University of California, Berkeley   |  College of Natural Resources 

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

PMB Blue Logo
Issue No. 36
May 8, 2015
Research. Academics. Discoveries.
In This Issue ...

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Excellence in Management Award - Dana Jantz


PMB Department Manager Dana Jantz
Plant & Microbial Biology Department Manager Dana Jantz has been selected for an "Excellence in Management Award" by the Berkeley Staff Assembly.

Jantz was nominated in a unanimous submission by the PMB staff she supervises: Irania Alarcon, Juliana Cho, Karyn Houston, Craig Jacobson, Rocio Sanchez and Rachel York.

The Berkeley Staff Assembly's Excellence in Management Committee seeks to improve the quality of life in the workplace by identifying and publicly recognizing outstanding managers and supervisors.The award, now in its 27th year, provides an opportunity for career employees to acknowledge the exemplary contributions of their supervisors.

This year's theme, "Architects of Empowerment," recognizes supervisors who are addressing the needs of their units and individual employees in one or more of the following ways: solicits new ideas and encourages innovation, fosters professional development and inspires staff to excel.
Jantz will be recognized at a ceremony on May 14, 2015.


Researchers Push for Millet Marketing Miracle

Patricia Bubner and Amrita Hazra
are part of the Millet Project Team
By Karyn Houston, PMB

A group of researchers from UC Berkeley is launching a campaign to grow, cultivate and market millet, a nutritious, gluten-free grain that needs little water and is rich in B vitamins.

Currently in the U.S., millet is used primarily in bird feed, but Postdoc Amrita Hazra in the Taga Lab in the department of Plant & Microbial Biology is looking to change that.

She has received funding from the Berkeley Food Institute to grow millet at six locations in California, make products from it, then introduce those products to the public at fairs, farmers markets and food shows.



College of Natural Resources Spring Commencement


The Spring 2015 Commencement Ceremony will be held in the Hearst Greek Theater on Saturday, May 16th from 7 to 9 p.m

Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is the guest speaker.  

The following Plant and Microbial Biology graduate students will be participating in the College of Natural Resources Commencement:

Emma AbernathyMicrobiology
Onur ErbilginMicrobiology
Nicole Angelina AbreuMicrobiology
James Christian Anderson-FurgesonMicrobiology
Juan F. VillaRomeroMicrobiology
Adam David SteinbrennerPlant Biology
Mikel ShybutPlant Biology
Erika Marie EricksonPlant Biology
Megan M. CohnPlant Biology
Jacob Oliver BrunkardPlant Biology
Claire Leah BendixPlant Biology
Thomas James KleistPlant Biology
Stephen Francis YeePlant Biology

Important Links:


PMB Spring Party 2015 - Outdoor Fun, Food and Games


All students, staff, and faculty are invited to attend the PMB Spring Party on Friday May 15, 2015 from 4 to 7 pm on the Genetics and Plant Biology Lawn next to Pat Brown's. 

Food will be provided by Venga Paella. They will prepare, cook and serve onsite. Cooking will start at 4 pm and food will be served at 5. There will also be a variety of lawn games including croquet, bean bag toss and more. 

Please RSVP by Monday, May 10, to Rachel York at


Genetics, Development, and Evolution Symposium 


All UC Berkeley faculty, students, and postdocs doing research in Genetics, Development, or Evolution are invited to attend this free symposium. 

Monday, May 18th
9 AM to 5 PM
Valley Life Sciences Building (VLSB), UC Berkeley, Room 2060

Symposium Talks from 9 am to noon and 2 - 5 pm in 2060 VLSB
Poster Session and Lunch from noon-2 pm in the VLSB Courtyard (weather permitting).


Keynote speakers:

Maiytreya Dunham (University of Washington)
James Nelson (Stanford University)


Python Summer Bootcamp
The "Introduction to Programming for Bioinformatics Summer Bootcamp" (Python Bootcamp) is a 10-day programming course offered August 3-14, 2015.  The course covers essential Python programming with a focus on bioinformatics problems and applications.  Each eight-hour day includes two-hour lectures and approximately six hours of programming exercises guided by the instructors.  The course assumes no programming experience, and there are no prerequisites. Students are required to furnish their own laptops running a recent version of Mac OS X or Linux (see below for details on operating systems*).

Popular with both beginners and advanced programmers, the Python language is a mature but flexible programming language used for simple tasks and large projects alike.  Week One of the course develops fundamental programming skills, including functions, modules, and program design.  Week Two concentrates on the reanalysis of published data to develop skills for data visualization, statistical analysis, and large dataset management. 

Space is limited to 45 students and priority will be given to UC Berkeley graduate students, postdocs and faculty. Course fee is $100. You must be able to commit to 9am-5pm for the entirety of the two-week course. Please click on the link below to register: 

Principal Investigator consent is also required for enrollment, so please have your PI send an email to to confirm your enrollment. Space is limited and seats are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis once we have received your PI's consent email.

Any questions can be directed to: 


Important Dates  |  Upcoming Events  
Event Calendar Image


Spring 2015

5/15/15 - PMB Spring Party - GPB Lawn


5/16/15 - College of Natural Resources Commencement 


5/18/15 - Genetics, Development and Evolution Symposium


8/3/15 - 8/14/15 - Python Summer Bootcamp


8/20 - PMB New Graduate Student Orientation


8/26 - Instruction Begins

9/11/15 - 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 N. 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 Advisors