Lab help for BART high-tech training

Representatives from BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Chabot-Las Positas Community College District met with U.S. Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher to sign a Memorandum of Agreement to develop high-tech training tools for rapid-transit train operators. The result will be performance-based training that includes enhanced curricula, updated methodology, and high-tech simulations. The curricula will help focus training on the areas of highest need in the shortest possible time.
Lawrence Livermore will provide scientific and technical expertise for identifying and recommending training delivery methodology and equipment: computer simulation of complex systems, advanced sensors and instrumentation, transportation studies, and diverse engineering capabilities. The Chabot-Las Positas Community College District will design performance-outcome, competency-based curricula. BART brings extensive experience and expertise in all areas of public rapid transit operations, workforce development, safety, and customer service.
Livermore Deputy Director for Science and Technology Jeff Wadsworth said, "This partnership represents a welcome opportunity to apply the Laboratory's state-of-the-art capabilities and scientific expertise to a real problem in the Bay Area. Improved training programs and facilities for rapid transit operators benefit our community."
Contact: Contact: Elizabeth Rajs (925) 424-5806 (rajs1@llnl.gov).

Kidney disease gene found

Years invested in building a human genetic roadmap are yielding big-time benefits. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have teamed with international collaborators to pinpoint the location of a gene responsible for causing a kidney disease. This effort is described in a research paper in the March 1998 issue of Molecular Cell.
Scientists at Livermore's Human Genome Center collaborated with researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and the University of Oulu in Oulu, Finland. Together, the three institutions discovered the gene for congenital nephrotic syndrome, a deadly disease that causes massive amounts of proteins to be excreted from the body. The gene is located on chromosome 19.
A progressive disease, congenital nephrotic syndrome usually leads to death by age 2. The only life-saving alternative is a kidney transplant. The disease is most prevalent in Finland, striking about one in 10,000 Finnish children, but occurring with a significantly lower frequency in other nations. The discovery has already yielded immediate clinical assistance, enabling development of a diagnostic tool to identify carriers of the gene.
To date, Livermore's Human Genome Center has mapped most of chromosome 19. It has also sequenced, or ordered, the base pairs for about 3.5 million of the chromosome's 65 million bases, in a process that is accelerating with the development of new technologies. The Center has assisted collaborators in discovering the genes for a variety of diseases, including myotonic dystrophy, a disease that affects about one in 8,000 adults worldwide; the genetic cause of two forms of dwarfism; a gene for migraine headaches; and the Peutz-Jeghers syndrome gene. Additionally, Lab researchers also joined in the effort to find a gene for cadasil, a type of stroke.
Contact: Public Affairs Office (925) 423-3107 (wampler1@llnl.gov).

New associate director for Energy

Director Bruce Tarter named Terry Surles the new Energy Associate Director, commenting that Surles "brings to this position proven leadership in building large programs and currency with the issues and players in the broad energy and environmental arena. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that the development, assessment, and application of energy technologies will play a stronger role in national policy and practice. I look forward to working with Dr. Surles and the Energy Directorate to make substantial contributions to such a crucial national issue."
Surles most recently was the deputy secretary for science and technology for the California Environmental Protection Agency. Prior to that he served at Argonne National Laboratory in the environmental and energy areas and was the general manager of Environmental Programs from 1993 to 1997. He received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from St. Lawrence University in 1966 and his doctorate in analytical chemistry from Michigan State University in 1970. He joined Argonne in 1978 after serving posts in academia and private industry. A member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, he has published more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and 70 technical reports.


Lunar ice discovery confirmed

NASA has confirmed the 1994 discovery of lunar ice made during lunar mapping by the Clementine I satellite. Lawrence Livermore physicist Stewart Nozette proposed the novel idea of using Clementine's communications transmitter as a radar to test a theory that ice crystals might be trapped on the moon.
Scientific instruments, including a neutron spectrometer aboard NASA's Lunar Prospector, launched in January 1998, confirm that at both lunar poles moon dirt is mixed with ice, enough to support 2,000 people for a century. This means the moon could be used as a springboard to space travel.
Contact: Stewart Nozette (925) 424-4964 (nozette1@llnl.gov).

Reno addresses computer security workshop

"Protecting critical infrastructures and assuring their continued operation" is the central mission of the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection (PCCIP). Recent workshops put on by Livermore's Center for Global Security Research and Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) developed priorities for the commission's recommendations.
Speaking in Livermore at the last of three workshops, Attorney General Janet Reno gave the keynote address and in it unveiled the National Infrastructure Protection Center, an initiative with a mission to detect, protect, and respond to cyber attacks on the infrastructure. The Center will be an outgrowth of the FBI's Computer Investigations and Infrastructure Threat Assessment Center. The initiative calls for a partnership of federal agencies, private industry, academia, and national laboratories.
Also attending the conference were former Defense Secretary William Perry, General Tom Marsh, chair of the PCCIP, and Michael May, former Lab director and codirector of CISAC.

Back to May 1998