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Starving out an enemy of California agriculture

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 14:53
Starving out an enemy of California agriculturePowdery mildew can eat its way through an acre of grapes, among other valuable crops, in no time. UC Berkeley biologist Mary Wildermuth has identified plant genes that feed the destructive fungus and, as a Bakar Fellow, is working to apply her discovery to protect commercially viable crops through selective breeding.

Art in Science: A Berkeley perspective

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 02/25/2014 - 16:22
 A Berkeley perspectiveThe Feb. 27-28 exhibit, “Art-in-Science: The intersection of image and research,” drew record crowds to see sculpture, painting, photography, origami, multi-media and digital art by scientists and artists — now or formerly at UC Berkeley — whose works portray the artistic face of science. The exhibit was sponsored by Science@Cal and the EBI.

Doudna Awarded Lurie Prize

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Tue, 02/25/2014 - 14:56

Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology Jennifer Doudna has been awarded the 2014 Lurie Prize in the Biomedical Sciences from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

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Jennifer Doudna receives Lurie Award for gene editing breakthrough

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 02/25/2014 - 08:00
Jennifer Doudna receives Lurie Award for gene editing breakthroughJennifer Doudna, professor of molecular and cell biology, is the 2014 recipient of the Lurie Prize in the Biomedical Sciences from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. Doudna, who studies what she calls “the secret life of RNA,” will receive a medal and $100,000 honorarium on May 20 in Washington, D.C.

Free lab coats draw a crowd, as event continues through Thursday

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 02/24/2014 - 16:03
Free lab coats draw a crowd, as event continues through ThursdayMore than 1,000 campus lab researchers and staff got fitted for free lab coats, safety glasses and goggles at Memorial Stadium Monday. The four-day distribution event continues through Thursday, Feb. 27.

More Ph.D. students get sneak preview of non-academic careers

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 02/24/2014 - 10:00
More Ph.D. students get sneak preview of non-academic careersScientists spend a lot of time crunching numbers to draw conclusions from data. And so it's hardly surprising that Ph.D. students and postdoctoral researchers at last week's "Beyond Academia" career conference were doing just that. "The likelihood that we will land tenure-track positions is about 10 percent," said molecular biology postdoc Magda Strzelecka. “It would be great to have an academic job, but I want to be prepared in case it doesn’t work out.”

Chemical temporarily restores sight in blind mice

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 02/20/2014 - 15:35
Chemical temporarily restores sight in blind miceRichard Kramer, a professor of molecular and cell biology who developed a technique to get undamaged eye cells to take over the function of dead rods and cones, has found a new and better chemical that may one day restore sight to those with degenerative eye diseases. He and Ivan Tochitsky showed that the chemical could temporarily restore light-sensitivity to blind mice.

Bautista Itch Research in the News

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Wed, 02/19/2014 - 10:35

Research by Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology Diana Bautista was featured in an article about itching in the New York Times.

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NuSTAR takes first peek into core of supernova

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 02/19/2014 - 10:00
NuSTAR takes first peek into core of supernovaNASA's high-energy X-ray satellite NuSTAR has peered for the first time into the heart of an exploding star in the final minutes of its existence, providing details of the physics of the core explosion inaccessible until now, says team member Steven Boggs, professor and chair of physics.

Hurley Receives Protein Society Award

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Wed, 02/19/2014 - 09:40

Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology James Hurley is the recipient of the 2014 Hans Neurath Award awarded by the Protein Society. This award is given to an individual who has made "a recent contribution of unusual merit to basic research in the field of protein science."

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Seizing control of brain seizures

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 02/19/2014 - 08:25
Seizing control of brain seizuresAs a grad student at the Hebrew University, after serving in the Israeli army, Daniela Kaufer showed that extreme stress can break down the physiological barriers that normally protect the brain. The finding would eventually lead Kaufer, now a Bakar Fellow at Berkeley, to uncover a change in brain chemistry that triggers epileptic seizures.

I School’s Tapan Parikh named a 2014 Sloan Research Fellow

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 02/18/2014 - 16:53
I School’s Tapan Parikh named a 2014 Sloan Research FellowTapan Parikh thinks information tools like mobile phones can help transform the lives of poor people in rural India, Guatemala and other countries. He's a Sloan Foundation "rising star."

Peru’s Manu National Park sets new biodiversity record

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 02/18/2014 - 12:37
Peru’s Manu National Park sets new biodiversity recordWhen it comes to amphibian and reptile biodiversity, the eastern slopes of the Andes stand out. A new survey of 'herps' in and around Peru's Manu National Park, conducted by Berkeley postdoc Rudi von May and his colleagues, found greater biodiversity than in any protected area worldwide.

Campus launches Rose Hills Innovator Program

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 02/18/2014 - 12:36
Campus launches Rose Hills Innovator ProgramUC Berkeley has launched the Rose Hills Innovator Program, a new initiative to support distinguished early-career faculty in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The program aims to strengthen the efforts of campus researchers by providing seed support for projects with exceptionally high scientific promise and the potential to generate significant follow-on funding.

Lab coats being distributed free at Memorial Stadium this week

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 02/18/2014 - 08:27
Lab coats being distributed free at Memorial Stadium this weekThe Office of Environment, Health and Safety is distributing free personal-protective equipment to all campus lab researchers through Feb. 27 at Memorial Stadium. Researchers may register online for a half-hour time slot.

Geographic variation of human gut microbes tied to obesity

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 02/14/2014 - 08:04
Geographic variation of human gut microbes tied to obesityObese people have a different balance of microbes in their guts, researches have shown. Now UC Berkeley and University of Arizona researchers have found that people living in northern latitudes have a greater proportion of bacteria associated with obesity than do people living farther south.

Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, Caltech unite to boost number of minority Ph.D. students, faculty

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 02/13/2014 - 01:00
Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, Caltech unite to boost number of minority Ph.D. students, facultyThe California Alliance, led by UC Berkeley, is setting a new course for diversifying the postdoctoral and faculty ranks at top-tier research universities nationwide.

Rebecca Hernandez: ‘What I see can be me’

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 02/13/2014 - 00:55
Stanford Ph.D. student Rebecca Hernandez mentors other students but longs for a mentor to help her prepare for a career trajectory that leads to being a professor at a top-tier research university.

Sidney Hill: Physical sciences need minority students’ talents

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 02/13/2014 - 00:55
While in the first grade in his rural North Carolina town, Sidney Hill discovered what he said was the “sheer joy” of science while explaining in class the differences between a solid, a liquid and a gas. Science continued to wow him as he grew, providing him with realizations about the physical world around him, and the motivation to pursue […]

Jeremy Brown: Mentors make a difference

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 02/13/2014 - 00:55
 As a fifth-year Ph.D. student in geophysics at Stanford University, Jeremy Brown is pretty convinced of his career path. It’s not academia, he said, but the private sector, likely an oil or gas company where he could do energy exploration. “I’ve been really happy doing the Ph.D. It’s good to develop a research base, to tackle problems for a long […]