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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.

DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is now accepting applications! Detailed information about the program, including eligibility requirements and access to the online application system, can be found at: https://science.energy.gov/wdts/scgsr/. Applications due May 16, 2017 5:00PM Eastern Time

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Highlights

Subsurface Biogeochemical-Related BER Research Highlights