By Date

Yartsev in Science: Rebalancing diversity of animal models in neuroscience research

Department of Bioengineering - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 12:42
Published in Science today, a review article by Prof. Michael Yartsev on the current decline in the diversity of species used for neuroscience research. The field has converged on a few selected model organisms, but Yartsev proposes that neuroscience might be ready to diversify again, if provided the appropriate support.
Categories: Science News

Berkeley Noted for Environment/Ecology, Plant & Animal Science by U.S. News & World Report

College of Natural Resources - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 15:27

In the U.S. News & World Report's “Best Global Universities Rankings,” published this week, UC Berkeley was ranked #1 in Environment/Ecology and #4  in Plant and Animal Science.

According to the report, “The field of environment and ecology includes subjects such as environmental health, environmental monitoring and management, and climate change” as well as the relationships between living things and the physical world. The report states that topics in the plant and animal science category include plant research, plant pathology, plant nutrition, veterinary medicine, marine and freshwater biology, and zoology.

CNR is honored to be a part of the campus community conducting groundbreaking research, teaching, and outreach in these subject areas.

UC Berkeley placed fourth in the overall global university ranking. Other highly ranked subject areas at Berkeley include Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Biochemistry, Microbiology, Engineering, and Space Science.

Image:  Bancroft library and Sather tower Date:  Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 15:15 Legacy:  section header item:  Date:  Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 15:15 headline_position:  Top Left headline_color_style:  Normal headline_width:  Long caption_color_style:  Normal caption_position:  Bottom Left News/Story tag(s):  Honors and Awards Research News

NSF awards support Berkeley data science institute, national workshops

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 13:07
National funding recognizes Berkeley's leadership in data science education
Categories: Science News

Recognition at Science Film Festival

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 09:43

MCB Professor Nipam Patel's film "Squid: Coming to Life" was recognized at the 10th Annual Imagine Science Film Festival that was held in New York this month. His film won "runner up" in the Scientific Merit Award category. This award is given by a jury to the film that exemplifies science in storytelling and narrative filmmaking in a compelling, credible and inspiring manner.


Mapping the Brain

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 15:26

MCB Professor of Neurobiology John Ngai will lead the UC Berkeley team as one of six Principal Investigators collaborating on the Allen Institute for Brain Science's National Institutes of Health (NIH) BRAIN Initiative Cell Census grant. Their collective efforts will create an atlas of cell types in the mouse brain to serve as a basis for understanding how the human brain functions in health and disease.


UC Berkeley establishes the Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity

College of Natural Resources - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 14:51
Jon Jarvis in a redwood grove on the UC Berkeley campus

After 40 years with the National Park Service, Jon Jarvis will head up the new Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity at UC Berkeley. Photo by Jeremy Snowden.

UC Berkeley announced today the establishment of the Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity to tackle the most pressing issues facing the future of parks, including climate change and equitable access. The institute’s inaugural executive director will be Jonathan B. Jarvis, who served 40 years with the National Park Service (NPS) and as its 18th director from 2009 to 2017.

“Our national, state and local parks are facing a myriad of challenges from climate change while simultaneously expected to provide recreation, wildlife refuge, public gathering space, health benefits, and environmental justice,” Jarvis said. “I am very excited by this opportunity to bring together the extraordinary academic talents at UC Berkeley with the professionals in the parks and public lands to tackle these challenges.”

Jarvis brings a lifetime of park management experience to the institute. During his tenure as NPS director, he initiated extensive programs to address climate changes in the national parks, expanded the NPS by 22 new parks, and led the service through its Centennial with a vision for a second century of park stewardship, engaging communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs.

Resources Legacy Fund (RLF) provided $250,000 in seed funding to launch the institute, continuing its nearly 20-year history of advancing conservation across the West. The nonprofit recently led efforts to help modernize the California park system through the Parks Forward Commission.

“The new institute will help inform future policy and management directions for parks,” said Michael Mantell, the founder and president of RLF. “Today we understand better than ever the economic, ecological, and societal values of protecting parks and biological diversity. That’s why we need a new vision for parks that includes equitable access and climate resilience, and policy to achieve that vision. Resources Legacy Fund is pleased to help UC Berkeley pioneer the interdisciplinary approach that can help advance our parks and serve society for the 21st century and beyond.”

The new institute continues Berkeley’s long tradition of involvement in the national parks system, starting with its very foundation. In 1915, Stephen T. Mather, class of 1887, and Horace M. Albright, class of 1912, gathered a group at Berkeley’s campus to plot a future for the country’s existing and evolving national parks. The result of their efforts was legislation establishing the NPS in 1916, with Mather serving as its first director and Albright as its second.

For more than 100 years, research at Berkeley has helped guide evidence-based management policies and actions for parks. Berkeley’s faculty, graduate students and natural history museums’ curators conduct research in and for parks that produce key data and insights. Interdisciplinary studies of ecosystems yield important information about the management of biodiversity in the face of climate change, introduced species and other threats, and assess how protected land contributes to the health of the economy and the health of the planet, including carbon sequestration and ecosystem services. Research on the social, cultural, and health benefits of parks contributes to decisions on park use and human enjoyment. The new institute will connect field managers and researchers to improve management of national, state, and local parks and other public lands.

Creation of the institute comes as the original concept of managing parks as discrete natural areas is increasingly out of date. Wildlife do not obey boundary lines, and climate change makes the historical record an unreliable predictor of future conditions. Park access must be expanded for underserved communities and urban populations, and to ensure continued support, parks must be managed in ways that engage younger generations.

One hundred years after the founding of the NPS, Berkeley hosted the 2015 summit “Science for Parks, Parks for Science: The Next Century” to advance the conversation about the future of parks. In the wake of this summit, the institute will help prepare parks, people and biodiversity for multiple futures, incorporating the best available science. The institute will bring together Berkeley faculty, researchers and practitioners across diverse disciplines to chart the course of park and protected space management for future. Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources will host the institute, but the academic talents of the university’s various colleges and disciplines will be involved, including public health, environment, education, design, business and law.

“We have world-class faculty who are already working on these issues, and we can look long term to study difficult questions across disciplines,” said Steven Beissinger, Berkeley professor of conservation biology in the College of Natural Resources, who led the push to start the institute.


  • Read the press release on the UC Berkeley News site
  • The Berkeley Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity webpage.
  • VIDEO: Science for Parks, Parks for Science – created by UC Berkeley and the National Park Service during the national parks centennial, this video highlights the importance of science in, around, and for parks.
Image:  Sunrise over a mountain and lake Date:  Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 14:45 byline:  By Brett Israel, UC Berkeley Media relations Legacy:  section header item:  Date:  Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 14:45 headline_position:  Top Left headline_color_style:  Normal headline_width:  Long caption_color_style:  Normal caption_position:  Bottom Left

Climate video series: How will coastal cities adapt to sea level rise?

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 12:58
One of a series of TED-like videos about the impacts of climate change and UC Berkeley's role in addressing them
Categories: Science News

UC Berkeley taps former National Park Service director to lead new parks institute

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 06:00
Jonathan Jarvis, former director of the National Park Service, will lead the new Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity
Categories: Science News

Saguaro and other towering cacti have a scrambled history

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 14:25
Long lives of columnar cacti muddle scientists' efforts to understand the group's evolutionary history
Categories: Science News

MCB Annual Picnic 2017

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 15:22

Thanks to all faculty, staff, and researchers that attended our annual picnic this year!

Berkeley Food Institute podcast features CNR researchers

College of Natural Resources - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 13:27
The farm is full of native pollinators, such as this bumble bee.

Muller Ranch is full of native pollinators, such as this bumble bee. Images from BFI

“If honey bees disappeared tomorrow, we would definitely be compelled to change our farming system. We’d have to provide for the needs of native pollinators.” That’s Claire Kremen, a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, and a conservation biologist who studies biodiversity loss. Kremen was recently interviewed about California’s native pollinators on an episode of Just Food, a new podcast series from the Berkeley Food Institute (BFI).

Just Food is a six-part podcast series that investigates food justice and health in California. Produced in partnership with UC Berkeley’s Advanced Media Institute, the series’ first episode focused on efforts to promote equitable agriculture, and included an interview with Christy Getz, an associate Cooperative Extension specialist. Getz, who has been studying an organization called the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI), spoke about the challenges that many workers in agriculture face: “Farmworkers suffer from high rates of food insecurity so that’s kind of the paradox, that the very people who pick and harvest our food often can’t afford to eat that very food.” Efforts like the EFI aim to make farming healthier for workers and the environment through improving working conditions and farming habitats.

The podcast’s second episode, “Feeling the Sting: What Can Be Done to Protect Pollinators” featured Kremen as well as a local farmer and a beekeeper. Kremen addressed American agriculture’s reliance on honey bees—which aren’t native to the US—to pollinate crops. This has created a fragile ecosystem, according to Kremen: “Anytime you rely on only one thing, you have no buffer. It's kind of like the stock market—most people recognize that investing all of their assets into a single commodity is not a wise idea.”

To create more robust farming ecosystems, and to protect against disorders like colony collapse, Kremen calls for relying on a greater diversity of pollinators, including native pollinators. Additionally, farms need to create habitats in which native pollinators like green sweat bees can thrive. For many farms that focus on monoculture growing, this means incorporating natural plants and diversifying crops to include plants that bloom at different times of the year, providing food for native pollinators year round.

The podcast series will continue to tackle food justice and health issues in its upcoming episodes. Read more about the podcast and listen to episodes on BFI’s website.

Image:  Colin devotes much of his time tending to the farm’s honey bee hives. Date:  Friday, October 20, 2017 - 08:00 Legacy:  section header item:  Date:  Friday, October 20, 2017 - 13:15 headline_position:  Top Left headline_color_style:  Normal headline_width:  Long caption_color_style:  Normal caption_position:  Bottom Left

A mosquito’s secret weapon: a light touch and strong wings

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 15:00
Slow-motion video shows stealthy aerodynamic maneuvers of blood-laden mosquitoes
Categories: Science News

CNR experts on Northern California’s wildfires

College of Natural Resources - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 14:38

After an already fierce fire season across the state, October has been a devastating month for wildfires in Northern California, resulting in the destruction of than 6,700 homes and businesses in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties. The CNR community is sending thoughts of condolence and hope to those who have been affected. While firefighters work around the clock to evacuate communities and battle the flames, and as these counties look toward returning home and rebuilding, CNR’s faculty and researchers have been sharing research findings and strategies for wildfire management, as well as policy recommendations and concerns. Below are some of the interviews and commentaries in which CNR scientists offer advice, support, and policy direction.

Why California's wildfires, like everything else, keep getting worse
Cooperative Extension specialist Bill Stewart interview in Vice

California’s wildfires: why have they been so destructive?
Professor Scott Stephens in the New York Times

What to do if you’re trapped in a vehicle in the middle of a wildfire
Dean J. Keith Gilless in the Washington Post

San Francisco Is choking on a thick haze of smoke. These are the health risks
Professor Rachel Morello-Frosch in Buzzfeed

Op-ed: Spending more on fire suppression won’t reduce losses
Professor Scott Stephens in the San Francisco Chronicle

Why California needs more smart forestry
Cooperative Extension forest management specialist Richard B. Standiford in the Sacramento Bee

What needs to be done to stop wildfires in drought-killed forests
Assistant Cooperative Extension specialist Van Butsic on a recent report for the Public Policy Institute of California in News Deeply

More resources

Image:  Buildings engulfed in flames Date:  Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 14:15 Legacy:  section header item:  Date:  Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 14:15 headline_position:  Top Left headline_color_style:  Normal headline_width:  Long caption_color_style:  Normal caption_position:  Bottom Left News/Story tag(s):  Research News

Everything you need to know about sleep, but are too tired to ask

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:51
New book builds case that 'silent sleep-loss epidemic' is one of the 21st century's greatest public health challenges
Categories: Science News

Yartsev awarded Packard fellowship

Department of Bioengineering - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:49
Professor Michael Yartsev has been awarded one of only 18 prestigious 2017 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, to pursue new research into how our brains developed the ability to acquire language.
Categories: Science News

Astronomers strike cosmic gold

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 07:00
Gravitational wave detection and observation of its optical counterpart affirms theoretical prediction that heavy elements like gold and platinum are forged in neutron star collisions
Categories: Science News

Professor looks at Oakland: hip and at high risk for another big blaze

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 14:25
The odds are high that Oakland could experience yet another devastating wildfire, warns a professor in the College of Environmental Design.
Categories: Science News

Congratulations to Britt Koskella on being Awarded the 2018 Young Investigator Award!

Department of Integrative Biology - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 08:04

This award recognizes and rewards early career scientists for research excellence and potential in microbiology and infectious disease.

The American Academy of Microbiology is the honorific leadership group within the ASM, the world's oldest and largest life science organization. The mission of the Academy is to recognize scientists for outstanding contributions to microbiology and provide microbiological expertise in the service of science and the public. 


Categories: Science News

Congratulations to Caroline Williams for Being Presented with the George A. Bartholemew Award

Department of Integrative Biology - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 07:55

Each year the Division of Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry recognizes a young investigator for distinguished contributions to comparative physiology and biochemistry or to related fields of functional and integrative biology. The award offers the awardee a fantastic opportunity to communicate this research via a large lecture at this year's SICB conference.

Read More About it Here!

Categories: Science News