Friday, January 10, 2020

Scientists image heart RNA structure for the first time

Center section of the RNA molecule known as "Braveheart," LANL image.

Scientists at Los Alamos and international partners have created the first 3-D images of a special type of RNA molecule that is critical for stem cell programming and known as the “dark matter” of the genome.

“As far as we know,” said corresponding author Karissa Sanbonmatsu, “this is the first full 3-D structural study of any long, non-coding RNA (lncRNA) other than a partial structure.” Sanbonmatsu is a structural biologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “A better understanding of these RNAs could lead to new strategies in regenerative medicine for people with heart conditions due to cardiovascular disease or aging.” (Full Story)

UNM alumna part of research team for Mars rover project

Nina Lanza, LANL photo.

One University of New Mexico graduate is reaching some out-of-this-world achievements. Nina Lanza is a planetary scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and is a member of a team working on the new Mars rover.

“I applied to UNM, and as soon as I was accepted, I stopped waiting to hear from other grad schools and accepted immediately. I knew this was where I wanted to go. I worked very closely with Los Alamos during my graduate work at UNM on the ChemCam project, so UNM perfectly prepared me for a job at Los Alamos, where I still work today,” Lanza said. (Full Story)

AR simulates IED dismantling

Illustration of an IED scenario, from iHLS.

Roadside improvised explosive device (IED) is typically made by civilians using conventional materials and commercially available chemicals. Such improvised explosive devices can be used by criminals, vandals, terrorists, suicide bombers etc.

A team from Los Alamos National Lab led by David MascareƱas has developed a software suite that can be used to train first responders in locating, identifying, and rendering IEDs safe under a variety of scenarios. (Full Story)

How would ELROI let us know which satellites are which?

Cubesat, LANL photo.

An interesting solution to [the problem of manmade objects in orbit] being developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory is ELROI – the Extremely Low Resource Optical Identifier. We spoke with David Palmer, a scientist at the lab who is developing ELROI, to learn more about this technology.

ELROI (which stands for Extremely Low Resource Optical Identifier) is our solution. This is a little flashing light that can be built into a solar-powered package the size of a Scrabble tile. The flashing light can be seen with a small telescope on the ground and its blinks encode a “license plate number” that tells you exactly which satellite it is. (Full Story)

What do rocks and explosives have in common?

Like rocks, high explosives have curious acoustic behavior, LANL images.

The definitive way to test an aging detonator in the U.S. nuclear stockpile is to fire it. But this destroys the detonator, and it doesn’t reveal much about what impact time has on the high explosives inside.

“Getting information on the high explosive inside those detonators is either really difficult or not possible,” says explosives chemist Peter Schulze. Even so, answering this question—will an aged detonator still work as intended?—is vital to the Los alamos National Laboratory’s mission. (Full Story)

Delta, Anthem, and Los Alamos Lab join the IBM Quantum Computing Network

IBM Quantum Computer, IBM photo.

Delta Airlines, Anthem, Georgia Tech, the Los Alamos National Lab, and other new network members will join the largest commercial quantum computing program available, which includes Fortune 500 companies, startups, universities, and research labs.

IBM announced the news at CES 2020. The IBM Q Network now has almost 100 organizations working with IBM to advance the technology and explore practical applications. (Full Story)

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