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

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Issue No. 21   

February 2014
See the bigger picture. Make a better world.
In This Issue ...
Discoveries in Microbiology and Evolutionary Biology
Video: 2013 Taylor-White Lecture
Art-in-Science Event
Damon Lisch accepts Associate Professor Position
Postdoc Position Available
City University of Hong Kong is Hiring!
Infectious Diseases and Immunity Seminar Series
Beyond Academia Conference
Important Dates / Upcoming Events


Quick Links

Undergraduate Program


PMB on Facebook


Photo Credit: Chris German
Scientists studying methane-producing microbes, like the ones found in this deep-sea hydrothermal vent, discovered that a protein critical to photosynthesis likely developed on Earth long before oxygen became available.
Photo Credit: Chris German
Discovery opens up new areas of Microbiology, Evolutionary Biology


A team of researchers, led by Virginia Tech scientists and Professor Bob Buchanan of Plant & Microbial Biology, has discovered that a regulatory process that now turns on plant photosynthesis at daybreak likely developed in microbes 2.5 billion years ago, long before oxygen became available.


The research opens new scientific areas in the fields of evolutionary biology and microbiology. The work also has broad societal implications as it allows scientists to better understand the production of natural gas, and it sheds light on climate change, agriculture, and human health.


For the full article, please visit:


Video: Taylor-White Lecture on Microevolutionary Change
James B. Anderson


Video from the recent Taylor-White Lecture, featuring James B. Anderson, a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Toronto,  is now available on YouTube.


Anderson studies population genetics and evolution of fungi and his seminar was focused on the "Architecture of Microevolutionary Change in Fungal Populations."


For the complete seminar video, please visit



The Intersection of Image and Research


How is science expressed through art? How do the arts inspire science? Find out at a unique exhibit coming up at the Energy Biosciences Institute.


PMB Associate Chair N. Louise Glass will be giving a presentation at the event on Thursday, Feb. 27. The two-day free exhibit takes place on Feb. 27 and 28 from 5:30-9 pm at the EBI building.


View original and intriguing images of scientific investigation, and meet the scientists and artists who created them.


Browse multi-media exhibits, get hands-on with origami, then stay for cool presentations on the cutting edge of art-in-science.


February 27 and 28, 5:30 to 9:00 PM
Free Admission * Live Music * Refreshments
Energy Biosciences Building * 2151 Berkeley Way


Sponsored by: Science @ Cal and the Energy Biosciences Institutes 


More information:



Damon Lisch accepts Associate Professor Position at Purdue
Damon Lisch 
Photo Credit: David Galvez
Damon Lisch has accepted a position as an Associate Professor at Purdue University, starting this summer. Although he will miss living in the East Bay and working at UC Berkeley, he said he is looking forward to the next phase of his career. 
Lisch will continue to work on epigenetic regulation of transposable elements in maize, but will now plant with a tractor and drive a truck to his corn field. 
"I have been extraordinarily fortunate to have had to opportunity to do research at Berkeley for the past fifteen years, but it was time for a change, and Purdue is a terrific place to do maize research," said Lisch.  


Postdoc Position Available in Aberdeen, Idaho

The Phil Bregitzer Lab in the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) National Small Grains Germplasm Research Facility is now hiring a postdoc. The facility is located in Aberdeen, Idaho and funding is available for at least two years, with additional years depending on availability of funds and performance.


The position requires a Ph.D. in molecular biology, molecular genetics, plant pathology, genetics, or a related field


For the complete listing, please view the USDA-ARS Postdoc Position Flyer   


Additional job listings can be found at:



City University of Hong Kong is Hiring
City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has launched a worldwide search for talented faculty members in various areas of study, including science. 
If interested, please attend a reception hosted by CityU on February 27th, 2014 in San Francisco to learn more about the opportunities and positions available at CityU.
For more information about the reception, please view the CityU Search Reception Flyer
Visit the University's web site at:



Infectious Diseases and Immunity Seminar Series


Spring 2014 Infectious Diseases and Immunity seminars will take place on Mondays from 9-10 AM in 338 Koshland Hall.
The seminar series is sponsored by the Infectious Diseases and Immunity Graduate Group and the Henry Wheeler Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases (CEND)

For more information, please download:

Infectious Diseases and Immunity 2014 Seminar Series Flyer


 Beyond Academia Conference at UC Berkeley   

The Department of Plant and Microbial Biology is a sponsor of the Beyond Academia Conference 
February 20-21, 2014 at the International House, UC Berkeley.

Beyond Academia is a career education conference that exposes UC Berkeley PhD students and postdocs to career options outside of academia. 
Panels on a variety of career tracks give attendees the opportunity to interact with successful and creative professionals, while workshops and networking events allow for discussion in an informal setting.
Conference highlights include:
  • 48 confirmed speakers across 12 major sectors of industry:  Non-academic research (for both Neuro/Psych and Biotech backgrounds), Tech industry, Entrepreneurship, Consulting (both Scientific and Strategy & Management), Policy, Communication, Education, Senior Management, Working in Startups, Data Science
  • Companies/organizations like Yahoo, Google, McKinsey, Genentech, RAND, SRI, PLoS, Exponent, and Exploratorium
In addition there will be a networking lunch, mingling session at the end of the day with appetizers and drinks. Tickets are $20 a day.

Register here:

Additional information:



Important Dates  |  Upcoming Events  
Event Calendar Image


Spring 2014


2/17/14 - Presidents Day Holiday 
3/5/14 - Arnon Lecture
3/11/14 - Faculty Meeting
3/24 - 3/28/14 - Spring Break


3/28/14 - Cesar Chavez Holiday


4/12/14 - Cal Day
4/22/14 - Faculty Meeting


5/2/14 - PMB Spring Social, Alumni House


5/2/14 - Classes end


5/5 to 5/9/14 - Review Week


5/12 to 5/16/14 - Finals Week


5/26/14 - Memorial Day Holiday
5/29/14 - Faculty Meeting




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


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


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

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