Graduate Program  |  Plant & Microbial Biology  |  University of California, Berkeley

Graduate Program | Plant & Microbial Biology | University of California, Berkeley

October 11, 2019 1 By Stanley Isaacs

My name is Robbie Calderon and I work in Kris
Niyogi’s Lab. I study how Photosystem II, which is one of the components of photosynthesis,
as the name would implied, gets assembled from its constituent parts and co-factors,
all these proteins and pigments that make it up. My name is Veder Garcia and I am a
graduate student in the lab of Professor Sheng Luan. In general terms, what we are trying
to do is to investigate the mechanisms of how photosynthetic components are assembled
and maintained in plants. I’m Emily Whiston. I’m in John Taylor’s Lab. I study Coccidioides,
which is a mammalian fungal pathogen that’s potentially fatal in healthy human adults.
Practically speaking, why we are interested in this stuff, is because if we can understand
how nature assembled Photosystem II, that has a lot of implications for doing these
things from a bioengineering standpoint. In the long term, this kind of project would
benefit society in a way, for example, with global warming, for instance, because plants
produce carbon dioxide so if we are able to develop plants that are efficient at capturing
more energy and using it, we could have plants absorbing more carbon dioxide. Part of the
goal of the research is looking at potential vaccine candidates. I chose UC Berkeley because
I really like the area and really like the researchers here. I chose UC Berkeley, not
only because it’s a top school, but also because of the great opportunities it has
for grad students. I’ve really had great experiences with everyone in the department,
from department retreats to happy hours to seminars. I think more specifically PMB, because
I thought I was attracted to PMB because of the extensive research areas that is has.
I remember interviewing at a couple other places that were, it was much more uptight
I guess. Everyone is just really fun to be around. And, of course, everyone is scientifically
really smart. One thing I should mention is that when I came in for the interview weekend
I felt that I was welcomed by the faculty and students and so I would say I chose UC
Berkeley and specifically PMB because I felt a sense of community in this department.