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July 2019

We said farewell to Eliot with a few beers and some serious games of Jenga. He’s been a great team member, involved in everything from planting the switchgrass to coaxing the HPAEC-PAD into behaving.

June 2019

We welcome Dr Yuan Zhang, who completed her PhD at Rutgers University, where she was supervised by Prof. Dismukes. First job – out to the field to visit our field trials with Kavitha to help with sampling! We also hosted visitors from all over the world including Prof. Taku Demura (NAIST, Japan), Dr. Sebastien Mongrand (CNRS, France), and Prof. Fayna Garcia-Martni (Hokkaido Univeristy, Japan).

Putting Taku to work shelling broad beans for dinner!

May 2019

We welcome a visiting masters student this summer, Eliot Magnin, from Polytech Clermont Ferrand who will work with Kavitha to analyze our 2018 switchgrass harvest.

Eliot, Kavitha, Jenny, Ramana, Xiaoxian and Yu enjoying the Townhouse

Dec 2018

We welcomed a new postdoc to the lab! Dr Xiaoxian Liu, who completed her PhD at the University of Florida, where she was supervised by Profs. Pam and Doug Soltis

Dr. Xiaoxian Liu

…and Sophie Tran has graduated and is now working at SeqMatic. Congratulations on your new job, but we will miss you!

Sophie and Ramana

October 2018

It’s been a busy few months…

We welcomed Dr. Kavitha Satish Kumar and Dr. Yu Gao to the lab. Kavitha joined us from the lab of Prof. Chandrashekhar Joshi at Michigan Technical University, where she worked on the biosynthesis of lignin in poplar trees. Yu joins us from the lab of Prof. Marcus Foston as Washington University in St. Louis, where he focused on the catalytic reductive depolymerization of lignin.

Julien and Soe’s paper on the function of GGLT1 (the Arabidopsis GDP-L-galactose transporter) was accepted in The Plant Journal. Thanks to our great collaborators at the CCRC and Stanford for all their help!

Sophie returned to the lab for her final semester before graduation, after a successful internship at Dupont.

May 2018

Welcome to Delphine Khuu and Pablo Bouchez, visiting Masters students from Polytech Clermont Ferrand.

Congratulations to Sophie on graduating from UCB Chemistry and on her summer internship with Dupont!

Also, big congratulations to Lin, Emilie, Julien, Jingwei and Beibei, as well as our fantastic collaborators Toshiki Ishikawa (Saitama), Will and Henrik (JBEI) and Ed Cahoon (Nebraska) on getting the Arabidopsis GINT1 paper accepted in Plant Physiology  Great team work!

Lab Lunch to say thank you to Sophie for a great semester’s work, and say hi to Delphine and Pablo. Kavitha (our new postdoc who hasn’t quite started yet) came to say hi too!

April 2018

Welcome to Jade Pezard, a Masters student who is visiting us from AgroParisTech to work on sorghum GIPCs.

Welcome also to Dr. Rita Sharma, who’s visiting JBEI on sabbatical from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, to work on gene editing in sorghum. Rita was a postdoc with JBEI in the Ronald Lab at UC Davis, so it’s especially great to have her back.

Congratulations to alumni Vy Ngo, on her new job with Zymergen.

December 2017

JOBS available here in the Feedstocks division, two of which are postdocs with me.

Congratulations Lin on getting an Asst. Prof position at the CAS botanic gardens in Guangzhou!

October 2017

JBEI phase III is go! Watch this space for job adverts

Farewell and congratulations to Julien as he leaves us to start his Agreenskills fellowship at IJPB in Versailles, France. Also farewell and congratulations to Sow Htwe who leaves us to take a position at Resilience Science, a start up in San Francisco (also staffed by ex JBEI-ers). She’s also hoping to find time to work as a part-time pastry chef, and we’re looking forward to trying the results.

June 2017

Oops, it seems that we’ve been so busy that I forgot to update the News section.

Highlights of the last few months have included:

Vy winning the Grace Fimognari prize for outstanding graduating senior in MCB!

The arrival of Lily, taking the lab baby count to 3 so far – congratulations Lin!

Ramana and Amir had a paper accepted in the Journal of Visual Experimentation (JoVE) where they will be demonstrating using PACE to analyze mannan structure. Coming to a screen near you soon…

I got to visit the impressive new AgriBio building at La Trobe University, Australia, where I was lecturing on their Systems Biology workshop. Impressive science and good wine.

I also traveled to Dalian, China, to the World Economic Forum summer meeting, the Annual Meeting of New Champions. This was my second visit as part of the “Young Scientist” cohort, and it really was a privilege to attend. I hosted a session on Green Chemistry, with fellow Young Scientist Ning Yan, from the National University of Singapore. I also took part in a WEF press briefing on the fun and challenges of being a young scientist in the current climate, with fellow Young Scientists Michael Bowen and Kellie Charles from the University of Sydney.

We’ve also said very sad farewells to Thea, Amir and Vy over the past few months. Thea has returned to Germany to a postdoc with Andreas Weber, Amir has returned to Sweden (where his wife has just started her PhD) and Vy is staying in Berkeley as she will start as a Junior Specialist in the Schaffer lab at UCB.

February 2017

We’re excited to welcome two new people to the lab:

Robin Herbert will join us on a joint project with Aindrila Mukhopadhyay’s group at JBEI where he will be developing an eco-toxicity platform to look at the effects of various JBEI-developed compound on plant growth and plant-mircrobe interactions.

Sophie Tran, an undergraduate student from UCB’s Chemistry department, will be joining us to work for credit on the topology of the CSLA proteins with Amir.

Welcome both!

January 2017

Happy New Year!

Our book chapter describing xylan analysis using PACE is out! It is published in Xylem: methods and protocols, edited by M de Lucas and JP Etchells. This method was developed in Paul Dupree’s lab at Cambridge University (e.g. Goubet et al. 2002), where I did my postdoctoral research. We use it regularly here in my group at JBEI. The method is simple to set up, cheap to perform, and gives detailed polysaccharide structural information. Watch out for a JOVE video on the method, coming in the next few months…


We’re also very sad to wave goodbye to Gosia Murawska. She’s been a great addition to the lab, first as a Masters student, and then as a Research Assistant. She’s a very enthusiastic chemist, but I think we’ve convinced her of the joys of plants! We all wish her a lot of luck with her PhD studies at the University of Basel in the group of Prof. Dennis Gillingham.

November 2016

Very happy to report that our paper describing the function of GMT1, a putative Arabidopsis glycosyltransferase, in sphingolipid biosynthesis has been accepted in The Plant Cell! Lin led this study, with big contributions from many people at JBEI. This work wouldn’t have been possible without our fantastic collaborators, especially Toshiki Ishikawa at Saitama University in Japan.

Happy Thanksgiving All!

September 2016

Jenny, in collaboration with our collaborator Prof. Igor Cesarino at the University of São Paulo, has been selected by The Plant Cell to develop a Plant Cell Wall Teaching Tool, which will form part of their series of tools to support undergraduate plant science teaching.

Vy Ngo is back, joining us from UC Berkeley MCB department as an honors student. Welcome back Vy!

Sadly, we’ve had to say goodbye to Fekadu Anderbehan. We wish Fekadu a lot of luck with her future career, and look forward to her returning for a visit with her science-enthusiast nephews.

August 2016

Dominik Bodi, our Biotech Partners high-school student, did an excellent job of presenting his poster describing his research at the BRAVO! event. He was a great addition to our group over the summer, and we wish him all the best for his future career in STEM!


Vy Ngo, our SULI undergraduate researcher this summer also presented her fantastic work at the LBL intern poster day. She is off on a well earned vacation now, but we can’t wait to see her back as a student researcher in the Fall Semester.


We have also welcomed back Gosia Murawska! She initially joined us as part of her Masters studies at Groeningen in the Netherlands. She will now return as a research assistant to continue her development of GIPC analytical techniques.

July 2016

Lab BBQ in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

lab bbq july

Thea, Amir, and I, along with some other JBEIers attended the ASPB annual meeting in Austin Texas. We particularly enjoyed Plantae‘s “selfie station” at the poster session…