Department News

Celebrating National Chemistry Week at Sacramento's Discovery Museum

October 20, 2015

October 18-24, 2015 is National Chemistry Week (NCW) and this year's theme: "Chemistry Colors Our World!" A group of our faculty, staff and students led exciting activities and demonstrations at the Discovery Museum in Sacramento over the weekend, exploring florescence, chemical indicators and color-changing chemistry with area families.

Professor Kyle Crabtree shared some of their demonstrations with Cambi live on Good Day Sacramento:

NCW is an annual outreach event that raises public awareness of the value of chemistry in everyday life. Coordinated by the American Chemical Society, local sections, businesses, schools and individuals are encouraged to organize or participate in community activities that promote this mission.

Prof. Britt selected to receive the Royal Society of Chemistry Bruker Prize

September 22, 2015

Prof. Britt selected to receive the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) Bruker Prize for 2016. Congratulations!

Department welcomes FIVE new faculty hires this year

August 13, 2015

Please welcome our five 2015 faculty hires (Areas): Julia Chamberlain and Ozcan Gulacar (Education), Lee-Ping Wang and Davide Donadio (Theory), and David Olson (Chemical Biology)

MPS Division welcomes new science writer Ms. Oskin

July 27, 2015

Science writer Becky Oskin joined MPS in June as the Division's new content provider. She will communicate MPS research and activities to many audiences, including students, alumni, donors, the public and other groups. She also plans to create new opportunities to share and promote scientific discovery, such as through social media.

Oskin graduated from the UC Santa Cruz science writing program and previously worked as an online and print reporter and in university media relations. Please feel free to contact her at or 530-754-2222.

Jessica Potts Wins STAR Award

January 21, 2015

Congratulations to Jessica Potts.  She has been chosen for the Chancellor’s Staff Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) award for her outstanding contributions to the UC Davis campus and community.  This award is presented annually by Chancellor Katehi to individuals whose achievements and conduct go “above and beyond” in support of the campus’ core values.

Letter to the Editor, Sacramento Bee from Prof. Neil Schore

January 13, 2015

Re "Affordable education" (Page A7, Jan. 24):  The author requests UC student faculty ratios.  In chemistry at UC Davis, from the early 1970s to the early 2000s, the ratio was stable. In 2003-04 we taught 11,928 students in undergraduate courses with a faculty of 37 professors, for a ratio of 322 students per professor.  By 2008-09 we taught 14,911 students, again with 37 professors (ratio of 403).  Last year we taught 18,744 students, still with 37 professors, a ratio of 507.  In a decade we added 7,000 students while the number of professors remained unchanged.

As an aside, Governor Brown's contention that research at UC takes away from teaching is simply false. We in chemistry have mentored thousands of undergraduates in cutting-edge research.  They have worked side-by-side with our graduate students, post-docs, and ourselves. Their experiences have led to increased competitiveness for positions in industry, academia, and professional schools.  Undergraduates have made important contributions and been listed as coauthors for 18 of my 30 most recent research publications.  At UC Davis, research and teaching are tightly coupled. That combination is called education.

Neil Schore

Davis, California

GAANN 14-15 Award Recipients

January 6, 2015

The following graduate students have been selected as GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) fellows for the 2014-15 academic year:

Hoby Wedler (organic)
Stephanie Hare (physical)
Joya Cooley (inorganic)
Talia Loewen (inorganic)
Rachel Welch (inorganic)

These prestigous fellowships are made possible by a grant awarded to us by the U.S. Department of Education. They are intended to support graduate students with excellent records who demonstrate financial need and plan to pursue the highest degree available in their course of study. Chemistry Ph.D. students are invited to apply annually in the Summer or Fall. 33 of our students since 2006 have been designated as GAANN fellows.

Profs and Grads Explore with iamSTEM to Improve Chemistry Education

December 26, 2014

The CHE 2 series at UC Davis is one of the highest-enrollment core classes on campus. The Chemistry Department has been collaborating closely with the iAMSTEM Hub to implement data-driven changes and new technology in the general chemistry lecture classrooms in order to enhance learning and benefit thousands of undergraduate students. The department's efforts to reinvent the lecture classroom were recently featured in the New York Times, showcasing methods used by Dr. Catherine Uvarov, who has a joint appointment with iAMSTEM Hub and Chemistry.

To read the NY Times Article, click here

Prof. Osterloh Receives ACS Energy & Fuels Division Glenn Award

November 5, 2014

Frank Osterloh received the RICHARD A. GLENN AWARD  from the ACS Energy and Fuel Division for presenting a paper ''Charge generation and transport in nanocrystal water splitting photocatalysts: Insights from surface photo voltage spectroscopy” at the Dallas 247 ACS meeting in Spring of last year.   He also credits his student Jing Zhao for doing all experimental work.   The results were published in JPCL earlier this year: J. Zhao and F. E. Osterloh, J. Phys. Chem. Lett, 2014, 5 782–786,

Award Description 

Prof. Justin Siegel Leads his Undergraduate Research Team to win iGEM competition

November 4, 2014

News Article

Prof. Kovnir Featured in ACS Virtue Issue Devoted to Solid-State Chemistry

October 20, 2014

Article on ACS Website

Prof. Berben, Atsumi, Britt's Work Featured in Sacramento Bee

August 15, 2014

Sacramento Bee Article

Prof. Britt's Work Appears in Science Again - Third Time in 10 Months

August 15, 2014

Article in Science

Prof. Shaw, German (UC Davis Foods for Health Institute) Interviewed on Capital Public Radio's 'Insight'

June 10, 2014

Link to Interview

Prof. Atsumi Wins NSF CAREER Award, ACS SEED Grant

April 28, 2014

Congratulations to Prof. Shota Atsumi for his NSF CAREER award.  He also renewed the ACS SEED grant for the department.  The grant helps high school students from low-income families carry out eight-week long research in chemistry labs during the summer.

Prof. Berben Awarded ACS 2014 Organometallics Young Investigator Fellowship

March 13, 2014

Please join us in congratulating Prof. Berben for her 2014 Organometallics Young Investigator Fellowship in recognition of her outstanding contributions to organometallic chemistry.  She will be presenting a talk in a symposium entitled "Organometallics Young Investigator Fellows" at the ACS meeting in San Francisco this fall.

Profs. Louie, Shaw, Yokobayshi Receive Grant from W. M. Keck Foundation

March 7, 2014

Keck Foundation Grant

Prof. Britt Wins Gold Medal from International EPR Society

March 4, 2014

IES Awardees and Nomination Information

Prof. Seigel Wins Prestigious Sloan Fellowship

February 18, 2014

Sloan Fellowship for 'Designer Enzymes'

Prof. Mascal Develops Branched Hydrocarbons from Plant Waste

February 3, 2014

New Technique Makes "Biogasoline" from Plant Waste

Prof. Lebrilla's Team Wins Award for Excellence

February 2, 2014

Congratulations to Professors Carlito Lebrilla, Xi Chen and their collaborators for winning the Dean's Team Award for Excellence this year.  The award was given by the School of Medicine at UC Davis.

Prof. Britt Publishes Second Science Paper in 91 Days

January 25, 2014

A new work from researchers at UC Davis and Stanford University show how cyanide and carbon monoxide are safely bound to an iron atom to construct an enzyme that can generate hydrogen gas.

Juli-Anna Dolyniuk Receives Ludo Frevel Crystallography Scholarship

January 17, 2014

Juli-Anna Dolyniuk, an inorganic chemistry Ph.D. student working in the Kovnir Lab,k was selected for a 2014 Ludo Frevel Crystallography Scholarship Award from the International Centre for Diffraction Data.  The $2,500 award is designed to support the education and research program of promising graduate students in crystallography-related fields.

Prof. Kovnir Wins Leadership Development Award

January 3, 2014

Congratulations to Kirill Kovnir, who has been selected by the Younger Chemists Committee (YCC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) for a Leadership Development Award to support his participation in the YCC Leadership Development Workshop.  This YCC program recognizes emerging leaders in the profession and helps them prepare for the leadership opportunities at volunteer organizations, such as ACS, and in their professional careers.  YCC recognizes his past contributions and leadership qualities.  The committee also believes that he has tremendous potential to be a successful leaser both within his profession and within ACS.

Safety Officer Debbie Decker Quoted by C&EN

December 23, 2013

C&EN Quotes & Photos of the Year

Prof. Cramer Wins Humboldt Research Award

December 3, 2013

Humboldt Research Award brings Stephen P. Cramer to Berlin.

Press Release

Prof. Cramer Elected a Fellow of AAAS

November 26, 2013

Congratulations to Prof. Cramer for his work in using synchrotron X-rays to study metalloenzymes.

Congratulations, 2013-14 GAANN Recipients!

November 4, 2013

The following graduate students have been selected as GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) fellows for the 2013-14 academic year:

  • Tobias "Toby" Sherbow (inorganic)
  • Cindy Pham (analytical)
  • Ryan Pemberton (computational/organic, Tantillo Lab)
  • Elyse Towns (analytical, Land Lab)
  • Michael Di Maso (organic, Shaw Lab)
  • Kathleen "Kathy" Lee (inorganic materials/energy, Kovnir Lab)
  • Kellan Lamb (organic, Shaw Lab)

These prestigous fellowships are made possible by a grant awarded to us by the U.S. Department of Education.  They are intended to support graduate students with excellent records who demonstrate financial need and plan to pursue the highest degree available in their course of study.  Chemistry Ph.D. students are invited to apply annually in the Summer or Fall.  28 of our students since 2006 have been designated as GAANN fellows.

Prof. Larsen's Love for ChemWiki Gets NSF Support

November 1, 2013

ChemWiki recently received its first major funding ̶ a grant of $250,000 from the National Science Foundation to a consortium including UCD, Sonoma State University, Diablo Valley College, Contra Costa Community College, Hope College (Michigan) and the University of Minnesota, Morris. The money will support further expansion of the wiki network and the first side-by-side comparison of the ChemWiki versus a standard textbook in classroom teaching.

While a single general chemistry textbook for undergraduates can cost hundreds of dollars, with new (and more expensive) editions appearing regularly. Moreover, the material in such textbooks is well established, in some cases for decades, if not centuries. Since the content hasn't changed greatly, Larsen and the ChemWiki development team finds it hard to justify these costs. ChemWiki began with entries written by students. Then Larsen realized that much of the material he needed already resides online, scattered across the Internet, in course notes, on professors' websites and other locations. Since all the content we need for the first two years of undergraduate chemistry already exists online ̶ the ChemWiki team went out and asked for it. When authors responded positively, Larsen and his wiki development team worked to adapt the material into the wiki format.

While still in its infancy (launched in 2008) on a shoestring budget, the ChemWiki now nets more than 2 million visitors a month, making it the most visited domain among the university's websites. Despite this, help is always accepted in developing content.

Link to Dateline Article on ChemWiki

Delmar's first TV interview!

Prof. Toney, Atsumi and Siegel Win APPA-E Grant to Convert Ethylene to Butanol

September 26, 2013

Congratulations to Prof. Michael Toney, Justin Siegel and Shota Atsumi. They were just awarded a DOE ARPA-E grant ($1.5M for 3 yr). They will develop new biosynthetic pathways to convert ethylene to butanol.
Press Release
Award Description

Science Without Borders

September 4, 2013

Gabriela Borba Mondo was an undergraduate chemistry student visiting UC Davis as part of "Science without Borders" from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (Brazil).  She spent her summer in the Kauzlarich Lab working with Alexandra Holmes on the synthesis of Germanium and silicon-germanium nanoparticles for energy conversion applications such as photovoltaics.

Regarding her time at UC Davis, she says, "Being abroad is, by its own, an exciting experience.  I am glad I came to UC Davis and was able to take classes and conduct research.  The experience of working in a research is very rewarding.  It is a moment where you can apply what you learned on classes in real science, and also to get a sense on how knowledge is constructed and how it is transmitted.  To me, this experience was extremely enriching, both academically and personally." 

James Fulmer Named First Author on Published Papers With JACS and Inorganic Chemistry

July 29, 2013

James Fulmer was named first author on two papers in the Journal of American Chemistry (JACS) and Inorganic Chemistry.  James has been working with Dr. Kirill Kovnir and his research group for the last 1 1/2 years to earn this distinction.  To access these papers, visit Dr. Kovnir's website at

Hoby Wedler Interviewed on Capitol Public Radio

June 28, 2013

Hoby Wedler is an organic chemistry graduate student working in the lab of Dr. Dean Tantillo.  On June 6th, he received the HSC Foundation Advocates in Disability Award for his work founding and organizing a chemistry camp for blind high school students.  Listen to his interview on Capitol Chat here:

Science vs God: Bryan Enderle at TEDxUCDavis

June 22, 2013

Melvin Lorenzo Awarded Honorable Mention at CAMP-NSF

June 11, 2013

Melvin Lorenzo, a sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering and working in the Balch Lab, presented his research at CAMP-NSF, where he received Honorable Mention for Physical Sciences and Engineering.  CAMP is a UC statewide symposium dedicated to UC undergraduate achievement in STEM.

Three Grad Students Featured in ACS Chemical Biology "Introducing Our Authors"

May 22, 2013

Three of our graduate students were recently featured in the ACS Chemical Biology "Introducing Our Authors":  Lisa Anderson and Diana Wong of the Franz Lab and Rena Mizrahi of the Beal Lab.

Check it out here!

Diana Wong's Research Featured in C&EN

May 15, 2013

Diana Wong's research (Franz Lab), which she presented at the 245th ACS National Meeting in New Orleans, was featured in the April 15th issue of Chemical & Engineering News!

Check out the article here.

Prof Annaliese Franz Honored With 2013 CWR Outstanding Mentor Award

April 30, 2013

Annaliese Franz has been selected to receive the 2013 Outstanding Mentor Award by the Consortium for Women and Research at UC Davis. Congratulations to Annaliese for this deserved recognition!

Another Successful 10+10 Workshop

April 10, 2013

Congratulations to the 10+10 team on a successful symposium last week. Special thanks to Professor Power for taking the lead in organizing the event and to all the faculty who presented in the symposium focused on carbon-based nano structures including Gang-yu Liu, Alan Balch, Marilyn Olmstead, Louise Berben, Justin Siegel, Ting Guo, Kirill Kovnir, Alex Navrotsky and Matt Augustine. Student and postdoc participation is also appreciated and acknowledged as well as the contributions of staff who helped organize the event, particularly Will. Thanks to all for their contributions to this important international collaboration.

Augustine Wins Distinguished Teaching Award

April 8, 2013

Professor Augustine has been awarded the 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching. This is one of the most prestigious awards given on campus and recognizes outstanding teaching and commitment to student success.

Berben Selected ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship 2013 

March 17, 2013

Professor Louise Berben has been selected by the Chemical Communications Editorial Board as the winner of the ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship 2013. As the winner of this high-profile award, she will present a ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lecture at three different locations over the course of 12 months including an International venue.  Congratulations to Professor Berben, her research team and the staff who support their efforts.

Aimee Bryan Selected to Attend 63rd Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates

March 12, 2013

Since 1951, Nobel Laureates in chemistry, physics, and physiology/medicine convene annually in Lindau, Germany to have open and informal meetings with students and young researchers.  Aimee Bryan, an organic chemist in the Power Lab, recently received an award to attend the 63rd Lindau Meeting.

The nomination process occurs in three phases.  First, an applicant must with their institution's internal competition.  Then, a group of students are selected to represent the United States.  Finally, the International Council for Lindau Meeting Reviewers must choose highly qualified researchers from an international pool.

A previous recipient of this award from our program was Ngon Tran of the Franz Lab, who in 2010 was the U.S. delegate for the 60th Lindau Meeting.

Four Chemistry Students Awarded at 2013 IGPS

March 12, 2013

Joel Hwang (Chen Lab), Gabe Rodriguez (Atsumi Lab), Lisa Anderson (Franz Lab), and John Oliver (Atsumi Lab) each received awards at this year's Interdisciplinary Graduate and Professional Student Symposium (IGPS).  More than 200 students from every professional school and academic college gave short talks, presented posters, etc., to highlight their work.

Joel Hwang - Vice Chancellor’s Prize for Best Poster: Chemistry, Fluorous‐tag assisted Chemoenzymatic Synthesis of Oligosaccharides

Gabe Rodriguez - Dean's Prize for Best Oral Presentation in Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Chemistry, Synthetic Biology for Production of Renewable Chemicals

Lisa Anderson - People’s Choice for Best Poster, Second Place: Chemistry, Microalgae Oil for Biofuel Applications and Analysis by NMR Spectroscopy

John Oliver - Award for Best Poster, Honorable Mention and People’s Choice for Best Poster, Honorable Mention: Chemistry, Farming our energy and chemicals: End of the hunter‐gatherer epoch

Chemistry Undergraduates are Getting Published!

March 1, 2013

Marlene Amador has spent several quarters earning CHE99 and 199 research units in the Kauzlarich Lab.  Find her collaborative publication entitled,  Facile Synthesis of Germanium Nanoparticles with Size Control: Microwave versus Conventional Heating, through the ACS website.  Nice work Marlene!  (Marlene Amador is seeking a B.S. in Chemistry with an emphasis in Environmental Chemistry.)

Chem Peer Advisers Host - E.&J. Gallo Winery Internship Info Session!

February 27, 2013

Representatives from the E.&J. Gallo winery and the Chemistry Peer Advisers are hosting:   Seminar on wine chemistry and analysis.  This will be a great opportunity for you to get an internship.  Bring your questions; if you have a resume, feel free to bring it too!   Pizza and drinks provided!  

Date: Wednesday, February 27

Time: 6:00-7:30pm

Location: Chemistry 172

Prof. Chen Wins Carbohydrate Research Award

January 29, 2013

Dear Colleagues, I am delighted to inform you that Professor Xi Chen has been selected as the winner of the Carbohydrate Research Award for Creativity in Carbohydrate Chemistry 2013. Given every two years, the Award was established in 2001 by the Editors and Publisher of Carbohydrate Research and consists of a cheque for US$1000, a certificate and a complimentary subscription to the journal for two years. Professor Chen has also been invited as plenary lecture at the 17th European Carbohydrate Symposium (EUROCARB17) in Tel Aviv, Israel this summer.

Congratulations to Xi, the Chen research group and the staff who support their efforts.


Prof. Gervay-Hague and Prof. Britt elected AAAS fellows 

December 20, 2012

Congratulations to Prof. Gervay-Hague and Prof. Britt, who are elected as fellows of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in October 2012, for their contributions to science and technology. The department now has 9 AAAS fellows.

Allen the 2012-2013 Chancellor Fellow

November 15, 2012

Allen the 2012-2013 Chancellor Fellow
Dear Colleagues, I am happy to report that Professor Toby Allen has been selected to be a 2012-2013 Chancellor's Fellow. The program was established in 2000 to honor the teaching and research achievements of outstanding faculty early in their careers.

Congratulations to Toby, his research team and the staff who support their efforts.


Prof. Kovnir Has His First DOE Grant

October 3, 2012

Congratulations to Professor Kovnir on securing his first grant of 3-year funding from Department of Energy (DOE) to pursue his thermoelectric interests. Congratulation to Professor Kovnir, his research team and the staff who support their efforts. – Jackie

Jessica Koehne Wins PECASE Award

July 23, 2012

President Obama has named Jessica (of NASA) as a recipient of the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)

Article Here

Prof Guo and Prof Navrotsky’s Work Both on Cover

June 6, 2012

Work done in Professor Guo’s group made to the cover of J. Phys. Chem. C of the May 24, 2012 issue. It is the first case of using nanostructures to concentrate energy deposition in water caused by electrons released from nanostructures under X-ray irradiation. Up to 250 times increase over the background water was predicted using a series of gold nanoshells. Also in May work done in Professor Navrotsky’s group was selected for the cover of J. Am. Ceram. Soc. Their work provided the needed experimental high temperature thermodynamic data for several rare earth oxides at over 1500 degrees Celsius.

Welcome to Professor Siegel

June 6, 2012

Dr. Justin Siegel has accepted the offer to join UC Davis. His appointment will be in both the School of Medicine and Department of Chemistry. His labs will be located in the Genome center, which brings wonderful opportunities for the chemistry department to formally interact with the Genome Center in addition to the School of Medicine – Jackie.

Larissa Miyachi Selected to Receive the 2012 University Medal

May 23, 2012

Senior Larissa Miyachi has just been selected to receive the 2012 University Medal, the highest honor for gradating undergraduate students at UC Davis. Larissa is working on a project of developing a nanoscale drug carrier that can be triggered with X-rays to release drugs at tumor sites. She has worked in Prof. Guo’s lab in the past three years. She also won the first prize of Larock Undergrad Research Conference in 2011.

Hoby Wedler Selected as Champion of Change by President Obama

May 1, 2012

Hoby Wedler has been selected as a Champion of Change for STEM for people with disabilities, as part of President Obama’s “Winning the Future” initiative ( On May 7, Hoby will be honored in the White House as a leader who is making a positive impact in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for people with disabilities in the areas of employment and education. Hoby was quick to acknowledge the UC Davis chemistry department, Dean Tantillo, and the Tantillo group for all of their everlasting wonderful support. Congratulations to Hoby for his Champion efforts! – Jackie

Prof Navrotsky’s Science on the Cover of Science

April 9, 2012

Professor Navrotsky and her colleagues Peter C. Burns at University of Notre Dame and Rodney C. Ewing at University of Michigan published a review article in Science in which they discuss the “current understanding of nuclear fuel interactions with the environment, including studies over the relatively narrow range of geochemical, hydrological, and radiation environments relevant to geological repository
performance, and discuss priorities for research needed to develop future predictive models.” Congratulations to Professor Navrotsky and her colleagues for this great achievement.

Recent Awards for Our Graduate Students – A Lot of Them

April 9, 2012

There are many graduate students who have been honored recently by national and international organizations, including 1) Tim Newman of Professor Augustine’s group received NSF Graduate Research Fellowship; 2) Thomas Myers of Professor Berben’s group received American Chemical Society Division of Inorganic Chemistry Student Travel Award; 3) Charles Grove of Professor Shaw’s Lab received Floyd and Mary Schwall Dissertation Year Fellowship in Medical Research; and 4) Rene Johnson of Professor Casey’s group received the ‘Best Presentation Award’ at the International Uranium Biogeochemistry Conference in Switzerland (really? yeah!). In addition, Greg Allen, Rachel Chamousis, Osvaldo Gutierrez, and Darlene Tan all received UCD & Humanities Graduate Research Award. Congratulations to our outstanding graduate students!

Prof. Casey Awarded the Herbert A. Young Society Dean’s Fellowship

March 8, 2012

Congratulations to Professor William Casey who has been chosen to receive the Herbert A. Young Society Dean’s Fellowship in the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. This award is funded with private contributions to the College of Letters and Science Annual Fund and the Herbert A. Young Foundation and is intended to be used for teaching research and service activities.

Professor Berben named 2012 Sloan Fellow

February 21, 2012

Professor Louise Berben has just been named a 2012 Sloan Fellow. The Sloan Research Fellowshipsseek to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise. These two-year fellowships are awarded yearly to 118 researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field. Congratulations to Professor Berben, her research team and the staff who support their efforts. -Jackie

Prof. Osterloh Receives 2012 Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award

February 4, 2012

Congratulations to Professor Osterloh who has received the Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award for 2012. This grant from Research Corporation will allow his research team to fabricate and test Fractal Shaped Solar Cells with improved performance. This is a collaboration between the Osterloh group, and the groups of Richard Tailor (Physics, U Oregon), Boaz Ilan (School of Natural Sciences, UC Merced) and Sean Shaheen (Physics and Astronomy, U Denver).