Research in the UCLA-DOE Institute has had major impacts on diverse areas of science.  Our recent achievements are described in detail in the Progress Reports in the four Research Project Narratives and are also highlighted below in listings of notable publications.  In the last 5 years, our DOE supported research activities have led to 135 publications, including many in the highest impact journals. Notable discoveries and technology innovations have covered a wide range of DOE-relevant areas: plant genomics, photosynthetic regulation, novel pathways for in vitro biofuel synthesis, physiological and genomic sequencing discoveries on microbial communities, and atomic imaging technologies using new X-ray and electron microscopy methods.  The scientific impacts span from fundamental revelations across length scales – from whole cells to molecular materials – to practical applications in instrumentation, imaging modalities, new chemical tools, and the enzymatic production of chemicals. These activities are supported and enabled by the funding support for the Institute from the DOE. That support is also highly leveraged by other research support and expertise of the Institute Investigators. DOE funding is further leveraged through a special returned overhead agreement with UCLA.

The UCLA-DOE Institute creates broad impacts through diverse mechanisms. The Institute advances the goal of creating an interdisciplinary workforce capable of frontier research consistent with the DOE mission.  The PIs of the Institute offer courses that are open to students and postdoctoral fellows at all levels. These courses interface with our shared Core facilities, so that students who complete the courses can attack their particular research problems with the aid of the staff of the Core facilities.  Our course in Macromolecular Structure Determination, taught by 5 DOE faculty members, is a notable example. This long-running course (dating back at least 30 years) provides both didactic and laboratory components covering X-ray, EM, and NMR methodologies. While formal instruction in such topics has become somewhat rare on a national level, the UCLA-DOE Institute continues to emphasize the importance of high-level training at the technical frontiers.

The research organization of the Institute has also been reorganized to better align with DOE mission areas and to invigorate team-based investigations with high synergy.  Four research teams are working on joint objectives. The four research teams are:

  1. Algal Functional Genomics
  2. Microbial Metabolism and Communities
  3. Synthetic Biochemistry: Enzymes and Pathways 
  4.  New Atomic Imaging Technologies

Justin Miller awarded a Dissertation Year Fellowship

Justin is a 4th year PhD Student in the Molecular Biology Institute…