arabidopsisThe Plant Gene Expression Center (PGEC) conducts fundamental research in plant molecular biology. Researchers are elucidating the signal transduction pathways responsible for the perception of environmental and cellular cues. We are exploring disease resistance, light perception, the circadian clock, vegetative growth and the plant-associated microbiome. Essential genes and the networks within which they operate are elucidated using molecular, genetic and biochemical approaches.

The PGEC is a collaboration of the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Plant & Microbial Biology Department of the University of California, Berkeley. The Center's principal investigators are faculty at UC Berkeley, and research opportunities are available in our laboratories for graduate and undergraduate students.

Six (!) PMB Graduate Students join PGEC Labs

Martin Alexander and Brianna Haining joined the Hake Lab, Thai (Dat) Dao joined the Fletcher Lab, and Tuesday Simmons, Grady Pierroz and Heidi Wipf joined the Coleman-Derr Lab. Both Martin and Tuesday were recently awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, and Brianna, Grady and Heidi received Honorable Mentions in the NSF Fellowship competition. Click "Read more" to find out about their proposed Ph.D. projects. Posted 04/29/2016.

PGEC Summer Intern will attend Stanford

Rena Jiang, a high school student from Lynbrook High School in San Jose, was a research intern in the Fletcher Lab in summer 2015. Rena will attend Stanford University, starting in fall 2016. Posted 04/29/2016.

Lewis Awarded NSF Grant

Jennifer Lewis is the Principal Investigator for a three year, $550,000 grant, from NSF's Division of Integrative Organismal Systems, titled "Natural diversity and mutant analysis of regulators of plant immunity for rational design of immunity proteins as decoys". Click "Read more" for a summary of the project. Posted 03/22/2016.

Welcome to PMB Rotation Students

First year graduate students in the Dept. of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC-Berkeley spend 10 weeks each in 3 different labs, before selecting a home for their thesis project. For the third rotation period, we have 2 students, both were PMB undergraduates: Grady Pierroz is in the Coleman-Derr Lab, and Martin Alexander is in the Hake Lab. Posted 02/08/2016.

PGEC Retreat in Honor of Sheila McCormick's Retirement

The PGEC held a retreat at the Marconi Center in Marshall, CA, on December 4-6, in honor of Sheila McCormick's retirement (effective January 8, 2016). Dr. Alice Cheung, Univ. Massachusetts, a colleague of Sheila's who also works on pollen, was the keynote speaker. As is typical of PGEC retreats, there were fantastic talks from each of the labs, a lively poster session, games, and oyster eating, but there were some special events too: a song performed by Sarah Hake and Peter Quail (lyrics adapted by Peter for "Sweet Little Sheila", by Tommy Roe), and a few speeches, most notably by our former colleague at the PGEC, Dr. Sakis Theologis. Sheila continues as an Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Plant and Microbial Biology, UC-Berkeley. Click "Read more" to see some pictures from the event, and the lyrics to the song. Posted 01/21/2016; updated with pictures on 02/04/2016.

Recent Group Photos

We take group photos from time to time. Click "Read more" to see some recent ones. Posted 01/07/2016.

Claire Bendix Awarded Ph.D.

Claire Bendix in the Harmon Lab was awarded her Ph.D. degree in December, 2015. The title of her thesis is: "The time has come: of GIGANTEA paralogs and grass circadian clocks" Claire is the first Ph.D. student to graduate from Frank's lab. Click "Read more" to find out about Claire's future plans, and for links to relevant publications. Posted 01/07/2016.

Intercellular Communication in Pollen

The McCormick lab recently published a surprising discovery in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. In pollen, messenger RNA moves between the vegetative cell and the sperm cells. This work was carried out by a former postdoc, Hua Jiang, who is now a postdoc in Claudia Kohler's lab in Sweden - where Hua completed some of the experiments described in the paper. Click "Read more" to learn more about the significance of this result, and for the link to the paper. Posted 01/07/2016.

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