Alex Styer joins the Coleman-Derr lab, receives NSF-GRFP

-A warm welcome to graduate student Alex Styer, who will be joining the Coleman-Derr lab this summer. Alex Styer joined the UC Berkeley Plant and Microbial Biology Department last Fall after completing his undergraduate work at Georgetown University. Alex was recently awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship related to a project he has started with us on plant microbe interactions in Cassava. Congratulations Alex!

Heidi Wipf Receives NSF-GRFP

Heidi Wipf, a second year graduate student in the Coleman-Derr lab, was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for her upcoming work to investigate the effects of polyploidy in plants on the recruitment of beneficial microbes to the root microbiome. Plant growth-promoting microbes (PGPM) show great promise for improving crop yields amidst climate change and rising human population growth, but host traits affecting the recruitment of PGPM are not well characterized. Heidi will use transcriptomics, metabolomics and metagenomics to investigate the impact of whole genome duplication events on the plant microbiome to improve our understanding of plant-microbe signaling and the mechanisms controlling microbial shifts in the rhizosphere, which may reveal candidate PGPM for enhancing drought tolerance and yield. Congratulations Heidi!

Coleman-Derr lab to participate in NASA-funded research as part of the Center for Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space (CUBES)

We are excited to participate in the upcoming CUBES Project funded by NASA. The CUBES institute will advance research into an integrated, multi-function, multi-organism bio-manufacturing system to produce fuel, materials, pharmaceuticals and food. While the research goals of the CUBES institute are to benefit deep-space planetary exploration, these goals also lend themselves to practical Earth-based applications. The CUBES team is led by Adam Arkin, principal investigator at the University of California, Berkeley, in partnership with Utah State University, the University of California, Davis, Stanford University, and industrial partners Autodesk and Physical Sciences, Inc. Our team will focus on improving water and light-use efficiency in crops grown off planet on deep-space missions using CRISPR/Cas9 and microbiome based approaches.

PIECE 2.0: an updated database for plant gene structure comparison and evolution

A new publication from our lab, published in Nucleic Acids Research in October 2016. PIECE is a web-accessible database that houses intron and exon information for plant genes. PIECE serves as a resource for biologists interested in comparing intron-exon organization and provides valuable insights into the evolution of gene structure in plant genomes.