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. 31
January 19, 2015
Research. Academics. Discoveries.
In This Issue ...

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Inspiring Seminar Series Lined Up for Spring 2015

A full slate of amazing seminar speakers will be coming to the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology this spring.

The first seminar features Jonathan Lynch, an expert in plant nutrition and food security from Penn State. His research focuses on understanding the basis of plant adaptation to drought and low soil fertility, focusing on understanding root traits that can be used to breed crops with better abilities to acquire nutrients and water.

Other speakers include:
  • Peter Turnbaugh, Microbiology and Immunology, UC San Francisco - 2.25.15
    Seminar Title: Inactivation of Plant-derived Therapeutics by the Gut Microbiome
  • David Mills, Viticulture and Enology | Food Science and Technology
    UC Davis - 4.22.15
    Seminar Title: Tales of Microbial Terroir: The Microbial Biogeography of Wine, Beer and Cheese Production
All seminars are in 101 Barker Hall from noon to 1 pm. To see the full seminar schedule, including Student / Postdoc seminars, Plant Gene Expression Center seminars, Local Talent seminars and more, please visit


Have a Great Idea? Apply for a UC Berkeley Innovation Grant

The 2014-2015 Innovation Grants program is now open to all UC Berkeley students, staff, and faculty. Proposals are due Monday, February 16, 2015. 

For the past four years, Equity & Inclusion has sponsored this initiative, which provides seed funding for projects designed to advance groundbreaking programs of inclusion at UC Berkeley. 

Past Innovation Grants awards have resulted in:
  • enhanced accessible fitness programs, including the first competitive college athletic team for blind students;
  • an expansion of the Cal Veterans program; 
  • a new pathway to graduate school for undocumented undergraduate students; 
  • the first faculty mentorship program for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

 All of these projects demonstrate the power of harnessing innovative ideas to transform Berkeley into a community where opportunity and inclusion are both valued and practiced. 

The office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion can help during the proposal process. Call 510.642.8828 or email for questions about the proposal process. 

To read more about it, please visit


Berkeley Food Institute Upcoming Events

The Berkeley Food Institute (BFI) several events lined up for the beginning of the year. From seminars to lectures and food exchanges, get ready to learn more about what BFI is doing to help the public understand the importance of a food movement. 

  • 1/26: DFS Roundtable: Hungry for Change: Farmers, Food Justice and the Agrarian Question
  • 1/26: Edible Education 101: The Rise and Future of the Food Movement
  • 1/28: Berkeley Food Institute Open House
  • 2/2: Food Exchange: Innovative Business Models in Food Systems

Read more about the upcoming events and their recent news: Berkeley Food Institute


Money for Grad Students and Postdocs
The Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases (CEND) graduate fellowships are open, with applications due January 30, 2015. There are three fellowships available. Applications must include a brief research proposal, budget, CV, and one letter of recommendation. 

The Miller and Weisenfeld grants each provide $5,000 for UC Berkeley graduate students engaged in infectious disease research with an emphasis on neglected diseases. 

The Thomas C. Alber Science and Engineering fellowship, named in honor of CEND founding director Tom Alber, provides $10,000 to support a short-term research experience in conducting infectious disease-related research in the lab of a collaborator in a low- or middle-income country for a UC Berkeley graduate student or postdoctoral fellow. 

More information and application packages can also be accessed at our websites here: Students will also find the names of our prior fellows on the websites as well.

These applications are due via submission to Awardees will be notified in early March. 


Buchanan, Arnon and Taylor-White Endowed Lectures 

Three very special endowed lectures will be hosted by the Department this semester. These lectures are always extremely popular and attract speakers from throughout the nation and the world.
  • The Bob B. Buchanan Lecture for 2015 features Federica Brandizzi, a Plant Biology professor at Michigan State University. Her seminar, Life Inside Plant Cells, a Dynamic Perspective, will be on February 4th.
  • The Arnon Lecture for 2015 features Roberto Bassi, a professor from the University of Verona, Italy. His seminar, Harvesting Light with Caution: the Multiple Functions of LHC Proteins in Oxygenic Photosynthesis, will be on March 4th.
  • The Taylor-White Lecture for 2015 features Regine Kahmann, a professor from the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology. Her seminar, How Biotropic Fungal Pathogens Colonize Plants, will be on March 11th. 

All endowed lectures are in 101 Barker Hall from noon to 1 pm. Receptions follow in Koshland Hall #338. 

For more information about these lectures visit


Funding for Student Technology Projects  

The Student Technology Fee project proposal submission process is now open for fast track projects with a cap of $5,000 per project.

Any student, faculty member, or staff member of the University of California, Berkeley is eligible to submit a proposal for consideration by the Student Technology Fee Committee. Individual students must obtain a financial sponsor to administer awarded funds, such as a registered student group, ASUC/GA, academic department, or other functional unit. 
The submission deadline is February 15, 2015 for online proposals due for the Spring 2015 Fast Track review process.

Proposal Deadlines and Funding Guidelines can be found here:

If you have any questions about the proposal submission process, please email


Introducing our New Bioscience & Natural Resources Librarian  

Meet Becky Miller, Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Librarian at Berkeley's Bioscience & Natural Resources Library since July.

In addition to her librarian skills, Becky has degrees in environmental science and years of experience as a biologist, including several with the US Department of Agriculture at 800 Buchanan St.

She looks forward to learning more about the great research being done at PMB. One of Becky's responsibilities is to purchase library materials relevant to PMB, and she can always use your input on which journals and resources to acquire. 

For suggestions, or for help with searching and accessing the literature, library instruction, data or citation management, Open Access publishing support, or course reserves, please contact Becky at


Important Dates  |  Upcoming Events  
Event Calendar Image


Spring 2015

1/22/15-1/25/15 - Graduate Recruitment Weekend

(Faculty Interviews 1/23)


2/4/15 - Buchanan Endowed Lecture

3/4/15 - Arnon Endowed Lecture

3/11/15 - Taylor-White Endowed Lecture

3/16/15-3/20/15 -  Spring Break 

4/18/15 - Cal Day 

5/15/15 - PMB Spring Party - Alumni House


5/16/15 - College of Natural Resource Commencement 

9/5/15 - PMB Retreat - Clark Kerr Campus, UC Berkeley

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 Louise Glass, Department Chair

Professor Kris Niyogi, Associate Chair


Dana Jantz, Chief Operating Officer 

Karyn Houston, Communications / Webmaster / Newsletter Editor 

Rocio Sanchez, Graduate Program

Jennifer Halpert and Ricky Vides, Undergraduate Majors