Dear Foundry Community,
It was wonderful to see so many of you at this year’s Annual User Meeting (AUM). I’d like to thank the Molecular Foundry’s User Executive Committee (UEC), and in particular its chair, Cheryl Tajon, as well as the rest of the organizing committee and the User Program Office team for bringing everyone together onsite for the first time in three years and for putting together such a stimulating agenda. It was great to see the energy and engagement of the community building around the diverse research presented over the two days. I’m sure we will see new ideas and collaborations growing as a result.
The AUM showcased the new capabilities that will soon be available to our users, if not already. This month we welcomed Dr. Crysten Blaby-Haas to the Biological Nanostructures facility. She has a dual appointment as a staff scientist at the Foundry and at the Joint Genome Institute and will be starting up a new workflow centered on genome-encoded materials synthesis. Our Nanofabrication facility is preparing for new pieces of instrumentation in the Foundry’s cleanroom – a new electron beam writer that is available to users now, a physical property measurement system, and a thin-film deposition and analysis ‘cluster tool’ which will come online next year. And at NCEM, the 4D Camera that was installed on the TEAM 0.5 microscope in 2019, is now available for use thanks to the ‘4D Distillery’, a program led by the Foundry with additional collaborations between the Superfacility project at NERSC, and Kitware, that can process hundreds of terabytes of STEM data within minutes. I hope many of you will begin to take advantage of these new capabilities in our next proposal call, which opens tomorrow with a deadline of September 29.
We have also had a few other staffing changes at the Foundry. The departures include the retirements I mentioned in the last newsletter, and also the recent exit of the Foundry’s Deputy Director, Branden Brough, who left the Foundry earlier this month for a position in Washington, D.C. To minimize disruption to our operations while a search is conducted, Dr. Jim Ciston, staff scientist at NCEM, will shoulder the role of interim Deputy Director. Additionally, Marisa Davis, Senior Administrator of the Energy Sciences Area office has joined us as interim Business Manager. Another change to our operations team is the addition of Rita Zherebnenkov as the Foundry’s new Administrative Assistant. Welcome Rita and Marisa to the Foundry!
Through all the growth and changes at the Foundry, we continue to look for opportunities to expand our impact. This includes showcasing our work to visiting guests, both from the government, like DOE Under Secretary for Science and Innovation, Geri Richmond, and the Director of the Office of Science, Asmeret Berhe, as well as other institutions, near and far. There are many in the broader scientific community and beyond who could benefit from the Foundry but aren’t familiar with us. With new partnerships and expanding our outreach, we hope to serve a greater number and diversity of users as described in our DEI Strategic Plan.
As part of these efforts, we are reaching out to the next generation of scientists through internship programs at Berkeley Lab like ASPIRES (Advancing Stem Pioneers In Research In Energy Sciences), Experiences in Research, and the Foundry’s own FUSE internship. We had staff participate as mentors in all of these programs this summer and it was exciting to see the culmination of the students’ efforts at the poster sessions at the beginning of this month.
In closing, I encourage you to take the opportunity of our upcoming proposal call to build off of what you heard at the AUM, as well as our new expertise and capabilities, to develop new and exciting ways to collaborate with the Foundry. I look forward to seeing these ideas and working with you in the future.
All the Best,