Science for our
Nation's
Energy Future

Energy Frontier Research Center

Community Website

Go with the Flow

Energy: a necessity for all.
Sun, wind, nuclear, ethanol.
Great sources of energy these may be,
But living cells are the most efficient, you see.
Cells use electrons as a tool,
Maximizing energy is their rule.
Electrons glide through molecular trails
Like metro cars on dynamic rails.
Not carrying people, but energy instead
Distributing power so cells don’t go dead.
Many lines for travel exist |
Finding the most efficient is the twist.
A special type of electron bifurcation
Channels them to a central station.
Electrons with energies high and low
Are redistributed at this hub for maximum flow.
No electron is wasted; each has a role.
Increasing energy yield – that’s the goal.
These biological circuits BETCy seeks to explore
To efficiently make biofuels, materials, and more.
Through BETCy, seven groups work as one
Studying the chemistry of life to get the job done.
Probing electrons: high energy and low
Harnessing the process to go with the flow!

About the Image: 

The image we created conveys several ideas critical to the science conducted within our EFRC.

The background for our image is a photo mosaic made from more than 3,000 individual images of BETCy personnel, laboratories, meetings and research results. Just as "Catalyst" forms part of our EFRC name, the image itself represents BETCy as a catalyst for seven institutions, dozens of people and hundreds of ideas coming together to form an innovative collaboration. We encourage the viewer to zoom in to see these individual images and consider how each makes up the whole.

Within the mosaic is a Metro map which is symbolic of the connections between BETCy laboratories shown by logos at the top, and the flow of information through the EFRC to produce the deliverables shown by data at the bottom. Lastly, the entire montage serves a visual metaphor for electron bifurcation - traveling along different pathways for efficient energy utilization.

The scientific illustrations shown at the bottom represent the synthesis of information produced by the center. These images, while not representing published data, show how a broad diversity of analytical methods is made possible by the synergistic interactions between BETCy research groups: protein voltammetry, absorption spectroscopy, kinetics, bioinformatics, flavin biophysics, mass spectroscopy and structural biology.

Authors: 
Jamie Cornish, Montana State University; Amaya Garcia Costas, Montana State University; John Hoben, University of Kentucky; Rhesa Ledbetter, Utah State University; Suzi Taylor, Montana State University.

EFRC: Biological Electron Transfer and Catalysis Center (BETCy)