PMB Facts

Origins and Evolution of Plant and Microbial Biology

Koshland Hall, UC Berkeley
The Department of Plant and Microbial Biology traces its origins to the reorganization of the biological science departments at Berkeley in the mid 1980s.  Chancellor Ira Michael Heyman, Vice Chancellor Roderic Park and Professor Daniel Koshland focused the initial reorganization of biology on departments within the College of Letters and Science.
The Department of Plant Biology was formed under the leadership of Professor Richard Malkin in 1989 from a nucleus of faculty members from the departments of Botany, Cell Physiology, Entomology, Genetics and Plant Pathology, all of which were eventually dissolved. In the mid-1990s, under the aegis of Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien, Professor Sydney Govons Kustu founded the Division of Microbial Biology together with Professors Bob Buchanan and Wilhelm Gruissem.
The addition of the Division of Microbial Biology and faculty from the reorganized College of Natural Resources created the modern Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, which continues to grow through recruitment.
The majority of the department's labs and administrative offices are located in Koshland Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. Koshland Hall is named after Daniel Edward Koshland, Jr., a biochemist whose lab made made major discoveries concerning protein phosphorylation in bacteria.
Former UC Berkeley Professor Milton Schroth has written History of the Plant Pathology Department, University of California, Berkeley (1903-1991) which can be purchased at's bookstore
PMB Founders: Robert Fischer, Richard Malkin, Anastasios Melis, Bob Buchanan, Pat Zambryski, and Peter Quail