News

February 28, 2019

Jennifer DoudnaIn this interview, Doudna argues for caution when contemplating changes to the human genome that could be passed down for generations. She remains a forceful advocate for the potential of CRISPR in basic research, as well as its medical and biotech applications. “I think when you understand how things work, you can apply them more effectively. And once you apply them, you invariably uncover things that you didn’t understand about the fundamental biology of that system,” Doudna said. “I love that kind of interplay.”

February 27, 2019

Jean Fréchet named 2019 King Faisal Prize in Science winnerProfessor Jean M. J. Fréchet, UC Berkeley professor emeritus and Allen Bard, Professor of Chemistry at UT Austin have been named co-Laureates of the 2019 King Faisal Prize in Science. The award, announced on January 13, cites Fréchet's pioneering work and seminal contributions in the areas of convergent synthesis of dendrimers and their applications, chemically amplified photoresists and organic photovoltaics. A ceremony honoring the Laureates will be held in March.

Scientists in the lab of Jay Keasling grow marijuana chemicals using yeast UC Berkeley synthetic biologists have engineered brewer’s yeast to produce marijuana’s main ingredients—mind-altering THC and non-psychoactive CBD—as well as novel cannabinoids not found in the plant itself. Medical research on the more than 100 other chemicals in marijuana has been difficult, because the chemicals occur in tiny quantities, making them hard to extract from the plant. Inexpensive, purer sources—like yeast—could make such studies easier.

February 26, 2019

Undergraduate annual fund student leaders our undergraduate students are raising funds for a peer mentorship and alumni advising program. The campaign goals include: Expand the role of the current Peer Advisors to include tailored peer-to-peer student mentorships; grow the peer-to-peer mentorship program to include alumni and professional affiliates along with the student mentors to help with career advice; and establish a fund to aid in the expansion of support for career networking events, panels, and seminars in order for undergraduates to gain additional business perspectives. Please consider giving generously to this initiative.

February 25, 2019

genetic engineering in plants just got easier and safer New research reported from the lab of Markita Landry announces scientists could make genetically engineering any type of plant—in particular, gene editing with CRISPR-Cas9—simple and quick. To deliver a gene, the researchers grafted it onto a carbon nanotube, which is tiny enough to slip easily through a plant’s tough cell wall. To date, most genetic engineering of plants is done by firing genes into the tissue—a process known as biolistics—or delivering genes via bacteria. Both are successful only a small percentage of the time, which is a major limitation for scientists seeking to create disease - or drought-resistant crops or to engineer plants so they’re more easily converted to biofuels.

February 21, 2019

Staff scientists at Berkeley LabA team at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has designed a new kind of nano scale electron detector that captures all of the information in these interactions. This new tool, a superfast detector was installed on Feb. 12 at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, a nanoscale science user facility where College of Chemistry faculty regularly carry out experiments. The new device will capture more images at a faster rate, revealing atomic-scale details across much larger areas than was possible before.

Daniel NomuraThe Mark Foundation has announced $3.4 million in ASPIRE Awards to support high risk, high reward approaches to solving complex problems in cancer research. Associate Professor Daniel Nomura has received an ASPIRE award for his project Chemoproteomics-Enabled Covalent Ligand Discovery Platforms for Accessing Novel Druggable Modalities.

February 19, 2019

Stephen Leone and Norman Yao, UC BerkeleyProfessors Stephen Leone and Norman Yao have been awarded a $1m science and engineering research grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation. The two scientists will utilize a new technique, ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy, to address important unanswered questions about the formation of non-equilibrium topological phases.

February 15, 2019

Peidong YangEffective January 1, 2019, Peidong Yang assumes the role of Director of the Kavli Energy NanoScience Institute (ENSI). “Peidong is a pioneer in nanomaterials and energy related science,” said Kevin Moses, Vice President of Science Programs at The Kavli Foundation. “The Kavli Foundation looks forward to many years of continued excellence in basic nanoscience research at Kavli ENSI and is delighted that Peidong will lead the institute’s impressive membership of world-class scientists.”

February 13, 2019

Markita LandryIn this engaging article, meet Markita Landry, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, who runs the Landry Lab at UC Berkeley. Her lab works on developing nanomaterials to assist in the delivery of CRISPR-Cas9 systems in plants.

February 11, 2019

Douglas Clark UC BerkeleyDouglas Clark, Dean of the College of Chemistry, and professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UC Berkeley has been elected a member of the National Academy of Engineer for advances in biocatalyst and bioreaction engineering for drug discovery, drug screening, and bioprocessing.

February 5, 2019

new gene-editing protein CasX announcedAccording to a newly published study in Nature, CasX is a potent and efficient gene editor in both bacteria and human cells. Its design is similar to Cas9 and its well-studied cousin, Cas12, but is different enough that it appears to have evolved in bacteria independently of the other Cas proteins. It can cut double-stranded DNA like Cas9, can bind to DNA to regulate genes, and it can be targeted to specific DNA sequences like other Cas proteins.

February 4, 2019

Graduate life crowdfunding appeal is openThe Chemistry Graduate Life Committee and the Graduate Student Advisory Committee have jointly launched a new crowdfunding campaign to support diversity, equity, wellness, and inclusion initiatives for graduate students at the College of Chemistry. The program's purpose is to help combat some of the issues that underlie underrepresentation, as well as support overall equity and wellness within the College's graduate community. They plan to do this through sponsoring social hours, educational events, seminars and speaker programs. But, in order to be able to make these events a reality they need your financial help.

February 1, 2019

Christopher Chang wins Sackler PrizeChristopher Chang, Professor of Chemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley has been awarded the Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize in Chemistry from Tel Aviv University. The prize recognizes distinguished scientists under age 45 who have made outstanding and fundamental contributions in their fields. Chang’s research interests include inorganic, organic, and biological chemistry. His research laboratory pursues new concepts in sensing and catalysis to study metals in biology and energy.

January 25, 2019

Jeffrey Long and Daniel NeumarkUC Berkeley College of Chemistry professors Jeffrey Long and Daniel Neumark have been announced as 2019 American Chemical Society (ACS) awardees for their pioneering chemical research. They will be honored at a ceremony at the spring ACS national meeting in Orlando, Florida, March 31–April 4, 2019.

January 24, 2019

Jennifer DoudnaJennifer Doudna was awarded the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize in October 2018, established by Nobel Laureate Paul Greengard and his wife, the artist Ursula von Rydingsvard, to give recognition to women scientists. The New York Review spoke with her before the award ceremony. “That there even is a prize like this one,” Doudna said, “is a sign that people are really beginning to value the contributions of women to science.”

Chemical Engineering Design and AnalysisThe new edition of "Chemical Engineering Design and Analysis" written by T. Michael Duncan, Cornell University, New York and Jeffrey A. Reimer, University of California, Berkeley will be available in February from Cambridge University Press. "Chemical Engineering Design and Analysis" puts design at the center of introducing students to the course in mass and energy balances in chemical engineering. Employers and accreditations increasingly stress the importance of design in the engineering curriculum, and design-driven analysis will motivate students to dig deeply into the key concepts of the field.

January 18, 2019

Nitash Balsar wants to help the earthProfessor Balsara discusses ways to make better batteries through development, education and listening to students in this portrait for the Clean Energy Project produced by renowned photographer Rick Chapman whose work has been seen at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

January 16, 2019

professors John Hartwig and Stephen Buchwal awarded 2019 Wolf PrizeIt was announced today that the 2019 Wolf Prize for Chemistry has been awarded to professors John F. Hartwig from University of California at Berkeley and Stephen L. Buchwald from MIT, for the development of efficient transition-metal catalysts that have revolutionized drug manufacturing, leading to breakthrough in molecule and synthetics design.

Re-Zn-Zn-Re moleculeZinc-zinc bonds are rare in chemistry. So are linear four-metal compounds. Nevertheless, Trevor D. Lohrey, a member of John Arnold’s group at the University of California, Berkeley, has made the first molecule with a Re-Zn-Zn-Re core. Lohrey used a rhenium(I) salt to reduce ZnCl2 and make a zinc cation to which anionic rhenium compounds coordinated.