Department News

Below are articles from various sources about members of MCB and their research.

A pressure cooker with windows? That was the basic idea behind the bubble chamber, a powerful instrument for the study of atomic particles that led to a 1960 Nobel Prize in Physics for its inventor, UC Berkeley professor Donald Glaser.

December 03, 2004

UC Berkeley has been ranked as the second best University in the world in a survey by the Times Higher Education Supplement, a remarkable achievement for a public university.

The complete ranking are available at

November 15, 2004

Crammed inside every human cell are numerous strands of chromosomal DNA that, if laid end-to-end, would span a distance of about two meters. A special enzyme mechanically untangles the DNA, keeping our chromosomes from resembling a string of Christmas tree lights jammed into a box after the holiday. Someday, biochemist James Berger's efforts to understand the same enzyme in cancer cells could lead to new tumor-fighting drugs.

November 05, 2004

Assistant Professor Lu Chen has been awarded the prestigeous Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

For more information see:

Official Packard Announcement

November 01, 2004

Professor Hiroshi Nikaido will present this year's Roger Y. Stanier Memorial Lecture on Thursday November 4 in 100 Genetics & Plant Biology Building.

October 26, 2004

What happens when you touch a hot pan on the stove? You probably yell and yank your hand away. Between the sizzle and the scream though, an amazingly fast and complex cascade of cellular communication occurs inside your body.

To study the electrical intricacies of the nervous system, neurobiologist Ehud Isacoff is developing new optical methods that enable scientists to watch the cellular symphony unfold at the nanoscale.

October 19, 2004

The Department of Molecular and Cell Biology is seeking applications for four faculty positions.

Applications should include a curriculum vitae; a list of publications; a brief description of research accomplishments; a statement of research objectives and teaching interests; and reprints of three most significant publications. Please arrange to have three letters of reference sent to the address below. Applicants are expected to join the faculty July 1, 2005 or thereafter.

October 05, 2004


Four years ago, a new weapon in the war on cancer made it to clinical trials accompanied by headlines and hope. Gleevec, a drug manufactured by Novartis, appeared to selectively turn off a specific cancer-causing protein like a light switch, stopping the progress of a severe form of leukemia in its tracks.

September 21, 2004
Assistant Professor Michael Eisen (Genetics & Development) was honored along with 4 other UC Berkeley junior faculty with the 2003 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers at a ceremony at the White House on September 9, 2004.

The Presidential Early Career Award (PECASE) is the nation's top honor for scientists at the beginning of their careers.

September 17, 2004

One way to disrupt a mechanical process is to throw a wrench into the works. This also holds true for viruses, biological parasites that hijack a cell's reproductive mechanisms to replicate themselves. The key though to successful sabotage is knowing precisely where to toss the wrench.

September 08, 2004
Professor Jeremy Thorner has received the 2004 L&S Distinguished Research Mentoring of Undergraduates Award and Professor Gary Firestone has been awarded the 2004 Rhoda H. Goldman Award for Distinguished Faculty Advising of Undergraduates.

The Distinguished Research Mentor award is designed to honor faculty members in the College of Letters & Science who have performed exceptional service as research mentors for undergraduate students.

September 08, 2004

When UC Berkeley biologist Nipam Patel was searching for a new crustacean to study, one of his graduate students paid a visit to a large public aquarium. Rather than select an organism from one of the breeding tanks, the student sifted through the aquarium's filter system.

August 24, 2004

A University of California, Berkeley, chemist has put a new twist on the standard chemistry experiment: Instead of using a test tube or flask, she mixes and reacts chemicals in living organisms.

Carolyn Bertozzi's innovative approach involves chemicals that don't interact with the molecules in the body, only with each other. But her in vivo chemistry has great potential for studying cells in living organisms and creating new diagnostics, and perhaps treatments, for disease.

August 18, 2004

University of California, Berkeley, biochemist Hiroshi Nikaido, M.D., has received the 14th annual Bristol-Myers Squibb "Freedom to Discover" Award for Distinguished Achievement in Infectious Diseases Research.

Nikaido, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at UC Berkeley, was recognized for his groundbreaking contributions to understanding the mechanisms of bacterial resistance to antibiotics and insights that have led to the design of more effective antibiotics.

July 15, 2004