October 14, 2019

Harold Urey

Harold Urey worked for the Manhattan Project. But by contrast, the Nobel-prize winning chemist distanced himself from nuclear weapons development after the war. His search for science beyond defense work prompted a shift into studying the origins of life and lunar geology. Now, this absorbing biography "The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey" by science historian Matthew Shindell, uses the researcher’s life to show how a conscientious chemist navigated the cold war.

October 9, 2019

Carlos BustamanteIn the mid-1970s, Professor of Chemistry, Physics and, Molecular and Cell Biology Carlos J. Bustamante, left Peru to go to graduate school in the US. He intended to return, but political and economic turmoil prevented that. He wound up staying for a postdoc. He then joined the chemistry faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where he works on single-molecule manipulation and detection.
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

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.

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.”

September 26, 2019

Vance Bergeron

Alum Vance Bergeron (Ph.D. '93, ChemE) is a specialist in the physico-chemical properties of soft matter and passionate about cycling. After a traffic accident in 2013, Bergeron had to face becoming a quadriplegic. Now, he is working in the field of neuro-rehabilitation where he has launched a research program that brings together researchers, doctors and people affected by disabilities to expand on people's recovery.

September 25, 2019

Jeffrey Reimer

Many people are only aware of climate change by way of public discourse and social media. Drawing on recent scientific papers organized for a course that he teaches at Berkeley, Jeffrey Reimer, Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, demonstrates in this lecture how the atmosphere is changing, that humans are the cause, and that there are consequences. These consequences may be viewed in the context of Earth's historical carbon cycles, which demonstrate what the Earth will look like unless we consider every possible means to decarbonize the atmosphere.

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 18, 2019

E Coli

New research from a team of scientists from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), UC Berkeley and Scripps Institution of Oceanography of University of California, San Diego (SCRIPPS) has used synthetic biology to determine the active mechanism of E. Coli toxin in breaking down DNA.

September 17, 2019


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.

AIChE Gala graphic

AIChE has announced the 2019 Doing a World of Good Medal will be presented to Jay D. Keasling, Professor, University of California, Berkeley and Senior Faculty Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Jay, is a pre-eminent scientist in the field of synthetic biology. AIChE is pleased to have the opportunity to honor Jay’s contributions and achievements for this most deserving recognition.

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 6, 2019

carbon nanotube

Two faculty scientists in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) at UC Berkeley including Professor Roya Maboudian and Assistant Professor Markita Landry, have been named to the 2019-20 cohort of Bakar Fellows, an honor that gives the named fellows the money and time to translate their laboratory breakthroughs into technologies ready for the marketplace. The Bakar Fellows Program was launched at UC Berkeley in 2012 and fosters faculty entrepreneurship in fields including engineering, computer science, the biological and physical sciences and architecture.

September 4, 2019

MOA signing

The College of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, the People’s Government of Meishan, Lanzhou University, and the West Hope Tequ Group signed a memorandum of agreement to explore the development of a new graduate institute in Meishang, China on September 4, 2019. The College of Chemistry’s participation would be to offer advice to Lanzhou University on this new graduate institute.

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 2, 2019

Alumni in the news

What is most notable about the array of stories we see about our alumni is the variety of disciplines and research they are involved in. From changing our fundamental understanding of how DNA works, to discovering new elements on the periodic table, and the exploration of the chemistry in paint restoration, here are some fascinating recent articles we've spotted.