I hope you enjoy our inaugural edition of the MCB at Berkeley Newsletter. MCB was born almost ten years ago, and we have grown to such an extent that I felt it was necessary to create a vehicle of communication connecting the Divisions of our far-flung enterprise. In addition, we have trained a generation of students and fellows who have gone on to their own careers and who may be interested in the current affairs of our Department. We intend to publish the Newsletter once a semester to provide a survey of the Department's student and faculty research and training activities that have made this Department the largest academic unit on campus. This first issue covers the news from the 1997-98 academic year.
Among the highlights of the year are the significant honors and achievements that our students and faculty have garnered (see pages 9-12). Also, MCB is expanding its interactions with other departments on campus. Two of the new MCB faculty have joint appointments (see pages 2-3), and MCB is leading the effort to establish a Center for Neuroscience which will unite faculty from various departments (see page 8).
We have had a tremendous year recruiting graduate students and new faculty. Our Graduate Admissions Committee, under the academic and administrative leadership of David Drubin and Eileen Bell, has enrolled a new class of 45 students, 10 of whom have independent fellowships (NSF, HHMI, DOD, and University). Congratulations to the faculty and student members of the Graduate Admissions Committee and the Graduate Affairs Unit staff for another outstanding year. Although it is premature to make a public announcement, we have every indication that our faculty recruitment for 1998-99 will also be a smashing success. As of this writing, it appears that we will secure 4 or 5 new faculty, each one the top choice of the relevant faculty search committees. Our success in recruiting comes, in part, from the enthusiasm we communicate to our prospective students and faculty. Thanks to all who have pitched in.
I particularly wish to acknowledge my predecessors, Co-Chairs John Gerhart and Alex Glazer and before them Gunther Stent, who led the Department through the worst days of the California recession. Each year of their term brought a shrinking state budget and a declining faculty census brought about by early retirements. In spite of these limiting financial and personnel resources, they managed to staff courses and provide administrative services for an increased undergraduate enrollment and for an expanding effort to secure extramural support. Now that the recession is over and the State and the University are being more generous with resources, I look back with respect at the ability of John, Alex, and Gunther not only to keep us afloat, but to allow us to prosper as a department.
We were all greatly saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Marian Koshland (see page 4-5). Marian represented the best of citizenship and scholarship here at Cal and in the larger academic arena. She continued to teach, supervise research, and serve as Head of the Graduate Affairs Unit even as she labored in declining health. I must recount a personal anecdote concerning my initial encounter with Marian. The Koshland's invited me to a party at their home shortly after I arrived in Berkeley in 1976. The Biochemistry Department had just returned from its annual Asilomar retreat where Dan and I had enjoyed our first encounter of the humorous kind on stage in front of our colleagues. Marian's first words to me were: "Dan tells me you're funny; OK, Schekman, make me laugh!" I knew from that moment that Marian would expect nothing less than precision in my science and my humor! We remember her fondly, and applaud the decision of our campus administration to rename the Bioscience and Natural Resources Library in her honor.
Finally, I want to thank Laura Williams, our Newsletter editor. Laura is a PhD graduate of ours from the Kane/Chamberlin lab who has decided to make a career in scientific publishing. Laura gained experience as the editor of the Women in Cell Biology column in the American Society for Cell Biology Newsletter. I am certain that her efforts here will set high standards for future MCB at Berkeley Newsletters.
Have a good summer.