A team led by UC Berkeley’s Jill Banfield discovered DNA structures within a methane-consuming microbe that appear to supercharge the organism’s metabolic rate. In a nod to the Star Trek universe, they named the genetic elements “Borgs” because the DNA within contains genes assimilated from many organisms.
Amy Herr, faculty engineer in the Biological and Systems Engineering Division, has been appointed as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the newly established Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Network. As CTO, Herr will help lead the Network’s efforts to advance technologies to observe, measure, and analyze human biology in action.
Biochemist Jennifer Doudna, a professor at UC Berkeley and faculty scientist in the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Division, has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “the development of a method for genome editing.” She shares the Nobel Prize with co-discoverer Emmanuelle Charpentier, who currently serves as the scientific and managing director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin. In 2012, Doudna and Charpentier’s research team detailed the underlying mechanisms of the CRISPR-Cas9 system – a component of the bacterial immune system that defends against invading viruses – and explained how it can be programmed to cut DNA at a target sequence.
Jennifer Doudna, faculty scientist in the Molecular Biophysics & Integrated Bioimaging Division, has been awarded a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship.
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.