Reporter Mo Rocca explores “strokes of genius” in this episode. Among those he interviews is Jennifer Doudna, faculty scientist in the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Division. The co-discoverer of the CRISPR gene-editing technology does not consider herself a genius, but rather thinks teams are more productive than individuals. Rocca also interviews internet pioneer Vint Cerf and musician Wynton Marsalis. Watch the episode.
Susan Marqusee, faculty scientist in the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Division, will receive the Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award, sponsored by Genentech, which is granted in recognition of exceptional contributions in protein science that profoundly influence our understanding of biology. Marqusee, a biophysical chemist whose work focuses on protein folding and dynamics, is one of the world’s top experimental scientists in the field of protein folding.More »
The Kv7 family of voltage-gated potassium channels control excitability in the heart, brain, and ear, and harbor mutations associated with arrhythmias, epilepsy, and deafness. A recent study, led by Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) faculty scientist Daniel Minor’s group in the Cardiovascular Research Institute at UCSF, used both diffraction and scattering beamlines of ALS-ENABLE to reveal a universal switch mechanism by which the calcium sensor protein calmodulin controls the action of these channels. The findings, reported in the journal Neuron, provide a key link between Kv7 channel activity and cellular signaling pathways. Greg Hura, a research scientist in MBIB, was also a co-author on the paper. Watch a video detailing the work.
Krishna Niyogi, a faculty scientist in Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) and chair of the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley, identified a protein called Photosystem II Subunit S (PsbS) involved in regulating photosynthetic light harvesting and hypothesized that increasing the amount of this protein in a plant might make photosynthesis more efficient. In collaboration with researchers at University of Illinois, Urbana, he put this theory to the test. In field trials, the researchers found that increasing the expression of the gene for PsbS, which is found in all plants, improved crops’ water-use efficiency—the ratio of carbon dioxide entering the plant to water escaping—by 25 percent, without significantly sacrificing photosynthesis or yields. The extra PsbS protein tricks plants into partially closing their stomata, the microscopic pores in the leaf that allow water to escape. The study, published March 6 in Nature Communications, is part of an international research project, Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE), supported in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Read more at UC Berkeley News.
Landry was recognized for her work on engineering nanosensors to image molecules in the body, focusing on neuromodulators such as dopamine in the brain. The fellowship, established in 1934, honors “early-career scholars whose achievements mark them as among the very best scientific minds working today.” Read more in Berkeley News.