The College welcomes four new faculty members

September 12, 2022

The College is delighted to welcome our newest chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering faculty members Hendrik Utzat, Jennifer Bergner, Robert Saxton, and Aditi Krishnapriyan.

The College is delighted to announce our newest chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering faculty members (l to r) Hendrik Utzat, Jennifer Bergner, Robert Saxton, and Aditi Krishnapriyan. 

Hendrik Utzat

Born in Essen, Germany, Hendrik attended undergraduate studies at RWTH Aachen University. After spending time at ETH Zurich and Imperial College London, he moved to Cambridge, MA for his Ph.D. work with Professor Moungi Bawendi at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His graduate research focused on the development of optical single-emitter spectroscopy and the elucidation of optical coherences in single colloidal quantum dots and quantum defects in two-dimensional materials.

After receiving his Ph.D. in 2019, Hendrik conducted postdoctoral work in the group of Professor Jennifer Dionne in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University. He focused on the structure-property relationships of silicon-vacancy centers in diamonds using optically-coupled electron microscopy. In 2021, he was appointed Associate Director of the Photonics at Thermodynamic Limits Energy Frontiers Research Center, a multi-university research effort combining materials development and photonic integration.

Hendrik joined the College of Chemistry as an Assistant Professor in July 2022.

Jennifer Bergner

Jennifer grew up in Virginia and received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Virginia. She did both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Chemistry & Chemical Biology at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University with advisor Karin Öberg. 

Currenty, Jennifer is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. Her research explores the chemistry of volatile molecules in protostars and protoplanetary disks, the evolutionary progenitors of planetary systems. She is interested in characterizing the chemical environment which regulates the formation, composition, and potential habitability of planetesimals and planets. To tackle this complex problem she is using a variety of approaches: telescope observations of protostars and protoplanetary disks, laboratory experiments of astrophysical ice analogs, and simulations of protoplanetary disk chemistry.

Jennifer will join the College of Chemistry as an assistant professor in January 2023.

Robert Saxton 

Robert will be coming from a postdoctoral research fellowship in the lab of Chris Garcia at Stanford University School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with advisor Thomas Schwartz and his B.A. at UC Berkeley in molecular and cell biology.

Robert is studying the mechanisms of intercellular signaling that control tissue inflammation, repair, and homeostasis, with the goal of developing new therapeutics to control these pathways in disease. His multidisciplinary research program is focused on protein engineering (directed evolution, rational design), structural biology (cryo-EM), receptor pharmacology, and mouse models of inflammation to understand and control inflammatory signaling at the atomic, cellular, and organismal levels.

Robert will join UC Berkeley as an assistant professor in January 2023 with a joint appoint in Molecular and Cell Biology and the College of Chemistry.

Aditi Krishnapriyan

A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Aditi earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry and physics from UC Santa Barbara. She went on to receive her Ph.D. in computational condensed matter physics and materials science from Stanford University. She also did research at Google and the Toyota Research Institute before joining the Lawrence Berkeley Lab as a postdoctoral research fellowhip in computing science research. 

Aditi is interested in developing methods in machine learning (ML) that are driven by the distinct challenges and opportunities in the natural sciences. Some current areas of exploration include approaches to incorporate physical inductive biases into ML models to improve generalization for scientific problems; the advantages that ML can bring to classical physics-based numerical solvers (such as through end-to-end differentiable frameworks and implicit layers); and better learning strategies for distribution shifts in the physical sciences. Her research also includes interfacing with other fields including numerical methods, dynamical systems theory, quantum mechanical simulations, computational geometry, and optimization.

Aditi will join the faculty as an assistant professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in January 2023. Additionally she will be affiliated with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She is a member of Berkeley AI Research (BAIR).