Friday, September 25, 2015

Computational model provides new insights into HIV-1 vaccine design

HIV attacking a T cell, LANL image.

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have created a computational model that could change the way that researchers look at possibilities for an HIV-1 vaccine.

“An effective HIV-1 vaccine has proven elusive, partly due to the difficulty of causing an immune response that can neutralize the diverse viral strains circulating in the human population,” said Alan Perelson, of Los Alamos’ Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group. “Harnessing the power of broadly neutralizing antibodies, which emerge years into a chronic HIV infection, could help overcome this challenge.” (Full Story)

Telltale antineutrinos could reveal rogue nuclear programs

Iran’s Arak nuclear facility, from IEEE Spectrum.

There’s a real need for them [advanced monitoring technologies] says Nancy Jo Nicholas, associate director for threat identification and response at Los Alamos­ National Laboratory (LANL). “There is talk about a global renaissance in the nuclear industry,” she says. “There will be more facilities, so giving inspectors tools that allow them to do their job in an efficient and effective way is a clear benefit.” (Full Story)

Scientists explore hybrid ultrasmall gold nanocluster for enzymatic fuel cells

Gold nanoclusters (~1 nm) are efficient mediators
of electron transfer, LANL image.

With fossil-fuel sources dwindling, better biofuel cell design is a strong candidate in the energy field. In research published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Los Alamos researchers and external collaborators synthesized and characterized a new DNA-templated gold nanocluster (AuNC) that could resolve a critical methodological barrier for efficient biofuel cell design. (Full Story)

Also in the Daily Post

Atmospheric Research Lab Bound For Antarctic

Kim Nitschke and Paul Ortega scouted Antarctica
with co-investigator Johannes Verlinde.

A big production is about to take place in a remote part of the world starting in November. A team of logistics specialists assembled from Los Alamos National Laboratory and several other national science labs brought key props and principal actors together for two months this summer in Pagosa Springs, Colo. for walk-throughs and rehearsals.

“We’ve been in a lot of places, but we’ve never been anywhere like Antarctica,” said Heath Powers LANL’s operational director for the project. (Full Story)

LANL to team with P&G on clean energy

Clean energy manufacturing efforts will get a boost, thanks to a new national laboratory-industry collaboration pilot announced this week by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative.     

Los Alamos National Laboratory and Procter & Gamble will form one of the seven ‘innovation pairs’ working to bring sustainable ideas from some of the nations top scientists into the day-to-day world of manufacturing. (Full Story)

Also from the Monitor this week:

Nonprofits benefit from LA National Security help

More than 225 nonprofit organizations received $162,650 from Los Alamos National Security, LLC, which manages Los Alamos National Laboratory. The LANS contributions are determined by the number of volunteer hours logged by Laboratory employees and retirees through an organization called VolunteerMatch.

“The genuine care and commitment Laboratory employees and retirees have for their communities are clearly demonstrated by the number of hours volunteered to these nonprofit organizations,” said Kathy Keith, director of Los Alamos’ Community Programs Office, which oversees the volunteer program. (Full Story)

LANL looks to community for next generation workforce
Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan with County
Council Chair Kristin Henderson. LANL photo.

An implicit theme of a community breakfast meeting at the pueblo conference center Wednesday had to do with work, workers and the variables that make employment attractive and possible at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Current concerns include the federal budget, the pace of laboratory projects and priorities, the race between recruitment and retention, and the ongoing tussle between jobs available and attracting and preparing the best people possible. (Full Story)

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