An Introduction | Plant & Microbial Biology | University of California, Berkeley

Uploaded by UCBerkeleyPMB on 25.06.2012

Welcome to Berkeley. My name is John Taylor and I am a professor at the Department of
Plant & Microbial Biology at Berkeley, also known as PMB. We offer outstanding educational
opportunities to both undergrads and graduates. Of course, we think both our programs in Plant
Biology and Microbial Biology are the best and so do others, among them the National
Research Council. Well, I think the great advantage of being at UC Berkeley is the fact
that so many different types of people who come here, so many different points of view
that are expressed and that are out there that allow for great interactions between
people for a very unusual sort of contribution that can be had. The University of California,
Berkeley is a very exciting place to be, scientifically, technically, intellectually, and that’s
a real gift to be in a place like UC Berkeley both for myself and my postdocs and graduate
students. There are many opportunities here for seminars, for interactions with other
colleagues both within the PMB department and those outside this department.
It’s hard to underestimate the importance of plants. They support the rest of life through
food, oxygen, shade and shelter. With plants, we have interesting and important work for
people to unravel their fundamental mysteries all the way from flower evolution to the intricacies
of epigenetics, translate that knowledge to feeding the world and teach the next generation
of plant biologist. The same can be said about microbes, for viruses, bacteria, algae, and
fungi make up the majority of planetary biomass and play a fundamental role in maintaining
biosphere health. Here, you can study the basics of development, mutualism, pathogenesis
and evolution or translate that knowledge into remediating polluted land and water,
creating biofuels, and learning to teach microbiology to our undergrads. Of course, each of our
scientists specializes. Taken as a whole however, our department covers a wide swath of science,
including Ecology & Evolution, Genomics & Computational Biology, Plant and Microbial Genetics & Development,
Physiology & Biochemistry, Biophysics and at the interface of our program, plant and
microbe interactions. We’re also serious about translating our knowledge to address
society’s need in energy, pollution and food. Our faculty works in biofuels, in vitro
photosynthesis, and bioremediation by microbes & plants and we also offer an outstanding
program for the cooperative extension of biotechnology. We benefit greatly from our location in the
San Francisco Bay Area where we work closely with researchers across campus and at the
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC San Francisco, UC Davis and Stanford University.
In fact, many of faculty holds joint appointments with nearby bay area research institutions.
Our closest relationship is with the nearby USDA Plant Gene Expression Center in Albany,
California, joined by the Energy Biosciences Institute on campus and the DOE’s Joint
Genome Institute and the Joint BioEnergy Institute in Walnut Creek, JGI and JBEI. You know, we
all manage we talk together and set up collaboration when it looks like it will push things forward
and so coming to this area of the country, this particular area, is another, it just
provides an amazing resource of all kinds of people doing things that could be helping
you out. Our facilities are superb. In addition to our labs in Koshland Hall, we have greenhouses,
agricultural fields and access to national reserves. Our libraries lever the electronic
resources of the entire University of California system and if you can’t find it online,
we have the Marian Koshland Biosciences Library. Our faculty and facilities may be the best,
but the most important ingredient in education is the student. We are always looking for
outstanding undergraduates to major in Plant Biology and Microbial Biology and outstanding
graduates to join our doctoral program. Admission to graduate program is competitive and those
admitted rotate through several labs during their first year to taste the variety of research
opportunities before choosing a lab and project that excites them most. I want to reiterate
the importance of students to our program. All our experience has taught us that students
have the best new ideas and the energy to carry them out. If you are excited as we are
about research and teaching with plants and microbes or both, we want to see you as a
member of PMB. In the shot that follow, we have put the URLs for our websites but if
you remember “PMB” and “Berkeley,” you can always search for us on the internet.