PMB Represents with Venture Capitalists

September 11, 2014

Associate Professor Mary Wildermuth describes research

Mary Wildermuth, left, talks with Barbara Bakar, center, and UC Berkeley Foundation Trustee Arnold SilvermanBy Karyn Houston
Plant & Microbial Biology

Sixteen faculty members from UC Berkeley’s Bakar Fellows Program, including PMB Associate Professor Mary Wildermuth, took their research ideas to Sand Hill Road — the heart of Silicon Valley’s venture capital community — for a coveted meeting with representatives from prominent VC firms, industry partners and entrepreneurs.

Joined by Vice Chancellor for Research Graham Fleming, the fellows presented their research to a packed room of alumni and friends who have resources and connections that could bring these Berkeley discoveries to market.

Wildermuth described how her lab’s fundamental discoveries of mechanisms powdery mildew fungi use to infect plants, can provide opportunities for commercialization.

The powdery mildew fungus manipulates the cell cycle of its host plant to provide itself with the nutrients it requires for its growth and reproduction. By inhibiting components of this process, crops with enhanced resistance to powdery mildews can be developed, thereby reducing crop treatment with chemical fungicides. By enhancing this process there is the potential to increase production of specialized plant metabolites (e.g. for pharmaceutical use) across bioproduction platforms. 

Wildermuth is a Bakar Fellow, a unique Berkeley initative that supports early-career faculty working on innovative research.

Important Links

Read the full article at the UC Berkeley News Center: Bakar Research Fellows make their case in Silicon Valley
Mary Wildermuth's Faculty Page at PMB
Bakar Fellows Program website