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ORNL's Communications team works with news media seeking information about the laboratory. Media may use the resources listed below or send questions to news@ornl.gov.

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Coronavirus research

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have used Summit, the world’s most powerful and smartest supercomputer, to identify 77 small-molecule drug compounds that might warrant further study in the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which is responsible for the COVID-19 disease outbreak.

Starch granules

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new method to peer deep into the nanostructure of biomaterials without damaging the sample. This novel technique can confirm structural features in starch, a carbohydrate important in biofuel production.

CellSight allows for rapid mass spectrometry of individual cells. Credit: John Cahill, Oak Ridge National Laboratory/U.S. Dept of Energy

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have received five 2019 R&D 100 Awards, increasing the lab’s total to 221 since the award’s inception in 1963.

Alex Johs at ORNL's Spallation Neutron Source

Sometimes solutions to the biggest problems can be found in the smallest details. The work of biochemist Alex Johs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory bears this out, as he focuses on understanding protein structures and molecular interactions to resolve complex global problems like the spread of mercury pollution in waterways and the food supply.

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While studying the genes in poplar trees that control callus formation, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have uncovered genetic networks at the root of tumor formation in several human cancers.

Nuclear—Deep space travel

By automating the production of neptunium oxide-aluminum pellets, Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have eliminated a key bottleneck when producing plutonium-238 used by NASA to fuel deep space exploration.

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists studying fuel cells as a potential alternative to internal combustion engines used sophisticated electron microscopy to investigate the benefits of replacing high-cost platinum with a lower cost, carbon-nitrogen-manganese-based catalyst.

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Biologists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center have confirmed that microorganisms called methanogens can transform mercury into the neurotoxin methylmercury with varying efficiency across species.

Ryan Kerekes is leader of the RF, Communications, and Cyber-Physical Security Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Photos by Genevieve Martin, ORNL.

As leader of the RF, Communications, and Cyber-Physical Security Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Kerekes heads an accelerated lab-directed research program to build virtual models of critical infrastructure systems like the power grid that can be used to develop ways to detect and repel cyber-intrusion and to make the network resilient when disruption occurs.

ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia (center, seated) visited Robertsville Middle School to present a check in support of the school’s CubeSat efforts.

Last November a team of students and educators from Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge and scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory submitted a proposal to NASA for their Cube Satellite Launch Initiative in hopes of sending a student-designed nanosatellite named RamSat into...