GGM Research Focus

The Graduate Group in Microbiology consists of Plant & Microbial Biology faculty as well as faculty from across campus and at our affiliates, including Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology. Below is the research focus of the scientists in the Graduate Group.

Rodrigo of insect-associated microbes (disease ecology and insect symbiosis)
Associate Professor, Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Lisa Alvarez-Cohen

Application of biological processes for the elimination of environmental contaminants

Adam Arkin

genomics.lbl.govUncover the evolutionary design principles of cellular networks and populations and to exploit them for applications

Microorganism and mineral interactions; geochemical cycling, bioremediation, human microbiome


Fungi as a model system for the study of genetic variation and evolution

Steven E. Brenner

compbio.berkeley.eduComputational Biology, Genomics, Protein Function Prediction

Fungal Ecology and Systematics


Biochemical and biophysical research in protein synthesis, translational control and enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose


Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, and Synthetic Biology—Designing new biosynthetic pathways for in vivo cellular production of biofuels and pharmaceuticals

John D.



Abiotic stress response and plant growth promoting microbial communities


The molecular mechanisms of immune evasion employed by KSHV (human herpesvirus 8)


Developing strategies for introducing designable, modular control over living cells; particularly interested in biofuel applications


Microbial community ecology in terrestrial systems


Pseudomonas aeruginosa pathogenesis: host-pathogen interactions determining health versus disease

N. Louise

  Biofuels, Fungi

Britt A.

Virus-Host Interactions, RNA-Based Regulation


Fungal Genomics


Molecular virology, pathogenesis, immunology, epidemiology, and control of dengue

James Hurleymembrane.berkeley.eduRelationship and interactions between proteins and membranes

Jay Keasling

Microorganism metabolic engineering for environmentally friendly product synthesis or contaminant biodegradation

Nicole King

kinglab.berkeley.eduMolecular and comparative genomic approaches to reconstruct the origin and evolution of animals


Jennifer D.

Plant Disease and Immunity


Gene networks and molecular mechanisms that generate phenotypic diversity; bacterial differentiation, evolution and pathogenesis

Steven E.

  Ecology of Plant-Associated Microorganisms


Biology of, and therapeutic intervention for human herpes viruses

Sangwei Lu

Pathogenesis and stress response of Salmonella serovars; foodborne diseases

Krishna K.

Regulation of Photosynthesis


Soil biogeochemistry & biogeophysics, environmental fate of contaminants


Microbial Disease, Defending Against Infection


Epidemiology with molecular biology to characterize pathogenesis of infectious agents e.g. tuberculosis and diarrheal diseases

Jasper Rine

Molecular genetics, functional genomics and cell biology of yeast, with an emphasis on epigenetics


Bacterial Cell Cycle, Regulatory Pathways


Synthetic biology, protein engineering and microbial physiology


The process of membrane assembly, vesicular transport, and membrane fusion among organelles of the secretory pathway




Host-microbiota-pathogen interactions, aging

Kimmen Sjö

Computational Biology, Bioinformatics

Chris R. Somerville - Industry Collaborations

Shauna Somerville

Plant-pathogen interactions; mechanisms of host defense; cell wall integrity sensing

Chelsea D.

Plant Evolution, Evolutionary Developmental Genetics


Molecular mechanisms of M. tuberculosis virulence and pathogenesis in macrophages

Brian Staskawicz

staskawiczlab.berkeley.eduPlant Immunity

Richard Stephens mechanisms of intracellular agents that cause infectious disease

Michi Taga

tagalab.berkeley.eduMicrobial Interactions, Cofactor Synthesis

John W. Taylor

taylorlab.berkeley.eduFungal evolution and genomics

Matt F. Traxler

traxlerlab.berkeley.eduBacterial interspecies interactions and specialized metabolism

Russell Vance immune sensing of intracellular bacterial pathogens

Matt Welch interactions, esp. how pathogens exploit the host cytoskeleton for growth and spread during infection

Mary C. Wildermuth Interactions

Patricia C. Zambryski IV secretion in bacteria and cell-to-cell transport in plants

Wenjun Zhang product biosynthesis and engineering for health and bioenergy applications