The Plant & Microbial Biology department at UC Berkeley is at the forefront of cutting-edge research. We engage in a wide variety of both fundamental and applied research, involving a number of disciplines, including:
- Ecology and Evolution
- Computational Biology
- Plant Genetics and Development
- Microbial Genetics and Development
- Host-Microbe Interactions
- Physiology and Biochemistry
Researchers study the patterns and processes of plant, fungal, and microbial-inherited trait change across generations, and how the environments of organisms influence these changes.
Genomics researchers study the entire genomes of organisms, attempting to discover DNA sequences and map locations of genes within genomes. Functional genomics examines patterns of gene expression in different environments.
In the exciting field of computation biology, researchers use models and techniques from computer science, statistics, and mathematics to study topics such as sequence alignment, locating homologous sequences or genes, protein structure prediction, structural genomics, RNA and protein classification, and phylogenetic trees. The Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, in conjunction with other research units on campus, recently completed a Computational Genomics Resources Laboratory at Koshland Hall.
Plant Genetics and Development
Researchers study chromosome structure, function, and patterns and regulation of gene expression at the molecular level and organism level in varying environments in plants.
Microbial Genetics and Development
Researchers study chromosome structure, behavior, and patterns and regulation of gene expression in varying environments in bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Researchers apply biochemistry, analytical chemistry, genetic, molecular and cell biology, and ecological approaches to understand how viruses and bacteria elicit disease, and how organisms resist. They may also study how to improve resistance to infection and slow or prevent disease progression.
Physiology and Biochemistry
Researchers study the mechanical, physical, and biochemical properties of plants, microbes, or fungi. They may focus on important biological molecules such as the chemistry of enzyme-catalyzed reactions, or topics like protein synthesis, cell membrane transport, and signal transduction.
Biophysicists use models and techniques from physics, mathematics, computer science, and statistics to investigate biological systems at levels ranging from molecules through organisms to ecosystems. For example, they may apply fluorescent imaging techniques in the Biological Imaging Facility, located in Koshland Hall, to visualize biological structures.