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Vicki Grassian

Dear Faculty, Students, Staff, Alumni and Friends,

I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy as covid-19 cases remain high in California and throughout the country. I write this Chair’s message from home as we all continue to work remotely as much as possible and our courses remain online. Although our challenges this quarter remain high, we continue to make extraordinary progress under these extraordinary circumstances.

In January, we welcomed two new faculty members, Professors Fleur Ferguson and Julia Stauber. Both Fleur and Julia are setting up their labs in Tata Hall, our newest building. In particular, the Ferguson lab applies chemical synthesis, biochemistry, mass spectrometry and cell biology towards the goal of developing new therapeutic strategies in cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. And the Stauber lab is focused on a bioinspired approach to fundamental inorganic and organometallic chemistry that is motivated by addressing current challenges in chemistry and chemical biology.

At the end of 2020, we had a very nice “Zoom” retirement event for Distinguished Professor Edward Dennis.  The faculty who attended had great stories to share about Ed’s long and distinguished career.  Ed will continue to do research on lipidomics and he, along with Professor J. Andrew McCammon, will be our inaugural Professors of the Graduate Division, a new faculty appointment.

Our faculty have received many awards and accolades in the past few months. Professors Itay Budin, Alexis Komor and Alina Schimpf all received NSF CAREER awards.  Professor Tadeusz Molinski became a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Assistant Professor Shaowei Li received the Early Career Award from the AVS Nanoscale Science and Technology Division.  Professor Rommie Amaro and a team of 27 researchers were awarded the special Gordon Bell Prize for combined high performance computing and artificial intelligence to provide the clearest view to date of the coronavirus.  Professor Joshua Figueroa was awarded a special creativity award from the National Science Foundation for his research.

Please peruse the rest of this issue of the UC San Diego Periodical as our newsletter also highlights the amazing accomplishments of our students and staff. Be sure to keep in touch as it is always great to hear from our alumni and friends; to let us know how you are doing and what you are up to.

Stay safe and healthy,

Vicki Grassian, Distinguished Professor and Chair

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry