Genetics and Plant Biology

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Science (BS)

The Department of Plant and Microbial Biology's (PMB) undergraduate major program in Genetics and Plant Biology has been developed as a broadly based program emphasizing the study of plants from the molecular and genetic to organismal levels. Lower division courses are intended to produce a foundation in biological and physical sciences as preparation for advanced study at the upper division level. Coursework from the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, which can be used as a foundation for medical school application, is interesting and varied. The small department provides a rich and supportive environment for learning.

Plant biology emphasizes the study of plants from the genetics to the organism. From oxygen to food to shelter to energy to shade, plants provide humans with virtually everything needed to survive and thrive. There is important work for those who want to unravel the mystery of genes, teach the next generation of biologists or to devise ways to feed the world.

Admission to the Major

Freshman students may apply directly to the major, or they may select the College of Natural Resource's undeclared option, and declare the major by the end of their fourth semester. For further information regarding how to declare the major after admission, including information on a change of major of change of college, please see the College of Natural Resources Undergraduate Student Handbook.

Research Opportunities

In addition to the Berkeley campus Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP), CNR students can also apply for the CNR Sponsored Projects for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) program. For more information, please see the College of Natural Resources website

Honors Program

Students with a GPA of 3.6 or higher may enroll in the College of Natural Resources honors program (H196) once they have reached upper division standing. To fulfill the program requirements, students design, conduct, and report on an individual research project working with a faculty sponsor. For further information about registration for the honors symposium and the honors requirements, please see the College of Natural Resources website.

Other Major Offered by the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology

Microbial Biology (Major only)

Visit Department Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for graded credit, other than courses listed which are offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. Other exceptions to this requirement are noted as applicable.

  2. A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 is required.

  3. A minimum GPA of 2.0 in upper division major requirements is required.

  4. At least 15 of the 36 required upper division units must be taken in the College of Natural Resources.

  5. A maximum of 16 units of independent study (courses numbered 97, 98, 99, 197, 198, and 199) may count toward graduation, with a maximum of 4 units of independent study per semester.

  6. No more than 1/3 of the total units attempted at UC Berkeley may be taken Pass/No Pass. This includes units in the Education Abroad Program and UC Intercampus Visitor or Exchange Programs.

  7. A maximum of 4 units of physical education courses will count toward graduation.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Reading and Composition Requirement

Students are required to complete the Reading and Composition requirement by the end of their sophomore year. 

Humanities & Social Sciences Requirement

15 units of coursework need to be taken from L&S breadth list, excluding biological and physical science course. A maximum of 6 foreign language units can be used to fulfill the requirement.

Lower Division Requirements

MATH 10AMethods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics4
MATH 10BMethods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics4
CHEM 1A
1AL
General Chemistry
and General Chemistry Laboratory
4
CHEM 3A
3AL
Chemical Structure and Reactivity
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
5
CHEM 3B
3BL
Chemical Structure and Reactivity
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
5
BIOLOGY 1A
1AL
General Biology Lecture
and General Biology Laboratory
5
BIOLOGY 1BGeneral Biology Lecture and Laboratory4
PHYSICS 8AIntroductory Physics4
Recommended, not required: PLANTBI 20
1

Students seeking exception to the MATH 10A and MATH 10B requirement must contact the GPB Major Undergraduate Adviser at CNR's Office of Instruction & Student Affairs. This requirement applies to students who entered as an GPB Major Fall 2015 or later. 

Upper Division Requirements

Core Requirements
PLANTBI 135Physiology and Biochemistry of Plants3
PLANTBI 150Plant Cell Biology3
PLANTBI 160Plant Molecular Genetics3
PLANTBI C107LPrinciples of Plant Morphology with Laboratory4
PLANTBI 101LExperimental Plant Biology Laboratory3

Plant Biology Concentrations

Select 5 courses, for a minimum of 14 units

Option 1: Choose five courses from one of the concentrations below

Option 2: Experimental Plant Biology: Design your own concentration, by choosing any five courses from the tracks below

Biotechnology and Bioenergy

PLANTBI C103Bacterial Pathogenesis3
PLANTBI C112General Microbiology4
PLANTBI C112LGeneral Microbiology Laboratory2
PLANTBI 120Biology of Algae2
PLANTBI 120LLaboratory for Biology of Algae2
PLANTBI 122Bioenergy2
PLANTBI C124The Berkeley Lectures on Energy: Energy from Biomass3
PLANTBI 142Course Not Available
PLANTBI C148Microbial Genomics and Genetics4
PLANTBI 170Modern Applications of Plant Biotechnology2
PLANTBI 180Environmental Plant Biology2
PLANTBI 185Techniques in Light Microscopy3
ENE,RES C100Energy and Society4
ESPM 108ATrees: Taxonomy, Growth, and Structures3
ESPM 108BEnvironmental Change Genetics3
ESPM 152Global Change Biology3
ESPM 162Bioethics and Society4
INTEGBI 117Medical Ethnobotany2
INTEGBI 117LFMedical Ethnobotany Laboratory2
INTEGBI 151Plant Physiological Ecology4
INTEGBI 151LPlant Physiological Ecology Laboratory2
INTEGBI 162Ecological Genetics4
MCELLBI 102Survey of the Principles of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology4
PLANTBI H196Honors Research - Plant and Microbial Biology2-4
or PLANTBI 199 Supervised Independent Study and Research

Plant Diversity and Evolution

PLANTBI C110LBiology of Fungi with Laboratory4
PLANTBI 113California Mushrooms3
PLANTBI 120Biology of Algae2
PLANTBI 120LLaboratory for Biology of Algae2
PLANTBI 142Course Not Available2
PLANTBI 180Environmental Plant Biology2
PLANTBI 185Techniques in Light Microscopy3
ESPM C105Natural History Museums and Biodiversity Science3
ESPM 108ATrees: Taxonomy, Growth, and Structures3
ESPM 108BEnvironmental Change Genetics3
ESPM C149Molecular Ecology4
ESPM 152Global Change Biology3
INTEGBI 102LFIntroduction to California Plant Life with Laboratory4
INTEGBI 117Medical Ethnobotany2
INTEGBI 117LFMedical Ethnobotany Laboratory2
INTEGBI 151Plant Physiological Ecology4
INTEGBI 151LPlant Physiological Ecology Laboratory2
INTEGBI 154Plant Ecology3
INTEGBI 154LPlant Ecology Laboratory2
INTEGBI 157LFEcosystems of California4
INTEGBI 160Evolution4
INTEGBI 161Population and Evolutionary Genetics4
INTEGBI 162Ecological Genetics4
INTEGBI 163Molecular and Genomic Evolution3
INTEGBI 168LSystematics of Vascular Plants with Laboratory4
INTEGBI 181LPaleobotany - The 500-Million Year History of a Greening Planet4
PLANTBI H196Honors Research - Plant and Microbial Biology2-4
or PLANTBI 199 Supervised Independent Study and Research

Plant Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics

BIO ENG 131Introduction to Computational Molecular and Cell Biology4
BIO ENG 144Introduction to Protein Informatics4
BIO ENG 144LProtein Informatics Laboratory3
BIO ENG 143Computational Methods in Biology4
ESPM C105Natural History Museums and Biodiversity Science3
ESPM 108BEnvironmental Change Genetics3
INTEGBI 162Ecological Genetics4
INTEGBI 163Molecular and Genomic Evolution3
MATH 127Mathematical and Computational Methods in Molecular Biology4
MCELLBI 102Survey of the Principles of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology4
MCELLBI 130Cell and Systems Biology4
PLANTBI C134Chromosome Biology/Cytogenetics3
PLANTBI 142Course Not Available2
PLANTBI C148Microbial Genomics and Genetics4
PLANTBI 165Plant-Microbe Interactions3
PLANTBI 170Modern Applications of Plant Biotechnology2
PLANTBI 185Techniques in Light Microscopy3
PLANTBI H196Honors Research - Plant and Microbial Biology2-4
or PLANTBI 199 Supervised Independent Study and Research

 Plant Microbe Interactions

ESPM C105Natural History Museums and Biodiversity Science3
ESPM 131Soil Microbial Ecology3
MCELLBI 102Survey of the Principles of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology4
PLANTBI C103Bacterial Pathogenesis3
PLANTBI C110LBiology of Fungi with Laboratory4
PLANTBI C112General Microbiology4
PLANTBI C112LGeneral Microbiology Laboratory2
PLANTBI 113California Mushrooms3
PLANTBI C114Introduction to Comparative Virology4
PLANTBI C116Microbial Diversity3
PLANTBI 120Biology of Algae2
PLANTBI 120LLaboratory for Biology of Algae2
PLANTBI 142Course Not Available2
PLANTBI C148Microbial Genomics and Genetics4
PLANTBI 165Plant-Microbe Interactions3
PLANTBI 180Environmental Plant Biology2
PLANTBI 185Techniques in Light Microscopy3
PLANTBI H196Honors Research - Plant and Microbial Biology2-4
or PLANTBI 199 Supervised Independent Study and Research

College Requirements

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing and critical thinking all majors in the College require two semesters of lower division work in composition. Students must complete a first-level reading and composition course by the end of their second semester and a second-level course by the end of their fourth semester. 

Foreign LanguageEEP Majors only

The Foreign Language requirement is only required by Environmental Economics and Policy (EEP) majors. It may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.

Quantitative ReasoningEEP Majors only

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is only required by Environmental Economics and Policy (EEP) majors. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.

Undergraduate Breadth

Undergraduate breadth provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. Breadth courses are built into CNR major requirements. The EEP major is the only CNR major that requires the entire 7 course breadth. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day. 

High School Exam Credit

CNR students may apply high school exam credit (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, A-Level Exam) towards many College and Major Requirements. See AP Exam Equivalency Chart and Higher Level IB Exam Equivalency Chart in the CNR Student Handbook for more information.

Units Requirements

Students must complete at least 120 semester units of courses subject to certain guidelines:

  • At least 36 units must be upper division courses, including a minimum of 15 units of upper division courses in the College of Natural Resources. 
  • A maximum of 16 units of Special Studies coursework (courses numbered 97, 98, 99, 197, 198, or 199) is allowed towards the 120 units; a maximum of four is allowed in a given semester.
  • A maximum of 4 units of Physical Education from any school attended will count towards the 120 units.
  • Students may receive unit credit for courses graded P (including P/NP units taken through EAP) up to a limit of one-third of the total units taken and passed on the Berkeley campus at the time of graduation.

​Semester Unit Minimum

All CNR students must enroll in at least 13 units each fall and spring semester. 

Semester Unit Maximum

To request permission to take more than 19.5 units in a semester, please see the major adviser.

Semester Limit

Students admitted as freshmen must graduate within 8 fall/spring semesters at UC Berkeley. Students admitted as transfer students must graduate within 4 fall/spring semesters at UC Berkeley. Students who go on EAP and UCDC can petition for additional semesters. Summer session, UC Extension and non-UC study abroad programs do not count towards this semester limit. Students approved for double majors or  simultaneous degrees in two colleges may be granted an additional semester. CNR does not limit the number of total units a student can accrue.

Senior Residence Requirement

After reaching senior status (90 semester units earned), students must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in at least two semesters in residence at the College of Natural Resources. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least four passed units. Inter-campus Visitor, Education Abroad Program, UC Berkeley Washington Program, and UC Berkeley Extension units do not count toward this requirement.

Students may use Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence Requirement, provided that four units of coursework are completed.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) or the UC Berkeley Washington Program may meet a modified Senior Residence Requirement by completing 24 of their final 60 semester units in residence (excluding UCEAP). At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after senior status is reached.

Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless students go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through University Extension during their senior year. In these cases, students should make an appointment to see an adviser to determine how they can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Grade Requirements

  • A 2.0 UC GPA is required for graduation.
  • A 2.0 average in all upper division courses required of the major program is required for graduation.

Student Learning Goals

Learning Goals for the Major

  1. Training in the basic sciences (i.e,. math, physics, chemistry, biology, and statistics).
  2. Training in the fundamental aspects of plant morphology, plant molecular genetics, plant cell biology, and the physiology and biochemistry of plants.
  3. Training in a wider variety of plant and microbial courses, which may be selected by the student to enhance their knowledge in areas of their specific interest.
  4. Training in the essential laboratory techniques associated with genetics and plant biology.
  5. Training students to read and evaluate primary literature in the field of plant biology.
  6. Training students to have a high level of competency in both oral and written presentation of scientific material.
  7. Training students to carry out research projects independently (this includes critical thinking and the development of a hypothesis to test, designing experiments to specifically test their hypothesis, and other aspects of the scientific method including data analysis and interpretation, as well as oral and written presentation of their research).
  8. Training students to appreciate the relationship of their major to the community at large.

Advising

In the College of Natural Resources, we provide holistic, individual advising services to prospective and current students who are pursuing major and minors in our college. We assist with a range of topics including course selection, academic decision-making, achieving personal and academic goals, and maximizing the Berkeley experience.

If you are looking to explore your options, or you are ready to declare a major, double major, or minor, contact the undergraduate advisor for your intended major or minor. Visit our website to explore all of our advising services.

Undergraduate Adviser, Genetics and Plant Biology
Patricia Helyer
phelyer@berkeley.edu
260 Mulford Hall
510-643-9479

Courses

Genetics and Plant Biology

PLANTBI 10 Plants, Agriculture, and Society 2 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
Changing patterns of agriculture in relation to population growth, the biology and social impact of plant disease, genetic engineering of plants: a thousand years of crop improvement and modern biotechnology, interactions between plants and the environment, and effects of human industrial and agricultural activity on plant ecosystems. Knowledge of the physical sciences is neither required nor assumed.

Plants, Agriculture, and Society: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 11 Fungi, History, and Society 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2016, Spring 2015
Fungi have interacted with humans in both positive and negative ways throughout history. These interactions have included production of foods, medicines, fuels, plant and animal diseases, decay, allergies, and mind-altering drugs.

Fungi, History, and Society: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 20 Introduction to the Plant Sciences at Berkeley 1 Unit

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2015
This course will include discussions on the academic path (courses) needed for the Genetics and Plant Biology major; an introduction to resources and facilities for studies of the plant sciences at Berkeley, such as the University Herbarium and the Botanical Garden; an exploration of plant science related careers, including presentations from guest speakers who work in organic farming, government, and Cooperative Extension; talks by faculty about
their current research, and information about how to do research in a lab.
Introduction to the Plant Sciences at Berkeley: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 22 Microbes Make the World Go Around 2 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Fall 2014, Fall 2013
Although often unseen, microbes are everywhere! This course covers the role that microbes, including archaea, bacteria, protists and fungi, play in terrestrial, marine and extreme environments and their effect on the geochemistry of the earth. In addition, we will explore the profound effects of microbes on human and plant health and how microbes have changed the course of human history.

Microbes Make the World Go Around: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 24 Freshman Seminar 1 Unit

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Reading and discussion with Plant and Microbial Biology faculty on current research and topics in plant and microbial biology. Topics which may be discussed include microbial biology, plant genetics, plant development, plant pathology, agricultural biotechnology, and genetic engineering. Ideal for students who are considering a major in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. Enrollment is limited to 20 freshmen.

Freshman Seminar: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 39E Freshman/Sophomore Seminar 2 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2012
Freshman and sophomore seminars offer lower division students the opportunity to explore an intellectual topic with a faculty member and a group of peers in a small-seminar setting. These seminars are offered in all campus departments; topics vary from department to department and from semester to semester. Enrollment limits are set by the faculty, but the suggested limit is 25.

Freshman/Sophomore Seminar: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 40 The (Secret) Life of Plants 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
Covers contemporary topics in plant biology. Examines how plants grow, reproduce, and respond to the environment (e.g., to light) in ways distinct from animals. Presents basic principles of genetics, cell, and molecular biology. Basics of genetic engineering and biotechnology reveal how they are used to modify plants, and these socially relevant issues are assessed. Includes visit to modern plant biology research laboratory, and aspects of
plant disease and diversity. Knowledge of the physical sciences neither required nor assumed.
The (Secret) Life of Plants: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 84 Sophomore Seminar 1 or 2 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2011, Spring 2010, Spring 2009
Sophomore seminars are small interactive courses offered by faculty members in departments all across the campus. Sophomore seminars offer opportunity for close, regular intellectual contact between faculty members and students in the crucial second year. The topics vary from department to department and semester to semester. Enrollment limited to 15 sophomores.

Sophomore Seminar: Read More [+]

PLANTBI C96 Studying the Biological Sciences 1 Unit

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
Freshmen will be introduced to the "culture" of the biological sciences, along with an in-depth orientation to the academic life and the culture of the university as they relate to majoring in biology. Students will learn concepts, skills, and information that they can use in their major course, and as future science professionals. Restricted to freshmen in the biology scholars program.

Studying the Biological Sciences: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 98 Directed Group Study 1 - 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2015, Fall 2014, Spring 2014
Lectures and small group discussions focusing on topics of interest, varying from semester to semester.

Directed Group Study: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 99 Supervised Independent Study and Research 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2015
Lower division independent study and research intended for the academically superior student. Enrollment only with prior approval of faculty advisor directing the research.

Supervised Independent Study and Research: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 101L Experimental Plant Biology Laboratory 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
Students will perform state-of-the-art research to address an important question in modern plant biology. The experimental progression exposes students to a variety of modern molecular approaches and techniques. Experimental design, data acquisition, and analysis of the student's real experimental data is emphasized. Research results will be presented in written and oral formats similar to those used in research laboratories.

Experimental Plant Biology Laboratory: Read More [+]

PLANTBI C103 Bacterial Pathogenesis 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
This course for upper division and graduate students will explore the molecular and cellular basis of microbial pathogenesis. The course will focus on model microbial systems which illustrate mechanisms of pathogenesis. Most of the emphasis will be on bacterial pathogens of mammals, but there will be some discussion of viral and protozoan pathogens. There will be an emphasis on experimental approaches. The course will also include some aspects
of bacterial genetics and physiology, immune response to infection, and the cell biology of host-parasite interactions.
Bacterial Pathogenesis: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 104L Discovery-Based Research in Microbiology 2 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2010 10 Week Session, Summer 2008 10 Week Session, Summer 2006 10 Week Session
An introduction to microbiology research in which students generate gene knockouts in Caulobacter and analyze the mutant phenotypes. Each student will disrupt one gene of known function and one gene of unknown function. Students will attend lectures focusing on the techniques to be employed and perform experiments under supervision. This course may be taken by students with no prior laboratory
experience to expose them to discovery-oriented research.
Discovery-Based Research in Microbiology: Read More [+]

PLANTBI C107L Principles of Plant Morphology with Laboratory 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
An analysis of the structural diversity of land plants plants with emphasis on the developmental mechanisms responsible for this variation in morphology and the significance of this diversity in relation to adaptation and evolution.

Principles of Plant Morphology with Laboratory: Read More [+]

PLANTBI C109 Evolution and Ecology of Development 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016
From the seahorse’s body to the venus flytrap’s jaws to the human brain, nature abounds with amazing adaptations. This interdisciplinary course explores how and why such biodiversity evolves as well as what limits diversity. Lectures and case studies will focus on core concepts, recent advances, and integrative approaches, placing special emphasis on the interplay between gene regulatory networks, the environment, and population genetics.

Evolution and Ecology of Development: Read More [+]

PLANTBI C110L Biology of Fungi with Laboratory 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Fall 2014
Selected aspects of fungi: their structure, reproduction, physiology, ecology, genetics and evolution; their role in plant disease, human welfare, and industry. Offered even fall semesters.

Biology of Fungi with Laboratory: Read More [+]

PLANTBI C112 General Microbiology 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Summer 2017 10 Week Session, Fall 2016
This course will explore the molecular bases for physiological and biochemical diversity among members of the two major domains, Bacteria and Archaea. The ecological significance and evolutionary origins of this diversity will be discussed. Molecular, genetic, and structure-function analyses of microbial cell cycles, adaptive responses, metabolic capability, and macromolecular syntheses will be emphasized.

General Microbiology: Read More [+]

PLANTBI C112L General Microbiology Laboratory 2 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Summer 2017 10 Week Session
Experimental techniques of microbiology designed to accompany the lecture in C112 and C148. The primary emphasis in the laboratory will be on the cultivation and physiological and genetic characterization of bacteria. Laboratory exercises will include the observation, enrichment, and isolation of bacteria from selected environments.

General Microbiology Laboratory: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 113 California Mushrooms 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2015, Fall 2013
This is a hands-on class in identification of macro fungi. Emphasis will be on laboratory work with fresh and dried fungi. Short lectures at the beginning of labs focus on mushroom systematic, collection techniques, and identification. Three weekend field trips are required in addition to the weekly laboratory. Previous course experience with fungi is recommended, but not required. Grades are based on tests and a collection.

California Mushrooms: Read More [+]

PLANTBI C114 Introduction to Comparative Virology 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
This course will provide a comparative overview of virus life cycles and strategies viruses use to infect and replicate in hosts. We will discuss virus structure and classification and the molecular basis of viral reproduction, evolution, assembly, and virus-host interactions. Common features used during virus replication and host cellular responses to infection will be covered. Topics also included are common and emerging virus diseases
, their control, and factors affecting their spread.
Introduction to Comparative Virology: Read More [+]

PLANTBI C116 Microbial Diversity 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
This course for upper-division and graduate students will broadly survey myriad types of microbial organisms, both procaryote and eucaryote, using a phylogenetic framework to organize the concept of "biodiversity." Emphasis will be on the evolutionary development of the many biochemical themes, how they mold our biosphere, and the organisms that affect the global biochemistry. Molecular mechanisms that occur in different lineages will
be compared and contrasted to illustrate fundamental biological strategies. Graduate students additionally should enroll in C216, Microbial Diversity Workshop.
Microbial Diversity: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 120 Biology of Algae 2 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2016, Spring 2014
General biology of freshwater and marine algae, highlighting current research and integrating phylogeny, ecology, physiology, genetics, and molecular biology.

Biology of Algae: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 120L Laboratory for Biology of Algae 2 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2016, Spring 2014
Laboratories include study of representative types, identification of specimens collected during several field trips, and experiments on development, physiology, and molecular genetics.

Laboratory for Biology of Algae: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 122 Bioenergy 2 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Spring 2015
Offers an assessment of global energy supply and demand, addresses the chemistry of climate change, examines the response of plants and microbes to changes in the environment, and emphasizes the role of biology and photosynthesis in offering solutions to related energy and societal problems. Bioenergy is examined from the point-of-view of potential biofuels, including aspects of the biological generation of hydrogen, hydrocarbons, fatty acids
, lipids, and bio-oils, polymers and related materials.
Bioenergy: Read More [+]

PLANTBI C124 The Berkeley Lectures on Energy: Energy from Biomass 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2015, Fall 2014, Fall 2013
After an introduction to the different aspects of our global energy consumption, the course will focus on the role of biomass. The course will illustrate how the global scale of energy guides the biomass research. Emphasis will be placed on the integration of the biological aspects (crop selection, harvesting, storage and distribution, and chemical composition of biomass) with the chemical aspects to convert biomass to energy. The course aims to
engage students in state-of-the-art research.
The Berkeley Lectures on Energy: Energy from Biomass: Read More [+]

PLANTBI C134 Chromosome Biology/Cytogenetics 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2016, Spring 2015
Survey of behavior, structure, and function of chromosomes with emphasis on behavior in model organisms. Topics include mitosis, meiosis, chromosome aberrations, genome function, dosage compensation, transposons, repetitive DNA, and modern cytological imaging.

Chromosome Biology/Cytogenetics: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 135 Physiology and Biochemistry of Plants 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
A study of physiological and biochemical processes in higher plants, including water relations, ion transport, and hormone physiology; photosynthesis (light utilization and carbon assimilation), nitrogen and sulfur metabolism, and plant-specific biosynthetic pathways.

Physiology and Biochemistry of Plants: Read More [+]

PLANTBI C148 Microbial Genomics and Genetics 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
Course emphasizes bacterial and archaeal genetics and comparative genomics. Genetics and genomic methods used to dissect metabolic and development processes in bacteria, archaea, and selected microbial eukaryotes. Genetic mechanisms integrated with genomic information to address integration and diversity of microbial processes. Introduction to the use of computational tools for a comparative analysis of microbial genomes and determining relationships
among bacteria, archaea, and microbial eukaryotes.
Microbial Genomics and Genetics: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 150 Plant Cell Biology 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
An introduction to the structure, dynamics, and function of plant cells: organelle structure and development; intracellular trafficking of small and macromolecules; cellular signaling; cell division and specialization.

Plant Cell Biology: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 160 Plant Molecular Genetics 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
A consideration of plant genetics and molecular biology. Topics include principles of genomics and gene functional analysis; regulation of gene expression in response to environmental and developmental stimuli; intercellular and intracellular signaling pathways; and the molecular and genetic basis for the exceptional cellular and developmental strategies adopted by plants.

Plant Molecular Genetics: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 165 Plant-Microbe Interactions 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
This course will cover topics in molecular plant-microbe interactions ranging from how microbes cause disease to how plants defend themselves. A second goal of the course is to engage students in state-of-the-art research in the area of plant-microbe interactions.

Plant-Microbe Interactions: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 170 Modern Applications of Plant Biotechnology 2 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2013, Spring 2012, Spring 2010
This course is designed to introduce students to the principles and applications of modern plant biotechnology. Basic concepts of modern agriculture will be reviewed in light of emerging biotechnology applications. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the tools and strategies involved in optimizing plant productivity.

Modern Applications of Plant Biotechnology: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 180 Environmental Plant Biology 2 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2015, Fall 2013
An integrated and multidisciplinary approach to the study of interactions between plants and the environment. Introduces physical parameters in the global and micro-environment that affect plant function; and molecular, cellular, and developmental aspects of plant response to suboptimal/adverse conditions. Underlying biochemistry, physiology, and molecular biology of plant adaptation and acclimation mechanisms. Examines consequences of industrial
activity on plant growth and productivity.
Environmental Plant Biology: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 185 Techniques in Light Microscopy 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015

The course will be a detailed overview of the practice of light microscopy as applied to scientific investigation. The emphasis of the course will be on the correct and appropriate use of the light microscope for biological scientists; however students of other disciplines are welcome. The course will cover optical microscope theory, microscope components and mechanics, and optical techniques including detailed descriptions, demonstrations
, and use of all the modern light microscope contrast methods. Students will receive hands-on experience in all microscope and digital imaging techniques via direct instruction and use of instrumentation in the College of Natural Resources Biological Imaging Facility.

Techniques in Light Microscopy: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 190 Special Topics in Plant and Microbial Biology 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2014 Second 6 Week Session, Spring 2012, Spring 2011
This class is designed to develop skills in critical analysis of specific plant and/or microbial biology issues. Topics may vary from semester to semester.

Special Topics in Plant and Microbial Biology: Read More [+]

PLANTBI C192 Molecular Approaches to Environmental Problem Solving 2 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2017
Seminar in which students consider how modern biotechnological approaches, including recombinant DNA methods, can be used to recognize and solve problems in the area of conservation, habitat and endangered species preservation, agriculture and environmental pollution. Students will also develop and present case studies of environmental problems solving using modern molecular methods.

Molecular Approaches to Environmental Problem Solving: Read More [+]

PLANTBI H196 Honors Research - Plant and Microbial Biology 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2015
Supervised independent honors research specific to aspects of the plant and microbial biology major, followed by an oral presentation and a written report. Honors students must complete two semesters of research.

Honors Research - Plant and Microbial Biology: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 198 Directed Group Studies in Plant Biology 1 - 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2015, Fall 2014, Spring 2014
Group studies of selected topics.

Directed Group Studies in Plant Biology: Read More [+]

PLANTBI 199 Supervised Independent Study and Research 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Enrollment restrictions apply; see the Introduction to Courses and Curricula section of this catalog.

Supervised Independent Study and Research: Read More [+]

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

Barbara Baker, Adjunct Professor. Biochemistry, genetics, signal transduction, plant and microbial biology, biolomolecular mechanisms of plant resistance to microbial disease, plant pathogen recognition, plant resistance to pathogen diseases, tobacco mosaic virus, agriculture and crops.
Research Profile

Benjamin Blackman, Assistant Professor.

Rachel B. Brem, Associate Adjunct Professor. Genetics of regulatory variation.
Research Profile

Steven Brenner, Professor. Molecular biology, computational biology, evolutionary biology, bioengineering, structural genomics, computational genomics, cellular activity, cellular functions, personal genomics.
Research Profile

Thomas D. Bruns, Professor. Microbial biology, plant biology, fungi, nucleic acid sequences, basidomycetes, ectomycorrhizal fungi communities.
Research Profile

John Coates, Professor.

Devin Coleman-Derr, Assistant Adjunct Professor. Plant, Microbiome, Environmental Stress, Drought, Sorghum.
Research Profile

+ Lewis J. Feldman, Professor. Microbial biology, plant biology.
Research Profile

Robert L. Fischer, Professor. Plant and microbial biology.
Research Profile

Jennifer C. Fletcher, Adjunct Professor. Molecular biology, genetics, gene regulation, stem cells, plant development.
Research Profile

Michael Freeling, Professor. Genetics, genomics, plants, trends in evolution.
Research Profile

N. Louise Glass, Professor. Biofuels, biotechnology, fungal genetics, fungal cell biology.
Research Profile

Britt Glaunsinger, Associate Professor. Virology, gene expression, herpesvirus.
Research Profile

Igor V. Grigoriev, Adjunct Professor. Genomics, fungi, algae, eukaryotes, computational biology, bioinformatics, genome annotation.
Research Profile

Sarah Hake, Adjunct Professor.

Frank Harmon, Associate Adjunct Professor.

Russell L. Jones, Professor. Plant and microbial biology.
Research Profile

Cheryl Kerfeld, Associate Adjunct Professor. Bacterial microcompartments, bioinformatics, photosynthesis, synthetic biology, Structural Biology, carboxysome, cyanobacteria, photoprotection.
Research Profile

Arash Komeili, Associate Professor. Microbiology, Biomineralization, bacterial organelles, Magnetic Nanoparticles.
Research Profile

Peggy G. Lemaux, Cooperative Extension Specialist.

Jennifer Lewis, Assistant Adjunct Professor. Plant-pathogen interactions, plant immunity, type III effector proteins.
Research Profile

Steven E. Lindow, Professor. Microbial ecology, microbial biology, plant biology, plant frost control, bacterial plant diseases, plant disease epidemiology.
Research Profile

Sheng Luan, Professor. Microbial biology, plant biology.
Research Profile

Sheila Mccormick, Adjunct Professor. Molecular biology, genetics, pollen, plant reproduction.
Research Profile

Anastasios Melis, Professor. Photosynthesis, Metabolic Engineering, bioenergy.
Research Profile

Krishna K. Niyogi, Professor. Genetics, plant and microbial biology, algae, photosynthesis, antioxidants.
Research Profile

Markus Pauly, Professor. Cell walls, extracellular matrix, plants, polysaccharides, carbohydrates, lignin, nucleotide sugars, analytical carbohydrate chemistry, plant genomics, enzyme biochemistry.
Research Profile

Daniel A. Portnoy, Professor. Mammalian cells, molecular and cellular basis of microbial pathogenesis, defense against infection, listeria monocytogenes, cell biology of infection, mechanisms of secretion.
Research Profile

Peter Quail, Professor. Plant biology, plant and microbial biology.
Research Profile

Kathleen Ryan, Associate Professor. Bacterial cell cycle regulation, signal transduction, and regulated proteolysis.
Research Profile

Henrik Scheller, Adjunct Professor. Biofuels, polysaccharides, plant cell walls, biochemistry, plant biotechnology, glycosylation.
Research Profile

Kimberly Seed, Assistant Professor.

Kimmen Sjolander, Professor. Computational biology, algorithms, phylogenetic tree reconstruction, protein structure prediction, multiple sequence alignment, evolution, bioinformatics, hidden Markov models, metagenomics, statistical modeling, phylogenomics, emerging and neglected diseases, machine-learning, genome annotation, metagenome annotation, systems biology, functional site prediction, ortholog identification.
Research Profile

Chris Somerville, Professor. Biochemistry, biotechnology, bioenergy, cell biology, biofuels, cell walls, polysaccharides, cellulose, arabidopsis, cellulose synthase.
Research Profile

Shauna Somerville, Professor. Powdery mildew disease, cell wall integrity sensing, plant-fungal interactions, plant cell walls.
Research Profile

Chelsea Specht, Associate Professor. Molecular evolution, adaptation, plant systematics, evolution of development (evo-devo), evolution of form and function, plant morphology, comparative phylogenetics, floral developmental evolution, diversification rates.
Research Profile

Brian J. Staskawicz, Professor. Biotechnology, plant and microbial biology.
Research Profile

Zinmay Sung, Professor. Plant biology, plant and microbial biology.
Research Profile

Michiko Taga, Assistant Professor. Molecular biology, genetics, microbial biology, chemical biology, cofactors, nutrient exchange, microbial communities.
Research Profile

John Taylor, Professor. Evolution, fungi, phylogenomics, mycology, population genomics.
Research Profile

Norman Terry, Professor. Phytoremediation, Bioremediation, environmental cleanup, soil and water, plant biology, microbial biology.
Research Profile

Matthew Traxler, Assistant Professor.

John Vogel, Adjunct Professor.

Mary Wildermuth, Associate Professor.

Patricia Zambryski, Professor. Microbial biology, plant biology, plant intercellular communication via plasmodesmata, Agrobacterium, bacterial type IV secretion.
Research Profile

Daniel Zilberman, Associate Professor.

Emeritus Faculty

Bob B. Buchanan, Professor Emeritus. Biotechnology, environmental policy, plant biology, thioredoxin.
Research Profile

Andrew Jackson, Professor Emeritus.

Contact Information

Department of Plant and Microbial Biology

111 Koshland Hall

Phone: 510-642-9999

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Krishna K. Niyogi

371A Koshland Hall

Phone: 510-643-6602

Fax: 510-642-4995

niyogi@berkeley.edu

Associate Chair

Patricia Zambryski

281A Koshland Hall

Phone: 510-643-2903

Fax: 510-642-4995

zambrysk@berkeley.edu

Undergraduate Staff Adviser

Patricia Helyer

260 Mulford Hall

Phone: 510-643-9479

phelyer@berkeley.edu

Associate Chair, Microbiology

John D. Coates

312G Energy Biosciences

Phone: 510-643-8455

jdcoates@berkeley.edu

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