Fall 2015 New and Noteworthy

new and noteworthy
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Professor Jennifer Doudna
Photo: Keegan Houser
Professor Jennifer Doudna was one of only five women world-wide to receive a 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science. She also received three awards with collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier for CRISPR-Cas9, their gene-editing technology: the 2015 Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, which recognizes research findings and/or inventions that are an outstanding contribution to the progress and welfare of humanity; the 2015 Gruber Genetics Prize, which recognizes groundbreaking work that inspires and enables fundamental shifts in knowledge and culture; and the 2015 Massry Prize, which recognizes significant contributions to biomedical science originating in studies of the immune system of bacteria.
Watch her recent Ted Talk!

Professor Michael Marletta
MCB welcomes back Professor Michael Marletta, who studies protein function and enzyme reaction mechanisms to find molecular answers to complex functions in biology.

Professor Christopher Chang
Photo: Mark Hanson
Howard Hughes Investigator and Professor Christopher Chang received one of three 2015 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists in honor of his discoveries in chemistry that span both neuroscience and energy science.

Professor Polina Lishko
Photo: Mark Hanson
Assistant Professor Polina Lishko was selected as a 2015 Pew Scholar, a program for investigators of outstanding promise in science relevant to the advancement of human health. She also received the Biophysical Society's 2016 Margaret Oakley Dayhoff Award for her pioneering, creative work on sperm physiology. The award recognizes prominent or highly promising women who are early in their careers in biophysical research.

Professor Stephan Lammel
Photo: Mark Hanson
Assistant Professor Stephan Lammel received the 2015 Regents' Junior Faculty Fellowship, a competitive award on campus that frees young faculty to devote their summers exclusively to research, independent study, or improving their teaching effectiveness. He also received a 2015 Brain Research Foundation seed grant to pursue drug addiction research.

Professor Terry Machen
Photo: Mark Hanson
Professor Gian Garriga
Professors Terry Machen and Gian Garriga received 2015-2016 Presidential Chair Fellows Curriculum Enrichment Grants from the UC Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning. They will revamp the Biology 1A and 1B sequence, ensuring consistency across instructors as well as coordination of lectures and labs across the curriculum.

Professor Gloria Brar
Photo: Mark Hanson
Professor Elçin Ünal
Photo: Mark Hanson
Assistant Professors Gloria Brar and Elçin Unal received 2015 March of Dimes Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Awards, which fund young investigators working to prevent birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Brar also was one of 41 faculty nationwide to receive the NIH Director's 2015 New Innovator Award.

Professor Eva Nogales
Photo: Mark Hanson
Howard Hughes Investigator and Professor Eva Nogales received the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's 2016 Mildred Cohn Award in Biological Chemistry, which honors scientists for innovative, pioneering physical approaches that have led to substantial advances in understanding biological chemistry.

Professor Ahmet Yildiz
Photo: Mark Hanson
Assistant Professor Ahmet Yildiz received the American Society for Cell Biology's 2015 ASCB-Gibco Emerging Leaders Prize for driving cell biology into exciting and emerging fields by advancing the field of single molecule biophysics.

Professor Evan Miller
Photo: Mark Hanson
Assistant Professor Evan Miller received the International Chemical Biology Society's 2015 Young Chemical Biologist Award, which recognizes young investigators who have made ground-breaking contributions to chemical biology.

Juan-Pablo Castillo
Postdoctoral Researcher Juan-Pablo Castillo, who works with Professor Carlos Bustamante, was selected as a 2015 Pew Latin American fellow, a program that promotes exchange and collaboration between investigators in the United States and Latin America.

Professor James Allison
Photo: Lasker Foundation
Former Professor James Allison received the 2015 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for his groundbreaking work at MCB and Berkeley’s Cancer Research Lab in the 1990s, when he discovered and developed a monoclonal antibody therapy that unleashes T cells to fight cancer. Considered to be America’s Nobel, the Lasker Award is among the most prestigious science prizes in the world. Allison's research led to a fundamentally new "immunotherapy" strategy for treating malignancies, and holds great promise to thwart diverse cancers because it targets immune cells rather than specific tumors. The clinically-approved drug developed from Allison’s work, Ipilimumab, has already benefited — and possibly even cured – thousands of people with advanced melanoma, a disease that typically used to kill people in less than a year.

MCB Chairships

MCB Chairships

Professor Kathy Collins
Photo: Mark Hanson
Professor Kathleen Collins has been appointed to the Walter and Ruth Schubert Family Chair, which was established in 1991 to support teaching and research in the general area of biochemistry and molecular biology within MCB.

Professor Jeff Cox
Professor Jeffery Cox has been appointed to the C.H. Li Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Endocrinology, which was established in 1992 to assist scientists in work on chemistry and biology of pituitary hormones and their target organs.

Professor David Raulet
Photo: Mark Hanson
Professor David Raulet is the first holder of the Esther and Wendy Schekman Chair in Basic Cancer Biology, which honors and supports eminent faculty members for their work and distinction in the field of basic cancer biology.

Outstanding Postdocs

The Department of Molecular and Cell Biology recently announced its 2015 Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellows...

Alex Iannello
Photo: Mark Hanson
Alexandre Iannello, nominated by Professor David Raulet, has identified critical new steps in the signaling pathway underlying oncogene-induced tumor senescence, and mechanisms whereby senescent tumors recruit natural killer cells that result in tumor elimination. He is an efficient researcher who thinks carefully about approaches and experimental design, and is a generous collaborator.

Yumi Kim
Photo: Mark Hanson
Yumi Kim, nominated by Professor Abby Dernburg, has made dramatic strides toward understanding the organization and regulation of meiotic chromosomes, and has answered longstanding mysteries in the field. She is a dauntless experimentalist, and holds herself and her work to an extremely high standard.

David Taylor
David Taylor, nominated by Professors Jennifer Doudna and Eva Nogales, studies the structure and function of CRISPR gene-editing complexes in bacteria. He is enthusiastic, intellectually intense, and a true team player, and has all the capabilities necessary to accomplish great things as a researcher and as a future mentor.

Professor Ehud Isacoff
Photo: Mark Hanson
Peter Walentek, nominated by Professor Richard Harland, has done key experiments on the formation of ciliated epidermis in the frog embryo. He is creative and rigorous, and has a great work ethic, and is a terrific mentor and discussant to others in the lab.

Franz Weber
Franz Weber, nominated by Professor Yang Dan, has discovered an important neural mechanism for promoting REM sleep as well as a new brain area for promoting NREM sleep. He is thoughtful, hardworking and highly efficient, as well as being a fantastic colleague, and has inspired several undergraduates to pursue careers in research.

A lot more has happened recently!

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