University of California, Berkeley   |  College of Natural Resources 

A Newsletter for Faculty, Students, Staff and Friends of the Department

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Issue No. 2 

January 2012
Exciting News In This Issue ...
Research Program for Undergrads
PMB Classes in China
Microbiology Student Symposium - It's Free!
PMB at Cal Day -- Save the Date!
Seminar Series Schedule for Spring, 2012
New Faculty -- Welcome Jennifer Lewis
Biology Class Inspires Undergrad
Pat Brown's Grill to Open in February

 Quick Links 







Research Exposure  for Undergrads
Postdoc Rebecca Bart and undergrad Annalise Petriello


Professor Anastasios Melis, a renowned scientist and PMB

faculty member, holds a special place in his heart for achieving undergraduate students and for the College of Natural Resources Honors Research Program.

Every year a number of top-ranked undergrads participate in the program, which culminates in a formal dress event, where the students make a presentation about their research, followed by questions from the audience.  


PMB Classes Popular in China 
Andy Jackson teaching in China
Professor Andy Jackson just returned from an extended stay in China.


Several Plant and Microbial Biology professors have been visiting China for extended stays recently, teaching courses that were extremely popular and well-received.


In fall 2011 Professor Andy Jackson taught Comparative Virology at China Agricultural University in Beijing, covering the material in PMB114, the course he teaches at UC Berkeley with Assistant Professor Britt Glaunsinger. Jackson also taught Plant RNA Viruses, an intensive course (27 hours of lectures over 3 weeks) at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou.   


Read full article 


Microbiology Student Symposium
A free, fantastic opportunity 
PMB Retreat 2010
PMB grad students at a recent symposium 


The annual Microbiology Student Symposium, which gives students a forum to present their work and hear from amazing speakers, will be April 14 on the UC Berkeley campus.   


This year the Microbiology Graduate Student Group is celebrating the 13th year of organizing the Symposium. Undergraduate students, graduate students and postdocs will be able to present their original work in a student-centered, day-long symposium.


Read full article



Cal Day -- Save the Date  
Cal Day 
Cal Day

The Department of Plant & Microbial Biology is celebrating Cal Day in a big way this Spring, with par
ticipation from student groups, labs, faculty and the Energy Biosciences Institute.

The effort is being coordinated with the College of Natural Resources Cal Day team. Lectures and seminars will be offered throughout the day. Information will be distributed from the Cal Day Marketplace, near Upper Sproul, and incoming CNR students will be given a guided tour of our end of campus, including visits with PMB students and faculty. 

New students, alumni and the public are encouraged to stop by.
Please save the day -- April 21, 2012 -- and visit for news and updates.
-- Karyn Houston / PMB



Seminar audience
Seminar Series

Seminar Series for Spring 2012 Announced   


Outstanding speakers from the University of Alaska, Sainsbury Laboratory in England, University of Pennsylvania and more will be making presentations as part of the department's Spring 2012 Seminar Series.  


Featured speakers include D. Lee Taylor on microbiology in Alaska, Cyril Zipfel for the Buchanan Lecture and Doris Wagner on "The Regulation of Reproductive Development in Arabidopsis Thaliana".


Speakers come from a variety of institutions and are hosted by PMB faculty. They generally arrive Tuesday, give their seminar Wednesday, and meet extensively with PMB students and faculty.

All seminars are in 101 Barker Hall, and everyone is invited to attend.  


The Plant Gene Expression Center seminar series schedule for 2012 also is available. In addition, PMB students and postdocs offer a seminar series of short presentations.


For information, dates, titles and locations of all seminars, please go to the seminars page of our website at   


New Faculty at PGEC / Special Seminar Presentation  

Special Seminar will be Friday, Feb. 10


Jennifer D. Lewis is the new Principal Investigator at the Plant Gene Expression Center in Albany, a partner institution with the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology.


Lewis started in November, 2011 and carried out her Ph.D. research with Dr. Sondra Lazarowitz at Cornell and her postdoctoral research with Drs. Darrell Desveaux and David Guttman at the University of Toronto.  


The Lewis Lab is interested in identifying novel defense signaling components in plants which respond to bacterial pathogens, and applying this knowledge to crop species to prevent disease.



Biology Class Inspires Undergrad to Perform Research in PMB Lab

Denisse Rojas receives a $12,000 scholarship

Denisse Rojas is a Haas Scholar


My name is Denisse Rojas. I am a fifth-year undergraduate student -- a double major in Integrative Biology and Sociology -- and I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.  


I became interested in research after taking Bio 1A, an introductory course, my junior year. I was fascinated by genetics. In particular, I was intrigued by the structure and function of DNA and how it was initially discovered.


Read full article 


An Annual Tradition -- Interview Weekend for Potential Grad Students 


The annual PMB Interview and Recruitment weekend will begin Thursday, January 26. A total of 38 outstanding candidates for both Plant Biology and Microbiology programs have been invited for on-campus interviews. Friday, January 27th will be the main day for graduate student interviews, the student-faculty lunch, and evening department potluck dinner.

We have a new online system, Jazzee Review, for faculty to enter candidate feedback during PMB's Interview Day. The Jazzee Review system will be the sole method for gathering faculty feedback and comments regarding candidates for admission. If faculty have questions about how to use Jazzee Review, please contact Rocio Sanchez at 642-5167 or 

-- Rocio Sanchez, Graduate Affairs Adviser, PMB



New Calendar and Email systems at UC Berkeley

In an announcement that will have ramifications for all members of campus, the Chief Technology Officer at UC Berkeley recently said we will be moving toward Google Apps for Education as the new email and calendar solution. 

The decision, which is part of the overall Operational Excellence effort and was accelerated by severe email problems last semester, was the result of extensive analysis. The campus was comparing Microsoft Office 365 with Google Apps. 
In the end it was decided that Google offers more and is a better fit. 
Solutions for faculty and researchers who need their information maintained on a private server will be available. For more information about this and the decision please visit


Pat Brown's Grill to Open in late February


Pat Brown's Grill, the campus eatery located near Koshland Hall, is set to open in late February after some construction delays.

Pat Brown's Grill, UC Berkeley
Pat Brown's Grille will have increased traffic from the new Li Ka Shing building.
The restaurant will offer a new menu, including a full Peet's Coffee beverage station, said Lucky Vasquez of Cal Dining. There will also be made-to-order salads, daily breakfast and pre-made salads and sandwiches.
"Construction activity going on now includes installing the cooking equipment, finishing the ceiling over the seating area and putting in seating," said Christine Shaff of Campus Capital Projects. "The furniture is expected to be on site in late January."

Delays were incurred due to the installation of a new ceiling hood and venting system. When the restaurant opens it will boast a brand new look and include improved access for the disabled.



111 Koshland Hall    I    Berkeley, California 94720    I    510.642.9999      I  


The PMB newsletter is produced by the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, UC Berkeley.

Professor Robert Fischer, Department Chair

Dana Jantz, Chief Operating Officer 

Karyn Houston, Communications / Newsletter Editor