Biological sciences dean G. Steven Martin retiring

UC Berkeley Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele sent this message to the campus community today:

Dear Campus Community,

I am writing to share the news that G. Steven Martin, dean of the Division of Biological Sciences in the College of Letters and Science, will retire in June 2016. Professor Michael Botchan has agreed to serve a one-year term as interim dean, effective July 1.

G. Steven Martin

G. Steven Martin

During his term as dean, Steve has successfully maintained the division’s research excellence, overseeing the recruitment of 25 new faculty members and the successful retention of 12. The departments of Molecular and Cell Biology and Integrative Biology continue to receive high rankings and attract outstanding students and faculty.

During the course of his leadership position, Steve has supported the establishment and fundraising efforts of a number of major new research and educational initiatives. The Innovative Genomics Initiative, established to exploit genome-editing technology for biomedical, agricultural and environmental applications, has already succeeded in attracting over $25 million in funding, with an additional $40 million-plus pledged. The Immunotherapeutics and Vaccine Research Initiative has obtained more than $7.5 million in funding. Working with other deans and the campus administration, Steve supported the establishment of the Berkeley BRAIN initiative, which has also been successful in raising substantial grant funds.

His fundraising efforts have also supported ongoing programs. For example, the Biology Scholars Program, one of the nation’s most successful STEM diversity programs, received a major grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He also secured the establishment of three new endowed chairs. Overall, the division has raised some $66 million in the last five years.

Michael Botchan

Michael Botchan

Michael Botchan visited UC Berkeley in 1965 to take a summer school undergraduate zoology course. He returned here for his graduate studies, receiving his Ph.D. in 1972. After a stint at Cold Springs Harbor, he was recruited in 1980 to Cal as an associate professor during the “pre-reorganization” era in the Molecular Biology Department. His scholarly work at UC has included contributions to virology and to unraveling the mechanisms of DNA replication.

Mike is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Microbiology Society. At Berkeley, he has served as a division head in MCB and as MCB’s chair. He chaired the biochemistry section of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and he currently chairs the Medical Advisory Board at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Chancellor Dirks and I are deeply grateful to Steve for his contributions over the past five years. Please also join us in thanking Mike for agreeing to become interim dean.


Claude Steele
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost