Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

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Feller and Glaunsinger Honored with Faculty Mentor Awards

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 10:29

Professors Marla Feller and Britt Glaunsinger were both honored with 2018 Faculty Mentor Awards from the Graduate Assembly. Nominated by colleagues and current and former graduate students, they have demonstrated an outstanding committment to helping UC Berkeley graduate students to succeed academically, professionally, and personally. The Awards will be presented in a joint ceremony on April 12, 2018 from 4-6pm at Anna Head Alumnae Hall.


Marqusee Receives Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 10:40

MCB Professor Susan Marqusee is the 2018 recipient of The Protein Society's Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award, which recognizes researchers in protein science whose contributions have significant impacts in the broader field of biology.

Marqusee is a world expert in the field of protein folding, and her influential research "has produced the most detailed view of the energy landscape of a protein."


Associate Professor He Appointed Siebel Distinguished Chair

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 13:24

Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology Lin He was appointed to the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Distinguished Chair in Stem Cell Research for a period of five years. The honor recognizes her as "one of UC Berkeley's most distinguished faculty members in the area of stem cell biology, cancer and related research areas associated with the Siebel Stem Cell Institute." 

TODAY is the day–Give Big to the Big Give!

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 08:02
Undergrads at photo booth during the biosciences networking event.

Show your Blue and Gold spirit by participating in this year's Big Give. This is a chance for us all to come together as an entire Cal commuity—alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends—to support our favorite department and also try to win some Big Give challenge funds. Even the smallest gift can make a big difference!

Give today (before 9 p.m. P.S.T.) to support MCB students, faculty, research labs, and programs. 

If you want your gift to reach a specific MCB division, please give here.

MCB is ready for the Big Give!

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 08:42

What's your big Berkeley moment? This year's campus-wide Big Give fundraising event is all about ensuring those special Berkeley moments persist. Join us on March 8, 2018, to help support students and faculty in their search for those "Aha!" moments.


Honoring Cris Alvaro: The Legacy of Aequorea Victoria

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 15:05

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of MCB Ph.D. graduate Cris Alvaro, who graduated in 2015. Cris was an exceptionally bright and talented scientist and a beloved member of the MCB Department. Cris identified as a trans and non-binary person and used the preferred pronouns they/them/their. Cris completed their graduate work with Dr. Jeremy Thorner, where they studied the signaling pathways that regulate pheromone responses in yeast. Cris’ most recent position was as an IRACDA Fellow and postdoc in Dr. Allan Basbaum’s lab in the Department of Anatomy at UCSF, where they studied how itch and pain signals are differentiated in the central nervous system. Cris was a ray of light in our community and will be sorely missed.


Doudna: CRISPR Used to Detect Infections & Cancers

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 11:49

New technology developed by MCB Professor and HHMI Investigator Jennifer Doudna can be used to find signs of viral infections and cancers in snippets of DNA. This new tool, called DETECTR, has already been used to accurately identify two types of human papillomavirus (HPV) in human samples. In the future, DETECTR may become a reliable way of quickly diagnosing cancers and other illnesses.


Memorial Celebration for Ian Gibbons Planned for Sunday, Feb 18th

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 12:21

A memorial celebration for long-time visiting scholar Ian Gibbons is planned for Sunday, February18, 2018 at his home in Orinda. He was recently honored with the Shaw Prize along with Ron Vale of UCSF for their "discovery of microtubule-associated motor proteins: engines that drive nerve cell growth and chromosome inheritance essential to human development." He was one of the true giants in his field and made many contributions to our understanding of biological motion. Ian passed away on January 30th at the age of 86.


Recognizing Judith Klinman, a Pioneer for Women Scientists at Cal

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 03:41

In honor of UC Berkeley's "150 Years of Light" anniversary celebration, we're recognizing MCB & Chemistry Professor Emeritus Judith Klinman, a pioneer on the Berkeley campus. A talented scientist, Klinman is internationally known for her groundbreaking work on enzyme catalysis.

In addition, Klinman was the first female faculty member in the physical sciences at Berkeley. She is also the only woman to have served as Chair of the Department of Chemistry. Among her many other accolades, Klinman was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama in 2012 for her contributions to the field of biochemistry.

Judith Klinman is a pioneer both on and off the Berkeley campus, and has helped carve a path for many future female scientists to follow.


Genetecists Map Citrus Origins to the Himalayan Foothills

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 14:24

MCB Professor Daniel Rokhsar and other researchers have mapped the genomes for over 50 varieties of the genus Citrus to trace its origins and evolution over millions of years. Natural diversification and human breeding have played a large part in giving us the sweet and tangy fruit we enjoy at our tables today. Their work will allow breeders to create even more varieties. The paper was published online today in Nature. 


Meyer Honored with 2018 Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal from GSA

Fri, 02/02/2018 - 11:20

Barbara J. Meyer, HHMI Investigator and GGD Professor, was awarded the Genetics Society of America's (GSA) 2018 Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal. It recognizes Dr. Meyer's lifetime achievement in the field of genetics and her groundbreaking work on chromosome behaviors that govern gene expression, development and heredity. 


Bateup and Unal Receive AAA Young Investigator Awards

Thu, 02/01/2018 - 14:02

MCB Assistant Professors Helen Bateup and Elcin Unal are each recipients of American Association of Anatomists (AAA) Young Investigator Awards. Dr. Bateup received the C.J Herrick Award in Neuroanatomy and Dr. Unal the R.R. Bensley Award in Cell Biology for their important contributions to their respective fields.


Meyer Awarded the Amory Prize in Medicine and Physiology

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 17:19

HHMI Investigator and Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development Barbara J. Meyer was awarded the 2017 Francis Amory Prize in Medicine and Physiology by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. "She is being recognized for her breakthrough solutions to long standing mysteries about chromosomal expression and sex determination." Barbara will accept the prize and deliver remarks in Cambridge, MA on April 12, 2018.


Nogales: New Insights in Gene Silencing

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 12:08

New research from a team led by MCB Professor and HHMI Investigator Eva Nogales has provided new insights into the structure of PRC2, a complex of proteins that regulates gene silencing in cells. PRC2 is critical in understanding cell development and uncontrolled cell growth, and this research could lead to new developments in cancer therapies.


Allison Receives 2018 NAS Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 12:24

Former MCB Immunology professor and Director of the Cancer Research Lab at UC Berkeley, James P. Allison received the National Academy of Sciences 2018 Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal "for important medical discoveries related to the body's immune response to tumors." He is presently at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.


Doudna Receives NAS Chemical Sciences Award

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 11:32

MCB & Chemistry Professor Jennifer Doudna has received the 2018 Chemical Sciences award from the National Academy of Sciences. The award recognizes her "pioneering discoveries on how RNA can fold to function in complex ways” and her co-invention of CRISPR-Cas9 technology.


Heald and Nomura: Cellular Basis of Hybrid Incompatibility

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 21:25

Research from the labs of MCB Professor Rebecca Heald and Associate Professor Daniel Nomura has revealed the cellular basis of hybrid incompatibility when closely related frog species are interbred.

This finding uncovers why the offspring of female African clawed frogs and male Western clawed frogs can survive, whereas offspring with the opposite set of parent species are incapable of living past the early stages of development.


Hammond, Miller and Savage Identified as "Future of Biochemistry"

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 20:40

Ming Hammond (Assistant Professor, MCB & Chemistry), Evan Miller (Assistant Professor, MCB & Chemistry), and David Savage (Associate Professor, MCB & Chemistry) have been "identified as representing the future of biochemistry" by the American Chemical Society.

Hammond, Miller, Savage, and 41 other early career biochemical scientists are featured in the January 2018 publication of Biochemistry.


Saving Chocolate with CRISPR

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 00:36

Professor of MCB & Chemistry and HHMI Investigator, Jennifer Doudna, is overseeing a collaboration among the Innovative Genomics Institute at Berkeley and Mars Chocolate to apply CRISPR to cacao crops. As climate change warms and dries the rainforests where cacao plants thrive, researchers are looking for ways to produce crops that will better withstand environmental changes.


Working on a CRISPR Cure of Lou Gehrig's Disease

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 11:24

MCB Professor of Neurobiology and of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering David Schaffer and colleagues "have for the first time used CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to disable a defective gene that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, in mice, extending their lifespan by 25 percent."