The international Falling Walls Breakthroughs competition has recognized four Lab teams as finalists in its annual Science Breakthroughs competition. The teams are from the Molecular Foundry, Energy Technologies Area, Joint Genome Institute, and Strategic Communications.
The Foundry team is also a Top 10 winner in the Science and Innovation Management category, and will be celebrated on November 5 in a virtual winners’ event. The Breakthrough Prize winners for each category will be announced on November 9, 2020.
The Career Pathways Office facilitated the nomination process for Berkeley Lab’s 2020 Falling Walls Breakthroughs of the Year Nominations.
Akanksha Menon – Breaking the Wall of Wastewater Treatment using Sunlight
Akanksha Menon is an ITRI-Rosenfeld Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her research is focused on hybrid thermal-membrane water treatment technologies and solar desalination. Akanksha obtained her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech, where she developed polymer thermoelectrics for waste heat recovery and wearable electronics. Akanksha is a recipient of the Sigma Xi Dissertation Award and the MRS Graduate Student Silver Award. She has served as Co-President of the Energy Club @ Georgia Tech and founded the Water Wednesday’s initiative at Berkeley Lab.
Kristin Persson – Breaking the Wall to Democratising Science
Kristin Persson is a Swedish American physicist and chemist. She is a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in the Energy Science Area, where she is the director of the Molecular Foundry, a national user facility managed by the US Department of Energy, and a professor at University of California, Berkeley in the department of Materials Science and Engineering. Dr. Persson is the director of the Molecular Foundry.
Julie Chao – Breaking the Walls of the Periodic Table
Berkeley Lab’s Strategic Communications team shares stories about the Lab’s science and scientists and builds connections from the Lab to external communities. Project leads Julie Chao and Glenn Roberts are staff science writers with a deep interest in making science accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
Nigel Mouncey – Breaking the Wall of Environmental Genomics
Dr. Mouncey has served as Director of the DOE Joint Genome Institute since 2017 and previously spent 20 years in Industrial Biotechnology at Roche, DSM and Dow on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel production organisms and fermentation processes. He has research expertise in secondary metabolites and synthetic biology and has successfully built integrated effective multi-disciplinary teams. Today, he is continuing to build and position JGI as a leading integrative genome science user facility. He is also the Deputy Leader of the National Microbiome Data Collaborative.