By Date

DeCal class: A guide to zero waste, building a sustainable future

College of Natural Resources - 11 hours 5 min ago
Image:  Sage Leiner standing in front of a building, laughing. Date:  Monday, September 16, 2019 - 08:45 Legacy:  section header item:  Date:  Monday, September 16, 2019 - 08:45 headline_position:  Top Left headline_color_style:  Normal headline_width:  Long caption_color_style:  Normal caption_position:  Bottom Left News/Story tag(s):  Student Stories

Faculty Position in Vertebrate Physiology

Department of Integrative Biology - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 15:12

The Department of Integrative Biology (IB) at the University of California, Berkeley invite applications for a full-time tenure-track position in vertebrate physiology at the Assistant Professor level. The expected start date is July 1, 2020.
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Categories: Science News

We're Hiring! Join the MCB Genetics, Genomics & Development Division

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 12:36

Interested in becoming a UC Berkeley MCB faculty member? We are now accepting applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in the division of Genetics, Genomics & Development.

Apply by November 04, 2019, here.

ESPM Professor Kate O'neill on NPR's Fresh Air

College of Natural Resources - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 08:36

The recycling process can be difficult to understand, especially as guidelines for what can be recycled change and as nations change policies that how the global flow of waste is handled. Professor Kate O’Neill of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management discusses theses topics and more on a recent episode of NPR’s Fresh Air.

In thee episode, “‘Waste’ Examines The Global and Local Afterlife of Recyclables,” O’Neill speaks with Terry Gross about China’s new National Sword policy, which stopped the United States from exporting the majority of our recycling waste. She says, “[China stopped taking our waste] for some pretty good reasons. One reason was that Western countries on the whole were pretty much taking advantage of China's willingness to import plastics. So they were receiving a lot of contaminated bales—contaminated in terms of the dirty food, other kinds of actual contaminants as well as very mixed bales of waste.” O’Neill also explains how we can reduce recycling contamination ourselves by separating different types of plastics and cleaning food jars before throwing them out. 

In her new book, Waste, O’Neill discusses waste as a resource and risk, with effects on local, national, and global politics. Read more about the book here.

Image:  Kate O'Neill standing in front of trees. Date:  Friday, September 13, 2019 - 08:00 Legacy:  section header item:  Date:  Friday, September 13, 2019 - 08:00 headline_position:  Top Left headline_color_style:  Normal headline_width:  Long caption_color_style:  Normal caption_position:  Bottom Left News/Story tag(s):  Multimedia

Yearly snapshot of Saturn helps astronomers monitor the ringed world

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 12:32
UC Berkeley helps lead an annual campaign by NASA to photograph our solar system's giant, gaseous planets
Categories: Science News

Student Spotlight: Neem Patel

College of Natural Resources - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 10:06
3rd year PhD candidate in Microbial Biology 

In this month’s Student Spotlight, graduate student Neem Patel tells us about setting forest fires, the importance of community in science, and her hope to have a career in an environmentally-focused industry. 

Neem Patel

What’s the focus of your doctoral research? 

As a PhD candidate in Matthew Traxler’s Lab in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, I am  interested in uncovering novel bacterial metabolisms, or metabolic potentials that could reveal new chemical compounds or novel substances relevant in post-fire soil environments. My overall focus is understanding post-fire soil chemistry, microbial community succession and dynamics, and how these communities affect the post-fire chemistry to restore soil health. 

How did you end up in this field?

I completed my undergraduate studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta, where I double majored in Italian studies and biology with a minor in chemistry. Upon graduation, I became a staff scientist in a meiosis lab at New York University. I worked there for five years and although I love genetics and molecular biology, I was beginning to feel frustrated with the fact that my work was largely inaccessible to people who didn’t study science. 

I began reflecting on what  scientific research meant to me, what kind of scientist I wanted to become, and the steps that could advance my professional development in meaningful ways. I wanted to marry my scientific training with my passion-driven activism work toward raising awareness about ecosystem stability and our global environmental health. Thinking back to my experience studying bacteria in a microbial ecology lab during my undergrad years, I recalled the appreciation and joy I felt from that work and decided to apply to graduate programs in microbial biology. I feel that I can do environmentally significant research through  my PhD in this field. 

What has been one of your favorite experiences during graduate school? 

The field work I’ve conducted as part of my current research project has been really rewarding for me, mostly because I’ve been able to set forests on fire! I do prescribed burning at the Blodgett Forest Research Station located in the Sierras, and we study how the microbial communities—both bacteria and fungi—in soil recover after controlled burning over the course of the year. We measure the pH and chemistry of the soil before and after the fire, and study how succession of the microbes in the environmental recovery in the coming months alters the chemistry in the long term. 

Neem Patel setting forest fires

The day-to-day reality of this research project involves setting things on fire and then collecting dirt! We do community genomic sequencing to attempt to identify the specific species of bacteria and fungi present in the soil, and we also do chemical extractions. 

The work is also interdisciplinary in nature, which I value. I enjoy interacting with researchers who are investigating other aspects of biological fire, such as microbiologists studying how fire moves through a system such as a tree or a plant. We also get to collaborate with Cal firefighters when we’re burning the forest, as they teach us really important safety techniques to control the burn.  It has been fascinating to talk to so many different people and hear their perspectives on how fire affects an entire ecosystem. 

The day-to-day reality of this research project involves setting things on fire and then collecting dirt! We do community genomic sequencing to attempt to identify the specific species of bacteria and fungi present in the soil, and we also do chemical extractions. 

The work is also interdisciplinary in nature, which I value. I enjoy interacting with researchers who are investigating other aspects of biological fire, such as microbiologists studying how fire moves through a system such as a tree or a plant. We also get to collaborate with Cal firefighters when we’re burning the forest, as they teach us really important safety techniques to control the burn.  It has been fascinating to talk to so many different people and hear their perspectives on how fire affects an entire ecosystem. 

Neem Patel collects soil

What positions do you hold outside of your laboratory work? 

I believe it’s important to be engaged in our community outside of the scientific work we do. Science is a  social activity, and I think that we should all be mentoring the next generation of scientists and creating a more inclusive climate for the folks already here. There is no science without community. 

Currently,  I am a mentor with NYAS NeXXt Scholar Program, a peer mentor in my department, and a Graduate Assembly delegate, which is our autonomous student government, for the Graduate Group in Microbiology. I also am a member and organizer on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee with the UAW student workers union at UC Berkeley, and am slated to take over the project director role for an environmental sustainability conference that graduate students organize annually, called the Earth Action Initiative. This conference features a combination of workshops and climate-themed art to get the community inspired and active in climate justice-related decisions.

How do you plan to use the skills and experience you've gained at Berkeley in your career?

I hope to work in the emerging biotechnology industry or perhaps even start my own company. I would love a job in bioremediation, synthetic biology, or biofuels, or a company that is oriented toward bettering the environment through biology. A dream position would be working as a lead scientist for a company or organization where I have some measure of creative control over my projects. 

 

Image:  Neem Patel Date:  Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 10:00 Legacy:  section header item:  Date:  Monday, July 29, 2019 - 10:00 headline_position:  Top Left headline_color_style:  Normal headline_width:  Long caption_color_style:  Normal caption_position:  Bottom Left News/Story tag(s):  Student Stories

Students make neutrons dance beneath Berkeley campus

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 09/11/2019 - 11:00
In an underground vault, researchers are building a tabletop neutron source for geochronology, forensics and medical isotopes
Categories: Science News

DeCal class: a guide to zero waste, building a sustainable future

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 17:00
When Sage Lenier, a fourth-year in conservation and resource studies, created her DeCal course, there were 25 people enrolled. Now, there are 160 with 20 people on the waiting list
Categories: Science News

Bolt Threads recognized in Fast Company Innovation by Design awards

Department of Bioengineering - Mon, 09/09/2019 - 11:53
Alumni-founded engineered fiber company Bolt Threads was noted with an Honorable Mention in the 2019 Fast Company Innovation by Design awards for their new Mylo Driver bag, an high fashion tote made from engineered mushroom mycellium cells
Categories: Science News

Berkeley BioE ranked in Top Ten in US

Department of Bioengineering - Mon, 09/09/2019 - 11:37
The undergraduate Berkeley Bioengineering program was ranked #9 in the nation in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings, released today.
Categories: Science News

Remembering Brian Gialketsis

College of Natural Resources - Mon, 09/09/2019 - 10:34
Brian wearing a "Bear Territory" shirt and his graduation stole.

The College of Natural Resources mourns the loss of recent alumnus Brian Gialketsis, ’17, Conservation Resources Studies and Rhetoric, who passed away on July 20, 2019. 

Since his graduation from Berkeley, Gialketsis had been serving as the coordinator of the UC Berkeley Green Initiative Fund, which provides grants for projects that improve and support UC Berkeley’s campus sustainability efforts. He was a champion for environmental justice and a passionate representative for the underrepresented. 

“Brian understood our community’s capacity to make the world a better place,” said Ricky Vides, Brian’s advisor in the College of Natural Resources. “He treated people in our community with the same intensity and love he had for the earth. He came to every advising session with a glow, and he was really proud be Golden Bear.”

A celebration of life will be hosted by the Student Environmental Resource Center on Saturday, September 21 at 5 pm in the Tilden room of the Martin Luther King Jr. Building in the ASUC Student Union. 

Gialketsis’ family has created the Brian Patrick Gialketsis Memorial Scholarship through the Ventura County Community Foundation. For information on how to make a donation, view this page. A UC Berkeley fund to honor his memory at Cal will also be created soon. 

Image:  Brian wearing a "Bear Territory" shirt and his graduation stole. Date:  Monday, September 9, 2019 - 10:30 Legacy:  section header item:  Date:  Monday, September 9, 2019 - 10:30 headline_position:  Top Left headline_color_style:  Normal headline_width:  Long caption_color_style:  Normal caption_position:  Bottom Left

Welcome Professor Patrick Hsu!

Department of Bioengineering - Wed, 09/04/2019 - 15:37
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Patrick Hsu will be joining the faculty of the Department of Bioengineering as an Assistant Professor, effective January 1, 2020. Hsu comes to us from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where he has been a Fellow and Principal Investigator, after completing his Ph.D. at Harvard University in […]
Categories: Science News

Lammel Receives a 2019 One Mind Rising Star Award

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Wed, 09/04/2019 - 09:38

Congratulations to MCB Assistant Professor of Neurobiology Stephan Lammel on receiving the 2019 One Mind – Janssen Rising Star Translational Research Award In Honor of the Late Jeffrey S. Nye, MD, PhD! 

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Alumna Carol Major killed in car accident

Department of Bioengineering - Fri, 08/30/2019 - 12:57
It is with the greatest sadness we share that BioE alumna Carol Major (BS 2013) died August 25 as the result of a car crash in San Jose, CA. A technical program manager at Apple, Carol was an active alumna who returned to campus to help students plan their careers in biotech. She is remembered fondly by our community and will be greatly missed.
Categories: Science News

Bridges to Baccalaureate | Opening Doors to Discovery

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Thu, 08/29/2019 - 11:09

This summer the Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) Department celebrated its eighth year participating in UC Berkeley’s partnership with the National Institute of Health (NIH) Bridges to Baccalaureate (B2B) Program. 

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Herr joins National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NACBIB)

Department of Bioengineering - Thu, 08/29/2019 - 10:33
Professor Amy Herr has been appointed to the The National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NACBIB), a high-level advisory and steering position at the national level. the NACBIB advises the leadership of the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering on research, training, and other programs related to biomedical imaging, biomedical engineering and technologies and modalities with biomedical applications.
Categories: Science News

Join the MCB Division of Immunology & Pathogenesis!

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Wed, 08/28/2019 - 21:34

Interested in becoming a UC Berkeley MCB faculty member? We are accepting applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position with the MCB Division of Immunology & Pathogenesis.

Apply by October 31, 2019, here.

Fletcher Lab’s LoaScope Receives Gates Foundation Support

Department of Bioengineering - Wed, 08/28/2019 - 12:03
Professor Dan Fletcher's lab has received a $1.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the scaled-up production of the LoaScope. The video adaptation of the CellScope cellphone-based microscope will enable mapping of Loa loa prevalence and intensity in Central and West Africa.
Categories: Science News

Dhruv Patel selected as an FFAR Fellow

College of Natural Resources - Wed, 08/28/2019 - 09:35
Anjika Pai Dhruv Patel in a greenhouse. There are four lights behind him, and he is touching a plant in the foreground. [image caption]

Photo by Chris Gee.

Dhruv Patel, a graduate student in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, was recently selected as a fellow by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). This year, the program awarded fellowships to seventeen doctoral candidates across the country. Fellows will receive research funding and professional development training over three years.

Patel was selected for his studies in plant biology and his aspirations of conducting agricultural research that can help reduce food insecurity across the world. “Seventy-eight percent of people in extreme poverty are smallholder farmers in extremely poor areas,” says Patel in his FFAR fellowship profile. “Agriculture is their livelihood, but with limited genetic resources in orphan crops and harsh landscapes to deal with, producing enough to escape poverty is an uphill battle.”

The link between a lab bench and a community is important to Patel, and he believes that “scientists need to be using [their] voices to communicate with the public.” Through this fellowship, he hopes to form strategies to make meaningful collaborations to benefit our communities. 

Dhruv Patel's side profile. He is wearing a lab coat and an earring. He is holding a petri dish which shows small green splotches. The dish appears to be taken out from a bright shelf. [image caption]

Photo by Chris Gee.

“Scientists need to be using [their] voices to communicate with the public.”

In the lab, Patel will continue to study “non-photochemical quenching,” a set of processes employed by plants and algae to protect themselves from the adverse effects of high light intensity. He will use genetic engineering to fine-tune these protective mechanisms in the hopes of improving the efficiency of photosynthesis, improving water use efficiency, and maximizing the downstream yield of crops important to smallholder farmers.

Read more about the fellowship and the 2019 recipients.

Honors and Awards

Water harvester makes it easy to quench your thirst in the desert

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 08/27/2019 - 12:20
The latest version of Berkeley's water harvester cycles 24/7 to produce enough water from the air to drink, even in hot, dry deserts
Categories: Science News