven years, Cas9 has shown itself to be a formidable gene editor, employed in humans, plants, animals and bacteria to quickly and accurately cut and splice DNA, transforming biology and opening new avenues for treating disease. But a new kid on the block, CasX, may give Cas9 a run for its money.
January 30, 2019

Discovery could help improve cystic fibrosis treatment

Researchers exploring the effects of a long-standing treatment for cystic fibrosis have discovered a potential new target for drugs to treat the disease, which has no cure and typically cuts decades off the lives of patients.
January 29, 2019

Whopping big viruses prey on human gut bacteria

Viruses plague bacteria just as viruses like influenza plague humans. Some of the largest of these so-called bacteriophages have now been found in the human gut, where they periodically devastate bacteria just as seasonal outbreaks of flu lay humans low, according to a new study led by UC Berkeley scientists.
January 17, 2019

David Zilberman awarded Wolf Prize in Agriculture

David Zilberman, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at UC Berkeley, has been awarded the 2019 Wolf Prize in Agriculture in recognition of his work developing economic models for fundamental problems in agriculture, economics, and policy.
January 17, 2019

Thanks to rapid, 3D imaging, anyone can tour the fly brain

A new fly-through of the fly brain allows anyone to whizz past neurons and visit any of the 40 million synapses where neurons touch neuron. It’s a super-resolution view of the complex network connections in the insect’s brain that underlie behaviors ranging from feeding to mating.
January 17, 2019

Saturn hasn’t always had rings

One of the last acts of NASA’s Cassini spacecraft before its death plunge into Saturn’s hydrogen and helium atmosphere was to coast between the planet and its rings and let them tug it around, essentially acting as a gravity probe.
January 16, 2019

Professor John Hartwig awarded the 2019 Wolf Prize in Chemistry

John F. Hartwig from University of California at Berkeley and Stephen L. Buchwald from MIT, awarded the 2019 Wolf Prize for Chemistry for the development of efficient transition-metal catalysts that have revolutionized drug manufacturing, leading to a breakthrough in molecule and synthetics design. 
January 16, 2019

‘Ambidextrous’ robots can learn to pick up anything

From spoons to stuffed animals, humans learn early in life how to pick up objects that have a variety of shapes, textures and sizes. A new machine-learning algorithm developed by engineers at UC Berkeley can teach robots to grasp and carry items with similar dexterity.
January 10, 2019

Recorded sounds that plagued U.S. diplomats in Cuba just crickets hard at work

UC Berkeley integrative biology Ph.D. student Alexander Stubbs and colleague determined that a mysterious noise reported by U.S. diplomats stationed in Cuba plagued by resulting hearing loss and other medical symptoms was not from sonic attacks as feared, but was produced by the Indies short-tailed cricket (Anurogryllus celerinictus).
January 10, 2019

Oceans are warming even faster than previously thought

Heat trapped by greenhouse gases is raising ocean temperatures faster than previously thought; further evidence that earlier claims of a slowdown or “hiatus” in global warming over the past 15 years were unfounded.
January 9, 2019

Drug sponge could minimize side effects of cancer treatment

With the help of sponges inserted in the bloodstream to absorb excess drugs, doctors are hoping to prevent the dangerous side effects of toxic chemotherapy agents or even deliver higher doses to knock back tumors, like liver cancer, that don’t respond to more benign treatments.
January 9, 2019

Minority Ph.D. students in STEM fare better with clear expectations, acceptance

Women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields are more likely to advance professionally, publish more research and secure postdoctoral and faculty positions if their institutional culture is welcoming and sets clear expectations, according to a study of hundreds of Ph.D. students at four top-tier California research universities.
January 8, 2019

Teachers fare better with existing pensions than 401(k)s, study shows

For the vast majority of teachers, existing pensions provide a higher, more secure retirement income than a cost-equivalent 401(k)­-style plan. And pensions keep teachers in classrooms, according to a new study from UC Berkeley and the National Institute on Retirement Security.
January 2, 2019

New year brings accolades to history department

A “bumper crop” of prestigious awards, prizes and honors will be presented Wednesday, Jan. 3 in Chicago to UC Berkeley faculty members by the American Historical Association, the nation’s most important professional association for historians.
December 31, 2018

Wireless ‘pacemaker for the brain’ could be new standard treatment for neurological disorders

A new neurostimulator developed by engineers at UC Berkeley can listen to and stimulate electric current in the brain at the same time, potentially delivering fine-tuned treatments to patients with diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson’s. The device, named the WAND, works like a “pacemaker for the brain,” monitoring the brain’s electrical activity and delivering electrical stimulation if it detects something amiss.
December 10, 2018

Social interactions among gut microbes shape our lives

When it comes to the gut, it’s not which microbes you have but how they interact that appears to affect health. This insight comes from a recent study of fruit fly gut microbes that explored the puzzling results of a UC Berkeley study from 91 years ago.
December 10, 2018

Dopamine’s yin-yang personality: It’s an upper and a downer

For decades, psychologists have viewed the neurotransmitter dopamine as a double-edged sword: released in the brain as a reward to train us to seek out pleasurable experiences, but also a “drug” the constant pursuit of which leads to addiction.
December 6, 2018

Acrobatic geckos can even race on water’s surface

Geckos are renowned for their acrobatic feats on land and in the air, but a new discovery that they can also run on water puts them in the superhero category, says a University of California, Berkeley, biologist.
November 27, 2018

Three faculty members elected AAAS fellows

Three senior UC Berkeley faculty members have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the nation’s largest scientific organization: Allen Goldstein, Sung-Hou Kim and Katherine Yelick.
November 21, 2018

What magnetic fields can tell us about life on other planets

Every school kid knows that Earth has a magnetic field – it’s what makes compasses align north-south and lets us navigate the oceans. It also protects the atmosphere, and thus life, from the sun’s powerful wind. But what about other Earth-like planets in the galaxy? Do they also have magnetic fields to protect emerging life? A new analysis say they do have a magnetic field, but one generated in a totally novel way.
November 19, 2018

To predict the future, the brain has two clocks

That moment when you step on the gas pedal a split second before the light changes, or when you tap your toes even before the first piano note of Camila Cabello’s “Havana” is struck. That’s anticipatory timing. New research shows the neural networks supporting each of these timekeepers are split between two different parts of the brain.
November 16, 2018

Freeze-frame microscopy captures molecule’s ‘lock-and-load’ on DNA

Pushing the limits of cryo-electron microscopy, University of California, Berkeley, scientists have captured freeze-frames of the changing shape of a huge molecule, one of the body’s key molecular machines, as it locks onto DNA and loads the machinery for reading the genetic code.
November 15, 2018

Playing high school football changes the teenage brain

A single season of high school football may be enough to cause microscopic changes in the structure of the brain, according to a new study by researchers at UC Berkeley, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
November 13, 2018

Rare fossil bird deepens mystery of avian extinctions

During the late Cretaceous period, more than 65 million years ago, hundreds of different species of birds flitted around the dinosaurs and through the forests as abundantly as they flit about our woods and fields today. But after the cataclysm that wiped out most of the dinosaurs, only one group of birds remained: the ancestors of the birds we see today. Why did only one family survive the mass extinction?
November 6, 2018

Chronically anxious? Deep sleep may take the edge off

Extreme angst is on the rise nationally and globally, especially among teens and millennials. Among other factors, preliminary findings from UC Berkeley sleep researchers point to a chronic lack of deep restorative sleep.
November 2, 2018

Turning cars into robot traffic managers

Self-driving cars may one day do more than just get us from point A to point B. By adjusting their speed and position while they merge they could also help reduce the bottlenecks and random slowdowns on busy thoroughfares like the Bay Bridge, getting us where we’re going faster and more efficiently than if we all drove ourselves.
October 31, 2018

Research initiative launched on health in working families

A new research hub based at UC Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, D.C., will explore the health effects of income and workplace policies.
October 30, 2018

Popular meal-kit companies may be creating low-wage, dead-end jobs, study finds

Meal kits make cooking easier for millions of busy families and time-starved professionals. But a new study suggests that the workers filling boxes with pre-portioned ingredients and recipe cards are struggling with low wages, unaffordable benefits, unpredictable schedules, inconsistent wage increase policies, risk of injuries and recurrent problems with timely payment.
October 25, 2018

CRISPR opens door to new type of medicine: ‘genome surgery’

UC San Francisco doctors working closely with UC Berkeley scientists plan to edit genomes to correct rare genetic mutations and slow or halt progression of their diseases. Within a few years we may see the first patients benefiting from CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing.
October 18, 2018

Doudna receives Medal of Honor from American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society will bestow its highest honor, the Medal of Honor, on Jennifer Doudna and four others. The medal is awarded to distinguished individuals who have made valuable contributions in the fight against cancer through basic research, clinical research and cancer control.
October 18, 2018

To track how students ace the LSAT, watch their eyes

Previous research has found that training for law school admission exams boosted brain connections that sharpen reasoning skills. Today, they’ve taken a major step closer to understanding how practicing the LSAT makes students smarter. They’re watching their eyes.
October 9, 2018

Randy Katz: The 2018 Nobel Prizes and use-inspired research

Vice Chancellor Randy Katz writes about the 2018 recipients of the Nobel Prize with deep roots to UC Berkeley. Jim Allison, honored with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, performed his award-winning research as director of Berkeley’s Cancer Research Laboratory. Frances Arnold, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, conducted her doctoral work here under the guidance of Professor Emeritus Harvey Blanch. And Paul Romer, a professor at Berkeley in the 1990s, won the Nobel Prize in Economics.
October 9, 2018

Xu, Titov receive million-dollar New Innovator awards

Two young faculty members — assistant professors Ke Xu of chemistry and Denis Titov of molecular and cell biology — were among 89 recipients of “high-risk, high-reward” grants announced last week by the National Institutes of Health.
October 8, 2018

Clean Water Act dramatically cut pollution in U.S. waterways

The 1972 Clean Water Act has driven significant improvements in U.S. water quality, according to the first comprehensive study of water pollution over the past several decades, by researchers at UC Berkeley and Iowa State University.
October 5, 2018

Two Berkeley alums win MacArthur ‘genius’ awards

The MacArthur Foundation yesterday unveiled the 25 newest stars in its constellation of “genius” award winners, and two — computer scientist Deborah Estrin and mathematician Allan Sly — have roots at UC Berkeley.
October 4, 2018

Tales from 141,430 and one genomes

Analysis of the world’s largest set of genome data from pregnant women, totaling 141,431 expectant mothers from across China, has uncovered unsuspected associations between genes and birth outcomes, including the birth of twins and a woman’s age at first pregnancy.
October 4, 2018

Ghost objects in the sky

Astronomers typically study objects that are visible night after night or explode suddenly, like supernovas, but Casey Law is scouring vast amounts of data in search of bright objects that disappear, never to be seen again.
October 3, 2018

Chemistry Nobel goes to UC Berkeley Ph.D. Frances Arnold

When Frances Arnold first came to UC Berkeley as a graduate student in 1980, she was focused on biofuels — at that time a promising new technology and, for Arnold, a way to benefit humanity by weaning society off fossil fuels.
October 2, 2018

Black holes ruled out as universe’s missing dark matter

For one brief shining moment after the 2015 detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes, astronomers held out hope that the universe’s mysterious dark matter might consist of a plenitude of black holes sprinkled throughout the universe.
October 1, 2018

UC Berkeley research led to Nobel Prize-winning immunotherapy

Immunologist James P. Allison today shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for groundbreaking work he conducted on cancer immunotherapy at UC Berkeley during his 20 years as director of the campus’s Cancer Research Laboratory.
September 26, 2018

CZ Biohub awards $13.7 million for new collaborative health research

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, a nonprofit medical research organization, announced that it is awarding $13.7 million over three years to support cutting-edge biomedical research from seven teams of scientists, physicians and engineers, with faculty members from UC Berkeley, UCSF and Stanford.
September 24, 2018

National parks bear the brunt of climate change

Human-caused climate change has exposed U.S. national parks to conditions hotter and drier than the rest of the nation, says a study that quantifies for the first time the magnitude of climate change on all 417 parks in the system.
September 19, 2018

Rising housing costs are re-segregating the Bay Area, study shows

New reports from the Urban Displacement Project at UC Berkeley and the California Housing Partnership confirm that rising housing costs between 2000 and 2015 have contributed to displacement of low-income people of color and resulted in new concentrations of poverty and racial segregation in the Bay Area.
September 13, 2018

Regret is a gambler’s curse, scientists say

What goes through a gambler’s mind after she’s placed her bet? It’s not just the anticipation of a big payoff, or doubts about the wisdom of her bet. It’s also regret about previous bets, both won and lost.
September 12, 2018

Stereotypes measurably influence how we treat each other

Our race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, socio-economic class and physical appearance can determine whether or not we get a break in life. But how big a role do social stereotypes really play when it comes to landing a job, loan, university spot or other opportunity?
September 5, 2018

Blood tests reveal broad extent of Zika infection

A new study shows that nearly half of the population of Managua, Nicaragua, has been infected with the Zika virus. Previous infection with the Zika virus imparts immunity to the disease and can help quell future outbreaks.
August 30, 2018

Engineered sand zaps storm water pollutants

UC Berkeley engineers have created a new way to remove contaminants from storm water, potentially addressing the needs of water-stressed communities that are searching for ways to tap the abundant and yet underused source of fresh drinking water.
August 28, 2018

Looking for water in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

Scientists have for the first time detected water clouds deep inside Jupiter’s Great Red Spot – a centuries-old storm larger than planet Earth – allowing them to put tighter limits on the total amount of water in the planet.
August 27, 2018

UC Berkeley leads new assessment of Bay Area climate impacts

California today issued its latest assessment of the many challenges the state faces from climate change — including wildfires like those still raging throughout the state – and highlighted for the first time the regional impacts with nine deep-dive reports spearheaded by University of California scientists.
August 21, 2018

Ecological winners and losers of California’s drought

A long-term study led by UC Berkeley and the University of Washington tracked how hundreds of species in Carrizo Plain National Monument valley fared during the historic drought that struck California from 2012 to 2015. It shows surprising winners and losers, uncovering patterns that may be relevant for climate change.
August 15, 2018

UC Berkeley startup accelerator gets a boost from venture fund

SkyDeck, UC Berkeley's accelerator and incubator, is accelerating its own growth. A new venture fund enables SkyDeck to invest $100,000 in the companies in its accelerator, and its accepting a broader and more global range of entrepreneurs, tripling its adviser group and doubling its office size.
August 14, 2018

Poor sleep triggers viral loneliness and social rejection

Poor sleep can literally kill your social life. UC Berkeley researchers have found that sleep-deprived people feel lonelier and less inclined to engage with others, avoiding close contact in much the same way as people with social anxiety.
August 13, 2018

Long-sought carbon structure joins graphene, fullerene family

he discovery of buckyballs surprised and delighted chemists in the 1980s, nanotubes jazzed physicists in the 1990s, and graphene charged up materials scientists in the 2000s, but one nanoscale carbon structure – a negatively curved surface called a schwarzite – has eluded everyone. Until now.
August 8, 2018

Tying electrons down with nanoribbons

UC Berkeley scientists have discovered possible role for narrow strips of graphene, called nanoribbons, as nanoscale electron traps with potential applications in quantum computers.
July 27, 2018

Five innovators join the ranks of the Bakar Fellows

Five UC Berkeley faculty innovators have been selected for the Bakar Fellows Program, which supports faculty working to apply scientific discoveries to real-world issues in the fields of engineering, computer science, chemistry and biological and physical sciences.
June 25, 2018

CRISPR reduces autism symptoms in mice

Scientists have used CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to lessen some autism symptoms in mice with a form of fragile X syndrome, the most common known single-gene cause of autism spectrum disorder.
June 1, 2018

June 14 launch of ICON satellite to probe the edge of space

NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) is charged with the task to measure the winds of ionized atoms at the edge of space and determine how they are impacted by atmospheric weather, in particular seasonal monsoons in the tropics.
May 21, 2018

Hippo poop a growing problem in African rivers

Hippopotamus are a major tourist draw to African watering holes, but their bountiful poop is increasingly fouling African rivers and lakes during the dry season, killing off fish and other aquatic life. And human activity is making it worse.
May 21, 2018

Urban Resilience: Hiding in Plain Sight

More than 1,500 abandoned parcels of land lie scattered throughout San Francisco, from unused alleys to vacant parking lots and public easements. The combined area rivals the size of Golden Gate Park.  In New York City, more than 2,000 similar “remnant parcels” add up to the size of Central Park.
May 9, 2018

Reconnection tames the turbulent magnetic fields around Earth

When the solar wind – which is really a driving rain of charged particles from the sun – strikes Earth’s protective magnetic field, the shock generates roiling, turbulent magnetic fields that enshroud the planet and stretch for hundreds of thousands of miles.
April 30, 2018

Editing brain activity with holography

What if we could edit the sensations we feel; paste in our brain pictures that we never saw, cut out unwanted pain or insert non-existent scents into memory?
March 26, 2018

Flash-in-the-pan supernovas explained

Most exploding stars flare brightly and then slowly fade over weeks to months, but an unusual group of supernovas noticed only in the last 10 years flare up and disappear within days.
March 20, 2018

Brewing hoppy beer without the hops

Hoppy beer is all the rage among craft brewers and beer lovers, and now UC Berkeley biologists have come up with a way to create these unique flavors and aromas without using hops.
March 9, 2018

How to make space molecules

How could complex carbon-based molecules – a rich zoo of chemical compounds formed from fused rings of carbon and hydrogen – possibly form in the cold vacuum of space?
March 6, 2018

A way to grow plants with less water

Crops possibly can be grown with significantly less water by altering a gene involved in regulating photosynthesis, according to new research.
March 1, 2018

Retraining the brain’s vision center to take action

Neuroscientists have demonstrated the astounding flexibility of the brain by training neurons that normally process input from the eyes to develop new skills, in this case, to control a computer-generated tone.
February 27, 2018

$10 million for Berkeley RISELab’s AI research

The National Science Foundation today announced that RISELab has been awarded an Expeditions in Computing award to enable game-changing advances in real-time decision making technologies.
February 20, 2018

Some black holes erase your past

If someone were to venture into a relatively benign black hole, they could survive, but their past would be obliterated and they could have an infinite number of possible futures.
January 30, 2018

Super-resolution microscopy reveals fine detail of cellular mesh

One of today’s sharpest imaging tools, super-resolution microscopy, produces sparkling images of what until now has been the blurry interior of cells, detailing not only the cell’s internal organs and skeleton, but also providing insights into cells’ amazing flexibility.
January 22, 2018

Recording a thought’s fleeting trip through the brain

UC Berkeley neuroscientists have tracked the progress of a thought through the brain, showing clearly how the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain coordinates activity to help us act in response to a perception.
January 22, 2018

2018 Ed Roberts Award for accessible design leader Raymond Lifchez

The Center for Independent Living will recognize UC Berkeley architecture and city planning professor Raymond Lifchez tomorrow (Jan. 23) with the second annual Ed Roberts Award, which recognizes and honors individual contributions to the success of CIL and the independent living/disability rights movement.
January 18, 2018

Amid flu epidemic, more bad news about its spread

Getting lots of sleep, drinking lots of water, sneezing into the crook of your arm and getting a vaccination no doubt will help fight back the flu. But if you don’t want to get it in the first place, don’t breathe.
January 10, 2018

SETI project homes in on strange ‘fast radio bursts’

Recent observations of a mysterious and distant object that emits intermittent bursts of radio waves so bright that they’re visible across the universe provide new data about the source but fail to clear up the mystery of what causes them.