A Letter from the Dean

We live in uncertain times, but there’s one thing about which we can remain very certain: CNR’s work is more critical than ever. We remain committed to scientific inquiry, the peer-review process, and academic excellence. We value forward-thinking research that employs new technologies and considers unexpected outcomes, and we strive to create positive, inclusive experiences for the students and researchers in our labs and classrooms.

This issue of Breakthroughs shows these values in action. Our feature article on increasing crop yields through more efficient photosynthesis tells the story of fundamental science that may help feed the world as we face increased drought and other effects of climate change. And our cover story follows CNR ecologists who are studying the coexistence of humans and wildlife, using both modern tools and good old-fashioned relationship-building.

Continuing on the theme of collaboration and public outreach, we highlight the Program for Graduate Students in Extension, a partnership with the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources that helps students gain experience connecting science to California communities.

We also reflect on a long-running course in environmental ethics and hear from some of our premier scientists on how they foster equity and diversity in STEM fields and in their labs. And finally, we share stories of alumni and parents who are creating positive environmental impacts in the business sector, in local government, and through their generous support of CNR’s efforts.

As always, I welcome your comments at gilless@berkeley.edu.