Sabeeha Merchant, faculty scientist in the Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Division, has received an Investigator Award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Merchant, who is also Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology and of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley, will receive five years of unrestricted support to pursue innovative, risky research that has a high potential for significant conceptual and methodological advances in aquatic symbiosis.More »
New research by Paul Williams, staff scientist in the Molecular Biophysics & Integrated Bioimaging Division, suggests that our intake of coffee is affected by a positive feedback loop between genetics and the environment. This phenomenon, known as “quantile-specific heritability,” is also associated with cholesterol levels and body weight, and is thought to play a role in other human physiological and behavioral traits that defy simple explanation.More »
Scientists at UC Davis and collaborators at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have used CRISPR technology to genetically engineer rice with high levels of beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A. The technique they used provides a promising strategy for genetically improving rice and other crops. The study in Nature Communications was published by a research team led by Pam Ronald, a professor in the Genome Center and the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis and Scientific Lead of Plant Pathology at JBEI.More »
The projects of 14 Biosciences Area scientists and engineers received funding through the FY20 Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program. The funded projects span a diverse array of topics and approaches including: developing closed-loop plastics from biogenic feedstocks; reimagining a root system optimized for plant-microbe interactions; and creating computational tools for extracting macromolecular conformational dynamics. Lab-wide, 96 projects were selected from a field of 168 proposals. Biosciences Area efforts account for 18.5 percent of the $23 million allocated.More »
A new study in Nature Communications further investigates a genus of fungi whose vast biochemical diversity makes it important for bioenergy applications.
The study, led by researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, the the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI), a DOE Office of Science User Facility located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), and the Technical University of Denmark, presents the first analysis of a section of Aspergillus fungi known as Flavi. The results are part of a long-term project to sequence the genomes of more than 300 Aspergillus fungi.More »