University of California, Berkeley   |  College of Natural Resources 

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

PMB Blue Logo

Issue No. 3 

July 2012
Exciting News In This Issue ...
Britt Glaunsinger and Arash Komeili Granted Tenure
PMB Department Retreat 2012
Seminar Series for Fall 2012 Announced
PMB Student Featured in Oakland Tribune
Exciting Web Updates at PMB!
N. Louise Glass named Associate Chair
New UC Berkeley Calendar Training
PMB is now on Facebook!
Appreciation and Recognition Awards for PMB Staff
Student Spotlight: Nicole Abreu
What's New at PMB

 Quick Links 






Videos at PMB -- NEW!


Britt Glaunsinger and Arash Komeili Granted Tenure 


Virologist Britt Glaunsinger and Microbiologist Arash Komeili are now Associate Professors.
Arash Komeili, Associate Professor
Britt Glaunsinger, Associate Professor
The Glaunsinger Lab studies how viruses manipulate gene expression in host cells and effectively gain control of the cells. Her lab specifically studies gammaherpesviruses, which can cause cancers in people with weakened immune systems. The Glaunsinger Lab is based in the Li Ka Shing building.
The Komeili Lab uses bacterial magnetosomes as a model system to study the molecular mechanisms governing the biogenesis and maintenance of prokaryotic organelles. Arash Komeili just hosted a major conference at UC Berkeley for scientists from all over the world who study magnetosomes.


PMB Department Retreat 2012   


The department with be hosting its annual retreat in September at the Marconi Conference Center in Marshall, CA.
The Retreat is open to the incoming class of graduate students and all PMB faculty, grad students, researchers and postdocs. Labs must pay a nominal fee for their own staff to attend. The fee includes lodging, great dinners, excellent lunches, wonderful camaraderie, social gatherings and lab presentations as well as a fabulous Poster Session.


The conference will be held from Friday the 21st until Sunday the 23rd. PMB faculty, grad students and researchers -- please watch your email for additional information and SAVE THE DATE!


Seminar Series for Fall 2012 Announced     
Seminar audience

Outstanding speakers from Harvard University, the University of Oregon,

Stanford University and more will be making presentations as part of the department's Fall 2012 Seminar Series.  


Featured speakers include Joseph Thornton for the Tsujimoto Lecture, David Rudner from Harvard University and Jean-Phillipe Vielle-Calzada from the Laboratorio Nacional de Genomica para la Biodiversidad.


Speakers come from a variety of institutions and are hosted by PMB faculty. All seminars are in 101 Barker Hall, and everyone is invited to attend.  

The Plant Gene Expression Center also hosts an outstanding seminar series in the fall. As soon as that schedule is available it will be posted on the PMB site, along with the PMB students and postdocs seminar series of short presentations.


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



PMB Student Featured in the Oakland Tribune 

Image courtesy of
Juniper Harrower, UC Berkeley alumnus with a B.A. in plant biology, recently discovered ways in which to utilize plant products--such as wine and mushroom caps--in her artwork. As well as being featured in the Oakland Tribune, her unique works are displayed in studios and galleries throughout California in Napa, Sonoma, and San Francisco. 

To learn more about Juniper and to view some of her artwork, follow the link below to the full article. 


Read full article 


Exciting Web Updates at PMB
New videos, build your own profile page and more!  
 PMB logo
We've been working hard to make our web site extraordinary. Recently, we have added a new video to our homepage and completed work on profile pages for our front office staff, graduate students, researchers, and post docs. Check out some of our staff profile pages for yourself! 

If you would like to create your own profile page, contact Karyn Houston at or the PMB front desk at for information and training.


Lab Managers and PIs -- please be sure to notify Karyn and/or the front desk when you get new employees and when employees depart, so we can update our web site. Thank you!


In addition to new videos and profile pages, we are working on improving our undergraduate pages, building a PMB Services web site and a mobile site for the PMB main site.   


- Karyn Houston



N. Louise Glass named Associate Chair  
N. Louise Glass, Associate Chair of PMB
N. Louise Glass
is now Associate Chair of the Department, replacing Tom Bruns. Bob Fischer continues as Department Chair.


The Glass Lab studies communication and self-signaling mechanisms mediating hyphal fusion, and nonself recognition mechanisms resulting in programmed cell death. They use molecular biology, genetics, cell biology, genomics and bioinformatics to investigate the molecular and cellular basis of nonself recognition during the filamentous fungi lifecycle.  



New UC Berkeley Calendar Training     


The campus is migrating to a new calendaring system powered by Google. Please sign up for training as soon as possible to learn this new system. 


Effective dates for migration:
  • July 23, 2012 - Existing CalAgenda users will be migrated to bCal and go live.
  • August 2012 - New faculty, staff, and students will be issued bCal accounts.

The conversion CalAgenda to bCal will not affect CalMail accounts. CalMail conversion will occur in fall 2012.  


New Calendar (bCal) Training Sessions:


Anyone who uses CalAgenda on a daily basis should participate in the bCal trainings. There will be a number of ways to learn about bCal.   



PMB is now on Facebook!  
FB logo
Click the icon to visit our page!


In an effort to build more communication channels in the department, particularly with current and potential students, PMB has now joined Facebook. To get daily updates and news, follow us by simply logging-in and liking our page.


Our page is accessible whether or not you have a Facebook account. If you would like to create one, the PMB front desk staff would be more than delighted to help. Just stop by during our normal office hours.   


Appreciation and Recognition Awards for PMB Staff

Cal logoKendra Ovitz, Karyn Houston, Barbara Alonso, Rocio Sanchez and Rona Kagawa were all given various awards recently as a result of new and existing Awards programs at the College of Natural Resources and UC system. 


Alonso, Houston, Kagawa and Sanchez received Spot Awards in the new UC-wide STAR awards program. Alonso was awarded with an Achievement Award for sustained, exceptional performance and significant contributions above and beyond normal performance expectations. Ovitz was recognized via the College's Star Program.   


Amounts vary but monetary awards range between $10 and $10,000. Learn more about the new STAR awards program and how you can nominate staff at the UC Berkeley Human Resources web site, To learn more about CNR's Staff Member of the Month Award or to nominate someone, visit


Managers, supervisors, peers, or other campus individuals may nominate staff for STAR Awards. Money for spot awards comes from a UC pool of funds, not departmental budgets.


- Karyn Houston



Student Spotlight: Nicole Abreu

Every few months, PMB chooses a graduate student to feature on our website under Academics on
nicole abreu
Nicole Abreu, Komeili Lab
the Graduate Programs page.


Nicole Abreu, our currently featured graduate student, works in the Komeili Lab to discover the ways in which bacteria form and maintain their organelles. She graduated with a BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a MS from San Francisco State University. 


Aside from being published, Nicole has earned a number of awards and honors, including the Mentored Research Award (2012), Chancellor's Fellowship (2010), CIRM Fellowship (2010), and much more.


To learn more about Nicole, her research and achievements, click here to visit her profile.  


What's New at PMB   
Have you read about Chelsea Specht's "Tree of Life"? What about how Tom Bruns was named Outstanding Teacher by the College of Natural Resources?
Both articles can be found on our website under the section "What's New at PMB".


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