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Public domain image of a field of sorghum.

Carnegie plant biologists Sue Rhee and David Ehrhardt will lead one of 25 teams awarded a total of $64 million this week by the U.S. Department of Energy to pursue genomic research of potential biofuel crops. “This study will be the first of its kind, revealing the full suite of a plant’s metabolic enzymes and their relationships to each other inside a living cell,” said Rhee of the project, which will map the metabolic networks of he cereal plant sorghum, which is also a biofuel crop, and the wheat relative Brachypodium, which is a model organism for grasses, including those that are used for biofuels.

AGU Logo

Carnegie scientists Michael Walter and Robert Hazen have been elected 2019 Fellows of the American Geophysical Union. Fellows are recognized for visionary leadership and scientific excellence that has fundamentally advanced research in the Earth and space sciences. “Their breadth of interests and the scope of their contributions are remarkable and often groundbreaking,” said the organization in its announcement of the n

Winslow Briggs by Robin Kempster, courtesy Carnegie Institution for Science.

The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) will name a mentorship award in honor of legendary Carnegie plant scientist Winslow Briggs, who died in February. “The outpouring of love and support as news spread of Winslow’s death is a testament to how many lives he touched,” said Zhiyong Wang, Acting Director of Carnegie’s Department Plant Biology. “I can think of no better way for ASPB to honor his memory than to reward examples of outstanding mentorship in others.”

Telica Volcano in Nicaragua, courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Some volcanoes take their time—experiencing protracted, years-long periods of unrest before eventually erupting. This makes it difficult to forecast when they pose a danger to their surrounding areas, but Carnegie’s Diana Roman and Penn State’s Peter LaFemina are trying to change that.

USGS photo of Mount Pinatubo erupting

Major volcanic eruptions spew ash particles into the atmosphere, which reflect some of the Sun’s radiation back into space and cool the planet. But could this effect be intentionally recreated to fight climate change? A new paper in Geophysical Research Letters investigates.

An artist’s illustration courtesy of Carl Sagan Institute/Jack Madden

Sometimes there is more to a planetary system than initially meets the eye. Ground-based observations following up on the discovery of a small planet by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) revealed two additional planets in the same system, one of which is located far enough from its star to be potentially habitable.  These findings were announced in Astronomy & Astrophysics by an international team including several Carnegie astronomers and instrumentation specialists.

This image captures the bright blue light (chemiluminesc ence) emitted by the NanoLuc protein in LipoGlo zebrafish. It is is provided courtesy of James Thierer.

A newly developed technique that shows artery clogging fat-and-protein complexes in live fish gave investigators from Carnegie, Johns Hopkins University, and the Mayo Clinic a glimpse of how to study heart disease in action. Their research, which is currently being used to find new drugs to fight cardiovascular disease, is now published in Nature Communications.

Decker French

Carnegie’s K. Decker French was recognized by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific with its Robert J. Trumpler Award, which is presented to a recent Ph.D. graduate “whose research is considered unusually important to astronomy.” 

Vera measuring spectra with DTM measuring engine, courtesy of Carnegie Science.

The House approved yesterday a bill to name the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope in honor of late Carnegie scientist Vera Rubin, who confirmed the existence of dark matter.

Plant Cell Atlas logo

Carnegie’s Sue Rhee and David Ehrhardt, along with NYU’s Kenneth Birnbaum, argue that we must drastically improve our understanding of plant cell structure, function, and physiology in order to mitigate the assaults to human health, the economy, and the environment brought on by climate change. Originally published by Trends in Plant Science, their editorial calling for a Plant Cell Atlas is now part of Cell Press special collection on conservation. Today they are launching a project website calling for a kick-off workshop to convene leaders from diverse fields to brainstorm how best to create this community resource.

An image of the Hubble Space Telescope floating against the background of space courtesy of NASA.

A team of collaborators from Carnegie and the University of Chicago used red giant stars that were observed by the Hubble Space Telescope to make an entirely new measurement of how fast the universe is expanding, throwing their hats into the ring of a hotly contested debate. Their result—which falls squarely between the two previous, competing values—will be published in The Astrophysical Journal.

A $2.7 million multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional NSF-Frontiers of Earth Science grant has been awarded to a team led by Carnegie’s Lara Wagner to study an active flat slab in Colombia. A flat slab is produced when a tectonic plate descends to depths of about 30 to 60 miles (~50-100 km) then flattens and travels horizontally for hundreds of miles before descending farther into Earth’s mantle. Flat slabs are unlike standard subduction, in which a tectonic plate descends more steeply beneath another plate directly into the Earth. 

One analogy for understanding the mathematical structure of the team's work is to think of it as foam being simplified into a single bubble by progressively merging adjacent bubbles.

In humans, the gut microbiome is an ecosystem of hundreds to thousands of microbial species living within the gastrointestinal tract, influencing health and even longevity. As interest in studying the microbiome continues to increase, understanding this complexity will give us predictive power to engineer it. A research team led by Carnegie’s Will Ludington built a rigorous mathematical framework that describes the ecology of a microbiome coupled to its host.

Public domain image of power plant with smokestacks

If power plants, boilers, furnaces, vehicles, and other energy infrastructure is not marked for early retirement, the world will fail to meet the 1.5-degree Celsius climate-stabilizing goal set out by the Paris Agreement, but could still reach the 2-degree Celsius goal, says the latest from the ongoing collaboration between the University of California Irvine’s Steven Davis and Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira.

Sea anemone Aiptasia pallida. Image courtesy of Tingting Xiang.

What factors govern algae’s success as “tenants” of their coral hosts both under optimal conditions and when oceanic temperatures rise? A Victoria University of Wellington-led team of experts that includes Carnegie’s Arthur Grossman investigates this question.

Meredith Wilson, a postdoctoral associate in Steve Farber’s lab at the Department of Embryology, has been awarded Carnegie’s thirteenth Postdoctoral Innovation and Excellence Award. These prizes are given to postdocs for their exceptionally creative approaches to science, strong mentoring, and contributing to the sense of campus community. The nominations are made by the departments and are chosen by the Office of the President. 

We stand at an epochal moment in human history – we are about to learn if we are alone in the universe.


The phenomenon of magnetic resonance was first revealed in the classic Stern-Gerlach experiment in 1922.

The discovery that genome engineering could be accomplished by harnessing the bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 immune defense system is one of the most-import

Microbial life does not always depend on access to sunlight. In fact, most microbial cells on Earth are buried

Symbiosis refers to mutually beneficial interactions between different organisms.

On New Year’s Day in 1925, a young Edwin Hubble released his finding that the Milky Way was not alone but instead accompanied by billions of