Pioneer Member

Robert Fischer


Yeonhee Choi
Bob Franks
Mary Gehring
James Giovannoni
Bob Goldberg
John Harada
Tzung-Fu Hsieh
Wenyan Xiao
Ramin Yadegari

Yeonhee Choi – I joined Bob’s lab in 1996 as a postdoc, when Arabidopsis became a popular model plant. Bob loves plants, of course, nature (not the journal Nature^^), Beech boys, Mamas and Papas, Beatles, Bob Dylan, San Francisco Giants, and waking at 5 PM for an hour. But I think he likes Peet’s coffee the most! 231 Koshland Hall, Bob’s lab in UC Berkeley was always full of coffee smell in the morning before we started our work. One day after he came back from walking, he said to me “plants are telling me what is happening to them, and I just don’t understand their language”. He felt very sorry to cut Arabidopsis plants so we could understand the results of experiments. He is no doubt one of the pioneers in the plant genetic and epigenetic fields. Bob is truly a great teacher to students and post docs. Thanks, Bob! You were the guiding light that made everybody in your lab a better scientist.

Bob Franks – Working with and learning from Bob Fischer as a postdoctoral scholar was pivotal to my success as a scientist. Bob mentored me in presentation skills, project management, scientific thinking and grant writing. With regard to grant writing, I remember Bob, after having read one of my grant drafts, told me “When you write a grant you need the steak and you need the sizzle. In this draft, you have the steak, but you are missing the sizzle.” Then he helped me add some sizzle.

James (Jim) Giovannoni – Bob Fischer was a wonderful PhD advisor, and everything one could hope for in a mentor. Kind, thoughtful, caring, and most importantly, a brilliant scientist and educator who taught his students how to properly and thoroughly address a question scientifically. Thank you Bob!

Tzung-Fu Hsieh – Bob is an incredible mentor and a great lifelong friend. During my time in Bob’s lab I learned a great deal about how to channel my focus on the most relevant questions and how to think critically. Other than the great discoveries I got to witness and participated in, I think the most important lesson I learned from Bob was that at times our results might seem confusing, but when all the missing pieces come together everything will eventually make sense. This principle has guided me through many confusing times over the past decade and I know without the training in Bob’s lab I would have gotten completely lost very quickly. Most importantly, Bob allowed me to learn and mature on my own path, nudging me here and there along the way so I did not veer off the main road. Bob, I really want to thank you for taking me in and for everything you have taught me and done for me.