It is with great sadness that we report the passing of MCB Ph.D. graduate Cris Alvaro, who graduated in 2015. Cris was an exceptionally bright and talented scientist and a beloved member of the MCB Department. Cris identified as a trans and non-binary person and used the preferred pronouns they/them/their. Cris completed their graduate work with Dr. Jeremy Thorner, where they studied the signaling pathways that regulate pheromone responses in yeast. Cris’ most recent position was as an IRACDA Fellow and postdoc in Dr. Allan Basbaum’s lab in the Department of Anatomy at UCSF, where they studied how itch and pain signals are differentiated in the central nervous system. Cris was a ray of light in our community and will be sorely missed.
Below are articles from various sources about members of MCB and their research.
New technology developed by MCB Professor and HHMI Investigator Jennifer Doudna can be used to find signs of viral infections and cancers in snippets of DNA. This new tool, called DETECTR, has already been used to accurately identify two types of human papillomavirus (HPV) in human samples. In the future, DETECTR may become a reliable way of quickly diagnosing cancers and other illnesses.
A memorial celebration for long-time visiting scholar Ian Gibbons is planned for Sunday, February18, 2018 at his home in Orinda. He was recently honored with the Shaw Prize along with Ron Vale of UCSF for their "discovery of microtubule-associated motor proteins: engines that drive nerve cell growth and chromosome inheritance essential to human development." He was one of the true giants in his field and made many contributions to our understanding of biological motion. Ian passed away on January 30th at the age of 86.
In honor of UC Berkeley's "150 Years of Light" anniversary celebration, we're recognizing MCB & Chemistry Professor Emeritus Judith Klinman, a pioneer on the Berkeley campus. A talented scientist, Klinman is internationally known for her groundbreaking work on enzyme catalysis.
MCB Professor Daniel Rokhsar and other researchers have mapped the genomes for over 50 varieties of the genus Citrus to trace its origins and evolution over millions of years. Natural diversification and human breeding have played a large part in giving us the sweet and tangy fruit we enjoy at our tables today. Their work will allow breeders to create even more varieties. The paper was published online today in Nature.
Barbara J. Meyer, HHMI Investigator and GGD Professor, was awarded the Genetics Society of America's (GSA) 2018 Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal. It recognizes Dr. Meyer's lifetime achievement in the field of genetics and her groundbreaking work on chromosome behaviors that govern gene expression, development and heredity.
MCB Assistant Professors Helen Bateup and Elcin Unal are each recipients of American Association of Anatomists (AAA) Young Investigator Awards. Dr. Bateup received the C.J Herrick Award in Neuroanatomy and Dr. Unal the R.R. Bensley Award in Cell Biology for their important contributions to their respective fields.
HHMI Investigator and Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development Barbara J. Meyer was awarded the 2017 Francis Amory Prize in Medicine and Physiology by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. "She is being recognized for her breakthrough solutions to long standing mysteries about chromosomal expression and sex determination." Barbara will accept the prize and deliver remarks in Cambridge, MA on April 12, 2018.
New research from a team led by MCB Professor and HHMI Investigator Eva Nogales has provided new insights into the structure of PRC2, a complex of proteins that regulates gene silencing in cells. PRC2 is critical in understanding cell development and uncontrolled cell growth, and this research could lead to new developments in cancer therapies.
Former MCB Immunology professor and Director of the Cancer Research Lab at UC Berkeley, James P. Allison received the National Academy of Sciences 2018 Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal "for important medical discoveries related to the body's immune response to tumors." He is presently at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
MCB & Chemistry Professor Jennifer Doudna has received the 2018 Chemical Sciences award from the National Academy of Sciences. The award recognizes her "pioneering discoveries on how RNA can fold to function in complex ways” and her co-invention of CRISPR-Cas9 technology.
Research from the labs of MCB Professor Rebecca Heald and Associate Professor Daniel Nomura has revealed the cellular basis of hybrid incompatibility when closely related frog species are interbred.
This finding uncovers why the offspring of female African clawed frogs and male Western clawed frogs can survive, whereas offspring with the opposite set of parent species are incapable of living past the early stages of development.
Ming Hammond (Assistant Professor, MCB & Chemistry), Evan Miller (Assistant Professor, MCB & Chemistry), and David Savage (Associate Professor, MCB & Chemistry) have been "identified as representing the future of biochemistry" by the American Chemical Society.
Hammond, Miller, Savage, and 41 other early career biochemical scientists are featured in the January 2018 publication of Biochemistry.
Professor of MCB & Chemistry and HHMI Investigator Jennifer Doudna is overseeing a collaboration among the Innovative Genomics Institute at Berkeley and Mars Chocolate to apply CRISPR to cacao crops. As climate change warms and dries the rainforests where cacao plants thrive, researchers are looking for ways to produce crops that will better withstand environmental changes.
MCB Professor of Neurobiology and of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering David Schaffer and colleagues "have for the first time used CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to disable a defective gene that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, in mice, extending their lifespan by 25 percent."