Research Focus

Below are the areas in which Berkeley Plant & Microbial Biology researchers have special expertise and focus :


Viruses greatly outnumber all forms of life on this planet, and they play major roles in shaping ecosystems, disease and therapeutics. Although they often have only a small number of genes, with this information they are able to re-structure the host cellular environment to drive viral amplification.

Researchers within the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology (PMB)...

Big Data

Computational Biology, sometimes referred to as bioinformatics, is the science of using biological data to develop algorithms and relations among various biological systems. Prior to the advent of computational biology, biologists were unable to have access to large amounts of data.

Professor Steven Brenner is a leader in the field of computational biology and works on a number...


Understanding and improving photosynthesis is a research focus of several of our labs.

Kris Niyogi, a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator and Chair of the deparment, studies the regulation of photosynthesis:

  • Understanding how photosynthetic energy conversion works, how it is regulated and how it might be improved to help meet the world’s needs for food and
  • ...

Feed the World

Researchers at PMB are focused on finding the best ways to enhance our understanding of plants and their development. We are at the forefront of feeding the world -- finding new ways to get the most from our food, and sharing our discoveries with the world, particularly those in developing nations.

Links to Labs



Our faculty, students and research staff are dedicated to finding new ways to develop sustainable energy and to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. In addition, Professor John Coates is the Director of the Energy Biosciences Institute. We focus our research on:

  • Biomass depolymerization - Unlocking the energy in plant cell walls.
  • Biofuels production -
  • ...


Fungi are fascinating - several of our professors use fungi as their primary research focus.