Endowed Lectures

Special Seminars, Endowed Lectures

The department hosts several seminars and endowed lectures throughout the academic year. Endowed lectures are paid for with private funds invested and held by the Regents of the University. The Daniel I. Arnon Lecture was established with resources from the Charles F. Kettering Foundation. The endowment also supports graduate students who are designated Arnon Fellows. The Bob B. Buchanan and Harry Tsujimoto Lectures were established with a generous gift from the K/T Foundation of San Francisco.

The Thomas J. White and John W. Taylor Lecture in Microbial Biology

Our newest endowed lecture will debut in Fall Semester, 2013. It was planned when Dr. White was the Regents’ Lecturer for the Berkeley Campus, Fall Semester 2012 - Spring Semester 2013. It commemorates a scientific collaboration spanning three decades.

View the Video of the Regents' Lecture by Thomas J. White

Thomas J. White and John W. Taylor began their collaboration on fungal molecular evolution in 1982 when Taylor invited White to an informal seminar in the Botany Department on the Berkeley campus to present his Cetus Corporation research on fungal enzymes that convert plant cell walls to sugar.  Following that meeting, they used a cloned fungal ribosomal DNA to show that fungi were not close relatives of red algae (Kwok et al. 1986); a modest accomplishment, but one of the first efforts to apply molecular evolution to fungi. 

In 1988, White took a sabbatical from Cetus to work in Taylor’s lab, where he introduced Berkeley mycologists to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a technique that was just becoming practical due to the availability of thermocyclers and a recombinant form of thermostable Taq polymerase.  Working with postdoc Tom Bruns and graduate student Steve Lee, they developed an approach to rapidly PCR amplify and sequence fungal rDNA for evolutionary comparisons (White et al. 1990), which has been cited more than once a day since then.  The application of PCR to questions in fungal evolution led to the first publication on the topic (Bruns et al. 1989), and an influential review on fungal molecular evolution (Bruns et al. 1991).

Read more about the White/Taylor collaboration

Arnon Lecture

The Arnon Lecture honors the late Professor Daniel I. Arnon (1910-1994). Arnon spent his career at Berkeley, obtaining his Ph.D. in plant nutrition with Dennis R. Hoagland and later joining the faculty. He is best known for his pioneering research in the fields of photosynthesis and plant nutrition. His career is recounted in a memoir written for the National Academy of Sciences. The lecture is held annually in early March. Speakers have made distinguished contributions to photosynthesis or a related field and are selected by the Arnon Lecture Committee. 

Arnon Lectures
2000Paul D. Boyer2001George H. Lorimer
2002Bob B. Buchanan2003Jan M. Anderson
2004*Jean-David Rochaix2004*F.R. Whatley
2005Joanne Chory2006William A. Cramer
2007Achim Trebst2008James Barber
2009Elisabeth Gantt2010Arnon Centennial Symposium at Asilomar**
2011Jürgen Soll2012Don Bryant
2013Mark Stitt  
* Two lectures held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of photophospphorylation
** No lecturer chosen this year

Arnon Lecture 2013 Poster - Click here to generate PDF

Buchanan Lecture

The Bob. B. Buchanan Lecture honors Professor Bob B. Buchanan, a longtime faculty member in the department. Professor Buchanan did undergraduate work at Emory and Henry College and obtained a Ph.D. in Microbiology from Duke University. After completing postdoctoral research with the late Professor Jesse C. Rabinowitz in the Department of Biochemistry, Buchanan joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1963. He is known for his contributions to microbiology, photosynthesis and plant biochemistry.

Speakers are typically young investigators on the way to achieving prominence in plant biology. They are selected by postdoctoral scholars in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology.

Buchanan Lectures
2001Peter Schrümann2001Kenneth Cline
2002Henry Daniell2003Julian Schroeder
2005Jim Carrington2005Steve Kay
2007Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar2008Jen Sheen
2009Steve Jacobsen2010Dominique Bergmann
2011Xuemei Chen2012Cyril Zipfel
2013Thomas Lahaye  

Buchanan Lecture 2013 Poster - Click here to generate PDF

Tsujimoto Lecture

The Tsujimoto Lecture honors Harry Y. Tsujimoto, an accomplished former Berkeley staff member. He did undergraduate work at Cornell University and obtained an M.S. in plant nutrition from UC Berkeley. Daniel Arnon was his thesis advisor. Tsujimoto spent 25 years as a member of the Arnon research group where he participated in major discoveries on photophosphorylation and ferredoxin. Graduate students select the speaker, a recognized individual in plant biology or microbial biology.

Tsujimoto Lectures
2001Christine Foyer2002Jen Sheen
2002Kelly Dawe2003Rob Martienssen
2004Massimo Pigliucci2005Luca Comai
2007Craig Pikaard2007Brandon Gaut
2009Elizabeth Arnold2010Mary Rumpho
2010Nicolas Money2011Patrick Keeling
2012Joseph Thornton2013Kristin Bilyeu