Alumni News

Frances Arnold: from graduate student to Nobel Laureate

March 3, 2019

Frances ArnoldIn the early 1980s, the lab of College biomolecular engineer Harvey Blanch brought together an adventurous group of young researchers and launched them on long and successful careers. One of them, Caltech professor Frances Arnold, has won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her discoveries in the directed evolution of enzymes. Arnold is the fifth woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry since it was first awarded in 1901.

How a botched train robbery led to the birth of modern American criminology

May 1, 2019

Edward Oscar Heinrich

Following a huge manhunt to capture three train robbers, authorities called in an up-and-coming forensic scientist Edward Oscar Heinrich (BS, 1908, Chem), a UC Berkeley lecturer and alumnus, to help solve what became known as the "Last Great Train Robbery." He didn’t know that the case would put him on the map as a pioneer in modern American criminology .

Alumna Geraldine Richmond to speak at Commencement

April 9, 2019

Geraldine Richmond

Alumna Geraldine Richmond (Ph.D. '80, Chem with George Pimentel), Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon will speak at this year's College of Chemistry commencement in May. Her research examines the chemistry and physics that occurs at complex surfaces that have relevance to important problems in energy production, environmental remediation and atmospheric chemistry.

Meet Frances Arnold, Teenage Rebel Turned Nobel Laureate

March 28, 2019

Frances Arnold

At 15, she was a class-skipping, catch-me-if-you-can maverick hitchhiking to D.C. to protest the Vietnam War. Looking back on those years now, Frances Arnold says, “Fifteen is one of those terrifying ages, where you’re frustrated because you know something’s wrong, but you have no idea how to fix it. So I did what I could, which is protest. “But as I’ve gone through my life,” she continues, “I know that it’s my responsibility to fix it. I’m much better at fixing things than protesting.”

Alumna Emily Derbyshire looks for malaria’s vulnerabilities

March 4, 2019

Emily DerbyshireAs alumna Emily Derbyshire was wrapping up her PhD in 2008 at UC Berkeley's College of Chemistry and considering where to do her postdoc, Derbyshire gravitated toward malaria. “It was a problem that was not getting a lot of attention at the time,” despite its large human impact, she says. That’s what led her to dissecting mosquito throats: the idea was to head off malaria when it first invades and transforms within a host’s liver cells, which the parasite needs to do in order to proliferate and move on to the next stage in its life cycle, infecting red blood cells.

Alumni innovation in the news

March 13, 2019

Ripple MilkGraduates of the College’s Chemistry and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering departments are making news as they become market innovators with their recent startups and products. News stories about Lygos, Chemistry and Ripple look at the latest chemistry innovations and funding for these companies.

Alumna Geraldine Richmond reappointed to National Science Board

November 8, 2018

Alumna Geraldine Richmond

Alumna Geraldine Richmond (Ph.D. Chem, '80) and been reappointed to the National Science Board for a second six year term. Richmond is a professor of chemistry at the University of Oregon and has held a variety of leadership positions within the scientific community. 

Alum David Oxtoby named president of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

December 5, 2018

John Adams

Alum David Oxtoby (Ph.D. Chem, ’75) has been elected President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. One of the oldest institutions in America, the Academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and 60 other individuals who anticipated that the then young republic would need to gather knowledge and promote learning to succeed in an uncertain future.

The importance of nurturing our undergraduate students

January 13, 2019

Alexandra Brown receives Hertz Foundation FellowshipThe Fannie and John Hertz Foundation announced its new class of fellows for 2018 in the spring, naming alumna Alexandra Brown (B.S. Chem, ’17) one of ten newly minted graduate students as a recipient. As an undergraduate at Berkeley, Brown worked in the research group of Professor John Arnold studying titanium-aluminum heterobimetallics supported by bridging hydride ligands.

Jnana Therapeutics announces appointment of alum Joanne Kotz, Ph.D. as Chief Executive Officer

November 6, 2018

Joanne Kotze, PhD, Jnana TherapeuticsJnana Therapeutics today announced that UC Berkeley Chemistry alum Joanne Kotz, Ph.D., a company co-founder, has been named Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Kotz has served as Jnana's president since December 2017.