Divisions & Units - Biological Sciences

Highlighting a brain scientist’s thought-provoking legacy

Berkeley brain scientist Marian Diamond may be best remembered by the general public for carrying a real human brain around in a hat box during her 55 years on campus. Alumnus Ron Hammer, however, remembers Diamond for sparking his lifelong interest in neurobiology and for mentoring him as a student researcher in her lab.

Saguaro and other towering cacti have a scrambled history

October 23, 2017
According to Noah Whiteman, a UC Berkeley associate professor of integrative biology who is a coauthor of a paper appearing this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the cactus family tree and the giant cacti in particular – the giant saguaro, organ pipe, senita and cardón, also called the Mexican giant cactus – have been very difficult to trace.

$65.5 million from NIH to create brain atlas

October 23, 2017
UC Berkeley is partnering with the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle on a $65.5 million, five-year effort to count, catalog and connect the many different cell types in the mouse brain, as a foundation for doing the same for the human brain.

A mosquito's secret weapon: a light touch and strong wings

October 18, 2017
Scientists have found the key to mosquitoes’ stealth takeoffs: They barely push off when making a fast getaway, but instead rely on strong and rapid wing beats to quickly get aloft without anyone noticing.

$13.4 million to build next-gen MRI brain scanner at UC Berkeley

October 6, 2017
UC Berkeley researchers have reimagined fMRI techniques and instruments to boost resolution by a factor of 20. They will use a new $13.43 million BRAIN Initiative grant from the National Institutes of Health to build the NexGen 7T by 2019 to provide the highest resolution images of the brain ever obtained, able to focus on a region the size of a poppy seed.

$1.5 million 'New Innovator' grants to two young faculty members

October 5, 2017
Two L&S assistant professors – Jacob Corn and Hernan Garcia – have received New Innovator Awards from the National Institutes of Health that provide $1.5 million over five years to pursue high-risk, high-reward work that could have implications for human health.

Discovery helps engineer more accurate Cas9s for CRISPR editing

September 20, 2017
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley and Massachusetts General Hospital have identified a key region within the Cas9 protein that governs how accurately CRISPR-Cas9 homes in on a target DNA sequence, and have tweaked it to produce a hyper-accurate gene editor with the lowest level of off-target cutting to date.

Emoji fans take heart: Scientists pinpoint 27 states of emotion

September 6, 2017

A new UC Berkeley study challenges a long-held assumption in psychology that most human emotions fall within the universal categories of happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear and disgust.

Berkeley researchers discover how bacteria act as aphrodisiac for the closest relatives of animals

September 1, 2017

To the surprise of scientists, bacteria can act as an aphrodisiac for one-celled marine organisms notable for being the closest living relatives of all animals. This is the first known example of bacteria triggering mating in a eukaryote, a group that includes all plants and animals.