Meet the Faculty

Our esteemed faculty members in this program are not only practicing and working in chemistry, but they also love to teach the subject. They are committed to your success and take great joy in teaching students from around the globe. Current pioneering research includes premier programs in catalysis, thermodynamics, chemical biology, atmospheric chemistry, the development of polymer, optical and semiconductor materials, and nanoscience, among others.

Christopher Chang

Christopher Chang

  1. Professor of Chemistry
  2. Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology
  3. Member, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
  4. Adjunct Professor, UCSF

Research Interests

Studying metals in biology and energy by pursuing new concepts in sensing and catalysis that draw from core disciplines of inorganic, organic and biological chemistry. His team has developed activity-based sensing (ABS) as a general technology platform to enable biological applications and innovate imaging and diagnostics, proteomics and drug discovery.

Areas:

  • Transition Metal Signaling: Metalloallostery in the Brain and Beyond
  • Activity-Based Sensing: Redox and One-Carbon Signaling
  • Artificial Photosynthesis: Catalyzing Sustainable Electrosynthesis

Read more about Professor Christopher Chang.

Michelle Chang

Michelle Chang

  1. Professor of Chemistry
  2. Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

Professor Chang's research laboratory utilizes the approaches of mechanistic biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, metabolic engineering and synthetic biology to address problems in energy and human health. She has designed and created new biosynthetic pathways in microbial hosts for in vivo production of biofuels from abundant crop feedstocks and pharmaceuticals from natural products or natural product scaffolds. A unifying theme of her projects is a focus on gaining a detailed molecular understanding of how living cells control enzymatic processes within the context of the entire metabolic network. Specific projects under current investigation include the in vivo production of biofuels from plant biomass, and the development of new biosynthetic methods for selective, catalytic C-F bond formation under mild conditions.

Read more about Professor Michelle Chang.

Phillip Geissler

Phillip Geissler

  1. The Aldo DeBenedictis Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

Research Interests

Research focuses on the microscopic behavior of complex biological and material systems. Using the tools and concepts of statistical mechanics, Phillip and his team develop theories and simplified models for chemical phenomena in condensed phases for biomolecular structure and dynamics and for the role of fluctuations in nanoscale materials. They also use and devise techniques of modern computer simulation to investigate such systems on molecular length scales. They interact closely with experimental research groups to inspire and be inspired by state-of-the-art studies of real physical systems.

Current interests include:

  • Elasticity of disordered networks of semiflexible polymers
  • Dynamics of nanometer-sized solutes in a liquid undergoing phase change

Read more about Professor Phillip Geissler.

Martin Head-Gordon

Martin Head-Gordon

  1. The Kenneth S. Pitzer Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

Research Interests

Professor Head-Gordon and his group are performing research that aims to address issues such as electronic structure calculations by the development of novel theories and algorithms to build the next generation of electronic structure theories. This research combines fundamental quantum mechanics and many-body theory with aspects of applied mathematics and numerical analysis, as well as high-performance computing. Exciting progress has been made during the past few years in linear scaling methods for density functional theory. There are new approaches to describing the correlations between electrons in spatially localized terms and new model chemistries for ground and excited states. Additionally, challenging chemical applications are performed in diverse areas of chemistry to exploit new theoretical developments and to further probe the limitations of standard methods. These studies are often in collaboration with experimental studies and recent examples have been in the areas of combustion and interstellar chemistry.

Read more about Professor Martin Head-Gordon.

John Kuriyan

John Kuriyan

  1. Professor of Chemistry

Research Interests

John Kuriyan's lab studies the mechanisms, evolution and structures of the molecular switches that carry out cellular signal transduction. They use biochemical, biophysical, structural and cell biological analyses to elucidate mechanisms and study how these mechanisms change with evolution. A major focus of the lab is to understand the allosteric communication that enables proteins to be exquisitely responsive to input signals. They use high-throughput mutational analysis to determine the sensitivity of these mechanisms to perturbations in order to determine the molecular principles governing regulation and specificity.

Breakthroughs from the lab have included the determination of the switching mechanisms of several tyrosine kinases, including that of the Src family of tyrosine kinases, the immune-cell kinases ZAP-70 and Btk, and the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). They have also advanced the fundamental understanding of the regulation of several other signaling proteins, including the Ras activator SOS and CaMKII, an oligomeric kinase that plays a central role in neuronal signaling. Those insights have helped understand how the misregulation of these enzymes is often coupled to cancer and immune diseases and have implications for the development of kinase-targeted drugs to treat these diseases.

Read more about Professor John Kuriyan.

Michael Marletta

Michael Marletta

  1. Professor of Chemistry
  2. Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology
  3. CH and Annie Li Chair in the Molecular Biology of Diseases

Research Interests

Questions under investigation in his laboratory lie at the interface of chemistry and biology, with a particular emphasis on the study of protein function and enzyme reaction mechanisms and a focus on molecular answers to complex function in biology.

Areas Include:

  • Nitric Oxide (NO) signaling and gas sensing: continued studies have led to a more general molecular understanding of gas-sensing mechanisms in biology.
  • Polysaccharide Monooxygenases: The lab has recently investigated cellulose degradation with the hope of getting past a long-standing bottleneck in producing biofuels from feedstock.

Read more about Professor Michael Marletta.

Eran Rabani

Eran Rabani

  1. Professor of Chemistry
  2. Glenn T. Seaborg Chair in Physical Chemistry

Research Interests

Eran Rabani's research involves the development of theoretical and computational tools to investigate fundamental properties of nanostructures. His research covers structural, electronic and optical properties of nanocrystals, doping of nanoparticles, exciton and multiexciton dynamics at the nanoscale, and transport in correlated nano-junctions. Much of this relies on the development of stochastic electronic structure techniques to describe the ground and excited state properties in large-scale nanostructures. In addition, he has pioneered real-time approaches to nonequilibrium many-body quantum dynamics to describe quantum liquid and glasses and to explore electron-electron and electron-phonon interactions in nano-junctions.

Read more about Professor Eran Rabani.

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