Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Integrating bioscience and biotechnology in support of national security and energy goals

Division Leader: Kenneth Turteltaub
Deputy Division Leader, Operations: Tuijauna Mitchell-Hall
Deputy Division Leader, Science & Technology: Kris Kulp
Division Administrator:  Elizabeth "Bette" Herrera   +1-925-422-9407

The Biosciences and Biotechnology Division (BBTD) focuses on applying advanced technologies in combination with experimental and computational methods to solve important national problems in public health, biosecurity and energy security. We perform fundamental and applied research in the areas of genome biology, computational biology, molecular toxicology, host-pathogen biology, structural biology, biological detection, genetics and microbial systems and medical countermeasures. BBTD works at the intersection of these areas using advances in the biosciences, physical sciences, nanotechnology, and imaging and measurement science.

Applied Genomics Group 

Group Leader:   Crystal Jaing

The Applied Genomics Group develops innovative bioassays to rapidly detect infectious agents and other pathogens to support public health, food safety, and drug safety. Scientists in this group apply their expertise in genomics, bioinformatics, virology and molecular biology to characterize human and animal pathogens, develop assays to detect microbial agents in the environment, identify novel biomarkers for diagnostics of infectious diseases, characterize unknown and emerging pathogens, and study the evolution and virulence mechanisms of key viral and bacterial threat agents.

Biochemical and Biophysical Systems Group  

Group Leader:   Felice Lightstone

The Biochemical and Biophysical Systems Group is formed by experimental and computational biologists who use a wide range of expertise to approach cutting-edge problems in systems biology. We use multidisciplinary approaches - ranging through molecular biology, a variety of "omics" methods, and modeling - to investigate microbes and microbial communities as they respond to different perturbations, including those relevant to emerging issues in bioenergy, bioremediation, and pathogenesis. In addition to developing computational tools to describe and predict biological systems, we are combining experimental efforts with modeling and simulation methods to design and develop safe and effective therapeutics. Our principal unifying objective is to gain a predictive understanding of protein-mediated activities that are critical to cells and their interactions in living systems.

Biosecurity and Bionanosciences Group 

Group Leader:   Kuang Jen Wu

Our group conducts bionanocience research that applies nanoscience and nanotechnology to cutting-edge problems for national biosecurity interests. We are a multidisciplinary team with expertise in physics, chemistry, materials science and biology. This unique cross cutting expertise allows us to work together on basic and applied research toward LLNL's mission in nonproliferation, counterterrorism and life sciences. Our current research focus includes developing novel detection methods for biological agents, advanced bioanalytical and molecular imaging instrumentations for nanoscale characterization, novel carbon nanotube fabrics that repels chemical and biological agents and nanolipidprotein technology as a medical countermeasure to biological threats.

Environmental Biology Group 

Group Leader (Acting):   Thomas Bunt

The Environmental Biology Group develops and deploys capabilities to sample, detect, and respond to biological threats in the environment. Our diverse group includes expertise in the areas of environmental sampling, molecular biology, microbiology, ecology, chemistry, quality assurance, and population genetics. We strive to improve the time-to-detect, efficiency, sensitivity, and specificity of analytical tools used for counterterrorism (ie. BioWatch), food safety, and response/recovery efforts. Our current research projects involve developing rapid viability methods for select agents, fielding a mobile biological laboratory for special event monitoring, and developing methods for detecting biothreats in complex environmental samples.

Host-Pathogen Biology Group 

Group Leader:   George W. Anderson, Jr.

The Host-Pathogen Group is a diverse group of scientists with expertise in microbiology, virology, immunology, and bacterial pathogenesis. Scientists in this group conduct research on host-pathogen interactions with a focus on biothreat viruses and bacteria. Projects include studies of host immune responses during infection using a combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches, vaccine and therapeutic development with an emphasis on broad-spectrum efficacy, viral evolution and cross species transmission, and pathogen characterization and survival in the environment.

Pharmacology and Toxicology Group 

Group Leader:   Kris Kulp

The Pharmacology and Toxicology Group conducts basic science and applied research on: the mechanisms of action of the effects of chemicals and drugs in humans, how gene expression is regulated, and bone metabolism and fracture repair. We also focus on understanding the damage caused by radiation exposure, developing new technology for biosurveillance of outbreaks of infectious diseases, and accelerating the development of medical countermeasures. Our studies help us to understand how people respond to drugs and chemicals, how they vary in their response, and how to prevent deleterious effects.