Friday, February 10, 2017

Los Alamos research on cancer's origins key part of huge grant

Ludmil Alexandrov, LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher Ludmil Alexandrov has been announced as a member of one of the first four global research teams funded under Cancer Research UK's "Grand Challenge," which seeks to revolutionize the understanding of cancer and its prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The Grand Challenge aims to help overcome the biggest obstacles to cancer research in a global effort to beat the disease sooner. "This research could dramatically improve our understanding of what causes cancer and lead to better information for people on how to reduce their risk of developing cancer," said Alexandrov, who has used Los Alamos National Laboratory computational tools to aid in cancer research with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute partners for several years. (Full Story)

US government agency pops 16 years of solar weather data online

Solar flares influence space weather, from The Register.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released 16 years' worth of GPS solar weather data gathered by the Los Alamos National Laboratory for all comers.

Los Alamos explains the release is designed to help researchers create and refine models for understanding and predicting solar weather, to better-protect “satellites, aircraft, communications networks, navigation systems, and [the] electric power grid”.

The sensors measure the energy and intensity of electrons and protons trapped in the Earth's magnetic field to form the Van Allen radiation belts. Each of the 23 sensors in the GPS constellation measures the largest radiation belt every six hours. (Full Story)

Keeping nuclear materials secure in an uncertain world

The Atoms for Peace tour, from the LANL Archives.

Keeping nuclear materials out of the hands of bad actors is critical to keeping the world safe from nuclear attack. To do that requires a team of people who are deployed to countries all over the world to inspect their nuclear-related operations.

These inspectors – from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) based in Austria – make sure the nuclear materials a country possesses are being used for peaceful purposes (such as for energy or medicine), and not diverted for use in weapons. But how do the inspectors know what to look for? They come to Los Alamos National Laboratory to learn how. (Full Story)

Creating family trees for disease-causing microbes could help control outbreaks

HIV infecting a human cell. NIH image.

A study examining the origins of AIDS recently made headlines for debunking the infamous myth that Gaetan Dugas, the French-Canadian flight attendant dubbed “Patient Zero,” brought the AIDS pandemic to North America.

The international team of researchers sequenced the genomes of HIV viruses that had been recovered from more than 2,000 blood samples taken in the late 1970s — before AIDS had been identified in the United States. By comparing those sequences to other strains of HIV in the Los Alamos National Laboratory HIV database, the scientists were able to build a family tree of the disease, also known as a phylogeny. (Full Story)

Two regional businesses receive Native American VAF awards

Phoebe Suina, owner of High Water Mark, LLC. LANL image.

Two Northern New Mexico Native American-owned and -operated businesses received $30,000 in grants through a Native American Venture Acceleration Fund created by Los Alamos National Security, LLC and the Regional Development Corporation.

“These investments create jobs for pueblo-owned businesses and help strengthen the area’s economy,” LANL Community Partnerships Director Kathy Keith said.

To date, more than $280,000 has been invested in the northern area regional economy through the Native American Venture Acceleration Fund. Funding comes from LANS, which manages Los Alamos National Laboratory. The RDC manages the Native American Venture Acceleration Fund. (Full Story)

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