News

May 4, 2020

smokestacks

Our energy and water systems are inextricably linked. Climate change necessitates that we transition to carbon-free energy and also that we conserve water resources as they become simultaneously more in demand and less available. New research shows that CCS could stress water resources in about 43% of the world’s power plants where water scarcity is already a problem. Further, the technology deployed in these water-scarce regions matters, and emerging CCS technologies could greatly mitigate the demand CCS places on water consumption.

April 28, 2020

graduate student instructor awards

Each year, a number of graduate students from the College work as instructors in undergraduate courses to gain experience for future careers in academia. The Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award honors a unique group for their outstanding work in the teaching of undergraduates. The recipients are nominated from within their teaching departments. The UC Berkeley GSI Teaching & Resource Center provides the award recipients with certificates of distinction and normally would host a celebratory ceremony in the spring.

April 24, 2020

Markita Landry

Spectroscopy announced this week that Markita Landry, UC Berkeley Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been named the winner of the 2020 Emerging Leader in Molecular Spectroscopy Award. The award will be presented to Landry at the 2020 SciX 2020 conference in October in Sparks, Nevada, where she will give a plenary lecture and be honored in an award symposium.

April 6, 2020

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program is a prestigious grant awarded annually by the National Science Foundation to approximately 2,000 students pursuing research-based Master's and doctoral degrees in the natural, social, and engineering sciences at US institutions. This year, 17 graduate students and four undergraduate students from the College of Chemistry have received 2020 fellowships.

March 27, 2020

Bay Area air quality improves as people forced to stay home

Fewer vehicles on the road and the slowing world economy has lead to blue skies over the world including the Bay Area, China, and Italy. Locally, every day since March 14, the EPA Air Quality Index has reported all nine Bay Area counties bathed in green on its color scale, for good quality air. It’s rare to have so many consecutive clean-air days. And last week, air-quality sensors that measure particulate matter showed the lowest average readings of any week so far in 2020 — down 21% in Oakland, 36% in San Jose and 41% in San Francisco from the week before.

scientists look for COVID-19 treatment

UC Berkeley and UCSF Professor Kevan Shokat, along with members of his lab, have joined with other scientists around the world in a unique research project under the auspices of the Quantitative Biosciences Institute Coronavirus Research Group (QBI) spearheaded by UCSF Professor Nevan Krogan. The international team is testing an unusual new approach to identify potential antiviral drugs with proven efficacy to treat SARS-Cov-2 infections. Given the world crisis, the strategy of testing known/approved drugs could help reduce the numbers of deaths in the near term while the world health community battles the epidemic.

March 24, 2020

College of Chemistry goes online

The growing coronavirus pandemic compelled campus officials to halt all lectures and most in-person classes as of March 10. Faculty and lecturers were caught off guard. Few had experience teaching online courses. Most had to scramble to learn how to deliver lectures via Zoom or through b-Courses or other teleconferencing services and to pick up tricks from colleagues about how to be remotely engaging. By March 13, the campus canceled all in-person classes too, throwing a wrench into the interactive training critical in many fields.

March 19, 2020

US News and World Report ranks CBE #2

The College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley is pleased to announce that the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) has been ranked number two in a tie with Caltech in the 2021 U.S. News and World Report list of best chemical engineering graduate schools in the United States. MIT was in first place.

March 18, 2020

University of California, Berkeley, researchers have created a new technique that utilizes photolithography and programmable DNA to rapidly “print” two-dimensional arrays of cells

With the help of photolithography and a creative use of programmable DNA, UC Berkeley researchers have created a new technique that can rapidly “print” two-dimensional arrays of cells and proteins that mimic a wide variety of cellular environments in the body — be it the brain tissue surrounding a neural stem cell, the lining of the intestine or liver or the cellular configuration inside a tumor. This technique could help scientists develop a better understanding of the complex cell-to-cell messaging that dictates a cell’s final fate.

March 10, 2020

 Charles B. Harris

It is with tremendous sadness that I write to share the news that Charles Harris, respected colleague and dedicated champion of the College, passed away at his home this morning; he was 79 years old. Charles was born in New York in 1940 but spent most of his youth in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a suburb just outside of Detroit. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1963 and his Ph.D. degree from MIT in 1966. Charles joined the Berkeley faculty in the Department of Chemistry in 1967.

March 9, 2020

women trailblazers

Guided by CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna, a formidable entrepreneur in her own right, C&EN profiled 15 women working in the Chemical industry in academics and startups in C&EN's 2020 Trailblazers. Four of them are affiliated with UC Berkeley's College of Chemistry. They have collectively launched more than 30 start-ups aimed at developing treatments for rare diseases, building better batteries, and more. They’re chemical scientists at the top of their game. They’re role models building and mentoring teams. And yes, they’re badasses. They live by the motto “Nobody ever got anywhere by listening to no.”

March 3, 2020

plastic recycling

Plastic is a certainly versatile element. There is much we can do with it. Utensils, tools, parts for cars, technological devices. There is only one thing we do not know how to do with plastic: disappear when it is no longer useful. There the real headache begins and the enormous challenge of obtaining a circular or fully recyclable plastic is posed. Plastics contain various additives, such as dyes, fillers or flame retardants and very few of them can be recycled without loss of performance or aesthetics. The most recyclable plastic, PET (ethylene polyterephthalate), is only recycled at a rate of 20-30%. The rest generally goes to incinerators or landfills where it takes centuries to decompose.

February 19, 2020

heavy elements

As we push the Periodic Table of the Elements further and further into the unknown, its familiar columns and rows are threatening to crumble. What’s next for this science icon? Superheavy elements exist for a fraction of time and are nearly impossible to catch. But understanding them could force us to reimagine the most iconic scientific symbol of all time..

February 11, 2020

SkyDeck features College startups

UC Berkeley is not just one of the best research universities in the world, but also a unique place for entrepreneurs, students and alumni to grow and build their own innovative startups. Many of the ideas are based on issues young entrepreneurs first encountered in Berkeley classes or labs. Two College of Chemistry startups presented among 23 young companies last week at Berkeley SkyDeck’s annual Demo Day, where entrepreneurs pitched new devices, apps or inventions that, they hope, will provide big, bold fixes to the world’s problems, from climate change to disease.

February 3, 2020

Catalysis Pioneers

Alexis Bell, The Dow Professor of Sustainable Chemistry at Berkeley and Frances Arnold, Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry, and an alumna of the College were both cited on the list of catalysis pioneers listed in the ACS publication ACS Axial.

January 24, 2020

Halide perovskite crystal that emits blue light. Courtesy Peidong Yang.

University of California, Berkeley, scientists have created a blue light-emitting diode (LED) from a trendy new semiconductor material, halide perovskite, overcoming a major barrier to employing these cheap, easy-to-make materials in electronic devices.

January 23, 2020


 U.S. National Archives)Eric Seaborg, a writer and author, outdoorsman and environmentalist, has a love for hiking that he shared with his father, the late chemist and Nobel laureate Glenn Seaborg (1912-1999) who blazed trails in element and isotope discoveries during an illustrious career at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley.

January 13, 2020

Jennifer Doudna

Jennifer Doudna, UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology and of chemistry, has won the 2020 Wolf Prize in Medicine, a prestigious international prize awarded in Israel for unique contributions to humanity.

Polly Arnold. Photo courtesy Chemistry World, Carlos Chavarra.Polly Arnold is a champion of actinide chemistry and diversity in science. Kit Chapman asks her what comes next as she starts her new role at a US national lab

‘Do I have imposter syndrome?’ Polly Arnold raises an eyebrow at the question, as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world. ‘Yes, of course I do. Everybody who didn’t go to Eton has imposter syndrome. Not just the women, it’s the men who didn’t go to a brilliant school, too. The only people who don’t have imposter syndrome are those told from childhood they’re born to rule.’

January 7, 2020

fossil fuel

Electricity generation is projected to play a central role in global decarbonization efforts. On the one hand, electricity generation is supposed to scale up rapidly, as we use electricity to replace fossil fuels in everything from powering vehicles to heating buildings and cooking food. At the same time, decarbonization necessitates a radical transformation in the way we produce electricity, since worldwide, over 60% of electricity is currently produced using fossil fuel technologies.