News @ Berkeley Biomedical Data Science Center

An overhead photo of a complex X-ray setup.

Biosciences Area researchers have developed a novel approach for studying the FLASH effect, an emerging frontier in radiation oncology.

 brown, blue, green, pink, purple, and orange. And curving up the right side are human forms outlined in the same colors.

Injury to immune-system and blood-forming cells is a common side effect of radiation therapy, which more than half of all cancer patients receive as part of their treatment. Biosciences Area researchers and their collaborators used a genetically diverse mouse population to model individual differences in sensitivity to radiation exposure.

Image of a lit cigarette exuding smoke.

new study investigating the effect of thirdhand smoke (THS) in a mouse model system specially designed to mimic the genetic diversity of human populations has shed new light on how genetic predispositions contribute to an individual’s cancer risk.

plastic water bottles

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and their collaborators developed a machine learning technique to discover obesity-related mixed chemical exposure patterns associated with environmental health risk in the general U.S. population. Using this technique, they assessed the relationships between the specific chemical mixture patterns and obesity indicators, such as body mass index and waist circumference. The researchers used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005–2012 data available from the Centers for Disease Control. Their results were published in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety.

Scientists at Berkeley Lab first identified thirdhand smoke as a potential health hazard a decade ago. The newest study develops more quantitative insights into its long-term health risks. Investigators found that concentrations of toxic chemicals lingering in indoor environments where cigarettes have been smoked can exceed risk guidelines from the State of California, meaning that non-smokers can be exposed to health risks by living in contaminated spaces.

Researchers in the Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division recently published two studies that will help oncologists more precisely understand the state of their patients’ disease or their risk for cancer relapse. As with many diseases, cancer can be challenging to predict and in some cases, impossible to treat. This work, however, is pushing the boundaries of how science and artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to better understand the risks and outcomes of cancer in human health. 

Mice have been instrumental in the study of cancer, but like all animal models of human diseases, they have their limitations. For stomach cancer in particular, mice have historically been regarded as quite poor research organisms because rodents rarely develop spontaneous stomach tumors. But results from a new study are about to shake up the paradigm.



Berkeley Lab researchers found that the sticky residue left behind by tobacco smoke led to changes in weight and blood cell count in mice. These latest findings add to a growing body of evidence that thirdhand smoke exposure may be harmful.

Berkeley Lab researchers linked the overexpression of 14 genes related to cell division to cancer patients' prognosis and response to specific treatments. The findings could be used to develop a biomarker that doctors and patients use to make better informed decisions in clinical settings.