Divisions & Units - Biological Sciences

Fertilizer destroys plant microbiome’s ability to protect against disease

July 26, 2018

A new study of the role microbial communities play on the leaves of plants suggests that fertilizing crops may make them more susceptible to disease.

UC Berkeley biologists found that spraying tomatoes with microbes from healthy tomatoes protected them from disease-causing bacteria, but that fertilizing the tomatoes beforehand negated the protection, leading to an increase in the population of pathogenic microbes on the plants’ leaves.

Flies meet gruesome end under influence of puppeteer fungus

July 31, 2018

"In their death throes, the infected flies – like puppets on a string – obligingly climb to a high point and spread their wings, exposing their abdomen and allowing the fungus to shoot its spores as widely as possible to infect new flies." Read more...

DNA repair after CRISPR cutting not at all what people thought

July 30, 2018

Despite high hopes and high investment in CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, scientists still have a lot to learn about how it works in humans. Read more...

Podcast: A biology prof on growing up gay in rural Minnesota

July 3, 2018

Noah Whiteman, an associate professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, has always known how to survive. He grew up in a rural area in Minnesota, hiding that he was gay. When a boy he’d been friends with started to bully him at every chance he got, Noah knew it was time to get out.

Tiny fossils give clues to origins of human social structure

June 22, 2018

A new study suggests that our distant ancestors actually had such nails, known as grooming claws. Read more...

A new College of Natural Resources dean: David Ackerly

June 12, 2018

David Ackerly, a professor of integrative biology, has been named as the next dean of UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources (CNR). David joined the faculty of the Department of Integrative Biology in 2005, and has served as associate dean of the College of Letters and Science’s Biological Sciences Division since 2016. He will assume his new role as dean of CNR on July 1, 2018.

Soil prospecting yields wealth of potential antibiotics

June 13, 2018

Soil, the source of our best antibiotics, can be more thoroughly mined for new drugs and other useful chemicals with the help of metagenomics, according to UC Berkeley scientists.

Jennifer Doudna shares 2018 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience

May 31, 2018

The Kavli Prize in Nanoscience, given every other year by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the Kavli Foundaion, was awarded this year to Jennifer Doudna and two colleagues who developed the powerful nanoscale tool CRISPR-Cas9 to edit DNA. The $1 million award will be shared by Doudna, a professor of molecular and cell biology and of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Society and Virginijus Šikšnys of the Institute of Applied Enzymology in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Rehabilitating lactate: from poison to cure

May 23, 2018

Integrative biology professor George Brooks, who discovered the key role lactate plays during exercise, says that it also plays a vital role in recovery from disease.