Divisions & Units - Biological Sciences

Giving Cas9 an ‘on’ switch for better control of CRISPR gene editing

January 10, 2019

UC Berkeley researchers, including molecular and cell biology David Savage, have now made CRISPR gene editing even more versatile by giving it an “on” switch, allowing users to keep the Cas9 gene editor turned off in all cells except its designated target.

Feisty hummingbirds prioritize fencing over feeding

January 2, 2019

Most hummingbirds have bills and tongues exquisitely designed to slip inside a flower. But some male hummers have traded efficient feeding for bills that are better at stabbing and plucking other hummingbirds as they fend off rivals for food and mates, according to new research led by Integrative Biology postdoc Alejandro Rico-Guevara and co-authored by Professor Robert Dudley.

Investing in the Biological Sciences

While our research is always advancing and our teaching is always improving, our core needs remain constant. It is our people – faculty and students – who bring excellence to Berkeley, so funding for faculty positions and graduate student fellowships are our very top priorities.



Dopamine’s yin-yang personality: It’s an upper and a downer

December 10, 2018

According to a new study authored by molecular and cell biology professor Stephan Lammelthe brain neurotransmitter dopamine has a yin-yang personality, mediating both pleasure and pain. 

Acrobatic geckos can even race on water’s surface

December 6, 2018

Geckos are renowned for their acrobatic feats on land and in the air, but a new discovery that they can also run on water puts them in the superhero category, says a University of California, Berkeley, biologist. The study was conducted by U.C. Berkeley graduate students Jasmine Nirody, now a biophysicist at Oxford and Rockefeller University, and Judy Jinn.

Meet our new faculty: Sabeeha Merchant, biology

November 26, 2018

Sabeeha Merchant, who received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is joining the faculty as a professor of biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology.

CRISPR co-inventor responds to claim of first genetically edited babies

November 26, 2018

In response to claims that the world’s first genetically edited babies have been born in China, Dr. Jennifer Doudna of UC Berkeley issued the following statement. Doudna is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair in Biomedical and Health Sciences and Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology at Berkeley. She is co-inventor of CRISPR-Cas 9 gene editing.

Rare fossil bird deepens mystery of avian extinctions

November 13, 2018

A 75-million-year-old fossil from a bird about the size of a turkey vulture, discovered in Utah in 1992 by University of California, Berkeley, paleontologist Howard Hutchison, lay relatively untouched in the University of California Museum of Paleontology at Berkeley until doctoral student Jessie Atterholt learned about it in 2009 and asked to study it. Atterholt and Hutchison collaborated with Jingmai O’Conner, the leading expert on enantiornithines, to perform a detailed analysis of the fossil, which is deepening a mystery as to why only one family of birds survived the extinction o

CRISPR opens door to new type of medicine: ‘genome surgery’

October 25, 2018

UC San Francisco doctors working closely with UC Berkeley scientists plan to edit their genomes to correct rare genetic mutations and slow or halt progression of their diseases. If successful, the trials will inaugurate a new era of “genome surgery” — the precision targeting of genetic defects in the genome, using CRISPR-Cas9 customized to individual patients. Such “bespoke” therapies can benefit small groups of individuals or families with particular genetic defects that would never be addressed by large pharmaceutical companies.