Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

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DuPage Receives St. Baldrick's Foundation Scholar Grant

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 17:12

MCB Assistant Professor of Immunology and Pathogenesis, Michel DuPage, is the recipient of a St. Baldrick's Foundation Scholar Grant. His funded project aims to target regulatory T cells (Tregs) as a novel method to enhance immune responses to Neuroblastoma (NB) - the third most common form of childhood cancer, and the leading cause of cancer deaths in children 1-4 years of age.

They will investigate the role of Tregs and the capacity to target them by modulating the function of the epiginetic regulator Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 (EZH2) to simultaneously target neoplastic cells and Tregs as a novel method to enhance immune responses to NB.


Nogales Honored with ASCB Senior Leadership Award

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 11:33

MCB Professor & HHMI Investigator Eva Nogales has been awarded the 2018 Sandra K. Masur Senior Leadership Award by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). The award recognizes an outstanding scientist with "a record of active leadership in mentoring both men and women in scientific careers," and is one of the ASCB's three Women in Cell Biology awards.

Nogales will be awarded a plaque and a $1,000 prize at the ASCB Annual Meeting in December 2018.

Pégard Receives 2018 Career Award at the Scientific Interface (CASI)

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 18:08

Nicolas C. Pégard, postdoctoral scholar in the Adesnik lab, is one of eleven awardees (chosen from almost 300 applicants) to receive a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface (CASI). The award recognizes scientific excellence and innovation, depth and quality of training, and the potential to establish an independent research career. 

The CASI will fund his advanced postdoctoral training at MCB, where he currently works on methods for 3D in vivo holographic optogenetic photostimulation and optical tracking of neural activity, and his transition into a faculty position. Congratulations, Nico!


Thorner Receives 2019 ASBMB Herbert Tabor Research Award

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 13:08

Congratulations to MCB Professor Jeremy Thorner, the 2019 recipient of ASBMB's Herbert Tabor Research Award! This award recognizes scientists who have made outstanding contributions in biochemistry and molecular biology.

Thorner will present a lecture on his research at ASBMB's annual meeting in April 2019 in Orlando, FL.


Nikaido Receives 2018 ASM Lifetime Achievement Award

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 15:21

MCB Professor of the Graudate School Hiroshi Nikaido is the 2018 recipient of the American Society for Microbiology's Lifetime Achievement Award. This award honors scientists who have made sustained contributions to microbiological sciences, of which Nikaido has made many throughout his extensive career.

Nikaido's scientific contributions include his pioneering research on the structure and function of bacterial membranes, especially in gram-negative bacteria, and the role of selective permeability of the the outer membrane in antibiotic resistance.

Nikaido came to UC Berkeley as a faculty member in 1969. Before that, he was an Assistant Professor of bacteriology at Harvard Medical School. He received his MD and PhD from Keio University in Tokyo in 1961.

Tjian & Darzacq: Dynamic Interactions during Gene Transcription

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 21:21

A new research paper published in Science, from the labs of MCB Professor Robert Tjian and Assistant Professor Xavier Darzacq, reveals surprising new observations on the mechanics of RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) during protein-coding gene transcription.

Their research found that Pol II, which is responsible for catalyzing the transcription of DNA into RNA, constantly dashes among "hubs" of proteins, rather than lingering at a particular gene as previous studies suggest. These discoveries suggest a framework for disease management, involving novel drugs that may target gene regulatory interactions as a means of treatment.

Davies Receives DOE Early Career Research Award

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 12:50

MCB Assistant Adjunct Professor Karen Davies has been selected as one of the Early Career Research Award recipients by the US Department of Energy for her work on protein structures and bioenergetics. Davies' research focuses on electron flow in photosynthesis, and may improve cyanobacteria engineering for biofuels and bioplastics.


Barbara Meyer Honored with the E.B. Wilson Medal

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:18

HHMI Investigator and MCB Professor Barbara Meyer was awarded the American Society for Cell Biology's (ASCB) highest honor for science, the E.B. Wilson Medal, for her significant and far-reaching contributions to cell biology over a lifetime in science.

Dr. Meyer's lecture and the medal presentation will take place on Tuesday, December 11th from 3:15-4:00pm during the ASCB|EMBO Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA (Dec 8-12, 2018). 

Doudna-Charpentier team awarded U.S. patent for CRISPR-Cas9

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 13:28

Representation of the CRISPR-Cas9 system."The University of California announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted patent number 10,000,772 covering the use of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing with formats that will be particularly useful in developing human therapeutics and improvements in food security."


MCB Postdoc Burgos Named 2018 Pew Latin American Fellow

Mon, 06/11/2018 - 13:45

Francesca Burgos, postdoctoral scholar in the lab of MCB Professor Carlos Bustamante, is a member of the 2018 class of Pew Latin American Fellows in the Biomedical Sciences. Her research examines the three-dimensional folding patterns of RNA molecules during their synthesis.


Jingxun Chen Receives the 2018 Teaching Excellence Award

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 12:16

Jingxun Chen, a graduate student in the Ünal lab, received the Teaching Effectiveness Award. Congratulations to Jingxun on her achievement!


Doudna Shares Kavli Prize in Nanoscience

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 10:37

MCB & Chemistry Professor Jennifer Doudna is a co-laureate of the 2018 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience for her groundbreaking invention of CRISPR-Cas9 technology.

The Kavli Prize is awarded biennially by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the Kavli Foundation and recognizes scientists who have made seminal advancements in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.


Betzig & Drubin: Remarkable Advancements in 3-D Cellular Microscopy

Sun, 06/03/2018 - 11:22

A new article published in Science, co-authored by MCB Professors Eric Betzig (supervising author) and David Drubin, describes new advancements in microscopy that reveal incredibly detailed images of cell dynamics in their native state as they travel and interact throughout live tissue. These advancements apply adaptive optics to light sheet microscopy to provide remarkably detailed views of the three-dimensional multicellular environment compared to those produced from a traditional glass slide.

Former MCB grad student Ryan Forster (Hockemeyer Lab) and current grad student Daphne Dambournet (Drubin Lab) are additional co-authors of the article.


Read the Spring 2018 Online MCB Newsletter!

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 17:00

It's been an exciting and busy Spring!

Learn about the new imaging facilities on campus, read about MCB's recent collaborations with alumni and industry, catch up on community happenings and events, and much more!

Read it here now

Mary-Claire King Wins Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 10:29

Former MCB Professor Mary-Claire King is the 2018 recipient of the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine for mapping the first breast cancer gene. The Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine is awarded to those in the field of biomedical sciences whose discoveries "have led to significant victories in our longstanding war against illness and suffering."

King is currently a Professor of Genome Sciences and Medical Genetics at the University of Washington. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1973.


Nogales: Detailing important structures in Alzheimer's research

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 11:54

New research from the lab of MCB Professor & HHMI Investigator Eva Nogales has advanced our understanding of the tau protein, which is crucial in the development of Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders.

The team used cryo-electron microscopy to determine how the tau protein interacts with the microtubules of neurons. Under normal conditions, this interaction helps stabilize the cytoskeleton of neurons and prevent abnormal Alzheimer's-causing protein tangles.


Eva Nogales Elected 2020 ASCB President

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 11:50
Eva Nogales

HHMI Investigator and Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology Eva Nogales was recently elected by ASCB members to serve as the 2020 ASCB President. 


Grads Headed for 68th Lindau Laureate Meeting

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 11:10

MCB graduate students Franziska (Franzi) Lorbeer, in the Hockemeyer lab, and Ryan Morrie, in the Feller lab, were chosen as two of 600 outstanding young scientists under age 35 to attend the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany. The international forum for scientific exchange that occurs in June will and attract scientists from 84 countries and a record 41 Nobel Laureates.


Dan and Isacoff Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 13:09

HHMI Investigator and Professor of Neurobiology Yang Dan, and Director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute and Professor of Neurobiology Ehud Isacoff are two of five UC Berkeley faculty members elected to the National Academy of Sciences today. The academy is the most prestigious scientific society in the United States and provides science, engineering and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations. 


Holographic Projection: Activating Neurons, Encoding Perceptions

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 13:18

Three MCB postdocs Alan Mardinly, Nicolas Pégard, and Ian Oldenburg are first authors of a paper published today in Nature Neuroscience along with Stephen Brohawn, Hillel Adesnik, Laura Waller and other researchers. They have devised a holographic brain modulator capable of stimulating single neurons and copying real patterns of brain activity to fool the brain into thinking it has felt, seen, or sensed something. They hope to develop a miniaturaized device that could be used as a neural prosthetic replacing lost sensations after degenerative disease or injury, allowing the blind to see, or the paralyzed to feel touch.