In 2014, as I started my doctoral work at the lab of Alan Saghatelian at the Salk

In 2014, as I started my doctoral work at the lab of Alan Saghatelian at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, the idea that there were tiny proteins in our cells that had long been overlooked by researchers was gaining traction. Researchers had recently recognized that the genome contained genes that were so small that they had been missed by traditional genome annotation methods, and targeted searching for protein-coding snippets of DNA had suggested there may be many thousands of so-called micro­proteins hard at work in our cells. Before I joined the lab, Saghatelian’s group had developed a new approach to validate the existence of some 400 microproteins across multiple human cell lines and tissues. Other labs were similarly confirming the existence of these predicted peptides, pointing to the ubiquitous nature of microproteins. But what were they doing? The functions of the microproteins in biological context quickly became a focus of the field. Some researchers, including Saghatelian’s group, approached this research question by looking for proteins that interacted with the micro­protein of interest. In the same year that I started in the lab, t...

Department of Energy Announces 32 R&D 100 Award Winners

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) researchers have won 32 of the R&D 100 awards given out this year by R&D Magazine. The annual awards are given in recognition of exceptional new products or processes that were developed and introduced into the marketplace during the previous year. The R&D 100 Awards were presented on Friday, November 16th in Orlando, Florida. “The Department of Energy is one of the largest supporters of technology transfer in the federal government, and these awards demonstrate the incredible value that our national laboratories continue to provide to our nation,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “We congratulate this year’s winners, who are helping to lead the way to a more secure and prosperous energy future.” DOE’s national laboratories have received more than 800 R&D 100 awards since the annual competition began in 1962. The awards are selected by an independent panel of judges based on the technical significance, uniqueness, and usefulness of projects and technologies from across industry, government, and academia. Many of these projects were developed in collaboration with private companies or academic institution...