PMB News Center

Climate Change Is Leaving Native Plants Behind

A manzanita specimen from 1936 housed at the University and Jepson Herbaria at the University of California, Berkeley. Credit: John Upton/Climate Central

New Study from the University and Jepson Herbaria

Willis Linn Jepson encountered a squat shrub while he was collecting botanical specimens on California’s Mount Tamalpais in the fall of 1936. He trimmed off a few branches and jotted down the location along the ridge trail where the manzanita grew, 2,255 feet above sea level.

The desiccated specimen is now part of an herbarium here that’s named for the famed botanist. It was among hundreds of thousands of specimens of thousands of different species that were used recently to track the movement of plant species...

Mentoring Opportunity for Cal Undergrads

undergrad in the lab

Apply now for summer research

This summer the UC Berkeley Graduate Division will again be supporting exceptional undergraduates interested in summer research via the Student Mentoring and Research Teams (SMART) Fellowship. The Smart Program enables doctoral students to create mentored research opportunities for undergraduate students at UC Berkeley. The program provides summer funding for both graduate and undergraduate participants and opportunities to share research results on campus and at national conferences. The Department of Plant and Microbial Biology is pleased to announce that two of its graduate students will be serving as mentors in the...

Glaunsinger Lab Investigates Cell Early Warning System

Sine Figure

What is the role of “jumping genes”?

By Karyn Houston Plant & Microbial Biology

Less than 2% of our genome is made up of sequences that produce proteins important for cell function, so what is the role of the remaining 98%? Nearly half of the mammalian genome is composed of transposable elements, also known as “jumping genes” that can copy themselves and move around the genome, in a potentially damaging manner for the cell. For this reason, our cells have found ways to keep these seemingly parasitic sequences turned off—at least most of the...

John D. Coates' Solution to Provide Oxygen on Mars

coates in lab

NASA goal to send humans to the red planet

By Kevin Schultz Courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle

Having discovered flowing, liquid water on the once-imagined arid surface of Mars, NASA scientists are looking to the next missing element needed for human habitability on the Red Planet: oxygen.

Finding a way to produce oxygen on the planet is vital if the space agency is to fulfill its goal of sending humans to Mars sometime during the 2030s, they say.

Read the article at the San Francisco Chronicle (subscription may be...

Our New Web Site

Should you have any feedback about the new site (launched 1.1.16) please do not hesitate to get in touch:

Karyn Houston | Webmaster Plant & Microbial Biology University of California, Berkeley karyn@berkeley.edu 510.643.7614

Important Links

Here are some links to get you started:

plantandmicrobiology.berkeley.edu/faculty

plantandmicrobiology.berkeley.edu/seminars

plantandmicrobiology.berkeley.edu/apply - deadlines for both graduate and undergraduate programs

plantandmicrobiology.berkeley.edu/undergrads

plantandmicrobiology.berkeley.edu/graduate-programs

Rachel Brem: Understanding Evolutionary Genetics

Unraveling the mystery of ancient traits

Think about the living things you see on a walk through the forest, the zoo, or even a research laboratory. Since Darwin, evolutionary biologists have been fascinated by how different organisms are from one another.

The ultimate goal is to understand how mutations in the DNA, deep inside cells, shape the behavior of the animals, plants, and microbes around us. Standard research tools in the field are now available to study the genetics of closely related individuals, like the variation in lactose intolerance among humans. But understanding differences...

Glaunsinger Lab Investigates Cell Early Warning System

What is the role of “jumping genes”?

Less than 2% of our genome is made up of sequences that produce proteins important for cell function, so what is the role of the remaining 98%?

Nearly half of the mammalian genome is composed of transposable elements, also known as “jumping genes” that can copy themselves and move around the genome, in a potentially damaging manner for the cell. For this reason, our cells have found ways to keep these seemingly parasitic sequences turned off—at least most of the time. However, a subset of these elements...

Rocio Sanchez Recognized for Outstanding Work

Excellence in advising

Rocío Sanchez, graduate academic and student advisor for the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, has received an award for “excellence in advising” after being nominated by graduate students in the department.

Graduate Student Christopher Hann-Soden said he is part of the group that nominated Rocío for the award because, “she is engaged with the department, is highly knowledgeable, has a compassionate ear and is devoted to us students.”

Working as an advisor, Sanchez's philosophy is “to support and foster an inclusive community where graduate students can thrive in their research,...

William Laetsch Named to Prestigious Group

American Association for the Advancement of Science

By Sarah Yang

Three UC Berkeley faculty members, including a PMB emeritus professor, are among 347 new fellows named to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on November 23, 2015.

Election as a AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers in recognition of their achievements in advancing science or its applications.

The new UC Berkeley members are:

  • Watson “Mac” Laetsch, professor emeritus of plant and microbial biology, who was cited for his distinguished contributions
  • ...

Chelsea Specht: People Behind the Science

specht and lab members analyzing plants

Fascinating podcast on a learning and research journey

Listen to the podcast:

stitcher.com/podcast/people-behind-the-science/e/318-science-in-bloom-studying-floral-development-and-evolution-41182067

Associate Professor Chelsea Specht recently completed a wide-ranging interview with the popular podcast series "People Behind the Science."

In the October 2015 podcast she talks about the development of her research interests and how she followed the path that ultimately led to the work she is doing today.

In addition to being Associate Professor and Organismal Biologist in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, Specht is also Associate Professor in Integrative Biology at UC...

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