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.

Nice Profile of former Quail Lab postdoc Katie Dehesh in The Scientist

photo of Katie Dehesh
A gripping account of Katie's career path from Iran, to the PGEC, and beyond. Katie is now the Director of the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology at UC-Riverside. Click "Read more" for a link to the article. Posted 02/05/2018.

Michael Busche Passed his Qualifying Exam

Michael is a graduate student with Jake Brunkard and Sarah Hake. He will be studying how TOR, which is a central regulator of growth in all organisms, regulates TERMINAL EAR1 and other MEI2-like proteins in plants. Posted 01/24/2018.

Baker Lab News - Undergrad Honor and New Publication

picture of Monica Cassandras
Monica Cassandras, a MCB Honors Student in the Baker Lab, presented her research at the Genetics, Genomics and Development Honors Symposium in Spring 2017. Monica is now a Staff Researcher at UCSF. New Publication: Yingtian Deng, Jubin Wang, Jeffrey Tung, Dan Liu, Yingjia Zhou, Shuang He, Yunlian Du, Barbara Baker and Feng Li. (2018). A role for small RNA in regulating innate immunity during plant growth. PloS Pathogens 14: e1006756. Click "Read more" for a link to the paper. Posted 01/18/2018.

New Grant to Barbara Baker and Jake Brunkard

diagram showing DCL4 influence on plant immunity
Barbara Baker and Jake Brunkard received a 3 year award from the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), for research on DCL4 (Dicer-like 4) regulation of plant innate immunity. They will study the mechanism of a newly discovered process that regulates plant immunity against pathogens and should provide direct insights into methods for engineering improved disease resistance in crop species. Click "Read more" for a information and pictures from the IGI open house, which featured presentations from the 2017 Awardees. Posted 01/18/2018.

Lewis Lab News - Awards, French Visitor

Ilea Chau, a graduate student in the Lewis Lab, received the Grace Kase Graduate Fellowship Award in 2017-2018, from UC-Berkeley's Plant and Microbial Biology Dept. This fellowship was established to support UC Berkeley graduate students pursuing research in plant biology or microbiology. Ilea received it for her "excellent academic and rotation performance" during her first year as a graduate student. Amgen scholar Taylor Harris, from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, spent the summer of 2017 working in the Lewis Lab, focusing on identifying resistance in tomato to the pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. She received an award for her poster presentation at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. Assistant Professor Alice Boulanger, a Lewis Lab collaborator from the Universite Paul Sabatier and INRA in Toulouse, France, studies transcriptional changes during the Xanthomonas infection cycle and characterizes bacterial genetic programs specific to the infection process. She received a grant to visit the Lewis Lab for a week. Posted 01/12/2018.

Three Papers from the Lewis Lab

Phloem-limited pathogens can cause devastating diseases, such as citrus greening, but are understudied. In a review article, Bendix, C and Lewis, JD (2017) The enemy within: phloem-limited pathogens, Molecular Plant Pathology 19: 238-254, they identify commonalities in the virulence strategies of diverse phloem-limited pathogens, which might help identify new means of controlling them. In Baudin, M, Hassan, JA, Schreiber, K and Lewis, JD (2017) Analysis of the ZAR1 immune complex reveals determinants for immunity and molecular interactions, Plant Physiology 174: 2038-2053, the group established a transient assay in Nicotiana benthamiana in order to further refine the interactions among a bacterial effector protein HopZ1a, and the two plant proteins that recognize it, the pseudokinase ZED1 and the Resistance protein ZAR1. They additionally showed that ZAR1-mediated recognition is conserved from the Brassicaceae to the Solanaceae. Lastly, Gong, Y, Desveaux, D, Guttman, DS and Lewis, JD (2017) A practical guide to Quantitative Interactor Screening with Next-Generation Sequencing (QIS-SEQ), published in a special issue "Biological Networks and Pathway Analysis", in Methods in Molecular Biology, describes a high throughput and quantitative yeast two hybrid screening method. Click "Read more" for links to these papers. Posted 01/10/2018.

News from the Coleman-Derr Lab

Yi Wang accepted a position as a faculty member at Southwestern University in Chongqing, China, where he will lead a research program developing tools for plant genomics and bioinformatics. Daniel Naylor recently received his Ph.D. from the Plant and Microbial Biology Department at UC-Berkeley. He is now interviewing for positions in industry and academic labs and hopes to continue research in environmental microbiology and contribute to solving the major challenges facing world agriculture. Daniel and Devin published a review entitled “Drought Stress and Root-Associated Bacterial Communities” in Frontiers in Plant Science. Click "Read more" for a link to their review. Posted 01/10/2018.

Former PGEC PI writes Research Highlights and Tweets for The Plant Journal

Since mid-2017, Sheila McCormick has been selecting a paper for the cover of each issue of The Plant Journal, and writing a synopsis of the work, after interviewing the authors. She also Tweets about selected papers (@ThePlantJournal). Click "Read more" for links to the Research Highlights. Posted 01/09/2018.


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