Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The Department of Defense awarded a team from Lawrence Livermore and the University of California at Merced a three-year, $768,803 grant to study breast cancer metastasis. The work will focus on the metastatic role of extracellular shed vesicles (ESVs), packets of genetic information and other molecules long known to be involved in communication among cells and the performing of essential bodily functions. Recent studies suggest that tumors emit ESVs to prepare new sites in the body where cells separated from the tumor can land and grow into new tumors. Using accelerator mass spectrometry, the researchers hope to identify ESVs that act as biomarkers to better discriminate between malignant and benign tumors, thereby identifying dangerous tumors quickly and preventing overtreatment. The project could also lead to investigations of preventing metastasis by intercepting ESVs or stopping them from being released altogether.

The Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers selected Livermore researcher Wayne Meier for its 2016 Fusion Technology Award. The award recognizes Meier’s 40-year career of research and leadership advancing the science, technology, and integrated assessment of fusion power plants. During his career he contributed to studies on fusion chamber design, nuclear analysis, and systems integration and analysis, and authored or co-authored more than 150 technical papers. Meier retired in September 2016 as the deputy of Livermore’s Fusion Energy Sciences Program and was notified of the award two weeks after retiring. The Fusion Technology Award recognizes outstanding contributions to research and development in the field of fusion technology and has been presented since 1989.

The Federal Laboratory Consortium’s (FLC’s) Far West Region competition honored two Livermore teams for efforts related to technology transfer. FLC is a nationwide network of federal laboratories and provides a forum to develop strategies and opportunities for linking laboratory mission technologies with the marketplace.

An Outstanding Technology Development Award recognized the Wireless Battery Sensing and Failure Eliminator (WiBSAFE) technology, which Livermore researchers developed in collaboration with three companies. WiBSAFE can wirelessly monitor high-capacity power cells and is especially useful for cars, planes, spacecraft, and other environments where avoiding battery-related problems is crucial. Livermore personnel who worked on WiBSAFE include John Chang, James Zumstein, Marianne Ammendolia, Jack Kotovsky, Todd Bandhauer (who has since left the Laboratory), Noel Peterson, and Joe Farmer.

An Outstanding Partnership Award was presented to Livermore and two companies that licensed the Laboratory’s geothermal silica extraction technology. A process for removing marketable colloidal and precipitated silica from geothermal fluids while coproducing potable water, the technology makes geothermal energy more competitive by offsetting production costs by about one cent per kilowatt-hour. The partnership team includes Annemarie Meike of Livermore’s Industrial Partnerships Office.

Four Livermore scientists have been selected as 2016 fellows of the American Physical Society (APS). Physicist Adam Bernstein was cited in the nuclear physics category for “pioneering work at the intersection of nuclear science and nuclear nonproliferation, including the development of antineutrino-based methods for monitoring the production of fissile material and large-volume detectors for rapid screening of cargo for the presence of fissile material.” In plasma physics, physicist Hui Chen was recognized for “pioneering experimental research on relativistic positron generation using ultra-intense, short-pulse lasers.” Omar Hurricane, chief scientist of the Inertial Confinement Fusion Program, was cited in the plasma physics category for “visionary leadership in experiments at the National Ignition Facility laser and innovative work in understanding instabilities in high-energy-density and inertial confinement fusion plasmas leading to the first laboratory demonstration of an alpha-heating-dominated, thermonuclear plasma producing a fusion energy exceeding its total stored energy.” James Trebes, head of the Physics Division, was acknowledged by the APS Forum on Physics and Society for “contributions in laser physics and the application of physics to other disciplines, for leadership in multiple national security areas, and for contributions to education in the sciences and engineering.”