News

October 9, 2019

David Schaffer

The company, called 4D Molecular Therapeutics Inc., doesn't expect to put its first three experimental single-shot cures for a range of diseases into clinical trials until next year. Yet it already has key partnerships with well-known drug makers Roche, AstraZeneca plc and gene therapy pioneer uniQure NV. Founders David Schaffer, The Hubbard Howe Jr. Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering, and Dr. David Kirn have worked on so-called "viral vectors" — the protein shells ridden by viruses to skip through the body — since before the company was formed in 2013. In gene therapy, those vehicles are engineered to remove the disease-triggering part of a virus and used instead to carry correct versions of genes to replace mutated genes.

October 4, 2019


Team BuildingHow can the makers of Goretex produce waterproof gear without toxic perfluorinated chemicals? How might an enzyme found in plants and fungi help Levi Strauss & Co. keep their brand of khakis wrinkle-free? Is it possible to make an effective sunscreen that doesn’t damage coral reefs? A novel collaboration between the School of Public Health and the College of Chemistry through the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC) is leading the nation in reimagining chemistry education to reduce waste, develop safer chemicals, and achieve sustainability.

October 2, 2019

Periodic table

Berkeley chemist John Arnold fell under the table’s spell while still a high school student in Lancashire, England. For Arnold, now a professor and undergraduate dean of the College of Chemistry, Mendeleev’s creation has a magic about it. “It really is, I think, one of the greatest scientific accomplishments of all time,” Arnold says. “We can relate things that happen in our lives every day to that one simple, two-dimensional picture.”


Students on the UC Berkeley campusA new Master of Molecular Science and Software Engineering (MSSE) degree program offered by the College of Chemistry in collaboration with the College of Engineering is now accepting applications for Fall 2020. MSSE's online, part-time program is an exciting and novel way to address industry's increasing demands in a workforce trained in multidisciplinary skills while offering students flexibility.

September 24, 2019

Polly Arnold

Prominent heavy-element chemist Polly Arnold has been elected a member of Academia Europaea. Her research focuses on advancing our understanding of the bonding and reactivity of heavy elements, the elements of the f-block of the periodic table. Arnold was recently appointed Chemical Sciences Division Director at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Concurrent with her role at Berkeley Lab, she will also join the Chemistry Department faculty at UC Berkeley in January 2020.

September 17, 2019

berkelium

Glenn Seaborg was born too late to have spawned Cal’s spirit cry. It’s coincidence, surely, that his name is an anagram for “Go Bears!” And, although he was definitely a Bears fan and was Chancellor when Cal last made it to the Rose Bowl in 1959, he was never in Oski’s league as a campus celebrity. While others led rallies, he had to settle for spearheading decades of trailblazing nuclear science, endowing UC Berkeley with bragging rights to the discovery of a record 16 new elements. Now, though, the 1951 Nobelist is making a bid to play in the social media space.

September 13, 2019

Paul Alivisatos and Charles Leiber

The Welch Foundation, one of the nation’s largest sources of private funding for basic chemical research, has announced that Drs. Armand Paul Alivisatos and Charles M. Lieber are the 2019 recipients of the prestigious Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry. Highly-respected and influential leaders in the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology, Drs. Alivisatos and Lieber are being recognized for their important research contributions which have had a significant, positive impact on humankind.

September 12, 2019

Rebecca Abergel

When chemist Rebecca Abergel (Ph.D. '06, Chem) and her team at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory successfully developed an anti-radiation-poisoning pill in 2014, they hoped it would never have to be used. Now the researchers are studying how that very same pill could help protect people from the potential toxicity of something else – the long-term retention of gadolinium, a critical ingredient in widely used contrast dyes for MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans.

September 10, 2019

Richard AndersenIt is with great sadness that the College announces the passing of Chemistry Professor Richard Andersen. Over the span of forty years, Andersen made foundational contributions to many areas of inorganic and organometallic chemistry.

September 7, 2019

Richmond Sarpong

The Center for Computer Assisted Synthesis (C-CAS) has been chosen as a new Center of Chemical Innovation nationally this year by the National Science Foundation. Richmond Sarpong of UC Berkeley joins Olaf Wiest (center director) and Nitesh Chawla of Notre Dame, Abigail Doyle (Princeton University), Robert Paton (Colorado State University) and Matthew Sigman (University of Utah) as principal investigators to collaboratively direct research and experimentation at the C-CAS.

September 3, 2019

Shekar, Schepartz and Zuerch

This year, there will be three new lab groups forming under three new professors. Alanna Schepartz and Michael Zuerch are joining the Department of Chemistry; Karthik Shekhar will be in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. In the fall, new professors are often still in the process of moving in and awaiting new lab space setups.

September 1, 2019

Norman E. Phillips

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Professor Norman Phillips, distinguished scientist and outstanding mentor and educator. He passed away on July 25 at the age of 90. Norm's research focused on materials and solid state chemistry. His many contributions are reflected in over 200 publications and numerous awards and honors, including his induction as a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

August 27, 2019

Nanoscopic mapping of lipid order in cell membranes with NR4A.

When scientists use superresolution microscopy methods on cells, they usually get just structural information like the sizes and shapes of cellular compartments. By using a new derivative of a conventional dye, researchers can now get specific nanoscale information about the chemical environment of cell plasma membranes. Such information could tell scientists about the order and disorder of the cell membranes, including about highly ordered “lipid rafts.”

July 8, 2019

Tom Maimone and Wenjun ZhangPresident Donald J. Trump has announced the newest recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology.

June 27, 2019

Omar Yaghi

This year’s Nano Research Award, which is sponsored by Tsinghua University Press (TUP) and Springer Nature, was presented to two celebrated researchers in Changsha, China on June 23rd. Omar M. Yaghi, the James and Neeltje Tretter Chair Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley received the award for pioneering a new field of research known as reticular chemistry. This chemistry has led to the discovery of several new classes of extended structures called metal-organic frameworks, covalent organic frameworks, zeolitic imidazolate frameworks, and molecular weaving.

May 29, 2019

UC Berkeley News

Jennifer Doudna holds a model of the CRISPR-Cas9 protein (white) interacting with DNA (orange and blue).The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today issued a patent to the University of California (UC), the University of Vienna and French biologist Emmanuelle Charpentier that covers methods of modulating DNA transcription using the CRISPR-Cas9 system.

March 22, 2019

University of California, Berkeley, scientists developed new Cas9 variants that could make CRISPR safer. (kirstypargeter/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

One big challenge facing the development of CRISPR gene editing for use in humans is the fear that the Cas9 "scissors" used in the technology could cause unintended off-target effects. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have come up with a potential solution: a “switch” mechanism that could keep the Cas9 enzyme turned off until it reaches its target site.

In a recent study co-authored by CRIPSR pioneer Jennifer Doudna and published in the journal Cell, the UC Berkeley team described how they used an engineering technique called circular permutation to create Cas9 variants, "ProCas9s," that allow CRISPR to be turned on only in the targeted cells.

February 4, 2019

spectroscopy

Understanding the detailed nature of complex interfaces has become a quest of profound significance, as it underlies urgently needed advances in many applications, including water purification, desalination, and reclamation technologies, and is vital to central processes in electrochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, biochemistry, and energy conversion. Scientists have developed a new technique to probe interfaces with both surface and element-specific selectivity, demonstrated for the individual graphene layers within bulk graphite.

December 20, 2018

Kwabena BediakoKwabena Bediako has been named a recipient of The Office of Naval Research (ONR) 2019 Young Investigator Award for his research in Van der Waals engineering for electrochemically tunable quantum materials.

December 7, 2018

Richard HoughtenAt this year's induction ceremony for the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame, Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies founder Richard Houghten and optometry pioneer Herbert Wertheim — two individuals of unquestionable genius — shared a surprising fact about themselves: Growing up, they each struggled with severe learning challenges that easily could have sent them on a different path.