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Congratulations to Oliver Shao for being awarded the Best Paper Award at the IEEE Conference on Computational Imaging Using Synthetic Apertures

Oliver Shao has been awarded the Best Paper Award for his paper titled “Multi-Modal Extreme-Ultraviolet Reflectometer: Solving Inverse Problems in Nanostructure Metrology” at the 2024 IEEE Conference on Computational Imaging Using Synthetic Apertures. Congratulations, Oliver!

Congratulations to Anya Grafov for being awarded the Best Poster Award at the IEEE Magnetics Summer School in Taipei

Anya Grafov was awarded the Best Poster Award at the 2024 IEEE Magnetics Summer School in Taipei for her poster titled, “Probing Ultrafast Spin Dynamics with Extreme Ultraviolet High Harmonics”. Congratulations, Anya!

Congrats to Gordana Dukovic for Being A Recipient of the 2024 National Brown Investigator Award

The Brown Institute for Basic Sciences at Caltech today announced the 2024 class of Brown Investigators. The cohort, the first selected through the newly formed Brown Institute for Basic Sciences, comprises eight distinguished mid-career faculty working on fundamental challenges in the physical sciences, particularly those with potential long-term practical applications in chemistry and physics. Each investigator will receive up to $2 million over five years.

The Brown Institute for basic Sciences at Caltech was established in 2023 through a $400-million gift to the Institute from entrepreneur, philanthropist, and alumnus Ross M. Brown (BS ’56, MS ’57).

Caltech and Brown share a common purpose: advancing fundamental science discoveries with the potential to seed breakthroughs that benefit society.

Gordana Dukovic, professor of chemistry, University of Colorado Boulder, will develop methods for chemical structure determination of biomolecules bound to inorganic nanoparticles—materials that could be useful for the conversion of solar energy directly into new chemical bonds.

Congrats to Skylar Sherman for Being Awarded a 2024 Department of Chemistry Fellowship

Skylar Sherman, a graduate student in Gordana Dukovic’s group at CU Boulder, was awarded a fellowship from the Department of Chemistry that will fund research for the spring semester and summer. Congrats Skylar!

Congrats to Alex Stevens for Being Awarded a 2023 Whitcome Pre-doctoral Fellowships in Molecular Biology

Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology (BMSB) graduate students Andrew Goring (Clubb/Loo groups) and Alexander Stevens (Zhou group) have been awarded prestigious Whitcome Pre-doctoral Fellowships in Molecular Biology for 2023-24. The fellowship will provide them support in the form of tuition/fees, a monthly stipend and travel funds.

Alex Stevens received his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Arizona State University, where he researched G protein-coupled receptor structures in the lab of Professor Wei Liu. In the fall of 2019, Alex joined the Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology (BMSB) graduate program under the tutelage of Professor Hong Zhou.

Alex’s graduate work leverages the recent advancements in cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) to resolve high-resolution structures of the proteins that drive assembly and replication in double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) viruses. Because dsRNA is alien to eukaryotes and thus a powerful inducer of the antiviral response, these viruses have evolved to transcribe nucleotides at transcriptional enzymatic complexes (TECs) within their proteinaceous capsids which simultaneously undergo large architectural changes. Alex investigates this dynamic within complex dsRNA viruses, like the economically important aquareovirus, to determine how their TECs and capsids change throughout their lifecycle. He has also characterized a minimally complex dsRNA virus which he plans to use as a model to probe the rules of intracellular replication amongst these ubiquitous pathogens.

Alex is passionate about deepening our understanding of disease and hopes to contribute to the discovery of therapies that improve people’s lives and wants to improve the manner in which we conduct science so it may realize all its promises to stakeholders. After receiving his PhD, Alex plans to pursue research roles uncovering the mechanisms underpinning pathogenesis of harmful microbes and hopes to one day branch into science policy. “UCLA gave me the perfect environment to collaborate with preeminent scholars, learn techniques from the leading edge of my field, and produce impactful work, and I look forward to applying what I’ve learned to my future work.”

About the Whitcome Fellowships

In 2005 UCLA received an $8,000,000 bequest from the estate of Philip Whitcome.  Dr Whitcome received his Ph.D. in 1974 from the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program and went on to a stellar career in the biotechnology industry. His gift allowed the establishment of the Whitcome Fellowship Program designed to attract highly talented students to a unique graduate training environment that emphasizes rapid progress toward groundbreaking scientific discoveries.

Congrats to Alexander Stevens for Being Awarded a 2022 Audree V. Fowler Fellowship in Protein Science

Graduate students Cody Gillman (Gonen lab), Declan Evans (Houk lab), Troy Lowe (Backus lab), Ashley Julio (Backus lab), and Alex Stevens (Hong Zhou lab) have been selected as 2022-2023 Fowler Fellows.

Each Fellow presented a talk at the Audree V. Fowler Fellowships in Protein Science Special Seminar on Tuesday, October 7, 2022.

A strong supporter of the basic sciences and medicine at UCLA, alumna Dr. Audree Fowler (B.S. ’56 chemistry, Ph.D. ’63 biochemistry) established the Audree V. Fowler Fellows in Protein Science in 2008. Fowler was Director UCLA Protein Microsequencing Facility from 1984-1999 and is a Researcher Emeritus of the UCLA Department of Biological Chemistry. She is one of the first four women to receive a Ph.D. from the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. In 2018, the women were awarded the department’s 2018 Alumni Legacy Awards in recognition of their achievements in life, and generous support and service to UCLA. “The sciences gave me a great life. Now I want to help others have access to the same opportunities I enjoyed,” Fowler explained when she established the Fowler Fellowships endowment.

Applications for the fellowships are solicited from graduate students in the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental (MBI) Ph.D. Program, Biological Chemistry, and Chemistry & Biochemistry Departments. In addition to presenting their research at a special seminar, the recipients each receive a $5,000 award.

Alex Stevens is a fourth year Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology (BMSB) graduate student in Professor Hong Zhou’s group.

Alex received his B.S. in Biochemistry from Arizona State University, where he researched G protein-coupled receptor structures in the lab of Dr. Wei Liu. Alex’s graduate work leverages the recent advancements in cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) to resolve high-resolution structures of the proteins that drive assembly and replication in double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) viruses. Because dsRNA is alien to eukaryotes and thus a useful inducer of the antiviral response, these viruses have evolved to transcribe nucleotides at transcriptional enzymatic complexes (TECs) within their proteinaceous capsids which simultaneously undergo large architectural changes. Alex investigates this dynamic within complex dsRNA viruses, like the economically important aquareovirus, to determine how their TECs and capsids change throughout their lifecycle. He has also characterized a minimally complex dsRNA virus which he plans to use as a model to probe the rules of intracellular replication amongst these ubiquitous pathogens.

Congrats to Hong Zhou for Being Named a 2024 Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology

Congratulations to professor Hong Zhou on being named a 2024 fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology! In addition to his role as a professor at UCLA MIMG, Zhou is the faculty director of the Electron Imaging Center for NanoMachines (EICN), part of the CNSI Technology Centers.

In Feb., the American Academy of Microbiology (Academy) elected 65 new fellows to the Class of 2024. Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology, the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology, are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. The Academy received 156 nominations for fellowship this year. There are over 2,600 fellows in the Academy representing all subspecialties of the microbial sciences and who are involved in basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry and government service.

Congrats to Kwabena Bediako for Being Awarded a 2024 Sloan Research Fellowship in Chemistry

Congratulations to the Sloan Research Fellows of 2024. The following 126 early-career scholars represent the most promising scientific researchers working today. Their achievements and potential place them among the next generation of scientific leaders in the U.S. and Canada. Winners receive $75,000, which may be spent over a two-year term on any expense supportive of their research.

Research efforts in the Bediako Group involve the mesoscopic investigation of interfacial charge transfer and charge transport in two-dimensional (2D) materials and heterostructures. We emphasize the design of materials with modular interfaces that can be controlled at atomically precise length scales to study and overcome contemporary challenges in electrochemical energy conversion and quantum electronics.

3D atomic details of next-generation alloys revealed for first time

Alloys, which are materials such as steel that are made by combining two or more metallic elements, are among the underpinnings of contemporary life. They are essential for buildings, transportation, appliances and tools — including, very likely, the device you are using to read this story. In applying alloys, engineers have faced an age-old trade-off common in most materials: Alloys that are hard tend to be brittle and break under strain, while those that are flexible under strain tend to dent easily.

Possibilities for sidestepping that trade-off arose about 20 years ago, when researchers first developed medium- and high-entropy alloys, stable materials that combine hardness and flexibility in a way in which conventional alloys do not. (The “entropy” in the name indicates how disorderly the mixture of the elements in the alloys is.)

Congrats to Nicholas Jenkins for Being Named as the 2024 Recipient of the SPIE Nick Cobb Memorial Scholarship

Nicholas Jenkinshas been announced as the 2024 recipient of the $10,000 Nick Cobb Memorial Scholarship by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and Siemens EDA — formally Mentor, a Siemens company — for potential contributions to advanced lithography or a related field. Jenkins will also be honored during 2024’s SPIE Advanced Lithography + Patterning conference.

The Nick Cobb scholarship recognizes an exemplary graduate student working in the field of lithography for semiconductor manufacturing. The award honors the memory of Nick Cobb, who was an SPIE Senior Member and chief engineer at Mentor. His groundbreaking contributions enabled optical and process proximity correction for IC manufacturing. Originally funded for three years ending in 2021, the Nick Cobb Scholarship will be awarded to one student annually for an additional period of three years, through 2024.

Jenkins is pursuing a PhD in Physics at JILA and the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU). His research, under the guidance of Margaret Murnane and Henry Kapteyn, focuses on the precise fabrication and metrology of nanomaterials and devices to advance science and technology in areas such as nanoelectronics and metamaterials. As a final-year PhD student, Jenkins leads several experimental campaigns to use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) scatterometry and imaging in order to more precisely measure the structure and composition of nanoscale objects. Jenkins received his BS in Physics, summa cum laude, from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, in 2018, and his MS in Physics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2021. He won the 2022 Colorado Photonics Industry Student Poster Contest, is currently working on projects for Samsung, 3M, and the Moore Foundation, and excels in his commitment to mentoring others.

“I’m honored to receive the Nick Cobb Memorial Scholarship and I’m excited for the opportunity to share my research with others in the field at the upcoming SPIE Advanced Lithography + Patterning meeting,” notes Jenkins. “The metrology community has continued to help push forward what humans are capable of on the nanoscale, and I’m glad to be part of the effort.”

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