The Berkeleyan Spotlight: Rebecca Abergel

Removing a potential MRI risk - literally

October 21, 2021


Prof. Abergel had an article published in The Berkeleyan titled Removing a potential MRI risk - literally. 

"The first use of MRI to scan a patient’s body was in 1977. Today, more than 40 million MRI scans are carried out every year in the U.S. In about one out of three, patients get an infusion containing the metal gadolinium as a contrast agent to improve imaging.

But over the last 10 to 15 years, physicians have increasingly reported that contrast MRIs sometimes lead to potentially life-threatening complications, particularly in patients with certain types of kidney disease. The FDA issued a warning against contrast MRIs for patients with kidney disease." [read more]

Congratulations Professor Abergel

Max Fratoni selected for the UC Berkeley Faculty Leadership Academy

Max Fratoni selected for the UC Berkeley Faculty Leadership Academy 

November 17 , 2021


Professor Max Fratoni was selected for the UC Berkeley Fall 2022 Faculty Leadership Academy. This multidisciplinary leadership development program is intended for tenured faculty who are interested in developing skills and knowledge for leadership on the Berkeley campus.

Find out more about the Faculty Leadership Academy: and its selections for the Fall 2022 cohort:

Congratulations Professor Fratoni!

Superconducting Magnets and the Path to Fusion Energy

Brandon Sorbom
Chief Science Officer
Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS)
Fri, 10/5/2021 - 3:00PM TO 4:00PM
Fall 2021 Colloquium Series

MIT and Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), a new startup company focused on the rapid commercialization of fusion, are jointly pursuing a privately-funded, accelerated approach to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion energy. The CFS/MIT team is currently developing a new generation of high-field, large-bore, REBCO-based superconducting magnets to incorporate into a compact net-energy tokamak called SPARC that will demonstrate net fusion energy gain. The key performance metrics in a tokamak scale as the strength of the toroidal magnetic field to the third or fourth power times the volume of the device. One of the most important consequences of these scalings is that increasing the magnetic field in a tokamak enables a much smaller device to demonstrate net-energy production, leading to dramatic reductions in cost, timeline, and organizational complexity required to construct and operate the fusion device. Over the past three years, the SPARC team has performed much of the groundwork to enable the demonstration of the fundamental superconducting magnet technology and prepare the design of SPARC. A site in MA has been selected and prepared, SPARC will begin construction in late 2021 and will be commissioned in 2025. A fusion pilot plant called ARC will follow, with the aim of putting fusion power on the grid in the early 2030’s.

About the Speaker:

Brandon’s expertise is in fusion energy, compact power plant design and high temperature superconductors. During his doctoral work at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center, Brandon was the leader of the ARC Reactor design study, a conceptual design for a small, modular fusion pilot plant that formed the basis for a comprehensive high-field pathway to commercial fusion energy. As CSO of CFS, Brandon leads the work in evaluating high temperature superconductor performance and prospects for scale-up, as well as leading the power plant design scoping efforts.

UCBNE Graduate Student Jaewon Lee Wins 3rd Place at IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference

UCBNE Graduate Student Jaewon Lee Wins 3rd Place at IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference

November 3 , 2021


UCBNE graduate student Jaewon Lee won 3rd place in the student competition of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference that took place on October 16th-23rd, 2021.

His submission, "Single Detector 3D Source Imaging Using a Kullback-Leibler Divergence Based Prior", improves the ability in the localization and mapping of radioactive materials in three dimensions in unconstrained environments overcoming challenges in conventional approaches.

In addition to Jaewon's presentation, eight other students of the Berkeley Applied Nuclear Physics program gave presentations: Kalie Knecht, Yifan Zheng, Ivan Cho, Jake Hecla, Robin Peter, Chris Lamb, Matt Marshall, and Michael Bondin.

Read more about the IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference here.

Congratulations Jaewon!