Graduate Program | Plant & Microbial Biology | University of California, Berkeley

Uploaded by UCBerkeleyPMB on 30.06.2011

My name is Robbie Calderon and I work in Kris Niyogi’s Lab. I study how Photosystem II,
which is one of the components of photosynthesis, as the name would implied, gets assembled
from its constituent parts and co-factors, all these proteins and pigments that make
it up. My name is Veder Garcia and I am a graduate student in the lab of Professor Sheng
Luan. In general terms, what we are trying to do is to investigate the mechanisms of
how photosynthetic components are assembled and maintained in plants. I’m Emily Whiston.
I’m in John Taylor’s Lab. I study Coccidioides, which is a mammalian fungal pathogen that’s
potentially fatal in healthy human adults. Practically speaking, why we are interested
in this stuff, is because if we can understand how nature assembled Photosystem II, that
has a lot of implications for doing these things from a bioengineering standpoint. In
the long term, this kind of project would benefit society in a way, for example, with
global warming, for instance, because plants produce carbon dioxide so if we are able to
develop plants that are efficient at capturing more energy and using it, we could have plants
absorbing more carbon dioxide. Part of the goal of the research is looking at potential
vaccine candidates. I chose UC Berkeley because I really like the area and really like the
researchers here. I chose UC Berkeley, not only because it’s a top school, but also
because of the great opportunities it has for grad students. I’ve really had great
experiences with everyone in the department, from department retreats to happy hours to
seminars. I think more specifically PMB, because I thought I was attracted to PMB because of
the extensive research areas that is has. I remember interviewing at a couple other
places that were, it was much more uptight I guess. Everyone is just really fun to be
around. And, of course, everyone is scientifically really smart. One thing I should mention is
that when I came in for the interview weekend I felt that I was welcomed by the faculty
and students and so I would say I chose UC Berkeley and specifically PMB because I felt
a sense of community in this department.