Department News

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

autism research

New research from the lab of MCB Professor Daniel Feldman challenges the common assumption that lack of inhibition or too much excitation in neurons cause the disease symptoms of autism.

“Many groups are searching for ways to increase inhibition in the brain... on the assumption that increasing inhibition will restore the brain back to normal,” said Feldman. “But actually, our results suggest that loss of inhibition might represent a useful compensation that the brain is doing, or might be unrelated to disease symptoms.”


January 22, 2019
Fly through the Fly Brain

A remarkable new 3D map of the fly brain from the lab of MCB Professor & HHMI Investigator Eric Betzig allows researchers to visit any of the fly's 40 million synapses – and took only 3 days to produce.

This rapid 3D imaging technique may ultimately allow researchers to judge strength of neural connections and trace those involved in decision-making and memory, among many other uses. Watch the video >

January 17, 2019

CRISPR Summer 2019 course flyerUndergraduates: Here’s your chance to gain hands-on experience working with CRISPR technology! Enroll in our unique Summer 2019 workshop and learn the CRISPR research essentials.

Sponsored by Innovative Genomics Institute.

January 15, 2019
Drubin at JPMHC19

UC Berkeley MCB hosted its 2nd annual networking reception for over 100 MCB alumni and friends working in the healthcare, biotechnology, and financial industries during the 37th annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco earlier this week. The reception was a time to catch up with old classmates and faculty, make new connections with various Cal alumni (Chemistry, EECS and Bioengineering), and meet industry professionals from innovative companies wanting to create new ties. Continue reading >

January 11, 2019
Cas9 molecule

New research from MCB Associate Professor David Savage and MCB & Chemistry Professor Jennifer Doudna shows that an enzyme called ProCas9 can be used to target specific cells during CRISPR gene editing.

“This is an extra layer of security you could put on the molecule to ensure accurate cutting,” said Savage.


January 10, 2019
Happy Holidays from MCB!

Our department has much to celebrate and be thankful for this year, especially our extraordinary community!

Watch the 2018 holiday video and read the MCB Co-Chairs message here...

December 22, 2018

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.

December 19, 2018

MCB Professor Ellen LumpkinWe are excited to announce Ellen Lumpkin will join the MCB faculty in the Division of Cell & Developmental Biology this July.

Dr. Lumpkin is currently an Associate Professor of Somatosensory Biology (in Dermatology) and of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University. She is also the co-director of the Thompson Family Foundation Initiative in CIPN & Sensory Neuroscience.



December 19, 2018

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.


December 10, 2018

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.

December 05, 2018

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.


December 04, 2018

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.

Read Jack's obituary here

November 20, 2018

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."


November 20, 2018

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.


November 20, 2018
Fall 2018 MCB Newsletter

MCB has been busy!

Learn about our recent research endeavors, read about the new CRISPR course, catch up on community happenings, and much more...

Read it here now!

November 16, 2018