Faculty awards within Physical Sciences

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Richard Kaner, professor of Chemistry & Biochemstry at UCLAProfessor named Fellow of the American Physical Society

Distinguished Professor Richard Kaner has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society. The APS Fellowship Program was created to recognize members who may have made advances in physics through original research and publication, or made significant innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology.

Kaner is the Dr. Myung Ki Hong Endowed Chair in Materials Innovation in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Work in the Kaner lab spans a range of topics within a materials science and inorganic chemistry focus. Current active research topics include graphene, energy storage, superhard materials, water filtration and purification, and conducting polymers.

Each year, no more than one half of one percent of the Society’s membership is recognized by their peers for election to the status of APS Fellow. Click here to read the full list of 2020 fellows and their citations.

Chemistry Professor to receive the 2021 ACS Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry

Kendall Houk, professor of chemistry & biochemistry, will receive the 2021 American Chemical Society Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry. His research focuses on solving problems in organic and bio-organic chemistry using theoretical and computational methods and programs.

The Roger Adams award is given biennially and recognizes outstanding contributions to research in organic chemistry. As the awardee, Professor Houk will receive a medallion, a certificate, and a prize of $25,000.

Click here to read more.

Physics professor wins Newton Award for Transformative Ideas

Seth Puttterman, physics & astronomy professor, has been selected to receive a $50,000 Newton Award for Transformative Ideas during the COVID-19 Pandemic from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The award, named in honor of Isaac Newton’s achievements, sought “transformative ideas” to resolve challenges, advance frontiers, and set new paradigms in research of immense potential benefit to the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. Putterman’s research project concerns nuclear fusion, which is a safe, nearly limitless energy source.

Click here to read more.

Physics professor awarded the 2020 Maxwell Prize

Warren Mori, professor of physics,  has been awarded the 2020 APS Maxwell Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of plasma physics. Mori is the current leader of the UCLA Plasma Simulation Group. The group continues to do pioneering work in high-performance computing of complex plasma phenomena.

The prize was established in 1975 by the Maxwell Technologies, Inc., in honor of the Scottish physicist, James Clerk Maxwell and is currently sponsored by General Atomics.

Read more here.

Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science honors chemistry professor

Jorge Torres, professor of chemistry & biochemistry, has been involved with SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) for many years, is a Lifetime member and was named the June Mentor of the Month.

Torres finds meaning with SACNAS in being “able to utilize his own skills to aid and encourage students who may be in a similar position as he was growing up.”

Read more here. 

Chemistry Professor receives 2020 distinguished alumni award from Pomona College

Steven Clarke, distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has received the 2020 Blaisdell Distinguished Alumni Award from Pomona College. Each year, Pomona College selects alumni to receive the Blaisdell award, which recognizes them for high achievement in their professions or community service.
Clarke is the director of the of the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute and has been a member of UCLA’s faculty since 1978. His research interests include understanding the roles of spontaneous protein damage and repair in aging, especially in Alzheimer’s disease.
Read more here. 

Alexander SpokoynyChemistry Professor selected for the 2020 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award

Professor Alex Spokoyny has been selected for the 2020 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards. His research focuses on establishing new synthetic avenues, structural understanding, and applications for inorganic and organomimetic clusters and assemblies. Dean Miguel García-Garibay says, “Thanks for demonstrating that every great scientist has all it takes to be a great teacher.”
The Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program supports the research and teaching careers of talented young faculty in the chemical sciences.  Based on institutional nominations, the program provides an unrestricted research grant of $100,000 to awardees.
Read more here. 

Miguel Garcia-Garibay

Dean Miguel García-Garibay elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Dean of Physical Sciences Miguel García-Garibay, along with 276 other scholars and scientists, was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences for his amazing work in UCLA’s Chemistry & Biochemistry Department.
“The members of the class of 2020 have excelled in laboratories and lecture halls, they have amazed on concert stages and in surgical suites, and they have led in board rooms and courtrooms,” said Academy President David W. Oxtoby.
Read more here. 

Rob Gould

Statistics Professor awarded 2020 ASA Outstanding Chapter Service Award

Professor Rob Gould has received the 2020 ASA Outstanding Chapter Service Award from the Southern California Chapter of ASA (SCASA). The award is for Rob’s “outstanding leadership, committed mentoring, innovative teaching and dedicated service to the chapter, for never stopping thinking of new and innovative ways to bring Statistics and Data Science to the whole world, and for caring enough to entice the statistical community to spread the word.
Last year, Rob received the 2019 Waller Distinguished Teaching Career Award from the ASA and the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award in Statistics Education from the United States Conference on Teaching Statistics and Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education.

Keriann Backus

Chemistry professor named to the Alexander and Renee Kolin Endowed Professorship of Molecular Biology and Biophysics

Keriann Backus, professor of chemistry and biochemistry has been named to the  Alexander and Renee Kolin Endowed Professorship of Molecular Biology and Biophysics Term Chair for five years. Backus received a prestigious 2019 Young Faculty Award and was named a 2019 Bechman Young Investigator, she joined the UCLA faculty in 2018.

Backus’ research focuses on the development of new chemical tools and chemical proteomics methods to study and manipulate the human immune system.

Click here to read more.

Chemistry Professor selected as the 2020 Passano Award Laureate

David Eisenberg, UCLA chemistry and biochemistry professor, is being recognized for his seminal contributions to the understanding at the atomic level how and why certain proteins aggregate into amyloid fibrils. He will be awarded the Passano Award Laureate in recognition in spring of 2020 at a special dinner in Baltimore.

Since 1945 the Passano Foundation has presented an award each year to a person or persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of medical science and whose work was done in the United States.

Read more here.

Two Physical Sciences faculty awarded Sloan Research Fellowships

Erik Petigura, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, and Jose Rodriguez, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry are among the four UCLA professors who received the Sloan Research Fellowships this year.

A Sloan Research Fellow is described as someone whose drive, creativity, and insight make them a researcher to watch. With Petigura’s research in exoplanets, planets orbiting stars other than the sun, and Rodriguez’s interests in developing and applying new scientific methods in bio-imaging, they both have done just that.

Read more here.

Anastassia Alexandrova

Chemistry professor receives 2020 Early Career Award in Theoretical Chemistry

Anastassia Alexandrova, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been selected to receive the 2020 Early Career Award in Theoretical Chemistry by the Physical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society.

She is being recognized for “the development of theory of catalysis on dynamic heterogeneous interfaces based on statistical ensembles of metastable states, and applications to surface-supported catalytic clusters.”

Read more here.

Smadar Naoz, assistant professor in the department of physics and astronomy.

Physics & Astronomy professor receives American Astronomical Society Award

Smadar Naoz, professor of physics & astronomy, was awarded the Helen B. Warner Prize for Astronomy for her many contributions to theoretical astrophysics, especially her influential and creative studies in cosmology and dynamics. The AAS presents awards and prizes for outstanding contributions to astronomical research, instrumentation, writing, and service.

Naoz has devised compelling explanations of the unexpected orbital properties of hot Jupiters and more. She is one of only three women to ever receive this award, since 1954.

Read more here.

Two Physical Sciences faculty receive 2020 National Science Foundation CAREER Awards

Justin Caram, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Selugi Moon, assistant professor of earth, planetary, and space sciences, were awarded the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This is the NSF’s most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education. The grant helps build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research

For Caram, the award will support his development of new spectroscopic measurement methods to study the emission of short-wave infrared light from quantum dots. He is also revamping general chemistry courses with learning laboratories to keep students engaged and interested.

For Moon, the award will help support her research on landslides, as landslide hazards are increasing with urban expansion, climate variability, and disturbances of land cover. She  will integrate research and teaching efforts through the incorporation of landslide studies in undergraduate courses.

Read more of Moon’s story here and read Caram’s story here.

Mathematics professor to receive inaugural Riemann Prize

Terence Tao

Professor Terence Tao, the James and Carol Collins Chair at the UCLA College, has been selected to receive the first Riemann Prize in Mathematics. This is the first year of the Riemann Prize, and it will be awarded every three years to an outstanding mathematician selected by an international committee.

The Riemann International School of Mathematics promotes fundamental mathematical research and education and located in Italy. The prize has the patronage of all public and private universities of Lombardia, and will honor great mathematicians, like Tao, in the coming years.

Read more here.

Two Chemistry Professors named AAAS Fellows for 2019

Out of six UCLA Professors named as American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows this year, two of them were from the Physical Sciences Division. The two 2019 fellows are Paula Diaconescu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Thomas Mason, professor of physical chemistry and physics.

Diaconescu is being honored for “seminal contributions to the field of catalysis, particularly for applications of switchable catalytic systems to block copolymer synthesis.” While, Mason is being honored for “distinguished contributions to the field of soft matter, particularly for creating and developing thermal-entropic passive microrheology, and for advances in emulsification and nanoemulsions.”

Read more here.

Chemistry professor honored for her research in sustainable energy

Emily Carter

Emily Carter, distinguished professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UCLA, is the newest recipient of the 2019 John Scott Award for her research in the area of sustainable energy. Carter’s research focuses on the development of computer simulations to design molecules fit for sustainable energy, including converting sunlight to electricity, and lots more.

Along with her research, Carter also served in the faculty for chemistry and material science and engineering at UCLA between 1988 and 2004 where she helped establish the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics and the California NanoSystems Institute, according to a Daily Bruin article from earlier this year.

Read more here.

Two chemistry professors receive the Distinguished Teaching Award

Anastassia Alexandrova and Jennifer Casey, professors of chemistry and biochemistry, are recipients of the Distinguished Teaching Awards, UCLA’s highest honor for teaching. The winners are chosen based on impacts of students, their efforts to create a learning environment in which diverse students can succeed, using innovative teaching methods, involvement in community outreach activities, and teaching rates.

Alexandrova’s lab focuses on computational and theoretical design and multi-scale description of new materials. While Casey specializes in computational chemistry and physical chemistry. She also conducts chemical education research under the advisement of Arlene Russell, a professor of chemistry.

Read more here.

UCLA chemistry professor named a Packard Fellow

Jose Rodriguez, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the UCLA College, was today named among 22 outstanding young scientists in the United States to be awarded Packard fellowships for Science and Engineering by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Packard fellowships enable the nation’s most promising young professors to pursue science and engineering research early in their careers with few funding restrictions, providing them with the freedom to take risks.

Read more here.

Chemistry Professor awarded ASCB Prize for Excellence in Inclusivity

Professor Jorge Torres, of chemistry and biochemistry, has been awarded the American Society for Cell Biology 2019 Prize for Excellence in Inclusivity.

This annual award recognizes one scientist who has a strong track record in research or serves a critical role in fostering cell biology research, and has demonstrated the importance of inclusion and diversity in science through mentoring, cultural change, outreach, or community service.

Read more here.

Two Physical Sciences professors elected as 2019 fellows of the American Physical Society

American Physical SocietyAndrea Ghez, director of the UCLA Galactic Center Group and UCLA’s Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Professor of Astrophysics, and Eric Hudson, professor of physics in the UCLA College, have been elected 2019 fellows of the American Physical Society. They are two of four UCLA professors elected this year.

This fellowship honors their exceptional contributions to physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in physics or significant contributions to physics education.

Read more here.

Mathematician selected for 2020 New Horizons Prize


Tim Austin, UCLA associate professor of mathematics, has been selected to receive the 2020 New Horizons Prize for his research. His research focuses on harmonic analysis, probability theory, rigorous statistical mechanics and ergodic theory, which is a branch of mathematics whose development was inspired by problems of statistical physics.

He will be honored  with the $100,000 prize at the eighth annual Breakthrough Prize awards ceremony on Nov. 3, at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

Read more here.

UCLA Physicist honored with a research award from the Department of Energy

James Rosenzweig

James Rosenzweig,  UCLA distinguished professor of physics, has been selected to receive one of 13 research awards from the U.S. Department of Energy for work in particle accelerator science and technology.

Rosenzweig’s project, will be supported by a grant of $2.8 million over three years, concerns theoretical and experimental studies in accelerator physics, with applications touching a wide variety of interdisciplinary science.

Read more here.

UCLA Physicist honored by the Department of Energy


Thomas Dumitrescu, assistant professor of Physics and Astronomy, has been awarded the Department of Energy Office of Science Early Career Award. The award provides university researchers with about $150,000 per year in funding to cover summer salary and research expenses for five years.

Dumitrescu’s research focuses on several aspects of quantum field theory, including applications to particle and condensed matter physics, supersymmetry, string theory and mathematical physics.

Read more here.

Sergio Ferrara wins 2020 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Sergio Ferrara

Sergio Ferrara, UCLA professor emeritus of physics and a member of UCLA’s Bhaumik Institute for Theoretical Physics, is one of three winners of the 2020 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. He and his colleagues, Daniel Freedman of MIT and Stanford and Peter van Nieuwenhuizen of Stony Brook University, have won the award for their discovery of supergravity.

Supergravity is the “highly influential 1976 theory that successfully integrated the force of gravity into a particular kind of quantum field theory.” The three will share a prize of 3 million dollars for their accomplishments.

Read more here.

Chemistry professor wins 2019 American Chemical Society Award

Hosea Nelson, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been named the recipient of the 2019 American Chemical Society’s Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award. This award honors excellence in organic chemistry.

Neslon’s research focuses on the discovery of chemical reactions that will enable the efficient and environmentally benign syntheses of fuels, materials, and medicines. Nelson will be presented the award next August at the society’s fall meeting, where he will present a research lecture.

Read more here.

Neil Garg to receive award from American Chemical Society

Neil Garg, professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been selected to receive the American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry’s 2019 Edward Leete Award. The award will honor him for outstanding contributions to teaching and research in organic chemistry.

Garg has had a long effect on the chemistry department at UCLA, creating a love for organic chemistry in many students on and off campus. From online tutorials to an Organic Chemistry Coloring Book published by him and his two daughters, he strives to create the best learning environment.

Read more here.

Richard Kaner named fellow of the American Institute of Chemists

Ric Kaner

Ric Kaner, professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been named a fellow of the American Institute of Chemists. The institute is dedicated to maintaining standards of practice for the chemical profession, advancing the field and assuring the best use of science and technology.

Kaner’s research focuses on the properties of conducting polymers and their diverse applications. He was honored during the institutes’ annual symposium.

Read more here.

Physical Sciences Dean Miguel García-Garibay has been elected a 2019 Fellow of the American Chemical Society

Miguel Garcia-Garibay

Miguel Garcia-Garibay, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and the Dean of the Physical Sciences, is a 2019 Fellow of the American Chemical Society. Garcia-Garibay is a pioneer in research on molecular motion in crystals, molecular machines, and green chemistry.  His research group has made advances in the field of artificial molecular machines and amphidynamic crystals, a term García-Garibay invented, referring to crystals built with molecules that have a combination of static and mobile components.

ACS fellows are nominated by their peers and selected for their outstanding accomplishments in scientific research, education, and public service. As a 2019 fellow, Miguel will be honored at a ceremony during the ACS National Meeting in San Diego.

Read more here.

Ellen Sletten named a 2019 PMSE Young Investigator

Ellen Sletten

Ellen Sletten, professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been named by the Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Division of the American Chemical Society, one of this years Young Investigators. This recognizes young investigators in academia, industry and national laboratories, who have made significant contributions to their respective fields within polymer science and engineering.

As part of this award, Sletten will present a talk titled “Versatile perfluorocarbon nanoemulsion theranostics stabilized by responsive poly amphiphiles” at the Fall 2019 ACS National Meeting.

Read more here.

UCLA Postdoctoral Researcher received the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellows Award

Adeyami Adebiyi

Dr. Adeyemi Adebiyi, a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA, who received his PhD from the University of Miami in 2016, was just selected as University California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow. Over 900 people applied to this award and only 32 across all of the UC campuses were selected.

Adebiyi’s current research focuses on the impact of atmospheric dust on regional and global climate and this Fellows Award honors the hard work he has put in. The President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program aims to advance excellence through faculty diversity, and Adebiyi exemplifies that excellence!

Click here to read more about the Fellowship Program.

Andrea Bertozzi awarded the 2019 Ralph E. Kleinman Prize

Andrea Bertozzi

Andrea Bertozzi, professor of mathematics and mechanical & aerospace engineering, has been presented with the Ralph E. Klienman Prize by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. This prize is given out every two years to one individual for outstanding research or other contributions that bridge the gap between math and its applications.

Bertozzi’s research on nonlinear partial differential equations and applied mathematics has proven itself not only with this prize, but also her selection to the National Academy of Sciences.

Read more here.

Terence Tao selected as a Great Immigrant by Carnegie Corporation of New York

Terence Tao

Terence Tao, professor of mathematics, was named a Great Immigrant, this is an honor for thirty-eight naturalized citizens who “strengthen America’s economy, enrich our culture and communities, and invigorate our democracy through their lives, their works, and their examples.”

Tao has created many first’s for UCLA’s math department, including being awarded the Fields Medal in 2006, often described as the “Nobel Prize in Mathematics.”

Read more here.

Keriann Backus wins the 2019 Young Faculty Award from US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Keriann Backus

Keriann Backus, professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has received the 2019 Young Faculty Award for her research proposal titled “Covalent Modulators of Proteostasis.” This project will involve developing new chemical tools to study and manipulate translation.

This award is in place to recognize rising research stars who hold junior faculty positions at academic institutions in the United States, with the goal of developing the next generation of scientists who will help address national security challenges.

Read more here.

Neil Garg honored by the American Chemical Society for teaching

Neil Garg

Neil Garg, the Kenneth N. Trueblood Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the UCLA College, has been awarded the 2019 James Flack Norris Teaching Award by the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society.

One of Garg’s teaching initiatives is a set of interactive online tutorials he has developed combining real-life examples of organic chemistry, human health and popular culture — making organic chemistry relevant and important to students

Read more here.

Andrea Ghez receives honorary degree from Oxford

Andrea Ghez

Andrea Ghez, distinguished professor of physics and astronomy and director of UCLA’s Galactic Center Group, was awarded an honorary degree today from Oxford University during its annual Encaenia ceremony.

Ghez demonstrated the existence of a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, with a mass 4 million times that of our sun. Her work provided the best evidence yet that these exotic objects really do exist.

Read more here.

Michael Jung named UC Presidential Chair in Medicinal Chemistry

Michael Jung

Michael Jung, professor of Chemistry, has been given this honor for his tremendous success in the development of drugs for prostate cancer, and his contributions to UCLA research, teaching, and service.

The Presidential chairs are created by the Chancellor’s office and approved by the office of the President to honor the most accomplished faculty. This honor will begin in July, 2019.

Read more here.

Rob Gould awarded the 2019 Waller Distinguished Teaching Career Award

Rob Gould

Rob Gould, professor of Statistics, has been given this honor for his many contributions to statistics education at UCLA and nationally. The award is given by the American Statistical Association (ASA) and is given to, at most, one person per year.

Gould will be presented with the award during the ASA’s President’s Address on July 30 at the Joint Statistical meetings in Denver.

Read more here.

UCLA Chemistry professor awarded $1.97 million to study gene regulation

Guillaume Chanfreau

Guillaume Chanfreau, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences for his research.

The funding will go toward his research on how genes regulate after transcription, how cells mediate RNA quality control, and how dysfunction of enzymes in RNA degradation can lead to human diseases.

Click here to read more more about this work.

Hongquan Xu elected a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics

Hongquan Xu

Hongquan Xu, professor of Statistics, was awarded this honor for his outstanding research and professional contributions to statistics. The Institute of Mathematical Statistics has about 3,500 active members and this honor is chosen by a committee of their peers, giving fellowship to about half of one percent of IMS members each year.

Hongquan will be honored at the IMS Awards Ceremony on July 29th at the Joint Statistical meetings in Denver. The IMS is a member organization which fosters the development and dissemination of the theory and applications of statistics and probability.


Alexander Spokoyny wins National Science Foundation’s top honor for junior faculty

Alexander Spokoyny

Alexander Spokoyny, a UCLA assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry and a member of the California NanoSystems Institute, won NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development award. This award is given to faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research, education, and the integration of both.

Spokoyny’s research is focused on new luminescent transition metal-based complexes for use in luminescent lighting applications, like television screens, mobile phones, and solid-state lighting sources. This project will also educate and train scientists at all levels, and includes an experimental summer camp science activities for K-12 public school students.

Read more here.

Judea Pearl elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association

Judea Pearl

Judea Pearl, professor of Computer Science and Statistics, has been selected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association for the contribution to the field of statistics, along with the ASA and society at large. Less than half a percent of members receive this honor each year.

Judea will be recognized for the honor on July 30th at the Joint Statistical meeting in Denver.


Shimon Weiss leads team to Human Frontier Science Program research grant

Shimon Weiss

Weiss, a professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has lead an international team of researchers to this $1.2 million grant, over three years. The research project focuses on solving the three-dimensional structure of macromolecules and produce three-dimensional structural movies of macromolecules in action while they perform their biological functions.

The Human Frontier Science Program supports research on the complex mechanisms of living organisms, and is funding only the top 4 percent of grant applicants.

For more information click here.

Michael Jung wins American Association for Cancer Research Award

Michael Jung

Jung, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry and a member of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, was given this award for his outstanding achievements in cancer research. Jung has developed two molecules that are being used to treat thousands of men who have a serious form of prostate cancer.

Jung will be recognized by the American Association for Cancer Research at the association’s annual meeting in Atlanta this year.

For more information click here.

Paul Weiss named a 2019 fellow of the Materials Research Society

Paul Weiss

Weiss, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry was named a fellow of the Materials Research Society for his “pioneering nano science advances, testing the ultimate limits of miniaturization of functional materials, developing ultrahigh resolution microscopes that simultaneously measure structure, spectra and function, and adding dimensions to nano lithography.”

The fellowship program only recognizes members who are notable for their outstanding contributions to the advancement of materials research worldwide. Weiss is the second UCLA chemistry and biochemistry faculty member to receive the honor.

Click here to read more.

Chemistry faculty sweep 2019 teaching awards

Casey Jennifer

From teaching assistants to Senate Faculty to Non-Senate Faculty, three UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty members were lauded by Distinguished Teaching Awards.

Professor Anastassia Alexandrova was recognized with the award for Senate Faculty. Alexandrova brings the utmost respect and admiration to the scholarship of teaching. She is known for her ability to capture a student’s attention and make them enthusiastic about theoretical chemistry. Read more here.

Graduate student Katherine Winchell was selected for the 2019 Distinguished Teaching Award for Teaching Assistants. After graduating in 2015, Winchell developed and taught a course on teaching students about the available clean and renewable energy and volunteers with the California NanoSystems Institute’s nanoscience outreach program. She hopes to continue to teach at undergraduate institution to improve the chemistry curricula. Read more about her amazing accomplishments here.

Most recently, Jennifer Casey, who received her Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2014, joined these astounding women with the 2019 Distinguished Teaching Award for Non-Senate Faculty for her active-learning techniques that help engage students and foster their confidence. She has taken a large role in the Chemistry 192A class which is a stepping stone for aspiring science high school teachers, showing her admiration for education. She has a commitment not only to education but also growth and excellence. Click here to read more.

Anastassia Alexandrova awarded the 2019 Distinguished Teaching Award for Senate Faculty

Anastassia Alexandrova

Alexandrova, a chemistry and biochemistry professor, was recognized for her passion about improving education at UCLA and for her role as a mentor as well as an educator here on campus. She will be recognized at the annual Andres L. Rich Night to Honor Teaching Dinner in the fall of 2019.

The award is given to six campus-wide recipients which recognizes academically and professionally accomplished individuals who bring respect and admiration to the scholarship of teaching. This is one of the highest teaching honors awarded to UCLA faculty members.

Click here to read more.

Neil Garg received the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award from NYU

Neil Garg

Garg, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry was honored for his innovative teaching techniques, breakthrough developments, achievements in natural product totally synthesis and transformative chemical educational initiatives.

Garg currently focuses his research on cross-coupling reactions, green chemistry, heterocyclic synthesis and natural product total synthesis. He is honored to receive this award from his alma mater New York University.

Click here to read more.

Michael E. Jung awarded LA BioStar Award by Cal State LA

Michael Jung

Jung, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry was honored at a Cal State LA BioSpace ceremony. This ceremony is part of Cal State LA’s BioStart training program for emerging bioscience entrepreneurs to promote the future of successful biosience in Los Angeles.

Jung was awarded the BioStar award for his development of drugs that help extend the lives of men with late-stage prostate cancer. He shares the passion for science and research that BioStart strives to instill in the future of bioscience.

Click here to read more.

Ciprian Manolescu receives 2019 E. H. Moore Research Article Prize

Cirprian Manolescu

Manolescu, professor of mathematics, was awarded this prize from the American Mathematical Society, a society dedicated to advancing research and connecting the mathematical community.

This prize was awarded to Manolescu’s article, after appearing in one of the society’s research journals, on resolving the triangulation conjecture. Most of his work focuses on low-dimensional topology.

Click here to read more.

Margaret Kivelson wins Royal Astronomical Society 2019 Gold Medal

Margaret Kivelson

Kivelson, professor of earth, planetary, and space sciences, is awarded this honor for her  “lifetime of outstanding achievement in understanding planetary magnetospheres and their connections to the planets they surround,” according to the society.

Kivelson has accomplished a lot for the space science community that has set her apart; she discovered the ocean inside Europa and the magnetic field around Ganymede — Jupiter’s largest moon; she also co-authored a book that is now educating large communities of young space scientists, and much more.

Read more here.

Four Physical Sciences faculty named American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows

2018 AAAS Fellows

Six UCLA faculty members- four from the division of Physical Sciences were named AAAS 2018 Fellows for their scientifically or socially distinguished work to advance science.

Heather Maynard, Neil Garg, Xiangfeng Duan, and Carla Koehler, all professors of Chemistry and Biochemistry, are honored by this recognition and what it means for their career, their students, and their research. We asked them about how they got to where they are and what this fellowship means to them for their future endeavors.

Read more here. 

Chemistry professor, Richard Kaner, is elected as a fellow of the European Academy of Sciences

Ric Kaner

Ric Kaner, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry and of materials science and engineering, holds the Dr. Myung Ki Hong Endowed Chair, and is now a fellow of the prestigious European Academy of Sciences

The European Academy of Sciences is an international scientific organization and is composed of the world’s leading scientists, scholars and engineers, aiming to promote excellence in science and technology.

Read more here.

UCLA wins $3 million NSF award for graduate education in modeling human behavior

UCLA professors have received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and implement a graduate education program to help train the next generation of scientific leaders to use “big data” analysis to tackle complex societal problems.

“By harnessing big data, we have an unprecedented opportunity to advance the understanding of human conditions, behaviors and their underlying mechanisms and social outcomes,” said Andrea Bertozzi, one of the leaders of the initiative, and a UCLA distinguished professor of mathematics and mechanical and aerospace engineering.

The new UCLA initiative, which is funded through the NSF Research Traineeship program, was conceived by Wei Wang, who is the Leonard Kleinrock Professor of Computer Science in the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. Click here to read more.

Ellen Sletten receives prestigious $1.5 million New Innovator Award from National Institutes of Health

Ellen Sletten

The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award supports unusually innovative research from early career investigators. Sletten, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, received the award for her proposal on new methods to image and treat diseases that have distinct metabolic features.

The High-Risk, High-Reward Program, created to support the work of exceptionally creative scientists, is supported by the NIH Common Fund. 58 New Innovator Awards were made in 2018 and a total of 89 grants were awarded across the program.

“This program supports exceptionally innovative researchers who have the potential to transform the biomedical field,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “I am confident this new cohort will revolutionize our approaches to biomedical research through their groundbreaking work.” Click here to read more.

Physicist awarded the Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize

Elihu Abrahams, distinguished adjunct professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA, has been awarded the 2019 Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize by the American Physical Society in recognition of his contributions to condensed matter physics.

Abrahams is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1987 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999.

Click here to read more about his latest accolade.

UCLA-led physics-chemistry team wins $2.7 million award for quantum computing

A research team from UCLA, USC, Caltech and Harvard, led by Wesley Campbell, UCLA associate professor of physics, has been awarded a three-year $2.7 million U.S. Department of Energy Quantum Information Science Research Award.

The emerging, multidisciplinary field of quantum information science is expected to lay the foundation for the next generation of computing and information processing, as well as many other innovative technologies. With this funding, faculty in chemistry and physics will develop and study “molecules functionalized with optical cycling centers,” accelerating research into next-generation chemical systems for quantum information storage and processing.

The grant to the UCLA-led team was one of 27 grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to develop new quantum materials. The awards were made in conjunction with the White House Summit on Advancing American Leadership in Quantum Information Science. Click here to read more.

Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences professor leads project to improve weather and climate models

David Neelin, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, is leading a new multi-institutional research project that has been awarded a $1.63 million grant by NOAA Research’s MAPP Program to create a one-stop shop of diagnostic tools for scientists to help streamline the process for improving their weather and climate models. Click here to read more.

Psychologist, mathematician awarded NSF grant to study social network dynamics

UCLA professors Carolyn Parkinson and Mason Porter have been awarded a three-year, $977,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to analyze the complexities of a social network based on its members’ relationships and their interactions with one another.

Parkinson, an assistant professor of psychology, and Porter, professor of mathematics, will combine methods from cognitive neuroscience with cutting-edge research in network science to gain insights into how our social networks shape the way that people process the world around them, and vice versa. They will also test how the brain shapes and is shaped by its social context. Click here to read more.

UCLA shares National Science Foundation grant to diversify STEM faculty nationally

UCLA is among six collaborating institutions that were together awarded $10 million over five years from the National Science Foundation to develop new educational models and programs that will increase diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields and careers. Click here to read more.

Professor of biochemistry wins Biophysical Society’s Founders Award

Juli Feigon, a distinguished professor of biochemistry, has been selected to receive the Biophysical Society’s 2019 Founders Award.

Feigon will be recognized for her “courageous and creative work in the structural biology of DNA and RNA … and recent landmark studies on the structure and function of the telomerase complex,” according to the society. She will be honored at the society’s annual meeting in Baltimore on March 5, 2019. Click here to read more.

American Meteorological Society lauds two professors in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Jasper Kok (left) received the American Meteorological Society’s Henry G. Houghton Award – Early Career for “novel approaches to studying the physics of dust emissions into the atmosphere and the interactions of dust aerosols with Earth’s climate system and beyond”.

David Neelin (right) was awarded the Jule G. Charney Medal for his fundamental contributions to understanding tropical climate dynamics and the impact of anthropogenic forcing on precipitation, drying, circulation, and extremes.

The awards will be presented at the 99th American Meteorological Society meeting in January 2019.

Chemistry & Biochemistry professor Jose Rodriguez named one of C&EN’s Talented Twelve

Jose Rodriguez picked up structural biology first as a hobby. In his free time while working on a Ph.D. in molecular biology at UCLA, he collaborated with a physics professor on a problem critical to how biologists process X-ray crystallography data.

Now, as a UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry professor, Rodriguez is using a relatively new structural biology technique to investigate proteins that clump together. These aggregating proteins are associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and he hopes that understanding their atomic-level details will pave the way to treatments.

C&EN’s Talented 12 program identifies and celebrates young chemists who are just beginning to put their innovative and transformative ideas into practice. Being recognized can serve as a launching pad for the Talented 12 to gain recognition for their ideas, find funding and collaborators, and become the leaders of the future. Click here to read more.

Chemistry professors receive five-year, $1.8 million grants from National Institutes of Health

Hosea Nelson and Jose Rodriguez, assistant professors in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, have each been awarded a highly prestigious Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) R35 Grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Nelson and Rodriguez will each receive more than $1.8 million over five years to support their research.

The MIRA grant program supports investigators’ overall research programs through a single, unified grant rather than individual project grants. The goal is to provide investigators with greater stability and flexibility, thereby enhancing scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs.

Click here to read more.

Neil Garg and Jorge Torres win 2019 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology awards.

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) has named Neil Garg and Jorge Torres, professors in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, as recipients of two of their 2019 awards.

Garg won the ASBMB Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education. This award includes a cash prize of $3,000 and is given annually to a scientist who encourages effective teaching and learning of biochemistry and molecular biology through his or her own teaching, leadership in education, writing, educational research, mentoring or public enlightenment.

Torres won the Ruth Kirschstein Diversity in Science Award. This award was established to honor an outstanding scientist who has shown a strong commitment to encouraging underrepresented minorities to enter the scientific enterprise and who has offered effective mentorship of those within it.

The winners were nominated by colleagues and other leaders in their fields for making significant contributions to biochemistry and molecular biology and the training of emerging scientists. The recipients will give talks about their work at the society’s 2019 annual meeting, which will be held in conjunction with the Experimental Biology conference April 6–9 in Orlando.

UCLA’s Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry is the only department to have two faculty members selected to receive 2019 ASBMB awards.

Click here to read the full ASBMB announcement.

Two UCLA chemists selected as 2018 Pew scholars

Chemistry & Biochemistry professors Hosea Nelson and Jose Rodriguez are among 22 Pew scholars in the biomedical sciences selected out of 184 nominations to receive four-year, $300,000 grants from the foundation.

This honor provides funding to outstanding young researchers whose work is relevant to the advancement of human health, and the grants will advance their explorations of biological mechanisms underpinning human health and disease.

Click here to read more.

Richard Kaner wins Royal Society of Chemistry’s 2018 Centenary Prize

Richard Kaner, a UCLA distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and of materials science and engineering, has won the Royal Society of Chemistry’s 2018 Centenary Prize.

The award is for “outstanding contributions to solid-state synthesis, energy storage materials and super hard materials.”

Kaner also holds the Dr. Myung Ki Hong Endowed Chair in Materials Innovation within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Click here to read more.

Andrea Bertozzi elected to National Academy of Sciences

Andrea Bertozzi – professor of Mathematics and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Betsy Wood Knapp Chair for Innovation and Creativity, and director of Applied Mathematics – has been named a new member of the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of her distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Bertozzi is an applied mathematician with expertise in nonlinear partial differential equations and fluid dynamics. She also works in the areas of geometric methods for image processing, crime modeling and analysis, and swarming/cooperative dynamics.

Click here to read the official release from the National Academy.

Statistics professor honored as a leading woman in STEM

Jingyi “Jessica” Li, a UCLA assistant professor of statistics, has been selected as one of six inaugural winners of the Johnson & Johnson Women in STEM2D Scholars Award, which supports outstanding women researchers in their careers in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, manufacturing and design.

Li conducts research at the intersection of statistics and biology. She and her research team, which is called the Junction of Statistics and Biology, develop new statistical methods for understanding biological questions, especially those related to large-scale genomic data.  Click here to read more.

Paul Hamilton wins 2018 DARPA Young Faculty Award

Department of Physics and Astronomy Assistant Professor Paul Hamilton has been awarded a prestigious DARPA Young Faculty Award, which provides high-impact funding to elite researchers early in their careers to develop innovative new research directions in the context of enabling transformative DoD capabilities.

Hamilton’s group focuses on exploring a new direction for the field of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) physics using atom interferometry to probe the properties of dark matter and dark energy using laser-cooled atoms. Click here to read more.

Jeff ZinkJeffrey Zink wins Tolman Medal

Jeffrey Zink, a distinguished professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been awarded the Tolman Medal by the Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society (SCALACS).

The Tolman Medal is awarded each year by SCALACS in recognition of outstanding contributions to chemistry. These contributions may include achievements in fundamental studies; achievements in chemical technology; significant contributions to chemical education; or outstanding leadership in science on a national level.

SCALACS and UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry will host a medal presentation dinner on Tuesday, May 1 at the UCLA Faculty Center. Click here for more details.

Four Physical Sciences faculty selected for 2018 Sloan Fellowships

Five young UCLA professors – four from the division of Physical Sciences – were among 126 scientists and scholars from 53 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada selected to receive 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships. UCLA is tied for third — behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and UC Berkeley — in the number of faculty honored this year by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which selects early-career scientists and scholars who are rising stars of science.

Click here to read more about Daniele Bianchi, Jingyi Li, Hosea Nelson, and Ellen Sletten’s work and plans for their Sloan Fellowships.

Alex Spokoyny named a 2018 Cottrell Scholar

Professor Alex Spokoyny of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry has been selected for the Cottrell Scholar program, which champions the very best early career teacher-scholars in chemistry, physics, and astronomy by providing significant discretionary awards.

Click here to read a UCLA Newsroom story about the award and recent publication in the journal Nature Materials, explaining how Alex and colleagues have devised a new way to create molecular interconnections that can give a certain class of materials important new properties, including improving their ability to catalyze chemical reactions or harvest energy from light.

Stanley Osher elected to National Academy of Engineering

Distinguished professor of mathematics Stanley Osher is one of three UCLA faculty elected to the National Academy of Engineering, among the highest professional honors that can be accorded to an American engineer.

The academy announced its 2018 class of 83 members and 13 foreign members on Feb. 7, 2018. Click here to read more.

UCLA’s Neil Garg wins country’s leading teaching award and its $250,000 prize

California Professor of the Year Neil Garg is the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. The award, which is given once every two years, was announced today by Baylor University.

The Cherry Award honors outstanding professors who are extraordinary, inspiring teachers with a positive, long-lasting effect on students and a record of distinguished scholarship. Click here to read more, and click here to view the public lecture that Neil delivered as a finalist for the award.

Professor of cosmochemistry receives 2018 J. Lawrence Smith Medal from Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences

Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences professor Kevin McKeegan is being awarded the Smith medal in recognition of his “contributions to understanding of the processes and chronology of the early solar system as recorded by primitive meteorites, for innovation in analytical instrumentation, and for showing that the oxygen isotopic compositions of the Earth and rocky planets and meteorites are distinctly different from that of the Sun.”

Click here to read more.

Team led by Edward Wright shares 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

The award – which honors major insights into the deepest questions of the universe and offers a $3 million prize – is being shared by the 27-member NASA Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe experimental team.

Edward L. (Ned) Wright, David Saxon Presidential Chair in Physics, helped develop key data analysis techniques for WMAP. Click here to read more.

Kuo-Nan LiouKuo-Nan Liou named foreign member of Chinese Academy of Sciences

Liou, a distinguished professor of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences, was recently elected to serve as a foreign member of China’s science academy (CAS).

Aradhna Tripati receives Geological Society of America’s 2017 Bromery Award for Minorities

The lauded professor in the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Spaces Sciences was recognized for having made significant contributions to research in the geological sciences and for being instrumental in opening the geoscience field to other minorities. Click here to read her acceptance speech.

Hosea NelsonUCLA chemistry professor honored as 2017 Packard fellow

Hosea Nelson is one of 18 outstanding young scientists in the U.S. to be awarded Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering. His lab is focused on the discovery of new chemical reactions that will enable the efficient and environmentally benign syntheses of fuels, materials and medicines. Read more.

UCLA Physicist wins 2017 Feynman Theory Prize

Giovanni Zocchi was awarded the 2017 Foresight Institute’s prize, which is in honor of physicist Richard Feynman and celebrates a researcher whose work has most advanced the achievement of Feynman’s goal for nanotechnology. Read more.

Atmospheric scientist given highest award from the American Meteorological Society

UCLA atmospheric scientist Kuo-Nan Liou is receiving the 2018 Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal. The American Meteorological Society’s highest honor recognizes outstanding contributors in the weather, water, and climate community. Read more.

Heather Maynard wins American Chemical Society Award

Maynard, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry and associate director of the California NanoSystems Institute, will receive the American Chemical Society’s 2018 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award honoring excellence in organic chemistry. Read more.

Steve Clarke lauded for research excellence and commitment to student training

Chemistry & Biochemistry professor Steve Clarke is receiving the 2018 William C Rose Award by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, recognizing his outstanding biochemical and molecular biological research and commitment to the training of younger scientists. Read more.

UCLA professor, UC center win national awards for promoting laboratory safety

The University of California Center for Laboratory Safety received a 2017 CSHEMA Innovation Award of Honor. Craig Merlic, an associate professor of chemistry at UCLA, is the center’s executive director. Read more.

Professor of Atmospheric & Oceanic Studies wins environmental change award

The American Geophysical Union has named David Neelin the recipient of its Bert Bolin Global Environmental Change Award. Read more.

NASA presents Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences professor with its highest honor

EPSS Professor Christopher Russell, principal investigator for NASA’s first detailed exploration of a celestial body inside the main asteroid belt, was awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. Read more.

EPSS Professor Emerita wins American Astronomical Society’s 2017 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize

Margaret Kivelson, professor emerita in UCLA’s Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, has received the highest award presented by the society to a planetary scientist. Read more.

Neil Garg wins Royal Society of Chemistry Higher Education Teaching Award

The world’s leading chemistry organization lauded the UCLA professor of chemistry for his outstanding teaching skills and the development of innovative materials and methods resulting in a strong positive impact on students. Read more.

The Protein Society lauds chemistry and biochemistry professor for her research

Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Juli Feigon received the 2017 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award in recognition of exceptional contributions in protein science which profoundly influence our understanding of biology. Read more.

Chemistry & Biochemistry’s Jose Rodriguez named a 2017 Searle Scholar

Prof. Rodriguez develops and applies new scientific methods in bio-imaging to solve cellular and molecular structures and reveal undiscovered structures that influence chemistry, biology and medicine. Read more.