PMB News Center

A Win-Win for Farmers and the Environment

PMB Researchers explore ways to reduce the use of fertilizers

By Armand Parajon

A mid-career grant for a UC Berkeley researcher will go toward finding ways to reduce the use of fertilizers in agriculture, while still maintaining high yields.

Plant & Microbial Biology Professor Sheng Luan has been awarded $1.9 million from the National Science Foundation to figure out how plants can take up nutrients more efficiently while using less fertilizer.

Cooperative Extension Specialist Peggy Lemaux, also from PMB, is co-principal investigator for the project.

The Problem with Fertilizers...

N. Louise Glass Named Fellow of Mycological Society of America

The fellowship recognizes mid-career members who have contributed significantly to the field of mycology

Professor N. Louise Glass will be honored as one of two new fellows of the Mycological Society of America (MSA) at their annual meeting in Athens, GA. Glass is being recognized as an outstanding mycologist holding several MSA leadership positions, including membership of the Society's leadership body and the Editorial Board of Mycologia .

Glass is a leading researcher in molecular genetics of Neurospora , including genetics of mating, non-self recognition, mechanisms of cell-cell fusion, and lignocellulose decomposition. Glass is...

Honoring Anastasios Melis, Faculty Founder of CNR Honors Research Program

By Julie Gipple, College of Natural Resources

As a professor in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley, Melis recalled his seminal undergraduate experience. He wondered if CNR students who pursue similar undergraduate research opportunities could be formally recognized for their efforts. Melis proposed the idea of honors research and recognition to the CNR faculty committee on courses and curricula, and during the 1995-96 academic year the CNR Honors Research Program officially enrolled its first student.

To participate, undergraduates with a UC GPA of 3.6 or higher complete 8 units of...

Niyogi Lab, and Collaborators, Provide Blueprint to Advance Clean Energy

by Sarah Yang, Lawrence Berkeley Lab

The team of scientists, led by researchers in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology (PMB) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in collaboration with the University of California, Los Angeles, recently published their work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The work was conceived of and developed at Berkeley Lab by Krishna Niyogi, chair of PMB and faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab.

“This genome will be an important resource to develop renewable and sustainable microalgal biofuels to facilitate clean energy and...

How Sunflowers Follow the Sun

A field of sunflowers in Yolo County, California. (Photo by Chris Nicolini, UC Davis)

Benjamin Blackman follows the growth of sunflowers

By Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley

Sunflowers not only pivot to face the sun as it moves across the sky during the day, but they also rotate 180 degrees during the night to greet the morning sun.

UC Davis and UC Berkeley researchers have now discovered how they do it: They’ve linked their internal clock genes to stem growth, so that the eastern side of the stem elongates more than the western side during the day, turning the stem and flower westward to track the transiting sun....

Coates Named as New Director of Energy Biosciences Institute

Professor John D. Coates to lead public/private consortium

John D. Coates, professor of microbiology in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley, has been named the new director of the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) at UC Berkeley.

The EBI, one of the largest public-private partnerships in the world, was created to apply advanced biological knowledge to the area of bioenergy development.

Coates succeeds Professor Chris Somerville, former director of the EBI.

Coates said his goals for the organization, which is a part of the UC Berkeley campus and managed...

Fungus Among Us

Cal hosts Mycological Society of America meeting

By Cat Adams, Plant & Microbial Biology

For the first time since the Mycological Society of America (MSA) was molded in 1931, the annual conference will take place at UC Berkeley's beautiful Clark-Kerr campus.

More than 350 fungal specialists from around the world will gather to share their research, network and germinate new ideas at the meeting organized by Professors John Taylor and Tom Bruns of Plant & Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley, in collaboration with Professor Anne Pringle of the University of Wisconsin,...

Arnon and Kase Fellowships 2016-2017

Awarded to outstanding graduate students in the department

The Arnon and Kase Graduate Student Fellowships Committee recently selected two graduate student applicants to receive the prestigious Arnon and Kase Fellowships for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Grady Pierroz, a joint student in the Coleman-Derr / Lemaux Labs, and Thai Dao, a student in the Fletcher Lab, will each receive a stipend and payment of university fees in support of their graduate education.

The Arnon Fellowship was established to support PMB graduate students pursuing research in plant biology. It is bestowed annually in the...

Specht: President of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists

Fostering and promoting education and research in plant taxonomy

Chelsea Specht, an associate professor in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, was just elected President-elect of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists. Her term starts September 2017.

Specht is a plant organismal biologist. In addition to her affiliations with PMB, she is also an associate professor in UC Berkeley's Department of Integrative Biology and she is the curator of monocots with the University and Jepson Herbaria, part of the Berkeley Natural History Museums. Specht is also on the Faculty Advisory Committee for the...

Undergraduate in Specht Lab Honored

Shayla Salzman is the lead author of the award-winning paper

American Society of Plant Taxonomists Award

By Karyn Houston Plant & Microbial Biology

The American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT) Grady L. Webster Award was recently given to Shayla Salzman, Heather E. Driscoll, Tanya Renner, Thiago André, Stacy Shen and Associate Professor Chelsea Specht for their 2015 paper entitled "Spiraling into History: A Molecular Phylogeny and Investigation of Biogeographic Origins and Floral Evolution for the Genus Costus."

This specific award is the 2016 Grady L. Webster Plant Systematics Publication Award, honoring the best Systematic Botany paper of the year. The paper was was...

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