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. 17   

September 2013
See the bigger picture. Make a better world.
In This Issue ...
Grant for Newborn Genetic Screening
Sarah Hake Award
Roderic Park
Ford Foundation Fellowships Open
PMB Seminar Series
Build My Lab Contest
EBI, PGEC and Student/Postdoc Seminars for Fall
BCal, BMail Drop-in Sessions
Important Dates / Upcoming Events


Quick Links

Now Accepting Graduate Program Applications - Click Here

Undergraduate Program


PMB on Facebook


Opening for Assistant Professor in Microbiology at PMB



ThDepartmenoPlant and Microbial Biology at the UniversitoCalifornia, Berkeley,has an openinfor an AssistanProfesso(tenurtracknine-month appointment) starting July12014.


For more information please visit


Applications will be taken beginning 9.25.13.


Grant for Newborn Genetic Screening

Computational Biologist Steven Brenner will be part of an ambitious effort to assess whether large-scale gene sequencing aimed at detecting disorders and conditions can and should become a routine part of newborn testing.


Brenner, a professor in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley, is part of a UC San Francisco team granted $6 million by the National Institutes of Health to identify the accuracy and feasibility of providing genetic sequencing as part of, or instead of, the current newborn screening that relies on biochemical changes in the blood. 

"Genome sequencing has the potential to reduce costs and improve the effectiveness of newborn screening," Brenner said, allowing early intervention for infants and fundamental changes in the technology for screening newborns.


See the full article on our website:


Sarah Hake Inducted into the Science Hall of Fame


Sarah Hake was recently inducted into the Agricultural Research Service Science Hall of Fame.


Hake is a pioneer in plant genomics and director of the Plant Gene Expression Center in Albany, and has made significant contributions to agricultural research.


Check out the full article here:


Visit Sarah Hake's faculty page:


Roderic Park, Professor of Botany and Plant Biology

Roderic Park, a professor of botany and plant biology whose leadership at UC Berkeley spanned three decades, died at home on September 6, surrounded by family. He was 81.

Often described as a "Renaissance man" he was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and also a vintner, an expert sailor and a pilot who built his own plane. Park joined the Berkeley faculty in 1960, and went on to have a long and distinguished career as a professor, researcher and campus administrator.

Please visit for links to the full article by the UC Berkeley News Center and the obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle.


Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs  -- Apply Now

Apply now for postdoc and grad student fellowships from the Ford Foundation.
Through its Fellowship Programs, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of the nation's college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, to maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and to increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. 
For information please visit


Internships Available for Recent Grads  

International internships are available in biology, medical research and mathematical modeling for students who have just completed their undergraduate degree.
Opportunities are available worldwide and include:
  • 2-3 month internship (can be prolonged to six months)
  • summer course for language and culture
  • participation at top universities
  • travel allowance
  • housing, health insurance

For more information, visit: 




PMB Seminar Series 

The PMB Seminar Series is going strong with a seminar by Chair Bob Fischer on Wednesday, September 25th at noon in 101 Barker Hall.

Upcoming seminars:
  • 10/2: Nelds Elde from the University of Utah on "Molecular Arms Races Between Primates and Pathogens"
  • 10/9: Olaf Kruse from Bielefeld University, Germany on "Microalgae- Powerful Phototrophic Tools in Molecular Biotechnology"
  • 10/16: Thomas G. Bernhardt from Harvard University on "The ABCs of Bacterial Cell Division and Cell Wall Biogenesis"

For more information on all seminars in the series, please visit


Build My Lab Contest

Build My Lab, a do-it-yourself lab equipment design competition hosted by Tekla Labs and Instructables, is launching a lab equipment design contest. Tekla Labs is a UC Berkeley-based non-profit organization striving to empower scientists worldwide by providing online instructions for building laboratory equipment from locally available materials (


Submit your designs for laboratory equipment at through December 16th for your chance to win a prize, including a 3D printer, dremels and more.

To find out more and keep up to date on all things Tekla, like Tekla on facebook or follow on twitter:



Energy Biosciences Institute Seminars
Plant Gene Expression Center Seminars
PMB Student / Postdoc Seminars

Additional seminars of interest to the department have just been announced: 

Please contact Shelley Brozenick for access and/or to meet with speakers.

Held at the PGEC at 800 Buchanan St., Albany CA. Cookies provided. Please contact Rebecca Haussmann or Frank Harmon for access.

Held in 338 Koshland Hall at noon on Mondays. Refreshments and cookies provide - please bring your own mug.


Seminar Search Tips: A huge variety of biology seminars affiliated with UC Berkeley are held on and off campus. To find them, visit and search for "biology seminars" or visit our website at


Plant Cell Survey Includes $100 Prize 


If so, the Plant Cell is preparing a manuscript about their experiences with Teaching Tools in Plant Biology, to share with a broader community of science educators.  They have developed an "Educational Impact" survey to discover how the materials are being used by instructors, students and informal learners. If you have accessed Teaching Tools in Plant Biology please fill out the survey at the link below.


As an incentive, Plant Cell will award one survey participant a $100 Amazon gift card.


Survey Link


Mary Williams

Features Editor

The Plant Cell



Get One-on-One Help with BMail, Bcal

Learn how to use your BCal and BMail accounts and sync up with your phones and other devices at these drop-in training sessions. All are in Room 28, University Hall (close to Koshland).


You may also learn about Google Drive, where you can create, store and share documents.




bMail Beyond Basics

9:00 - 10:30 am

Rm 28 University Hall


Calendar Beyond Basics

11:00-12:30 pm


Spreadsheet Basics

1:00 - 3:00 


Steve Ruzin Video on PBS 

If you have not had a chance to check out the PBS documentary "The World's Most Powerful Microscope" featuring Steve Ruzin, it is an excellent and informative piece well worth watching.

Ruzin reviews the history of microscopes and the documentary features microscopes at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

Link to


Norman Terry to Speak at New Plant Club Meeting

Norman Terry, a professor in the department and an expert at phytoremediation of contaminated soil and water, will speak at a meeting of a new student group, the Plant & Environmental Biology Club (PEBC).
Jason Zeng said Terry will be the first in a series of professional speakers for this new student group.

"Come talk to an amazing professor and learn more about a powerful application of plants to aid our environment," Zeng said. "In addition, we will have more information of our first social event! Hint: it involves walking and plants."

The lecture is set for 6:30 pm on Thursday, 9.26.13, on the Cal Campus in Dwinelle Hall #175.
All are invited to attend. Questions? Please contact Zeng at


Jobs Page
The jobs page at is getting lots of activity. Please check it often for new positions.


Here are a few of the latest:

A tenure-track position starting August 2014 is available at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.

A tenure-tract position starting Fall 2014 is available at Sonoma State University.  

More information is available at


Important Dates / Upcoming Events
Event Calendar Image

Fall 2013
11/15/13 - Microbiology Retreat, Tilden Park
11/22/13 - Bob Buchanan Celebration Event
11/27 - 12/1 - Thanksgiving Break
12/06/13 - PMB Holiday Party, Alumni House
Spring 2014
1/14/14 - Spring Semester Begins
1/23 to 1/26 - PMB Graduate Program Recruitment Weekend (candidate interviews 1/24)
3/24 - 3/28/14 - Spring Break
4/12/14 - Cal Day
5/02/14 - PMB Spring Social, Alumni House


9/05 - 9/7/14 - PMB Retreat, Asilomar 


12/12/14 - PMB Holiday Party, Alumni House


5/15/15 - PMB Spring Social, Alumni House


Faculty Meeting Dates for 2013:  

  • October 8th
  • November 12th
  • December 10th
  • January 14th
  • February 11th
  • March 11th
  • April 22nd
  • May 29th (First Year Graduate Student Review) 


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

Professor N. Louise Glass, Associate Chair


Dana Jantz, Chief Operating Officer 

Karyn Houston, Communications / Webmaster / Newsletter Editor 


Rocio Sanchez, Graduate Program

Jenny Cornet, Undergraduate Majors