Division of Biological Sciences


Winter 2011

Planting Our Future

The recent media headlines are telling:  “World Food Prices Soar to Record,” “Asia’s Poor suffer as Food Prices Drive Inflation” and “Food versus Fuel Debate Heat Up.”  By 2020, the our global population will mushroom to 7.5 billion, by 2030, 9 billion. How will we feed families across the world in ways which not only sustain them, but allow them to thrive?  How will billions of people travel, light and heat their homes, and produce the goods they need without destroying the environment?   The answers to these vital questions have a common denominator - photosynthesis, the most important biological process on earth.

UCSD Biological Sciences has already earned a global reputation as the place for groundbreaking discoveries in the plant sciences, with a faculty that includes 7 National Academy of Science members and experts in plant genomics, plant circadian rhythms, cynobacteria, algae and much more.  By establishing the Photosynthetic Biology Institute (PBI) on UCSD campus, we will bring together many of the greatest minds in science, technology, business and policymaking to address the urgent challenges of more efficiently converting solar energy into sustainable foods, fuels and medicines and other bio-materials, while addressing the environmental threats posed by depletion of fossil fuels.