Thursday, January 21, 2016

UC names Michael Witherell to head Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The University of California Board of Regents today (Jan. 21) approved Michael Witherell, vice chancellor for research at UC Santa Barbara, as director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Michael Witherell
Credit: Photo by Majed
Witherell is a leading physicist with a highly distinguished career in teaching, research and managing complex organizations. He has received numerous honors and recognitions for his scientific contributions and achievements. Witherell is the former director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in northern Illinois and currently holds the Presidential Chair in Physics at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB).
“Michael Witherell is a proven leader with exceptional scientific credentials,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “The attributes and experience he brings to us will enable the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to continue to thrive as one of the world’s premier labs.”
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab is an internationally renowned institution dedicated to addressing the world’s most urgent scientific challenges, from advancing sustainable energy and protecting human health to revealing the origins and fate of the universe. As the original home of “team science,” which emphasizes interdisciplinary research in the public interest, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel Prizes. The University of California has managed the lab on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) since its founding in 1931.  
Following a national search and acting on the recommendation of Napolitano, with the concurrence of U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, the Board of Regents approved Witherell’s appointment as the eighth director of the Berkeley Lab. Witherell will replace departing Director Paul Alivisatos.
“It has been my distinct pleasure to serve as Berkeley Lab’s director,” said Alivisatos. “The dedicated scientists working at the lab are changing the world for the better, and I’m thankful to have been part of that. I know that Michael Witherell is the right person to take the lab into its next phase of scientific discovery.”
Witherell first came to UCSB in 1981 as an assistant professor of physics from Princeton University. Soon after joining UCSB, he led a Fermilab experiment that collected and studied the first large sample of charmed particles observed with a silicon microstrip vertex detector. As a result of that experiment, Witherell was awarded the W. K. H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics from the American Physical Society in 1990.
"Berkeley Lab is one of the world's outstanding laboratories for science and technology,” Witherell said. “It provides both solutions for the greatest technological challenges facing the nation, and scientific discoveries that are worthy of Nobel prizes. I cannot imagine a more rewarding job than leading this great lab."
In 1999 Witherell was appointed director of Fermilab, the DOE laboratory dedicated to high-energy physics. During his six years as director, Fermilab upgraded the Tevatron accelerator complex, the highest-energy collider then operating. The laboratory also completed a $150 million project to build a long-baseline neutrino facility, which sent a beam of neutrinos 450 miles underground to a detector built at the Soudan Underground Laboratory in northern Minnesota.
In 2005 Witherell rejoined the UC Santa Barbara faculty as vice chancellor for research, where he manages research administration and technology commercialization. He also supervises interdisciplinary research institutes in marine science, earth science, neuroscience, social sciences and ethnic studies, in addition to the California Nanosystems Institute and six sites of the UC Natural Reserve System.
In 2010, while continuing as UCSB vice chancellor for research, Witherell returned to conducting research on the nature of dark matter. He joined the LUX collaboration, which completed the most sensitive search for interactions of dark matter particles with normal matter.
Witherell is also part of an international research team that designed the LUX-Zeplin (LZ) project, an experiment that will be three orders of magnitude more sensitive than LUX. In 2014 the LZ project was selected as the largest next-generation dark matter experiment in the DOE’s High Energy Physics program.
Witherell is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He currently chairs the Board on Physics and Astronomy at the National Academies; sits on the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy at the National Academies; is a member of the American Physical Society’s Physics Policy Committee; and, serves on the Board of Directors for Science for Nature and People. Witherell is the 2004 recipient of the Energy Secretary’s Gold Award.
He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1973 and his B.S. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1968.
This is an exciting time to be part of Berkeley Lab.  Click HERE to learn about career opportunities with the Laboratory.
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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Biosciences Reorganization Creates Leadership Opportunities

Citing the changing nature of the Department of Energy’s biology mission, concerns about non-DOE funding, and the benefits of a refreshed divisional structure, Jay Keasling, Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences, has announced an extensive reorganization of the Biosciences Area, effective October 1.

Always ready for a challenge, “Our goal is to better align our divisions with current and future research focused on energy and the environment,” Keasling explained. “Business as usual is not an option for us moving forward.”

The centerpiece of the reorganization is a new division structure that will ensure the kind of teamwork and research synergies for which Berkeley Lab is famed. The realignment will further Berkeley Lab’s reputation as the National-Laboratory-system leader in exploring and exploiting biological solutions to the world’s most daunting energy and environmental challenges.

The new Divisions are provisionally named: Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology; Biological Systems & Engineering; and Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry. The new divisions encompass existing programs and emerging capabilities. As a consequence the current Divisional structure that includes Life Sciences, Genomics and Physical Biosciences will be melded and replaced at the close of the current fiscal year, which ends on September 30.

“The easiest way to think of this is to imagine a matrix: the four areas of research articulated in the Biosciences Strategic Plan [energy, environment, biomanufacturing, health] as applications that cut across the three new Divisions,” Keasling remarked. “The pieces fit together in a way that allows flexibility and strength as we pursue new opportunities to build programs and our funding base at Berkeley Lab."

As a result of this exciting change, we are now conducting an exhaustive search for three new Division Directors to join Berkeley Lab's Sr. Management team.  You may find more information here:

Environmental, Genomics & Systems Biology (EGSB) Division Director, Job #81349

Biological Systems & Engineering (BSE) Division Director, Job #81350

Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division Director, Job #81351

If you, or someone you know is a dynamic and acclaimed leader in the Biosciences arena, we want to hear from you!

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Berkeley Lab @ National Society Of Black Engineers’ (NSBE) 41st Annual Convention

Picture L to R: Bill Singh, Colette Flood, Steven Wilson
  talk to NSBE attendees about opportunities at the Lab
Berkeley Lab's Workforce Development & Education, Human Resources, and the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) attended the National Society of Black Engineers’ (NSBE) 41st Annual Convention on March 25-29, 2015 in Anaheim, CA.  Steven Wilson, Shared Components Team Lead (Software Team Lead) at JGI, served as a “science ambassador” and partnered with Bill Singh, Senior Recruiter; Colette Flood, Internship Manager; and Susan Brady Wells, Manager of Workforce Development & Education to represent.  The team discussed internship opportunities, careers, groundbreaking research at Berkeley Lab, and what it’s like to work at a DOE national laboratory.
To learn more about Berkeley Lab’s Workforce Development & Education Office, please visit:
If you are interested in working with us, please visit:
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Friday, March 20, 2015

Berkeley Lab Creates a New ‘Earth and Environmental Sciences Area'

Some LBNL participants in the 2007 Nobel Peace
Prize award to the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change, with former Lab Director &
DOE Secretary, Steven Chu 
Berkeley Lab programs in environmental sciences, climate sciences and subsurface energy resources are flourishing. Examples of new and significant efforts include the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment, the Advanced Climate Model for Energy, and advanced fossil energy production projects. Our scientists play intellectual leadership roles in emerging national initiatives related to microbes and their interaction with the environment, as well as in subsurface energy science initiatives.
Due to the importance of these activities to the future of the Nation and the world, we are positioning the laboratory strategically for the future by creating an Earth and Environmental Sciences Area led by a new Associate Laboratory Director (ALD). At first, this Area will steward the Earth Sciences Division, and the new ALD will be charged with developing a new organizational structure that reflects the strategic plan they will create by working closely with the Area’s science community.
“Many aspects of the Nation’s future energy and environmental security are closely tied to the work we do today in subsurface energy science,” said DOE Under Secretary for Science and Energy Lynn Orr. “We welcome this step Berkeley Lab is taking to continue to contribute significantly to DOE’s mission-driven fundamental research and applied technology development.”
Don DePaolo, Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Sciences will serve as the acting ALD for this Area during a search. The position has been posted here and a global search is actively underway.
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Berkeley Lab Recognizes Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the diverse and historic accomplishments of women. This year the Lab profiled Elizabeth Bautista of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), Maram Kassis of Environment, Health & Safety (EHS), and Mary Sidney of Energy Technologies Area (ETA).  

Visit their profiles HERE

Interested in working with us?  Please visit our Careers Page.

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