PMB News Center

Chelsea Specht: People Behind the Science

specht and lab members analyzing plants

Fascinating podcast on a learning and research journey

Listen to the podcast:

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...

Fungal Spore Bank Regenerates Forests

Illuminating data from Rim Fire

By Karyn Houston Plant & Microbial Biology

An extensive study by a UC Berkeley graduate student has found that a rich, fungal spore bank under the devastating Rim Fire two years ago remained intact and sparked the rebirth of new plants, trees and seedlings.

Spore bank fungi are adapted to disturbances to serve as partners for regenerating trees; there were even some fire-adapted fungi that increased in abundance following the blaze.

Sydney Glassman closely studied the Rim Fire of 2013, one of the most devastating blazes in California's history....

Cinzia Formighieri Receives Award

Improving a cyanobacteria-based photosynthetic platform

Cinzia Formighieri, a postdoc in the Melis lab, received a research award for her poster at the International Conference on "Photosynthesis Research for Sustainability."

The conference took place in Kolympari, Crete, Greece, from September 21 through 26, 2015. The award recognizes her work of “improving a cyanobacteria-based photosynthetic platform for the heterologous production of fuel and chemicals – products that will find industrial and domestic applications.”

Photosynthesis is the biochemical process of utilizing sunlight to produce sugar. Though commonly known for being performed by plants, organisms such...

Harvey Jackson: Service to Campus, Community, Family and Military

Funeral set for 11 am Thursday, 10.22.15, Ollie Grove Baptist Church, Berkeley

By Harini Shyamsundar Daily Cal

Harvey Jackson, a longtime employee of Plant & Microbial Biology and later a campus building manager in the College of Natural Resources, died Oct. 11, 2015, in a car accident near the Port of Oakland. He was 57 years old.

Jackson worked on campus for more than 22 years, according to his sister, Mabel Jackson. He was well-respected and appreciated by his coworkers.

“He enjoyed interacting with people,” said Tony Gamez, also a member...

New PMB Faculty Member Benjamin Blackman


Research on the evolution of plant developmental responses to changing environments

By Karyn Houston Plant & Microbial Biology On January 1, 2016, Benjamin Blackman joined the faculty of the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology as assistant professor.

Blackman received his Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at Stanford, and he worked there for two more years as a technician investigating the genetics of skeletal evolution in threespine stickleback. He then completed his doctorate in evolutionary biology and ecology at Indiana University, Bloomington. His PhD studies examined the evolution of developmental timing during...

Opening for Assistant Professor of Virology

Applications accepted through November 13th, 2015

The Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, has an opening for an Assistant Professor (tenure track, nine-month appointment) with an expected start date of July 1, 2016.

The Department of Plant and Microbial Biology is seeking applications for a faculty position in virology. We seek an individual studying the biology of viruses, including but not limited to those that impact plants, bacteria, and/or archaea at the individual or community level. Research areas of interest include multiple areas of mechanistic virology, including viral replication,...

Lemaux Leads Team to Study Drought in Plants

Examining the role of epigenetics

By Sarah Yang | ​UC Berkeley ​Media Relations ​

Biotechnology expert Peggy Lemaux is leading a $12.3 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to examine the role of epigenetics in allowing plants to survive in drought conditions, an increasing concern for agriculture as the effects of climate change are felt in California and globally.

​Epigenetics is the study of cellular and physiological trait variations that are caused by external or environmental factors that switch genes on and off and affect how cells read genes,...

Staskawicz Lab: Improving Food Security

Research to develop better disease resistance in staple crops

By Karyn Houston Plant & Microbial Biology

UC Berkeley Professor Brian Staskawicz will take part in a newly funded global effort to improve food security and develop better disease resistance in staple crops that feed the world, including potatoes, tomatoes, mustard greens and domesticated wheat.

Staskawicz, a professor in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, will share in a $2.3 million award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The money will be granted to the Two Blades Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated...

Roger Y. Stanier Memorial Lecture

Speaker David Zusman, Graduate Group in Microbiology

David Zusman from the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and the Graduate Group in Microbiology will be the featured speaker for the Roger Y. Stanier Memorial Lecture on October 7, 2015.

The title of his talk is "Uncovering the Mystery of Gliding Motility in the Bacterial Predator Myxococcus Xanthus".

Roger Y. Stanier Memorial Lecture 3:30-4:30 pm 100 Genetics and Plant Biology Building, UC Berkeley

Important Links: David Zusman's Profile Events Page

Chelsea Specht Named Fellow

California Academy of Sciences

By Karyn Houston Plant & Microbial Biology

Chelsea Specht, an associate professor of PMB, has been named a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. The Fellows of the California Academy of Sciences are distinguished scientists, appointed in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the natural sciences. They help extend the impact of the Academy in its missions associated with research, public engagement, and education.

In addition to her role as associate professor in PMB, Specht is curator of monocots at the University and Jepson Herbaria. Her research focuses...