How do you cultivate a healthy plant microbiome?

A new study by University of California, Berkeley, microbial ecologists used experimental evolution to help identify the core microbiome of commercial tomatoes. They selected for those microbial taxa that best survived on the plants and then showed that these “domesticated” microbial communities are able to effectively fend off random microbes that land on the plants. In other words, these selected communities look like a stable, healthy plant microbiome, akin to what a robust tomato plant might pass to its offspring.

These Butterflies Evolved to Eat Poison. How Could That Have Happened?

Monarch butterflies eat only milkweed, a poisonous plant that should kill them. The butterflies thrive on it, even storing milkweed toxins in their bodies as a defense against hungry birds. For decades, scientists have marveled at this adaptation. On Thursday, a team of researchers announced they had pinpointed the key evolutionary steps that led to it...

Women don beards to highlight gender bias in science

For many people, including women, the answer is yes, which spurred dozens of paleontologists around the world – all of them women – to glue on beards for photos now being exhibited at the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) at the University of California, Berkeley. The ironic message of the Bearded Lady Project is that, contrary to the persisting stereotype, you don’t have to be a man to love fieldwork and contribute to science; in fact: many field scientists are not.

Field Genomics course brings cutting-edge research techniques to UC Berkeley freshmen

20190605_FG_4_250x188.jpgWith recent advancements in portable, reliable, and low-cost scientific instruments, biological field research is flourishing. Now, a group of UC Berkeley undergraduates is newly equipped to investigate the natural world in real time with these new tools at their disposal.

From May 20-28, 2019, the Department of Integrative Biology’s inaugural Field Genomics summer course immersed first-year undergraduates in cutting-edge molecular biology techniques. The course provided thorough hands-on training in skills such as sample collection, nucleotide isolation, and portable nanopore DNA sequencing.

Continue reading >

Researchers Work to Reverse Cognitive Decline as People Age

Daniela Kaufer, professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, shared progress toward addressing another cause of cognitive decline: dysfunction of the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier ordinarily protects the brain, but Kaufer’s work shows that when the barrier falters, itself a sign of aging, proteins can enter brain cells called astrocytes, which causes inflammation in the brain and leads to cognitive impairments.

IB Students in the Lab and Field

We thought you might like to see a few photos of our work in the field, our museums, and our labs...

IB graduate students Erik Sathe, Joyce Chery, Sara ElShafie and Aaron Pomerantz.


 

Undergraduate Julia Anderson displays the subject of her senior research project: the skull of a giant vulture-like bird from the La Brea Tar Pits, which she’s analyzing and describing.