Navigation Links
Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, February 2008

To arrange for an interview with a researcher, please contact the Communications and External Relations staff member identified at the end of each tip. For more information on ORNL and its research and development activities, please refer to one of our Media Contacts. If you have a general media-related question or comment, you can send it to

ECOLOGY-- Natures way . . .

Small streams disrupted by military training activities or commercial development can be restored with simple and inexpensive measures, according to findings of a group headed by Pat Mulholland of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Researchers from ORNL and Auburn University learned that streams can be adversely affected even if as little as 10 percent of the watershed is disturbed. In their study, conducted at Fort Benning, Ga., the researchers found that revegetating drainage ditches that carry water only during storms and adding dead trees and woody debris to stream channels helped trap smaller organic materials and improve the habitat for stream organisms, including fish. This project has provided the military with an improved understanding of its effects on streams and a possible approach for mitigating some of those effects, Mulholland said. The project was named Sustainable Infrastructure Project of the Year by the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, which funded the work. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]

MICROBIOLOGY -- A gut feeling . . .

Bacteria cells outnumber human cells in the average healthy human body by a factor of almost ten. Now researchers are asking if those resident microorganisms play a larger role in who we are than previously thought. ORNL researchers are joining an international collaboration to learn more about the role microorganisms play in, for example, the digestive system and how disruptions in the symbiotic balance in gut microflora might control the transition from healthy to disease conditions. ORNLs capabilities in mass spectroscopy offers researchers new and powerful tools for probing the extremely complex relationships between the microbiome and their human hosts. [Contact: Bill Cabage, (865) 574-4399;]

NANOSCIENCE -- Atom-scale switch . . .

ORNL researchers have discovered a carbon nanotube-based system that functions like an atom-scale switch. Their approach is to perform first-principles calculations on positioning a molecule inside a carbon nanotube to affect the electronic current flowing across it. The result is an electrical gate at the molecular level: In one position, the molecular gate is open, allowing current through; in another position, the gate is closed, blocking the current. In a silicon chip, the gate is a silicon oxide barrier within the structure of the chip. In the ORNL model, the gate is a short molecule encapsulated inside the carbon nanotubethat is about one nanometer in size, or three orders of magnitude smaller than a silicon chip. [Contact: Bill Cabage, (865) 574-4399;]

FUSION -- Lassoing turbulence . . .

Fusion power is a holy grail of our energy future, promising eventually to provide cheap, plentiful electricity with a minimum of environmental concerns and no greenhouse gases.

Before it does, however, scientists must learn to control and contain an ionized gas hotter than the sun. Theoretical physicists from General Atomics are using ORNLs Phoenix supercomputer to understand turbulence that leaches energy from fusion reactors. In particular, they are focusing on the interaction between eddies created by gyrating electrons and much larger eddies created by gyrating ions. The answers they provide will be an important step toward an energy revolution. [Contact: Dawn Levy, (865) 576-6448;]

CLIMATE -- Improving projections . . .

A new data mining tool developed by Forrest Hoffman and colleagues could lead to a better understanding of Earth's climate systems and to more accurate models. Using a novel cluster analysis technique to classify and group data, the researchers are able to take extract and compare relevant patterns from enormous datasets. For this study, researchers used data for the Southern Great Plains Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) site in Lamont, Okla., and projections from the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Community Climate System Model. One finding of note is that the model fails to capture an observed atmospheric state characterized by very low wind shear under high humidity and temperature conditions at the ARM site. Others involved in this project are Salil Mahajan of Texas A&M University, Sigurd Christensen and Richard Mills of ORNL and Bill Hargrove of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. The research was funded by the Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Climate Change Research Division. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]


Contact: Ron Walli
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. Man-made changes bring about new epoch in Earths history
2. Story ideas from the Journal of Biological Chemistry
3. Story ideas from the Journal of Lipid Research
4. The surprising story of Charles Darwin and his homeopathic doctor
5. Story tips from the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory, December 2007
6. Story ideas from the Journal of Lipid Research
7. Journal Sleep: Insomniacs are more likely to report a family history of the sleep disorder
8. Nanotechnology and the media: The inside story
9. Rebuilding the evolutionary history of HIV-1 unravels a complex loop
10. Story ideas from the Journal of Biological Chemistry
11. Story tips from the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory, October 2007
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/2/2015)...  SRI International has been awarded a contract of ... to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) PREVENT Cancer Program ... modern testing and support facilities, and analytical instrumentation to ... studies to evaluate potential cancer prevention drugs. ... Drug Development Program is an NCI-supported pipeline to bring ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015  The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) ... Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for the ... and Human Services guidance for synthetic biology providers has ... --> --> Synthetic biology ... potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. It now is ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... ANN ARBOR, Mich. , Oct. 29, 2015 ... with Eurofins Genomics for U.S. distribution of its ... DNA-seq kit and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq ... DNA to enable the preparation of NGS libraries ... in plasma for diagnostic and prognostic applications in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), led by its ... as Multirotor Grand Prix, to represent the First–Person View (FPV) racing community. , FPV ... embraced this type of racing and several new model aviation pilots have joined the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS) (TSX: ... 11,000 post-share consolidation (or 1,100,000 pre-share consolidation) Series ... Warrants") subject to the previously disclosed November 1, ... which will result in the issuance of 365,518 ... issuance of such shares, there will be approximately ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... Inc., on being named to Deloitte's 2015 Technology Fast 500 list of the ... manufactures AcceleDent®, a FDA-cleared, Class II medical device that speeds up orthodontic tooth ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  PDL BioPharma, Inc. (PDL) (NASDAQ: PDLI ... company,s president and chief executive officer, will present at the ... in New York City . The presentation ... 1, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. EST. ... website at least 15 minutes prior to the presentation to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: