PMB News Center

Wildermuth Recognized for Spearheading Berkeley's 'Be A Scientist' Program

"Be A Scientist" program inspires future scientists across the Berkeley school district

Several years ago, Mary Wildermuth had the idea to infuse more of the excitement and reality of science into local schools' curriculums. Now, with a grant from the Berkeley Public Schools Fund, Wildermuth's ideas are now reality. The Be A Scientist program is now active in all the district's seventh grades. Over the last three years, more than 300 research scientists from UC Berkeley have gone into middle school classrooms to mentor students in science. With funding from the Public Schools Fund, the...

2017 Shibo Zhang Awards

Award recognizes undergraduate excellence

Every year, PMB awards the major citation to the top graduating undergraduate student in Genetics and Plant Biology major and the top student in the Microbial Biology major. The recipients are selected by the faculty for their academic excellence and contributions to UC Berkeley and the community. PMB recognizes each Major Citation recipient with a Shibo Zhang Award. This award is a $500 award made in honor of Shibo Zhang, a former postdoctoral fellow in PMB. Zhang was lost to the plant community in a tragic accident in December, 2007 and an endowment in...

Ben Blackman Receives 2017 Botanical Society of America Emerging Leader Award

Recognizing outstanding efforts and contributions to the science of botany

PMB congratulates Ben Blackman on receiving the 2017 Botanical Society of America Emerging Leader Award. The Botanical Society of America's Emerging Leader Award is given annually in recognition of creative and influential scholarship in any area of botany. Recipients have produced outstanding scholarship and have also demonstrated exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

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cms.botany.org/home/awards/annual-award-recipients/2017-award-recipients.html#fellow

Plant Fast Food: Berkeley Researchers Turbocharge Photosynthesis

By Maria Guara

UC Berkeley plant scientists, working with colleagues from the University of Illinois, have successfully supercharged the photosynthesis cycle, allowing genetically altered tobacco plants to grow as much as 20 percent larger simply by using more sunlight.

The promise of this groundbreaking research is by no means limited to tobacco. Researchers expect their techniques to translate readily to other plants, potentially boosting yields on existing farmland worldwide. Such an advance could help feed the world’s growing population without expanding agriculture’s already massive footprint.

“The goal was not to make better tobacco,...

Are you Ready to Explore A Baby's Genome?

Steven Brenner, a professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, is part of a national consortium of researchers and doctors studying the ins and outs of potentially using genome sequencing for newborn health screenings and beyond.

Called NSIGHT, the consortium includes four NIH grants and spans multiple institutions, including 4 lead institutions:

  • University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
  • University of North Carolina School of Medicine
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital/ Boston Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine

University of California San Diego Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic...

Kim Seed Receives Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Junior Investigator Award

Kim Seed, among others, chosen to conduct cutting-edge biomedical research - By Robert Sanders, Media relations

Thirteen UC Berkeley faculty, seven of them women, are among 47 new investigators chosen by the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub to receive up to $1.5 million each over the next five years to conduct cutting-edge biomedical research — with no strings attached.

The investigator awards are the first individual grants by the CZ Biohub as it seeks to foster unconventional scientific exploration and encourage researchers to invent new tools to accelerate the pace of discovery.

The CZ Biohub...

EBI, Shell Sign $25 Million Partnership to Fund New Energy Tech Research

Harnessing the power of renewable energy sources to develop the fuels of the future - by Brett Israel, UCB Media Relations

UC Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Institute has entered into a five-year research agreement with Shell International Exploration and Production to fund research that meets the growing demand for energy in ways that are economically, environmentally and socially responsible.

The agreement is to spend up to $25 million over five years on fundamental research in the areas of global energy transition and new energy technology. The agreement will make EBI a global leader in energy...

Simplifying Confusing and Complicated Food Labels

Earlier this month, the Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association announced they would voluntarily streamline date labels and begin using two standard phrases: “best if used by” for quality and “use by” for highly perishable items like meat, fish and cheese that can be dangerous to eat if they are too old.

Food manufacturers will begin phasing in the change now, with widespread adoption expected by summer 2018.

UC Berkeley graduate student Becky Mackelprang, who helped organize a panel discussion last year on food waste, said consumers can make a difference by...

Fungible Fungi

mushrooms image by Christine Liu

Tom Bruns shares the importance of fungi

By Sonia Travaglini, UC Berkeley

We all know the cute, round button mushroom Agaricus bisporus in our British fry-ups and the delicate, slender enoki mushroom Flammulina velutipes in our Vietnamese pho—but there are millions of fungi species.

Professor Tom Bruns of the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley studies the ecology and evolution of fungi. He is working to understand how plants depend on and live with fungi all across California. Bruns explores the symbiotic associations of fungi with plant roots, called mycorrhizae....

From a Single Genetic Mutation, Secrets of ‘Boy in the Bubble’ Disease Revealed

By Brett Israel, UCB Media Relations

UC Berkeley was part of an interdisciplinary, international research team that has identified the rare genetic mutation responsible for a unique case of “boy in the bubble” disease, known as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a deadly immune system disorder. The researchers found that the cause was a mutated version of a gene called BCL11B, which also plays an unexpected role in the normal processes of immune system development.

The discovery of this genetic mutation is the latest of several breakthroughs from this team, which has been accomplished by...

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