Jill Banfield is among thirteen UC Berkeley faculty members, a majority of whom are women, out of an initial total of 47 investigators who were chosen by the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub to receive up to $1.5 million each to conduct cutting-edge research. Priscilla Chang and Mark Zuckerberg created the eponymous initiative on December 1, 2015 in order to "advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research and energy." The first 47 awards, including the one to Prof. Banfield, was announced on February 7, 2017.
Prof. Banfield is jointly appointed in the Berkeley Departments of Earth & Planetary Science and Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. She explores the medical, industrial and ecological significance of newly-found microorganisms. The Banfield Lab has revealed two major evolutionary radiations, one in bacteria and the other in Archaea. Jill Banfield will probe enigmatic bacteria and archaea for genes and proteins that manipulate the genomes of other species; a possibility that may be harnessed for new technologies. Prof. Banfield helped pioneer repetitive genetic sequences called CRISPR within bacteria that she had found in a defunct iron mine.
Berkeley News recently highlighted Prof. Banfield and the other recipients of the first Chan Zuckerberg Biohub grants at UC Berkeley.
For the full-length article in Berkeley News click here.
For the article in Nature, click here.