UC San Diego Chemistry & Biochemistry

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Operating as usual

Homepage - National Organic Chemistry Symposium 05/09/2022

If you bring the smiles, we’ll bring the sun to hosted here in La Jolla by ACS. There’s still time to submit a poster abstract (until May 31, 2022) https://t.co/RzqZAZrJJg and meet us in SoCal June 26-30, 2022.

What’s your best memory of past NOS?

Homepage - National Organic Chemistry Symposium This is the homepage of the National Organic Chemistry Symposium which is the premier event sponsored by the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry


Congratulations to our 2022 recipients of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (NSF-GRFP)!


Congratulations to Professors Wei Xiong and Joel Yuen-Zhou, recipients of the 2022 MURI Award!

📰 DoD News Release:

The Department of Defense announced $195 million in Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) awards for the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) competition to 28 research teams pursuing basic research spanning multiple scientific disciplines. These grants will be provided to teams located across 63 U.S. academic institutions for five years each, subject to satisfactory research progress and the availability of funds.

“By supporting teams whose members have diverse sets of expertise, the MURI program acknowledges that the complexities of modern science and engineering challenges often intersect more than one discipline and require creative and diverse approaches to tackle these problems. This cross-fertilization of ideas can accelerate research progress to enable more rapid R&D breakthroughs and hasten the transition of basic research findings to practical application,” said Dr. Bindu Nair, Director, Basic Research Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD (R&E). “It is a program that signifies a legacy of scientific impact and remains a cornerstone of the DoD’s basic research portfolio.”


Congratulations to Assistant Professor Galia Debelouchina, named recipient of the George W. and Carol A. Lattimer Faculty Research Fellowship!


Congratulations to Stephanie Mora Garcia (Grassian Lab), recipient of the Dean’s Academic Recognition Fellowship!

“Your work came to my attention during the course of reviewing your portfolio as part of a competitive award nomination process. Your academic achievements, your commitment to advancing issues of equity and inclusion, and your interest in pursuing a career in the professoriate were impressive. We hope this award will help support your continued growth.” — Dean James Antony


The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of California San Diego, is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Lisa Jones. Professor Jones focuses on structural proteomics using biochemical, analytical, and biophysical approaches to study protein interactions important in biological processes. She uses the protein foot printing method fast photochemical oxidation of proteins coupled with mass spectrometry to identify these interactions as well as further expand this method to studying complex biological systems. In 2019, she received the Biophysical Society’s Junior Faculty Award for her research. Professor Jones’ research is truly visionary as she further develops methods to understand complex, detailed biological phenomena in living cells.


Thank you for blazing the trails!


Congratulations to our 2021-22 Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship recipients!

Lucia Cancelada (Prather Lab)
Rachel Ehrlich (Yang Lab)
Anand Ojha (Amaro Lab)
Joseph Palasz (Kubiak Lab)
Hyeonglim Seo (Cohen Lab)

Photos from UC San Diego Chemistry & Biochemistry's post 12/24/2021

Congratulations to Kyle Angle (Grassian Lab), named recipient of the 2022 Carol & George Lattimer Award!

More Kyle? Check out his story “Becoming Aware of the Invisible: Why I study Aerosols”


Congratulations to our students named recipients of the 2022 Dean’s Undergraduate Excellence Award!

Francis Alipranti (also Silagi Award recipient) (Komives Lab)
Reagan Beers (Sailor Lab)
Mark Glossbrenner (E. Romero Lab)
Grace Lee (E. Romero Lab)
Olivia Modi (Zid Lab)
Christopher Nowak (Grassian Lab)
Gordon Peiker (Grassian Lab)
Jessica Raygoza (Pillus Lab)
Elanor Sievers (Debelouchina Lab)


Research Corporation for Science Advancement and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announce awards to nine interdisciplinary teams in the final year of Scialog: Chemical Machinery of the Cell, an initiative launched in 2018 to spark collaborative research that could advance fundamental understanding of chemical machinery and reactions in the intact cell.

The 24 individual awards will go to 21 researchers from a variety of institutions in the United States and Canada, including our very own, viability Alexis Komor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego. Congratulations!


ICYMI: UC San Diego Chemistry & Biochemistry's Michael Alves Awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) MPS-Ascend Fellowship. His goal is to expand mentoring & paid school-year research for underrepresented students. Alves is the first in his family to receive a Ph.D. & was in Vicki Grassian's lab. http://bit.ly/3DVyI4V


Congratulations to Professor Seth Cohen, one of Clarivate’s 2021 list of Highly Cited Researchers! — This is Seth’s 5th consecutive year on this list!


On this Veteran's Day, we raise our collective voices in appreciation and praise of all veterans and active service members of the U.S. Armed Forces. We extend a special note of recognition and commitment to our student veterans who are studying chemistry ... we are honored to support your academic and professional goals.


Congratulations Kyle Angle and Ruben Elias! - ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation of San Diego is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization founded and administered by women who support American leadership and aid advancement in science and technology. Our mission is to address the country’s need for scientists and engineers by providing unrestricted funding to help our country’s brightest U.S. graduate Scholars. We sponsor talented, motivated American students at top research universities in San Diego.


Congratulations ACSSA!

“Congratulations on earning both an OUTSTANDING Chapter Award and a Green Chemistry Award for your incredible efforts last year!! We are very proud and appreciative of all that you have accomplished as an organization and student leaders in our department. Here's to another great year!” — Drs. Brydges and Bussey

🎥 from acssa.ucsd.edu


Congratulations! Michael Alves is awarded a FY21 Mathematical and Physical Sciences Ascending Postdoctoral Research (NSF MPS-Ascend) Fellowship to conduct a program of research and activities related to broadening participation by groups underrepresented in Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.


“Yuen-Zhou and his research group members wondered if such exotic phenomena could be exploited from a chemical standpoint, something never before attempted. Their theoretical studies led by graduate student Sindhana Pannir-Sivajothi and including Jorge A. Campos-González-Angulo, Luis A. Martínez-Martínez and mathematics graduate student Shubham Sinha, currently under peer review, show great promise of this concept (a preprint of their work can be found at https://arxiv.org/abs/2106.12156).”

Full article: https://dps.ucsd.edu/media-events/articles/2021/keck-foundation-supports-innovative-strategy-for-chemical-synthesis.html


Congratulations to Hyesoo, Angelica, and Mariam, recipients of the 2021-22 Oceanids Fellowship!

• Hyesoo Kim (Budin Lab) - Frieda Daum Urey Academic Fellowship
• Angelica Orlova (Rinehart Lab) - Frieda Daum Urey Endowment/Matching Fellowship
• Mariam Salib (Molinski Lab) - Sigma Delta Epsilon Tau Chapter Fellowship


Congratulations to our recent graduate student fellowship recipients!

La Verne Noyes Fellowship
Aileen Button & Hannah Rutledge

Brython Davis Fellowship
Alexander Braddock & Joshua Savage


Congratulations to Anand Ojha, recipient of the CNI Fellowship! UC President’s Bonnie Reiss Carbon Neutrality Student Fellowship Program funds student-generated projects that support the UC system’s goal to produce zero-net greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. Students selected to serve as the campus CNI Student Engagement Fellow will work with Campus Sustainability staff to communicate about campus and UC‐wide sustainability goals and programs, to assess existing programs and efforts, and to engage undergraduate and graduate students in those efforts. In addition, engagement and communication efforts should enable and empower students to provide feedback about campus and UC‐wide sustainability programs.


Congratulations to our 2020-21 Teddy Traylor Award recipients, Ruben Elias (Deshmukh Lab), Jessica Geisenhoff (Schimpf Lab), Kenneth Han (Tezcan Lab), Mariam Salib (Molinski Lab), and Ryjul Stokes (Cohen Lab)!

Like many of our founding faculty members, Teddy Traylor, a pioneer in organometallic chemistry, has a remarkable history. He was born in Sulphur, Oklahoma, but never graduated from high school. He briefly worked at Dow Chemical Co. before becoming the first assistant professor at UCSD in 1961. Professor Traylor taught organic chemistry courses, and incorporated innovative teaching methods, such as using a banjo to illustrate the wave-like properties of electrons.


Congratulations to Ray Berkeley, recipient of the 2020-21 Bruno Zimm Award! This award recognizes research excellence in the field of physical chemistry, planetary chemistry, or cosmo-chemistry. Congrats again, Ray!


Congratulations to Assistant Teaching Professor, Brian Leigh! He has been elected to the 2021-2022 Class of Revelle College Faculty Fellow.

The Revelle College Faculty Fellow and Honorary Fellow Program was established in 2015 to recognize people who have made exceptional and sustained contributions to Revelle College students through education, service, and/or research.


Congratulations to Assistant Professor Lalit Deshmukh, named one of the 2021 Hellman Fellows! The Society of Hellman Fellows was established at UC San Diego in 1995 through the generosity of Chris and Warren Hellman. 2021-2022 marks the 27th year of this valuable program, which provides financial support and encouragement to young faculty in core disciplines who show capacity for great distinction in their research and creative activities.


The challenge at hand is clear for Ke’La Kimble: Modify existing instruments that detect tiny particles in the atmosphere so that they are able to sense even tinier airborne viruses. Reaching such a lofty goal for the UC San Diego graduate student would have far-reaching implications for a world now hyper-focused on pinpointing how viruses travel in the air all around us.

Kimble’s long-term goals after completing her PhD are even more ambitious. They include establishing a new science and education center back home in her native Louisiana as a step in the march toward environmental justice.

Full story: https://dps.ucsd.edu/media-events/articles/2021/grad-student-with-environmental-justice-goals-awarded-nsf-research-award.html


Following the restrictive shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Division of Physical Sciences took steps to get students safely back into the laboratory learning environment.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offered an optional in-person chem 143B (organic chemistry laboratory) bootcamp in spring quarter for students to gain hands-on laboratory experience.

The supplemental experience to chem 143B was arranged by assistant teaching professor in the department Jeremy Klosterman and Teaching Labs Director Mary Severs, while Staff Research Associate Cindy Tran oversaw the COVID measures in lab space and prepared all the chemicals and experiments for students.

“We set up this opportunity for students to do some of the experiments from 143B outside the actual classrooms, especially for those chemistry majors and graduating seniors who want to go on to do chemistry and lab-related careers because they didn’t have any in-person lab this last year,” Klosterman said.

Full story: https://physicalsciences.ucsd.edu/media-events/articles/2021/chemistry-faculty-offer-returning-students-hands-on-lab-experience.html


Congratulations Class of 2021! Here’s a short video from PhD Commencement.


Congratulations to our students, recipients of the 2021 Dean's Undergraduate Excellence Awards!

Alberto Castanedo
Andres De la Rosa
Calvin Huang
Tommy Le
Alina Luk
Jori Mills
Anthony Rodriguez
Kunyang Sun
Vanessa Tian
Nga (Swan) Van
Amalia Villagran Suarez
Sarah Schwab (also Silagi Award recipient)


Congratulations Dr. Jesse Peltier (Bertrand Lab)! Recipients of this prestigious award are chosen based upon the quality of academic research as determined by the impact of the research to the field and/or department; the insight, originality, and creativity shown by the author; the effectiveness of the writing, clarity, and organization of the thesis; and the soundness of the methodology and quality of the data (when applicable).


Congratulations to Assistant Teaching Professor Brian Leigh, recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Teaching Award!

Photos from UC San Diego Chemistry & Biochemistry's post 05/14/2021

Lookout for two articles in Triton Magazine!
•Physical Sciences at 60 | A look back at our founding departments with Katja Lindenberg
• Women in Stem | The XX Factor by Vicki Grassian


It is with great sorrow that we announce former Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Marjorie Caserio passed away on April 13. Her distinguished career included notable contributions as an eminent researcher, educator, author and academic administrator. She was 92 years old.

Caserio joined UC San Diego in 1990 and served as vice chancellor of academic affairs until August 1995. In October 1995 she was appointed interim chancellor of UC San Diego.

Prior to joining UC San Diego, Caserio was a founding member of the faculty of UC Irvine. Starting in 1965, she progressed through the UC Irvine tenure ranks over 25 years, with service that included roles in the academic senate (1982-1986) and as chair of the Department of Chemistry (1987-1990). She also served from 1984 to 1986 as the faculty representative to the UC Board of Regents.

Born in London, Caserio received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Chelsea College at the University of London in 1950. She earned her master’s and doctorate in organic chemistry from Bryn Mawr College. She served at Caltech for eight years, two as a postdoctoral research fellow and six as a senior research fellow, before joining the University of California.

As an educator, Caserio will always be recognized for excellence in teaching both undergraduate and graduate students. During the 1960s and 1970s, her book “Basic Principles of Organic Chemistry” was the most widely used undergraduate organic chemistry textbook in the nation. As a researcher, she published more than 70 research articles primarily in the area of organic reaction mechanisms.

Caserio’s accomplishments had a tremendously positive impact across the UC San Diego campus. During her tenure as vice chancellor, she raised more than $1 million for graduate student fellowships. She also headed efforts to establish an undergraduate major in connection with Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a new major in women’s studies, a department of ethnic studies and a new doctorate program in mathematics and science education.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2021 launched the Marjorie Caserio Undergraduate Excellence Award, which recognizes undergraduate students who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance and dedication to advancing the professional community, through community involvement, contributions to diversity, leadership, overcoming adversity and research accomplishments.

Among her many honors, Caserio in 2019 received the Revelle Medal, the highest honor given by the Chancellor to a retired or emeriti UC San Diego faculty member. She was named a recipient of the American Chemical Society’s “Service Through Chemistry” award that honors those who have made significant contributions in applying chemistry to solve problems of interest in Southern California. She was awarded the Garvan Medal from the American Chemical Society, which recognizes women in chemistry for their distinguished scientific accomplishments, leadership and service. She also received the Dickson Award from UC San Diego in 2012.

After her retirement in 1997, Caserio continued making valuable contributions to UC San Diego and to the University of California system through various outlets, including: UC San Diego Emeriti Association vice president, 1999-2000; Emeriti Association president, 2000-2001; Emeriti Association immediate past president; Council of UC Emeriti Associations (CUCEA) chair in 1999-2000, immediate past chair in 2000-01, CUCEA information officer from 2003-04 to 2008-09 and CUCEA webmaster until her passing; she also wrote the CUCEA Newsletter for each biannual meeting from 2011-2018.

Caserio was an active participant in the UC San Diego Emeriti Mentor program and participated in Chancellor’s Scholars meetings, providing helpful feedback to students with their presentations. She remained active in the American Chemical Society and helped to form and oversee the ACS’s first Graduate Education Office. Her advice and persistence were critical in helping the ACS understand the need to make graduate education a priority alongside K-12 and undergraduate education.

Caserio is survived by her husband Fred and sons Alan and Brian.

Donations in Caserio’s memory can be made to the Duke Cancer Institute, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego.


It is with regret that I share the news that Emeritus Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Leigh Clark passed away February 15, 2021 from cardiovascular complications; he was 86 years old. Bob Fahey has written an obituary that captures Leigh’s research and teaching excellence as well as his many interesting hobbies and the overall richness of his life.

Vicki Grassian
Professor and Chair

Professor Clark was born in Washington state on September 9, 1934. He grew up in Mill Valley California and attended the University of California, Berkeley where he was a member of and resident of the professional chemistry fraternity Alpha Chi Sigma. He obtained a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1957. He continued his studies with William T. Simpson at the University of Washington, where he obtained his Ph.D. degree in 1963. He then spent a postdoctoral year with Ignacio Tinoco, Jr. at UC Berkeley. In 1964 he joined the dozen founding members of the Chemistry Department at UC San Diego, now Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Clark's research involved the measurement and detailed analysis of the electronic spectroscopy of organic molecules. Nearly all of his research involved vacuum ultraviolet spectroscopy, an experimentally difficult undertaking to which he brought novel experimental approaches and careful attention to detailed analysis of the results. At UC San Diego he pioneered the use of vacuum ultraviolet spectroscopy and reflection spectroscopy of crystals to obtain otherwise difficult to obtain data. A central focus of his studies was the determination of the dipole directions of the individual transitions for the nucleic acid and protein components of important biopolymers. Such data are needed to interpret the circular dichroism spectra of nucleic acids and can be used to distinguish the A, B and Z forms of DNA. Clark also pursued analogous work on proteins. He was most creative and happiest when he was in the laboratory conducting a new experiment. His publications, though limited in quantity, were characterized by his selection of important scientific problems, his success with difficult experimental measurements, and his careful and thorough analysis of the results he obtained.

Professor Clark was popular with students who appreciated his wry sense of humor and he received several awards for outstanding teaching. His goal was to mystify and inspire first year chemistry students to develop their passion for chemistry. He devoted great attention to the Departmental laboratory courses. He wrote the manual for the Department's course on quantitative chemical analysis. Clark taught the upper division physical chemistry laboratory courses for many years, revising the curriculum to include new spectroscopic and related experiments.

Dr. Clark's favorite pastimes included gardening, skiing, photography and mountain climbing. He served as the group videographer on his most ambitious climb, up Mount Denali (20,308 feet, formerly Mount McKinley) in Alaska. He was also part of a group that was the first to ascend two smaller mountains in the Yukon. Clark was great in the kitchen, as well as the lab, and loved to prepare gourmet cuisine for family and guests.

Clark is survived by his son Adam, his grandsons William, Lawrence and Mitchell Clark, his stepdaughter Nikki Slocum-Bradley and his step-grandsons Arthur Leigh, Andrew and Alistair Bradley. Alice Clark, Leigh's wife of 21 years, passed away in 2003.


Lisa Liang (Corbett, Devaraj, and Yeo Labs), Stella Seo (Cohen Lab), and Anand Ojha (Amaro Lab) have been named recipients of the Friends of the International Center Fellowship! Congratulations friends!

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Rommie Amaro - Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Based COVID-19 Research



Gilman Drive
San Diego, CA

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