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Subsurface Biogeochemical Research Program

Subsurface Biogeochemistry Research Timeline

  • 2015 - 2016:   Discovered new microbial species using genomic techniques and that interactions among the microbial community members drive biogeochemical cycles.  See LBNL News Center for more.
  • 2015 - 2016:   Developed E4D-RT, a real-time 4D subsurface imaging technology (2016 R&D 100 Award). See this news item for more.
  • 2015 - 2016:   Demonstrated, through high performance computing, that the availability of water to vegetation is key for understanding the flux of terrestrial water to the atmosphere. See this highlight for more.
  • 2014 - 2015:   Discovered ultra-small bacterial cells. See LBNL ESD News for more.
  • 2014 - 2015:   Demonstrated that subsurface microbial communities can serve as quantitative biosensors of subsurface geochemical conditions. See this highlight for more.
  • 2013 - 2014:   Discovered that in alkaline aquifers, some bacteria can use elemental sulfur to indirectly reduce iron, which can then indirectly affect contaminant mobility in the subsurface. See this highlight for more.
  • 2013 - 2014:   Discovered that multiple species of bacteria convert elemental mercury to toxic methylmercury. See this BER highlight for more.
  • 2013 - 2014:   Demonstrated feasibility of reducing technetium transport in groundwater by reacting technetium with zero-valent iron to form technetium sulfide. See EMSL News for more.
  • 2012 - 2013:   Demonstrated that proteins in the cell wall of some bacteria produce an electric current when in contact with a mineral surface, thereby allowing the bacteria to “breathe” the iron in the mineral. See EMSL News for more.
  • 2012 - 2013:   Discovered the genes for bacterial mercury methylation. See this BER highlight for more.
  • 2011 - 2012:   Discovered that binding of uranium to microbial biopolymers is an essential step for the efficient reduction of uranium (VI) in aquifers. See this highlight for more.
  • 2011 - 2012:   Developed new approach to model the chemical interactions of plutonium with minerals and biological molecules using density functional theory. See this highlight for more.
  • 2010 - 2011: Modeled interactions of uranium with aluminum oxide, a common soil mineral. See this BES highlight for more.
  • 2010 – 2011: Developed uranium isotopic techniques to measure contaminant flux.
  • 2009 – 2011: Developed geophysical techniques to non-invasively monitor the spatial and temporal variability of subsurface biogeochemical systems.
  • 2009 – 2011:  Developed environmental proteomics techniques to assess microbial activity in the subsurface.
  • 2009 – 2010:   Integrated metabolic (genomic) modeling with reactive transport modeling.
  • 2008 – 2009:   Developed PhyloChip and GeoChip (R&D 100 awardees) for rapidly screening microbial communities.
  • 2006 – 2011:   Established two Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) projects to simulate subsurface contaminant transport.
  • 2005 – 2011:   Established field sites for multidisciplinary in situ research at the Hanford 300 site, Hanford, WA; Y-12 site, Oak Ridge, TN; and uranium mill tailings site, Rifle, CO.
  • 2005 – 2006:   Assessed plutonium risk at the Rocky Flats Site, near Denver, and lowered the cost of cleanup.
  • 2003 – 2006:   Demonstrated bioremediation approaches for uranium contamination.
  • 2003 – 2004:   Determined metabolic basis for radiation resistance in Deinococcus in high-level waste tanks.
  • 2003 – 2004:   Developed portable radon/thoron monitoring device.
  • 1999 – 2000:   Improved separation of cesium-137 from high-level waste streams.
  • 1994 – 1995:   Demonstrated in situ redox barrier for immobilizing chromium at the Hanford 300 Site in Hanford, WA.
  • 1990 – 1991:   Demonstrated organic contaminant bioremediation at the Savannah River Site in Aiken, SC.
  • 1984 – 1985:   Explored microbial life in the deep subsurface.

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