NMC Scientists Represent at AGU Elections

Photo/image by AGU.
The Space Physics and Aeronomy (SPA) section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) election results for 2019 and 2020 are in, and two New Mexico Consortium scientists are among those elected.
Dr. Geoff Reeves, an NMC/LANL scientist, is the new SPA President-Elect.  Dr. Liz Macdonald, an NMC/Goddard Space Flight Center scientist has been elected as the SM (SPA/Magnetosphere) Secretary. To see the entire results of the AGU elections see https://elections.agu.org/
These new leaders will work to help AGU advance it’s mission to make scientific data open and accessible, grow a diverse and inclusive workforce in science, speed up the exchange of scientific knowledge, and make a positive impact on society.
Please join us in congratulating Liz and Geoff as newly-elected AGU leaders.

Harshini Mukundan Selected as Finalist for 2018 R&D 100 Award


Image of Harshini Mukundan. Photo credit to LANL

Ten Los Alamos National Laboratory innovators have been selected as finalists for the 2018 R&D 100 Awards, which honor the top 100 proven tecnhological advances of the past year as determined by a panel selected by R&D Magazine.

Harshini Mukundan, a LANL Scientist and New Mexico Consortium affiliate, is one of the finalists selected for her team's work on the Universal Bacterial Sensor. This sensor mimics biological recognition of bacterial pathogens to identify infections even before the patient has experienced the onset of symptoms. 

Read the entire LANL article here:



NASA Awards Contract to UbiQD: Developing Greenhouse Films for Space Missions

Phase I STTR will fund a collaboration with the University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center to develop and test quantum dot materials for maximizing crop yields on the Moon, Mars, or other long-term space missions
Los Alamos, NM—August 13th, 2018UbiQD, Inc., a New Mexico-based nanotechnology development company, announced today that it has been awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) Phase I contract by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The contract will provide funding for UbiQD's collaborative research and development with the University of Arizona to explore using quantum dots (QDs) to tailor the spectrum of sunlight for optimized crop growth for in-space and planetary exploration missions.
“We are excited to be working with UbiQD to explore this innovative approach in managing wavelengths of light from light source to plant leaf within a food plant production application,” said Dr. Gene Giacomelli, professor in the Department of Biosystems Engineering Department and the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center at the University of Arizona. “This technology has the potential to improve the PAR light source efficiency, thereby becoming a game-changer for indoor crop production.”
UbiQD has quietly been developing its QD agriculture films after receiving funding from Breakout Labs in 2017 to explore the concept. The company is now aiming to launch a retrofit version of its film product in late 2018 under the UbiGro™ brand. The UbiGro™ Film is designed to promote vegetable production and accelerate plant growth.
“With NASA’s support we will work with the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center in their College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to evaluate our quantum dot agriculture films for improved lettuce production,” said Dr. Matt Bergren, Chief of Product at UbiQD and Principal Investigator for the project. “We have already been testing the films, in both research and commercial greenhouses in the U.S., and we’ve seen yield improvements for tomatoes on the order of 20-30 percent.”
About UbiQD, Inc.
UbiQD is a nanotechnology company based in Los Alamos, New Mexico that manufactures high-performance cadmium-free quantum dots and composite materials. The company uniquely focuses on applications that utilize its nanomaterials to manipulate sunlight, enabling solar windows and spectrum-controlled greenhouses. Spun out of technology developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Washington, and Western Washington University, UbiQD envisions a future where quantum dots are ubiquitous in a wide spectrum of applications. For more information visit UbiQD.com and UbiGro.com.
About University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center
The Mission of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (UA-CEAC) is to develop economically, environmentally and socially sustainable agricultural systems that will provide food of high quality for helping to feed the world.  Engineers and scientists focus on CEA production agricultural practices within greenhouse, growth rooms and vertical farms to provide the desired aerial environment and the necessary root zone environment using hydroponic production techniques.  Resource use efficiency of water, energy and plant nutrients are improved within automated systems.
About NASA STTR Program
The NASA STTR program is sponsored by its Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) and managed at NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley. STMD is responsible for developing the cross-cutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions. For more information about the SBIR/STTR program, including the selection list, visit: sbir.nasa.gov/. To learn more about the other missions and programs NASA's Kennedy Space Center supports, visit www.nasa.gov/kennedy.
NASA Press Release:
LA Daily Post Article:
Albuquerque Journal Article:

Reeves Named AGU Fellow

Photo credit to LANL

The American Geophysical Union recently named Geoffrey D. Reeves an AGU Fellow in recognition of his leadershipand excellence in space science. He was among 62 new fellows chosen and will be honored at AGU's national conference in December in Washington D.C.  Only 0.1 percent of AGU's 60,000+ members are named fellows each year.

Geoff Reeves is a LANL Scientist and New Mexico Consortium Affiliate in the field of space weather, and specifically does research on the Van Allen Belts.

To read the entire LANL article click here.



Congratulations to NMC Student Poster Winners!

The New Mexico Consortium (NMC) is pleased to announce three of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Student Poster Award winners are NMC summer student researchers doing their work at the NMC Biological Laboratory and Greenhouse. These posters were presented at the LANL2018 Student Symposium
Sara Lamcaj and Jenna Schambach both work in biofuels research and won awards for their poster titled, “Investigating the Lingocellulosic Degradation Activity of Auxenochlorella protothecoides.” They work with Dr. Amanda Barry on a freshwater strain of algae, Auxenochlorella protothecoides (A.p) to investigate the potential glycosyl hydrolases responsible for the degradation of cellulose. A.p has been shown to utilize plant substrate to increase algal biomass which can be used as an advantage for the production of biofuels from algae.
Sara Lamcaj is from Lodi, New Jersey, and graduated from Seton Hall University with a  bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in May 2018. She currently is a summer post-baccalaureate intern at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She plans on attending graduate school in order to continue pursuing a rewarding career in research.
Jenna Schambach graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences in May 2015, and a Master of Science in Marine Biosciences in December 2017. She has been working as a Post-Master’s Research Assistant for Dr. Amanda Barry since January of 2018 in the Bioenergy and Biome Sciences group of the Bioscience Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Jenna states, “The NMC Biolab has not only provided the equipment and supplies necessary for our group to do our research, but the communal laboratory layout fosters an environment conducive for learning as well as a unique experience working alongside biotechnology startup companies.”
Irene Kwon, in the biosciences division, also won an award for her poster titled, “Enhanding Monooxygenase Efficiency for the Production of Polymer Precursors Using ‘Smart’ Microbial Cell Technology”.
Irene Kwon is a sophomore at Rice University in Houston, Texas, working toward a bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering. She has been working as a summer intern at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Bioenergy and Biome Sciences under Dr. Taraka Dale since her senior year of high school. During high school, I worked with algae and algal biofuel research. This summer, she shifted her focus to a project involving the production of plastic precursors, specifically muconate, in the field of biomanufacturing. Irene wanted to say, “Thank you to the New Mexico Consortium for the facilities, equipment, and especially, staff who have always offered their help and time throughout my internship.”
Congratulations to Sara, Jenna and Irene! The NMC is proud of the high quality and excellent work of our student researchers.  
Photos above showing student poster winners. Sara Lemcaj and Jenna Schambach are in the photo on the left. Irene Kwon is in the photo on the right.

© 2018 New Mexico Consortium