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. 32
February 10, 2015
Research. Academics. Discoveries.
In This Issue ...

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Beyond Academia -- Registration now Open

While many students at UC Berkeley study for a graduate degree, recent data

2014 Beyond Academia Conference

shows that fewer than 20 percent of PhDs actually pursue careers in academia. The majority continue on to a wide range of other careers.


In response to that statistic, and the need for more information on alternative careers for PhDs, "Beyond Academia" was founded at UC Berkeley by graduate students and postdocs in 2013.

The annual Beyond Academia conference features PhDs from dozens of careers and a variety of career paths. The conference has been highly successful, garnering attention from the Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times and attracting hundreds of graduate students and postdoctoral attendees.
Registration and more info:


The Promise and Peril of Newborn Genetic Screening            
Steven Brenner.
Jim Block photo

Steven Brenner, a professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, heads up the computational genomics portion of a five-year research program that may deeply influence how states conduct the first step in newborn screening.

While a baby may appear healthy, a hidden metabolic disorder may quickly rob her of her vigor. Most state public health departments check the infant's blood after the first day of life to see if something is dangerously wrong. However, as genome sequencing becomes faster and cheaper, the push is on to unravel a baby's entire DNA code instead.

Read the full featured on the College of Natural Resources



UC Davis Bioinformatic Workshops for 2015
Bioinformatics Core Training Participants

Now in its 8th year, the UC Davis Bioinformatics Training Program will be holding three workshops in the upcoming months:


March 23-26, 2015RNA-Seq and ChIP-Seq Analysis with Galaxy


June 15-19, 2015Using Command Line for Analysis of High Throughput Sequence Data


September 14-18, 2015Using Galaxy for Analysis of High Throughput Sequence Data


For more information and registration, visit:


Expanded Data Storage Capabilities for UC Berkeley

Increased Data Storage at UC Berkeley
UC Berkeley now offers a number of expanded storage options for faculty, students, and staff that greatly improve and enlarge options for online collaboration, communication, and collection of data.

First off, Google now permits unlimited storage for everyone with an account.

In addition, there are two expanded options for faculty and staff, other than Google docs, for creating and storing data.

Box,, is an online (in the cloud) data storage option that is quite robust. It is searchable, shareable and allows easy collaboration within the university as well as ways to connect with others outside of the university. At the present time the Box quota is 50gb.

Combining Box and a Cal Net Special Purpose account is another huge advantage. In this setup, ownership and control of all of the items in the folder stays with the CalNet Special Purpose Account rather than an individual's account. In that scenario, a department or a lab can keep control within the department or lab, which makes it easier as employees and students come and go.


Chart explaining the difference between BDrive, (Google) Box, CalShare and BCourses as online storage and communication applications.

Request Box and a CalNet Special Purpose Account 
(departmental account that would shift ownership to a department or lab as opposed to an individual)

For questions, contact Karyn Houston:, 643.7614, Koshland 111b



Arnon and Taylor-White Endowed Lectures 

Two very special endowed lectures are on the horizon. These lectures are always extremely popular and feature speakers from throughout the nation and the world.
  • 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 to follow in Koshland Hall #338. 

For more information about these lectures visit

To see the full seminar schedule for the semester, including 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


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


Important Dates  |  Upcoming Events  
Event Calendar Image


Spring 2015

2/16/15 - Presidents Day Holiday

3/4/15 - Arnon Endowed Lecture

3/11/15 - Taylor-White Endowed Lecture

week of 3/23/15 -  Spring Break 

3/27/15 - Cesar Chavez Day

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