I Just wanted to bring some attention to the fact that UC Berkeley is home to a new Nobel Prize winner and the new head of the Federal Reserve (it’s a woman!!!) I have for the last 10 months felt so grateful that this school has been my new “home”; the excellence in research, innovation, education, development, and progress are around me all of the time, make me feel hope towards our changing world. These two stories just highlight what this school offers on a much larger scale than just academics.

Feel Impressed – I Am! XXxx

Business school’s Janet Yellen named to lead Fed

By Public Affairs, UC Berkeley | October 9, 2013


Colleagues and friends at UC Berkeley are celebrating Haas School of Business professor Janet Yellen’s nomination by President Obama to become the first woman to head the nation’s Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

If confirmed, Yellen will succeed current Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, who will step down in January 2014. The Federal Reserve Board is tasked with setting economic policy to promote price stability and employment, which she has described as “not just statistics to me.”

Yellen, the Eugene E. and Catherine M. Trefethen Professor Emeritus of Business Administration, taught macroeconomics for more than two decades at the campus’s Haas School of Business, where much of her research focused on unemployment and labor markets, monetary and fiscal policies and international trade and investment policy. Earlier this year, she was named a Berkeley Fellow, joining an honorific society of distinguished friends of UC Berkeley chosen in recognition of their contributions to the campus.

Yellen has served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors since 2010.  She was president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco from 2004 until 2010. She has been a vocal advocate for transparency of Federal Reserve policies and actions. Yellen also chaired the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1997 to 1999 during the Clinton administration.

Breaking barriers

Yellen is one of several female Berkeley professors who have successfully challenged the barriers to the White House’s primarily male circle of economic advisers. Like Yellen, her Berkeley-Haas colleague professor Laura Tyson also chaired the President’s Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton administration, and economics professor Christina Romer held the job for four years in the Obama administration.


“By force of her arguments, openness to those of others and record of accomplishments, Yellen has earned great credibility with and the respect of central bankers here and abroad, of economists, of business, of legislators and of policy analysts,” added Wilcox.

 “I hired her and have been pleased ever since. At the Haas School, her colleagues and students admired her scholarship and her teaching,” said Earl “Budd” Cheit, dean emeritus of Berkeley-Haas. “As a dean, I especially admired her willingness to be an institution builder. To me, her defining characteristic is quiet competence.”

‘Confidence without attitude’

Randy Schekman awarded 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

By Robert Sanders, Media Relations | October 7, 2013


Randy W. Schekman, professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, has won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his role in revealing the machinery that regulates the transport and secretion of proteins in our cells. He shares the prize with James E. Rothman of Yale University and Thomas C. Südhof of Stanford University Discoveries by Schekman about how yeast secrete proteins led directly to the success of the biotechnology industry, which was able to coax yeast to release useful protein drugs, such as insulin and human growth hormone. The three scientists’ research on protein transport in cells, and how cells control this trafficking to secrete hormones and enzymes, illuminated the workings of a fundamental process in cell physiology.

Schekman is UC Berkeley’s 22nd Nobel Laureate, and the first to receive the prize in the area of physiology or medicine.

In a statement, the 50-member Nobel Assembly lauded Rothman, Schekman and Südhof for making known “the exquisitely precise control system for the transport and delivery of cellular cargo. Disturbances in this system have deleterious effects and contribute to conditions such as neurological diseases, diabetes, and immunological disorders.”

“My first reaction was, ‘Oh, my god!’ said Schekman, 64, who was awakened at his El Cerrito home with the good news at 1:30 a.m. “That was also my second reaction.”

Schekman and Rothman separately mapped out one of the body’s critical networks, the system in all cells that shuttles hormones and enzymes out and adds to the cell surface so it can grow and divide. This system, which utilizes little membrane bubbles to ferry molecules around the cell interior, is so critical that errors in the machinery inevitably lead to death.

In what some thought was a foolish decision, Schekman decided in 1976, when he first joined the College of Letters and Science at UC Berkeley, to explore this system in yeast. In the ensuing years, he mapped out the machinery by which yeast cells sort, package and deliver proteins via membrane bubbles to the cell surface, secreting proteins important in yeast communication and mating. Yeast also use the process to deliver receptors to the surface, the cells’ main way of controlling activities such as the intake of nutrients like glucose.

In the 1980s and ’90s, these findings enabled the biotechnology industry to exploit the secretion system in yeast to create and release pharmaceutical products and industrial enzymes. Today, one-third of the insulin used worldwide by diabetics is produced by yeast, and the entire world’s supply of the hepatitis B vaccine is from yeast.

Various diseases, including some forms of diabetes and a form of hemophilia, involve a hitch in the secretion system of cells, and Schekman is now investigating a possible link to Alzheimer’s disease.



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