Our department has much to celebrate and be thankful for this year, especially our extraordinary community!
Below are articles from various sources about members of MCB and their research.
Congratulations to DNA Sequencing Facility director Hitomi Asahara, whose provisional patent is now available for licensing from UC Berkeley IPIRA. The provisional patent improves Sanger sequencing elongation speeds during DNA sequencing.
Earlier this year, Asahara received a UC Berkeley SPOT award for improving the efficiency and lowering the costs of operations at the DNA Sequencing Facility.
New research from MCB Assistant Professor Stephan Lammel challenges the long-standing presumption that dopamine exists primarily as a reward in response to pleasurable stimuli. Instead, Lammel's findings indicate that dopamine has a "yin-yang" personality and is released in response to both pleasurable and displeasurable stimuli as a means of changing neural circuits. Those changes then train the brain to either pursue or avoid those stimuli.
This new understanding of the function of dopamine can lead to new approaches in treating certain neurological disorders affected by dopamine, such as Parkinson's and substance addiction.
Congratulations to Hillel Adesnik, Xavier Darzacq, and Polina Lishko on their promotions to MCB Associate Professors!
Hillel Adesnik studies the dynamics of neural circuits underlying information processing in the cerebral cortex. His lab seeks to understand how cortical microcircuits process sensory information to drive behavior.
Xavier Darzacq studies transcription regulation during cellular differentiation. The Tjian-Darzacq group focuses on the role imposed by nuclear architecture on the molecules regulating transcription, and have developed new techniques to study the organization of proteins in the nucleoplasm.
Polina Lishko studies cell biology of mammalian fertilization. Her research on human sperm cell motility may lead to new forms of male contraceptives.
A new study from MCB Associate Professor & HHMI Investigator Andreas Martin reveals how proteasomes convert energy into mechanical motion to break down and recycle proteins. This research on the mechanism of proteasomes could improve treatment of diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and cancer.
It is with great sadness we report the passing of Jack Kirsch, who served as a Professor of MCB and Chemistry from 1964 to 2006 and as a Professor of the Graduate School in retirement. Jack was an esteemed scientist and a pillar of the campus community who will be greatly missed by all who knew and worked with him.
Jack received the UC Berkeley Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorship in 2016, a prestigious award that recognizes dedicated Emeriti who have made outstanding and far-reaching contributions to teaching, research, and public service. The award epitomizes the remarkable impact Jack had on the Cal community, from his groundbreaking research career in the field of biochemistry to his passion for teaching a freshman seminar titled "Sampling the Performing Arts at Berkeley."
In this time of loss, we as a community must remember how fortunate we are to have been influenced by Jack's great legacy. We offer our condolences to Jack's family and close friends.
New research published in Science by MCB Professor and HHMI Investigator Eva Nogales pushes the limits of cryo-electron microscopy with freeze-frames of TFIID, a critical gene transcription molecule. TFIID, or transcription factor IID, is a relatively large protein with a structure that had been difficult to capture prior to the research.
These more detailed images "could help drug designers create drugs that interfere with the molecule’s structural changes in order to tweak the expression of a gene that is causing disease."
Congratulations to MCB Professor Susan Marqusee for becoming a 2019 Miller Senior Fellow! The fellowship supports excellence in science at UC Berkeley by enhancing interactions among Miller Institute Fellows, all of whom are accomplished and distinguished scientists in their field. It also provides significant discretionary funds for research.
MCB has been busy!
Learn about our recent research endeavors, read about the new CRISPR course, catch up on community happenings, and much more...
The Immunotherapeutics and Vaccine Research Initiative (IVRI) is partnering with Aduro Biotech to fund exploration into new cures for cancers and infectious diseases.
“It’s a successful example of private academic with public industry partnership… We managed to generate a really good platform for research,” said Julia Schaletzky, Executive Director of IVRI.
MCB Professor David Raulet serves as Faculty Director of IVRI. According to Raulet, the partnership is unique for two reasons: it unites infectious disease researchers and cancer immunologists, and it funds basic science instead of research into particular cancers or diseases.
On November 5, UC Berkeley hosted the 2019 Breakthrough Prize Symposium. The event hosts talks from some of the world's brightest minds at the forefront of fundamental physics, life sciences and mathematics.
Professor of MCB & Chemistry Jennifer Doudna, recipient of the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in life sciences, spoke on recent breakthroughs in CRISPR research. Her presentation, titled Recoding Life: The Future of Gene Editing, can be viewed here.
MCB Professor Daniel Rokhsar has been appointed to the Marthella Foskett Brown Chair in Biological Sciences. The Chair supports faculty research in quantitative and systems biology.
Congratulations to MCB & Chemistry Professor Jennifer Doudna, who is one of five recipients of this year's Medal of Honor from the American Cancer Society! Medal of Honor recipients are "distinguished individuals who have made valuable contributions in the fight against cancer through basic research, clinical research and cancer control."
Professor Doudna joined four others in receiving the award at a ceremony today in Washington, DC: former Vice President Joe Biden, CRISPR co-inventor Emmanuelle Charpentier, geneticist Charis Eng, and cancer researcher Michael Thun.
Two new publications from MCB Professor David Raulet and collaborators focus on the role of natural killer cells in anti-tumor responses. Natural killer cells are a type of white blood cell that have an important role in defending against virally infected cells and tumors.
The first, published in Journal of Clinical Investigation, demonstrated that checkpoint inhibitors, a well-established cancer immunotherapy, have the ability to activate natural killer cells. In the future, researchers hope to better understand the factors that influence natural killer cell activation for use in improved immunotherapies. Read more...
The second paper, published in Immunity, is a collaboration with the lab of MCB Professor Russell Vance. It shows that cGAMP from tumors promotes natural killer anti-tumor immune responses. Read more...
A new paper from the lab of Professor of MCB & Chemistry and HHMI Investigator Jennifer Doudna identifies and details the power of the smallest CRISPR system found to date, Cas14. CRISPR-Cas14 was first discovered in archaea with some of the smallest known genomes and is especially effective in editing viral genes or genes in small cells.
Due to its effectiveness in targeting and cutting single-stranded DNA, researchers have identified Cas14's potential use in improving rapid CRISPR diagnostic tests for ailments such as cancer and infectious diseases.