By Date

UC Researchers Receive New BRAIN Initiative Grant from NIH

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 11:34

A group of UC researchers received funding to build the NexGen 7T functional MRI (fMRI) that will "provide the highest resolution images of the brain ever obtained, able to focus on a region the size of a poppy seed."

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Debut of new video series on Berkeley’s climate change impact

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 08:45
William Collins examines the key culprits in climate change: carbon dioxide and “black carbon” from ordinary diesel combustion
Categories: Science News

Faculty Position in Vertebrate Evolutionary Biology

Department of Integrative Biology - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 08:25

The Department of Integrative Biology and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley invite applications for a full time (50% IB, 50% MVZ) tenure-track position in vertebrate evolutionary biology at the Assistant Professor/Assistant Curator level. Potential start date is July 1, 2018.

Categories: Science News

Surgical Innovations Accelerator Projects Harness Unique Talents of MTM Student Teams

Department of Bioengineering - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 15:49
At the heart of the UC Berkeley-UCSF Master of Translational Medicine program is a hands-on capstone project, where student teams work on developing medical technologies from idea to bedside. Learn more about three Surgical Innovations Accelerator projects at UCSF in Spring 2017.
Categories: Science News

Academia and Industry Intersect at MCB Industrial Affiliates Program (IAP) Symposium

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 16:01

What happens when academia and industry come together to share their passion for innovation and discovery? This synergy was sparked at the MCB Industrial Affiliates Program (IAP) inaugural symposium. 

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Another Noble Prize for the Fruit Fly

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 08:29

MCB Professor David Bilder contributed this piece to the New York Times, expressing the beauty and importance of basic research -- and how critical it is to continue the government's support of it.

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Garcia and Corn Receive NIH Director's New Innovator Awards

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 13:28

Assistant Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development Hernan Garcia and Assistant Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology Jacob Corn received New Innovator Awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The award supports highly creative, innovative research that could have implications for human health.

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New Gene Editing Advancement in CRISPR-Gold

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 19:14

A study co-authored by MCB and Chemistry Professor, and HHMI Investigator, Jennifer Doudna details a safer and more effective method of delivering CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology.

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Emeritus Professor Satyabrata Nandi Has Died

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 17:20

We have just learned that MCB Emeritus Professor Satyabrata Nandi passed away on July 29th, 2017 in his home in Berkeley at the age of 86. He received his PhD from UC Berkeley in 1957, and ultimately joined us as a faculty member. His career in cancer research and teaching spanned over 40 years and he is still remembered fondly in the department.  

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Student Spotlight: Kimberlie Le

College of Natural Resources - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 13:30

Kimberlie Le shares her experience in the CNR Honors Program, recalls conducting research in Taiwan, and tells us about the exciting new social venture she co-founded with her classmates.

Kimberlie Le in front of a particularly colorful mountain.

Kimberlie in Zhangye National Geopark in western China.

Kimberlie Le

4th year, Conservation and Resources Studies, Legal Studies, and Society & Environment, with minors in Food Systems and Music.

How do you see your majors and minors working together? Do they share any commonalities in how you approach these fields? 

As a competitive freestyle snowboarder, I have always been motivated to understand and protect our snowy mountain environments. My commitment to addressing environmental issues solidified during my gap year between high school and college when I taught and studied abroad in China, a place where I witnessed firsthand major air and water pollution. I entered Berkeley intending to study music and to just take other classes that interested me. As I was taking my breadth courses, I realized that there were large gaps in many of the analytical frameworks that are used in different disciplines to analyze environmental issues. In the end, I chose my majors and minors mostly to be able to gain a multidisciplinary view of how environmental issues are being understood and addressed from the scientific, economic, legal, and social points of view.

Kimberlie Le snowboarding Hitting the slopes in Park City, Utah.

One of the defining experiences during my time at Berkeley was the privilege of being able to travel abroad to conduct independent research in Taiwan through the CNR Honors Program. Through this experience interacting with and studying rivers in agricultural communities, I realized my passion for research that looks at issues within the globalized food system from an interdisciplinary perspective. I hope to be able to use all of the knowledge that I’ve acquired through my journey at Berkeley, both technical and theoretical, in my future studies and research. I think that the lenses that my three majors take to tackle food systems and environmental issues are very different. I hope that in my career I will be able to find an effective way to communicate and advocate for our environment to make legal and policy changes that positively impact our climate.

Could you tell us more about why you’re drawn to freestyle snowboarding?

Although I skated when I was a kid, I've always wanted to go faster and feel smaller in this huge world, and I dislike feeling trapped in an urban environment. Most of my high school experience was spent on the mountain where I learned how to effectively manage my time between school, training, and other extracurriculars such as teaching and music, both lifelong passions of mine. It's hard to describe why I snowboard, but I think that beyond the adrenaline rush and competition that keeps me going, the best way I can put it is that snowboarding gives me a way to be connected with nature and makes me feel small so I keep asking questions and finding answers. In a sense, my love for the mountains and snowboarding gave me drive and really motivated my path within science, which in my mind is the process of critical inquiry. Sometimes when I'm stuck inside most of the day, it seems like nature is small and distant, but when I'm on the slopes between large trees floating through fresh powder, there is a sense of harmony that is indescribable.

We heard that while you've been involved in a new social venture  - can you tell us about this project and how it came about?

I spent this past summer travelling throughout Asia working on a social venture that was born out of a course I took at Berkeley called Challenge Lab, which was sponsored by the Sutardja Center and the U.S. Department of State. The problem that we were tasked with solving was the lack of energy infrastructure in developing countries. The venture is called Povigo, which means “power” in Esperanto, a language spoken in more than 100 countries and often called a “universal language.” Povigo aims to connect artisan communities to consumers who want to make a direct impact by helping fund clean energy resources. My team came up with the idea by using the problem-solving skills, teamwork, and knowledge that we acquired through our time at Berkeley and we are really excited to see our work becoming a reality to impact the lives of others. Currently, we have a selection of teas and gift sets that were collected from our trip that can be purchased online via our website: www.povigo.org. Each of our products comes with a brief story and background about the regions we are targeting and how we are planning to help the communities in these areas. By purchasing these products, consumers can directly aid in the investment of much-needed clean energy resources for these communities. We will be using a community-based model to provide the clean energy resources which are essential to empower and educate future generations in these areas.

Kimberlie Le Conducting research in Shei-Pa National Park in central Taiwan.

What has been the most valuable part of studying at CNR?

One of the most valuable skills that I’ve learned from being in CNR is how to think critically and make decisions while also understanding and seeing different viewpoints. Something that was hard for me to learn was how there is rarely a clear-cut solution to issues and how critical inquiry is ever so important in a world where information is so readily available. Not only has the course content in my classes been helpful and thought-provoking, but my peers have inspired and motivated me throughout my journey at Berkeley.

What advice do you have for an incoming CNR student?

Make your own journey and don’t be afraid of being uncomfortable: Berkeley is a big place and it can be extremely overwhelming trying to figure out what you “should” be doing. I think it’s important to explore your personal interests and not get caught up trying to figure out what others are doing to try to fit in. There are tons of clubs, courses, and organizations on campus with most accepting students of all years and backgrounds. I’d also highly recommend studying abroad as it allows you to explore a new environment and forces you to get out of your comfort zone.

Make connections and take advantage of the resources that are available: Even as someone who is an extrovert, I found it hard and scary at first to approach and talk with my graduate student instructors and professors, but after you go to office hours a few times it becomes a lot easier. These connections were important for me as I have gotten invaluable help and advice about my academic and personal life. Professors and instructors have all been an undergraduate at some point in their lives, so they can relate! Cal is full of resources and people who are here to help students with everything from how to navigate scheduling to research resources. If you ever feel lost or want help finding resources, good sources of information are teaching staff, fellow students, and advisors.

Image:  Kimberlie Le in front of a particularly colorful mountain. Date:  Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 13:30 Legacy:  section header item:  Date:  Monday, October 2, 2017 - 13:30 headline_position:  Top Left headline_color_style:  Normal headline_width:  Long caption_color_style:  Normal caption_position:  Bottom Left News/Story tag(s):  Student Spotlights

Murthy shows efficient non-viral delivery of CRISPR machinery

Department of Bioengineering - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 12:23
Professors Niren Murthy and Irina Conboy are lead authors on a new study which demonstrates the delivery of CRISPR genome-editing molecules via nanoparticles rather than via viruses. They show that CRISPR components can be packaged around individual gold nanoparticles and wrapped in a protecting polymer, and that the nanoparticles deliver the CRISPR components into a wide variety of cells efficiently.
Categories: Science News

Michelle Chang: Manufacturing Bioplastics

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 18:16

The lab of MCB Associate Professor Michelle Chang has engineered E. coli to manufacture bioplastics from inorganic fluorides. The product is more durable than non-fluorinated commercial bioplastics, which could make bioplastic production more sustainable.

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New podcast explores people, places behind the food we eat

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 17:00
Just Food, explores issues from California’s dwindling bee populations to the impacts of Berkeley’s soda tax
Categories: Science News

Berkeley and Novartis collaborate to tackle ‘undruggable’ disease targets

College of Natural Resources - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 09:55

UC Berkeley has joined forces with Novartis to develop new technologies for the discovery of next-generation therapeutics. The partnership will pursue the vast number of disease targets in cancer and other illnesses that have eluded traditional small-molecule compounds and are considered “undruggable.”            

The collaboration establishes the Novartis-Berkeley Center for Proteomics and Chemistry Technologies, based in existing labs at Berkeley, and includes support for joint research projects between Berkeley and Novartis scientists. The projects harness covalent chemoproteomics technology that rapidly maps locations on protein targets—including those that have been considered undruggable–-where compounds could form lasting bonds while providing starting points for novel therapeutics.                  

“Never before have we been able to explore what we call the proteome, the totality of over 20,000 proteins in the body, with such breadth, depth, and speed,” said Daniel Nomura, director of the new center and an associate professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology. “Combining technology advances in proteomics and chemistry allows us to imagine creating compounds to bind every known protein in the body, especially those underlying serious diseases such as cancer.”                   

The alliance will also explore the potential of emerging therapeutics known as degraders, which involve the use of bifunctional molecules that bind to disease targets on one end and on the other end to a key component in a cell’s natural protein-disposal system. The collaborators plan to test whether the covalent chemoproteomics technology could aid in reducing the time required to create potential degraders from years to months.              

“Traditional drug compounds bind to proteins at places that cause them to malfunction, but many disease targets lack these functional binding locations,” said John Tallarico, head of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics at NIBR. “Degraders are different because they can bind to disease targets at non-functional sites and trigger the destruction of the target proteins, resulting in the interference of their function.”    

Other aspects of the collaboration include screening natural product compounds and using the covalent chemoproteomics system to discover their targets, understanding mechanism of action, and developing new platform technology enabling the discovery of compounds to bind to greater numbers of proteins.

“Novartis pioneers new therapeutic paradigms, creating definitive medicines for life-threatening diseases,” said Jay Bradner, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. “Our Berkeley alliance powerfully extends our ability to advance discovery of molecules aimed at the historically inaccessible drug targets.”                

Read more about the partnership on Novartis’s website.

Image:  Date:  Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 09:00 Legacy:  section header item:  Date:  Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 09:45 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

Ever wonder how to mount a moth?

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 13:01
Peter Oboyski, collections manager at the UC Berkeley Essig Museum of Entomology, demonstrates how to properly mount a moth.
Categories: Science News

Conboy lab describes first selective mammalian in vivo metabolic labeling of proteins in mixed environments,

Department of Bioengineering - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 11:39
Prof Irina Conboy's lab has pioneered a method that paves the way to characterization of proteome alterations in vivo, whether imposed by age or disease.This research was published in Nature Communications.
Categories: Science News

Herr Lab awarded 2017 Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot

Department of Bioengineering - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 10:33
Professor Amy Herr's lab has been awarded an R33 grant as part of the 2017 Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative. The grant will fund their work on "Advanced Cancer Classification via Single-Cell Electrophoretic Cytopathology."

The National Cancer Moonshot works to accelerate research efforts by enhancing data access and facilitating collaborations among researchers, doctors, philanthropies, patients, patient advocates, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. The initiative aims to bring about a decade’s worth of advances in five years.
Categories: Science News

MCB Postdoc Rutaganira Named HHMI Gray Fellow

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 17:21

Congratulations to Florentine Rutaganira (postdoc in Professor Nicole King's Lab), who has been named an HHMI Hanna Gray Fellow. HHMI’s Hanna H. Gray Fellows Program seeks to encourage talented early career scientists who have the potential to become leaders in academic research. Each of the 15 fellows will get up to $1.4M in funding covering Post-doc and assistant professor transitions.

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BioE tops 10 Best Master’s Degrees list

Department of Bioengineering - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 23:03
Bioengineering tops the new Forbes' Best And Worst Master's Degrees For Jobs In 2017 list! PayScale’s analysis shows that, among those with biomedical engineering master’s degrees, compensation leaps from $70,200 at the early-career stage to $129,300 by mid-career. These graduates also go on to derive high satisfaction and meaning from their jobs.
Categories: Science News