Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL, (pronounced em-zul)) is a national scientific user facility at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington. EMSL is a 224,463-square-foot facility that provides integrated experimental and computational resources for discovery and technological innovation to support the environmental and energy mission of the U.S. Department of Energy. [Newman, AR 1997. “PNNL’s Laboratory for the Environment.” "Analytical Chemistry", 69, 298A-301A]

EMSL has capabilities in protein measurements, oxide and mineral interface chemistry, and computational chemistry. In addition, EMSL has expertise and resources in mass spectrometry and high-field magnetic resonance.

Use of the capabilities at EMSL is through a peer-reviewed proposal process. [ [http://www.emsl.pnl.gov/access/ EMSL - User Access] ] If a proposal is accepted and the scientist publishes in the open literature, there is no charge for using the EMSL instrumentation. EMSL has hosted thousands of users since opening its doors in 1997. [http://www.emsl.pnl.gov/about/ About EMSL] ] [ [http://www.hanfordnews.com/opinions/columns/story/8822963p-8723861c.html Hanford News] ]


EMSL has a focus on integrating computational and experimental capabilities as well as collaborating among disciplines to yield a synergistic scientific environment. By bringing together experts and instruments under one roof, EMSL has helped researchers solve challenges such as
*Determining for the first time how much energy it takes to move electrons and protons in a metal-protein complex [Laskin J, Z Yang, and IK Chu. 2008. " [http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/jacsat/2008/130/i10/abs/ja077690s.html Energetics and Dynamics of Electron Transfer and Proton Transfer in Dissociation of MetalIII(salen)-Peptide Complexes in the Gas Phase.] " "Journal of the American Chemical Society" 130:3218-3230.]
*Understanding how microorganisms exchange energy and electrons with minerals in soils, sediments, and subsurface materials [http://www.emsl.pnl.gov/science/biogeochemistry/index.jsp EMSL - Biogeochemistry] ]
*Studying a molybdenum oxide catalyst that can convert wasted gaseous methane to liquid fuel. This catalytic study was possible because of the high-field strength of the EMSL 900-MHz nuclear magnetic resonance mass spectrometry [Zheng H, D Ma, X Bao, JZ Hu, JH Kwak, Y Wang, and CHF Peden. 2008. “Direct Observation of the Active Center for Methane Dehydroaromatization Using an Ultra-High Field 95Mo NMR Spectroscopy.” "J. Am. Chem. Soc." 130(12):3722-3723, 2008, [http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/jacsat/2008/130/i12/abs/ja7110916.html DOI: 10.1021/ja7110916.] ]
*Measuring the structural and bonding parameters of uranyl, the most common oxidation state of uranium in systems containing water. This work was done on the EMSL supercomputer with NWChem, a chemistry software package optimized for parallel computation. [http://www.pnl.gov/news/release.asp?id=266 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory] ]

Grand Challenges

EMSL launched Scientific Grand Challenges to bring together researchers from multiple institutions to study biological processes that address current issues in energy and the environment.

In the Biogeochemistry Grand Challenge, researchers are working to understand basic earth-life interactions that impact the migration of environmental contaminants, water quality, soil fertility, and trace metal levels.

In the Membrane Biology Grand Challenge, researchers are investigating global biological carbon sequestration processes in blue-green algae, called cyanobacteria, specifically Synechocystis 6803 and Cyanothece 51142. [ [http://www.emsl.pnl.gov/root/science/membrane/ EMSL - Membrane Biology] ]

Capabilities at EMSL

EMSL's collection of computational and experimental capabilities allows researchers to tackle scientific challenges from all angles. EMSL’s capabilities include
*Molecular science computing (hardware and fundamental chemical software)
*Deposition and microfabrication (including a focus on oxides)
*Kinetics and reactions
*Mass spectrometry (with a focus on proteomics)
*NMR and EPR
*Spectroscopy and diffraction
*Subsurface flow and transport. [http://www.emsl.pnl.gov/capabilities/ EMSL capabilities] ]


EMSL staff and scientific consultants are experts in chemical, physical, biological, and computational sciences. They have received numerous awards, been named to society fellowships, have received patents, and publish in scientific journals.


EMSL opened on October 1, 1997, but the concept was set in motion a decade earlier with the U.S. National Academy of Sciences report entitled Opportunities in Chemistry.Breakthroughs, Winter/Spring 2003, pages 7-8] [ [http://www.emsl.pnl.gov/about/emsl_birth.pdf EMSL birth] ] The report identified scientific challenges relating to energy and the environment that required fundamental research to achieve a solution. The report galvanized PNNL Director William R. Wiley to create a vision for what would become EMSL.

Wiley envisioned a facility where the research was conducted in an integrated and collaborative manner. “Problems don’t come in small, unique, compartmentalized packages. We must recognize the interrelationships,” said Wiley.

The facility was dedicated on October 16, 1996, in honor of Wiley, who died three months earlier. Then-DOE Secretary Hazel_O'Leary delivered the dedication speech and Wiley’s wife Gus cut the ribbon. [ [http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=5678 Historylink - "Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory is dedicated in Richland on October 16, 1996"] ] [ [http://www.hanfordnews.com/news/1996/story/7392304p-7304584c.html Hanford News 1996 story] ]

EMSL directors

*Thom Dunning — led construction activities, 1990s
*Teresa Fryberger — interim director, 1997-1998
*Jean Futrell — 1998 - 2002
*J.W. Rogers, Jr. — 2002 - 2005
*Allison Campbell (current) — 2005 - present

External links

* [http://www.emsl.pnl.gov/ Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)]
* [http://www.pnl.gov/ Pacific Northwest National Laboratory]
* [http://www.energy.gov/ U.S. Department of Energy Official Website]
* [http://www.science.doe.gov/Program_Offices/BER.htm DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER)]


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