China Is Trending

The Plant and Microbial Biology (PMB) Department doesn’t have a formal exchange program with China, but several of its professors have started what might be called a PMB–China trend.

Professor Andrew Jackson’s China connection began in 2004, when a former visiting scientist invited him to China Agricultural University to give lectures related to PMB C114, Introduction to Comparative Virology, which he co-teaches here. That led to a three-week intensive on plant RNA viruses at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou. He’s returned four times since, either to teach or conduct research. “Teaching in China is immensely rewarding,” Jackson said, noting that most Americans have very little understanding of day-to-day life in modern China, or of the tremendous building and investment for the future that is ongoing there.

Adjunct professor Sheila McCormick taught a truncated version of PMB 210, Scientific Reasoning and Logic, at the Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology (SIPPE) in 2009 and 2011, and at Peking University in Beijing in 2010. In 2011 she also led a writing workshop for faculty. This spring, adjunct professor Frank Harmon is teaching a shortened version of his PMB 200 module on systems biology at SIPPE.

The trend is resulting in new relationships and an expanded reach for PMB’s work. “The Chinese educational system is quite different, and I think it is fun to show them our way,” McCormick said.

MORE SINO-SCIENCE: ESPM Professor Lynn Huntsinger won a $25,000 research grant from the Li Ka Shing Foundation for Women in Science, which promotes and supports scientific and scholarly collaboration between female scientists in China and the United States.

CENTENNIAL: UC Berkeley’s Forestry Club celebrated its 100th anniversary on January 26, 2012. The initial student gathering led to Berkeley’s forestry major and the subsequent formation of the School of Forestry, which launched forestry education in California.