PMB News Center

College of Natural Resources Honors Research Symposium

Top students present their year-long research projects

More than 30 qualifying undergraduate students from eight majors in the College of Natural Resources gave presentations at 114 Morgan Hall on May 5-6, 2016.

The two-day event showcased results from the students' respective research, with topics ranging from water availability in the Central Valley of California to characterization of antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria . The event was organized and moderated by Professor Tasios Melis of the Plant & Microbial Biology department, with assistance by Elizabeth Storer, CNR Dean's Office of Student Affairs.


Department Citation to Outstanding Students

Sather Gate

$500 award each to Noah Gardner and Manraj Sekhon

Manraj Sekhon, a microbial biology undergraduate student, enjoys working in a research lab because it enables him to explore science in a way that "reinforces and enriches the concepts learned in the classroom."

Along with Noah Gardner, Sekhon was awarded the Plant & Microbial Biology Citation in recognition of their outstanding academic work at UC Berkeley. Both students will receive $500 each.

Every year, PMB awards the major citation to the top graduating undergraduate student in Genetics and Plant Biology major and the top...

N. Louise Glass Receives Award

At the 44th Symposium for Research in Bamberg, Germany

UC Berkeley was well represented at the 44th Symposium for Research Award Winners of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation held in Bamberg, Germany between March 17th-20th, 2016.

Awardees included Professors Jeffrey A. Reimer, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Ulrike M. Malmendier, Economics, Daniel Tataru, Mathematics and N. Louise Glass, Plant and Microbial Biology.

Glass is shown in the photo receiving her award from Professor Helmut Schwarz, President of the Humboldt Foundation. Each of the awardees will be spending 6-12 months working with colleagues in Germany....

Kris Niyogi Named Fellow, American Society of Plant Biologists

Breakthrough research on photsynthetic energy conversion

PMB Professor and Chair Kris Niyogi has been named a fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB). Established in 2007, the award is granted in recognition of distinguished and long-term contributions to plant biology and service to the ASPB by current members in areas that include research, education, mentoring, outreach, and professional and public service.

Current members of ASPB who have contributed to the Society for at least 10 years are eligible for nomination. Recipients of the Fellow of ASPB honor, which may be granted to...

PMB at Cal Day April 16, 2016

Magic show, micro garden, microbiology and more

By Karyn Houston Plant & Microbial Biology

The Department of Plant and Microbial Biology will be participating in UC Berkeley's Cal Day on Saturday April 16, 2016. PMB students and faculty will be presenting and hosting all sorts of activities that revolve around plants and microbes. Cal Day is one of the ways PMB interacts with the Berkeley community and future Golden Bears along with their families. From 11 am to 2 pm, visit PMB at the Genetics and Plant Biology lawn, located next...

Brenner Named Fellow of Scientific Society

Steven Brenner

Significant contributions to the field of computational biology

By Karyn Houston Plant & Microbial Biology

Steven Brenner, a professor in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, has been elected a fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) for his groundbreaking research in computational protein analysis and genomics. Brenner’s work is on the cutting edge of computational biology, the science of developing and applying computational approaches to understand biology.

The ISCB is a scholarly society dedicated to advancing the scientific understanding of living systems through computation, and is the...

How Bacteria get their Magnetic Compass

An inactivated protein, MamO (lower left), shepherds iron atoms directly to the growing magnetite crystal (red), which forms inside a membrane compartment (blue). The yellow filaments are proteins that organize the crystals into chains in the cell. The ch

Building mini magnets to navigate their environment

By Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley

Many bacteria build miniature magnets and use them to navigate their environment and UC Berkeley’s Arash Komeili has found a neat trick they use to do it.

As reported in the March 2016 issue of the journal PLOS Biology, Komeili, an associate professor of plant and microbial biology, discovered that most so-called magnetotactic bacteria repurpose a commonplace enzyme and use it as a scaffold on which to assemble iron atoms into tiny magnets.

He and his colleagues discovered...

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...