{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade.

Page 1

SP 07

V 2.1



Spring 2007

Volume 2 • Issue 1


“I am on the edge of mysteries and the veil is getting thinner and thinner” —Louis Pasteur

To be of use Research in Pasteur’s quadrant A prepared mind Michael Marletta and the biomedical discovery of nitric oxide

The application of science

The cycle of energy

Illuminating the world

Jon Ellman opens doors for drug discovery

Sustainable energy, sustainable societies

A Nobel Laureate returns to Berkeley

Catalyst COLLEGE OF CHEMISTRY UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY dean Charles B. Harris cbharris@berkeley.edu chair, department of chemistry Michael A. Marletta marletta@berkeley.edu chair, department of chemical engineering Jeffrey A. Reimer reimer@berkeley.edu

PUBLICATIONS STAFF assistant dean Jane L. Scheiber 510/642.8782; jscheib@berkeley.edu principal editor Michael Barnes 510/642.6867; m_barnes@berkeley.edu

8 contributing editor Karen Elliott 510/643.8054; karene@berkeley.edu alumni relations director Camille M. Olufson 510/643.7379; colufson@berkeley.edu

16 circulation coordinator Dorothy I. Read 510/643.5720; dorothy.read@berkeley.edu design Alissar Rayes Design printing University of California Printing Services



Louis Pasteur in his lab, 1885, in a portrait by Finnish painter Albert Edelfelt. Image courtesy of the Pasteur Institute.

all text and photos by michael barnes unless otherwise noted. for online versions of our publications please see: chemistry.berkeley.edu Š 2007, College of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

c o n t e n t s

Spring 2 0 0 7 Volume 2 • Issue 1
































College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

d e a n ’ s

Applying fundamental research


in the battle for human health

CHARLES B. HARRIS Dean and Gilbert N. Lewis Professor

While the understanding and treatment of human health has always been a central focus of the chemical sciences, new social and economic realities bring an added urgency to medical research. In the developing world, the rampant spread of infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS highlights the need for effective, affordable medications. In industrialized societies, the lack of definitive treatment for such common illnesses as cancer demonstrates the necessity of improved methods of detection and drug delivery. An aging population that is particularly susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, requires that we develop a better understanding of how to treat such ailments. And the soaring cost of health care—the majority of which is focused on the last stages of illness, according to the National Institutes of Health—mandates better diagnostic tools and new therapeutics. Faculty and students in the College of Chemistry are engaged in an extraordinarily wide-ranging set of endeavors that have the capacity to revolutionize areas of the health field. This issue of Catalyst looks closely at two faculty members’ distinct approaches to questions of health. Michael Marletta, a chemical biologist, uses the tools of chemistry to investigate biological issues. Chemical biology is now a well-established academic field, with its own graduate program and popular undergraduate major at Berkeley. This wasn’t always the case, however; as a student and

d e s k

beginning assistant professor, Marletta had to work hard to find a community of colleagues interested in the chemical underpinnings of biology. His work on the role of nitric oxide in biological processes, profiled in this issue, has been groundbreaking, and it provides a captivating story of the development of a scientific career. Marletta’s work has implications for illuminating a host of biological issues— including the regulation of blood pressure by the cardiovascular system, and the creation of special cells that can destroy viruses, bacteria, and even tumors. In contrast, Jon Ellman has harnessed the methods of organic synthesis to create a reagent with broad applicability for drug discovery. His work illustrates the importance of fundamental chemical research informed by a strong sense of the ultimate utility of that research for the field of health care. Ellman and his colleagues devised a simple, inexpensive method for synthesizing the reagent tert-butanesulfinamide; then—instead of pursuing a patent or license—they published the results of this research for the world to see. The reagent filled a distinct gap in the scientific process, and it has become a staple in the process of drug discovery. Now produced each year by the ton, tert-butanesulfinamide has already contributed to the development of numerous promising therapeutics, including a powerful anticancer compound. Upcoming issues of Catalyst will continue our focus on health, featuring other contributions by members of the chemical engineering and chemistry departments. We’ll examine such diverse topics as gene therapy and stem cell biology, the fight against infectious diseases, and the creation of miniaturized diagnostics.

++Late breaking news The courtyard of Stanley Hall glows after a spring rain shower. The building is the new home of QB3, the California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research. Several College of Chemistry faculty members are QB3 affiliates and have their labs in Stanley.

As we go to press we’ve learned that the Department of Energy has awarded a $125 million, fiveyear grant to UC Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and four other partners to develop new biofuels. With this grant Berkeley and the Bay area have cemented their position as a world center for alternative energy research, with the College of Chemistry taking a principal role. Chemical engineering’s Jay Keasling will serve as the chief executive officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), while fellow Berkeley chemical engineer Harvey Blanch will be JBEI’s chief science and technology officer. See chemistry.berkeley.edu for more details. Spring 2007 Catalyst


c h e m i s t r y

n e w s

Retaining researchers at the forefront of chemistry Research in our department remains at the forefront of chemistry, and our professors are sought after by many other institutions. Several faculty members have received highly attractive academic offers elsewhere, and while not all the issues have been settled, I am happy to say that so far, all our professors have agreed to remain at Berkeley. The Dean, college staff, colleagues at LBNL, and, most important, Chancellor Birgeneau and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Breslauer have been instrumental in helping us with these retentions. We should be grateful that our senior campus administrators understand what it takes to be the best.


As I write this, research groups, including my own, are moving into new Stanley Hall. Jamie Cate’s lab is already in place there, and in addition to myself, the following chemistry faculty members will have space in the new building: Judith Klinman, Jay Groves, Alex Pines, David Wemmer, Bryan Krantz and joint appointees John Kuriyan, Carlos Bustamante and Jennifer Doudna. Awards to our faculty continue at an astonishing rate, and our reason for being here— to educate the next generation of chemists— serves as a powerful motivating force. In my previous columns, our assistant professors have been introducing themselves. As you can see below, this time it is Richmond Sarpong’s turn.

undergraduate years at Macalester, a small liberal arts college in Saint Paul, MN. There my love for synthetic organic chemistry began in the laboratories of Professor Rebecca Hoye. Upon graduating from Macalester in 1995, I began graduate school at Princeton University, where I worked with Professor Martin Semmelhack on various synthetic and physical organic projects involving the enediyne natural products. This period cultivated my interest in alkynes and their role in the biological action of natural products and organic synthesis. Following the completion of my Ph.D. in December 2000, I took a postdoctoral position with Professor Brian Stoltz at Caltech, where I worked on the total synthesis of an interesting indole alkaloid, dragmacidin D, which possesses unique protein phosphatase inhibitory activity. I also worked on a methodology project to


It is hard to believe that another academic year has just about been completed. This is my second year as chair, and it was a difficult one!

MICHAEL A. MARLETTA Chair, Joel B. Hildebrand Distinguished Professor, and Aldo DeBenedictis Distinguished Professor

construct seven-membered carbocycles using a variant of the Cope rearrangement. I moved to Berkeley in July 2004. My research group at Berkeley is interested in identifying new strategies and transformations for the total synthesis of natural products and medicinally significant small molecules. Given their complexity, natural products provide a wealth of opportunity for creativity and a platform for discovery, and they serve as the inspiration for research problems in our group. Through collaborations, we utilize small molecules to address problems in biology and medicine. We are especially interested in addressing parasitic diseases such as malaria, Chagas disease and sleeping sickness, which are found predominantly in developing countries. Our laboratory has already made discoveries on efficient transition- and main-group metal-catalyzed methods for the synthesis of five- and seven-membered carbocycles, and we are excited about our continuing progress in applying these new methods.

Best wishes for a productive summer. by michael marletta

Richmond Sarpong I was born in Ghana, West Africa, but attended high school in Zambia and Botswana, where my father’s contracts as a medical doctor took the family. I spent my

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Berkeley provides an excellent atmosphere for doing science. I am enjoying the process of scientific discovery in my laboratories as well as the scientific growth of my coworkers. The openness and helpfulness of my colleagues is unmatched, and I am excited about the future of our synthetic organic chemistry program.

c h e m i c a l

e n g i n e e r i n g

n e w s

Race and gender bias still plague our society— and chemical engineering In 1977 I walked through the corridors of a famous technical institute as a first-year graduate student. The institute had only recently become co-educational, and my cohort of over two dozen new Ph.D. students contained several women. It was the time of “All in the Family,” a show that maintained a #1 spot in the Nielson ratings while weekly lampooning stereotypes of gender, race and sex. “Star Trek” re-runs sported a cast that included lead roles for African- and Asian-Americans. Law schools around the country had canonized the “Equal Opportunity” mandate. It was a very exciting time, a time when the preamble to the Constitution seemed to be realizable for all our citizens. Now fast-forward thirty years. The Chemical Engineering Department at Cal is lucky to have three women out of a faculty of seventeen. This year’s Ph.D. admissions are in full swing, and of all the Ph.D. students admitted to our department, about one-fifth are women. National data on the success of women in ChE departments suggest that women account for about 10 percent of the faculty, and that number has been flat for over 20 years. There are no African-Americans in Cal’s ChE department—indeed, one could easily count the number of African-American ChE professors in the top-ranked departments on one hand. What happened? Surely there have been no overt policies and practices of racism or sexism. I cannot imagine a Berkeley professor, and certainly not one of my ChE colleagues, expressing anything other than total condemnation of discriminatory practices. Moreover Berkeley, like every other university, has programs, offices, procedures, committees, and all manner of systems in place to preclude race or gender bias, let alone numerous state and federal laws. How could race and gender bias persist when all involved deny such bias, and so many safeguards abound? The answer must lie in the fact that race and gender are deeply cultural issues that

unconsciously influence our actions. It should come as no surprise that as part of our American culture, the ChE discipline perpetuates these biases. Can we identify the true origin of these biases, then strike out against them and work to realize that all have the “inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?” The origins of these cultural biases are known. One of the best things about being a part of a truly great university is the presence of scholars in many disciplines. Some of these scholars have been thinking about culture, and their scholarship paints a very clear picture about American culture. We have an unspoken, and oftentimes unrecognized, investment in whiteness; once power and resources are vested in a group, for whatever historical reason, that group acts to preserve and protect them. It’s a well-documented economic, political, and behavioral force that we cannot deny. In her book Why So Slow, Virginia Valian documents how the investment in whiteness works against women, particularly those in academia. Male behavior, and surprisingly female behavior as well, changes when issues of gender are played out in decisions about quality, authority, and judgment. The changing composition of classical orchestras is an excellent example of such gender biases. When auditions are conducted behind

JEFFREY A. REIMER Chair, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Warren and Katharine Schlinger Distinguished Professor

partitions that shroud the gender of the musician, women are more likely to be chosen to join the orchestra. Can applications to ChE graduate school, and interviews for ChE faculty, be conducted in such a way as to evaluate potential scholars without investment in whiteness? Letters of recommendation from colleagues that share our same experiences tend to be subjectively weighted higher. Letters of recommendation written by men about women use language and cultural references that aren’t present in letters written by men about men. Moreover, individualism and competition tend to dominate the faculty approval process at every stage of the academy, whereas community and collaboration do not. Indeed, the evidence of scholarship over the past few decades suggests that the pipeline problem for women and minorities to enter into academia begins at adolescence, when culture looks at them as a threat to the possessive investment in whiteness (George Lipsitz, 1998). Our challenge for the coming decades is to confront whiteness and its tyranny; this challenge is not trivial. I have just finished my academic advising for about 25 new ChE undergraduates. They have names that are unfamiliar to me, have experiences that I never have had, and they don’t look like me, nor act, nor think, like I did at age 18. It is a fabulous time to be a Berkeley professor and portends, given the opportunity, a great future. by jeffrey reimer

Spring 2007 Catalyst


f e a t u r e

To be of use Research in Pasteur’s quadrant by michael barnes

Louis Pasteur spent his life solving critical practical problems, from improving the French brewing industry and preventing food spoilage, to developing a vaccine that saved the lives of children bitten by rabid animals. While doing so, he made several fundamental scientific breakthroughs and laid the foundation for modern microbiology. For Pasteur, there was no distinction between basic and applied research. “There are no such things as applied sciences,” he said, “only applications of science.”


To infuse today’s university research with the spirit of Pasteur’s accomplishments was the goal of the late Donald E. Stokes, the dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In his book “Pasteur’s Quadrant,” Stokes cited the work of physicist Niels Bohr as an example of pure basic research, and the efforts of inventor Thomas Edison as an example of pure applied research. But Pasteur’s research doesn’t fall neatly into either category. So Stokes created another category, Pasteur’s quadrant, to describe what he characterized as “use-inspired basic research.” Here in the College of Chemistry, use-inspired basic research is thriving. This issue of Catalyst tells the story of college researchers who, like Pasteur, have strived to discover new scientific knowledge while at the same time making their work of use to humanity. Our feature stories and faculty and alumni profiles describe four very different individuals. Three were born in the United States—two in the east and one in the west—and the fourth was born in Asia. Their fields are different—one chemical engineer, one physical chemist, one synthetic chemist, and one chemical biologist. Among them they have won many of the major honors in the chemical sciences, including the Nobel Prize. Whether it is designing better batteries and working out the energy requirements of sustainable societies, developing new reagents for drug design, solving the mystery of how nitric oxide is used inside the body, or making science an agent for peace and prosperity in the Middle East, these Berkeley chemists and chemical engineers are following in Pasteur’s footsteps.

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Y U A N T. L E E





A prepared mind Michael Marletta and the biomedical discovery of nitric oxide


n looking back on a career, one tends to find order where it didn’t exist, a retrospective logic that sums it up and makes sense of it. Michael Marletta has resisted this temptation. To him his career has involved luck, hunches doggedly verified, a few simple twists of fate, and a lot of work. Born in 1951 in Rochester, NY, Marletta earned his A.B. in biology and chemistry in 1973 at the State University of New York at Fredonia, a few miles from Lake Erie in the western part of the state. “Even then,” says Marletta, “I was interested in the chemical foundations of biology, what today we would call chemical biology. But then there was little interest in biology in chemistry departments.” College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

A little luck took him to the University of California, San Francisco for his graduate work. UCSF had been recommended by Marletta’s SUNY undergraduate advisor, Jerry Supple, who had taken a sabbatical at Berkeley, working with Henry Rapoport, and learned of the new program in pharmaceutical chemistry at UCSF. “Supple thought this would be just right for me,” says Marletta, “and he was correct.” Focusing on enzymes, Marletta completed his Ph.D. in pharmaceutical chemistry at UCSF in 1977 with research advisor George L. Kenyon. Marletta then moved to MIT for postdoctoral training from 1978 to 1980 under mentor Chris Walsh, with whom he continued to focus on enzymes.

f e a t u r e :

Then came the twist of fate. MIT was reinvigorating its nutrition and food science department, and they were hiring. “If I had not already been at MIT,” says Marletta, “I would have never applied.” But he was offered a job and decided to stay. As a new assistant professor, Marletta worked with Steven Tannenbaum, who was interested in nitrosamines—potential carcinogens that can result from eating cured and pickled food products. Nitrosamines are formed in an acidic environment (like inside the stomach) from the combination of nitrite (found in preservatives) and amines. In mammals, nitrite (HNO2), is oxidized in the body to nitrate (HNO3) before being excreted in the urine. Tannenbaum had discovered that humans on low-nitrite diets excrete more nitrogen in the form of nitrate in their urine than they consume as nitrite. The trivial explanation was that bacteria in the intestinal tract were producing the excess. But Tannenbaum got the same result with rats born and raised in sterile conditions. These rats had no intestinal bacteria, yet they, too, produced more nitrate than could be explained by their diet. “At the time,” says Marletta, “there was no known metabolic pathway in humans that could explain where the nitrate was coming from. Tannenbaum began a series of experiments with human subjects to see if we could at least eliminate some of the potential sources and narrow down the list of possibilities.” For a young assistant professor, this was a high-risk line of research. Marletta’s work was initially funded through a multiinvestigator project grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). At the time, the NIH reviewers made it clear that they thought Marletta was on a fishing expedition. “There were some acrimonious discussions with NIH reviewers, but to his credit, Tannenbaum, the principal investigator on the grant, kept supporting my research,” says Marletta. What happened next was a major stroke of luck. But as Louis Pasteur famously stated, “Luck favors the prepared mind.” When a vital clue appeared, Marletta was prepared to pursue it. One of the student subjects in Tannenbaum’s experiment showed a sudden large spike in nitrate output in her urine. The subject was sternly lectured about the importance of adhering to the low-nitrite diet required by the experimental protocol. The student insisted that she had not gone on a binge and in fact had adhered to the diet and diligently collected her urine samples even though she was sick with a bad case of diarrhea. It could have been that the germs causing the diarrhea themselves were the source of the extra nitrate, but Marletta felt there was a more likely explanation—the immune system was producing the nitrate as a by-product of fighting the infection. It was a remarkable bit of luck combined with a remarkable insight. Marletta was right, although he didn’t know it at the time, and he had yet to conduct the critical series of experiments on the immune system to confirm his

t o

b e

o f

u s e

hunch. But looking back to that moment, Marletta says with a smile, “I owe my career to a case of diarrhea.” The next step was to set up an experimental model to confirm the spike that had been observed in the single subject. Tannenbaum first put rats on a low-nitrite diet and then injected them with lipopolysaccharide (LPS)—a major component of the outer membrane of many bacteria that induces a strong response from the immune system. Sure enough, after lab rats were injected with LPS, the same spike occurred in the nitrate output in their urine. “This result was a key for us,” says Marletta. “It confirmed that the immune system was involved.” Marletta then reviewed the immunology literature and designed an experiment using mice bred to have specific immune deficiencies. He chose mice deficient in various white blood cells—T cells, B cells, and macrophages. Mice in each of these groups were put on low-nitrite diets and injected with LPS. The mice deficient in T cells and B cells responded as before—there was a spike in the nitrate in their urine. But the

“Luck favors the prepared mind” —Louis Pasteur mice deficient in macrophages didn’t secrete extra nitrate when their immune system was stimulated by LPS. “This told me that it was the macrophages that were producing nitrite,” says Marletta. Marletta was puzzled. “There was no existing scientific literature on nitrite in mammals,” he says. He began to study macrophage cell cultures. When stimulated by LPS, macrophages turned into killer cells that could destroy viruses, bacteria and even tumor cells. But soon after, the macrophages died. “It was almost as if the macrophages were eating themselves in order to generate their killing ability,” says Marletta. “We suspected that the macrophages were breaking down proteins and consuming the amino acids in this process.” He thought the nitrite might be a byproduct of the amino acid breakdown. One way to test this was to stimulate the macrophage cultures with LPS, deprive them of certain amino acids, and see if nitrite were present in the medium on the culture plates. “Our group had a hunch that if amino acids were involved, it would be an amino acid with a nitrogen side chain,” says Marletta, “so that’s where we started.” First Marletta deprived the macrophages of the amino acid L-glutamine and then of L-histidine. When stimulated by LPS, they still produced nitrite. On the third try, the group deprived the macrophages of L-arginine, and the cells stopped producing nitrite. The experiment was a success. Marletta had demonstrated that L-arginine was being used as part of an immune response that generated nitrite. Although reviewers had earlier criticized Marletta for pursuing a fishing expedition, his research had moved far beyond that point. He had identified the particular cells in the body—macrophages— that were producing the nitrite, he had shown that they did so as part of the body’s immune response, and he had discovered the Spring 2007 Catalyst



beginning of the metabolic pathway that created this particular killing function of the cells—the amino acid L-arginine. Along the way, Marletta had also discovered an ally. At the University of Utah, John Hibbs was studying how macrophages killed tumor cells. Like Marletta, Hibbs had activated the killing function of macrophages by exposing them to LPS, but with the intention of studying how they destroyed tumors. And Hibbs had discovered that L-arginine was required for the death of the tumor cells. But what was the killing factor? Marletta and Hibbs were stumped. Marletta was on the verge of landing a very big fish, but to do so, he needed a little help from a completely different field of inquiry—cardiovascular pharmacology. During WWII, roughly a decade before Marletta was born, the U.S. military had asked a young researcher, Robert Furchgott, to help with a puzzle. Army medics and doctors had understood for decades the fundamentals of hypovolemic shock, when a loss of blood causes a drop in blood pressure, a lack of blood delivery to critical organs, and death. But what the military didn’t understand was why new techniques to deliver intravenous (IV) fluids and blood transfusions on the battlefield and in field hospitals didn’t always reverse the course of the disease. For some soldiers, blood pressure remained stubbornly low, even after IV fluids, and the outcome— death—was unchanged. Furchgott embarked on a long and fruitful career studying how the body controls blood pressure. His experiments showed that cells in the endothelium, the lining of blood vessels, were secreting a factor that was relaxing the muscles in the walls of the blood vessels. In the early 1980s Furchgott and others dubbed this unknown chemical EDRF (endothilial-derived relaxation factor). The race was on to determine the identity of the mysterious EDRF. It was a race that was rapidly converging on Marletta’s research, and the moment of impact would happen almost by accident, in a waiting lounge in Denver’s old Stapleton airport in 1987. Marletta’s drive to understand the killing abilities of macrophages had not served him well at MIT. Many faculty mem-

nitric oxide His 105

Ferrous-O2 Complex This diagram shows the heme cofactor responsible for binding gasses such as oxygen and nitric oxide in blood. The iron atom in the heme is the yellow sphere. Here oxygen is bound and blocking the binding site to nitric oxide. Marletta’s group studies how complex proteins discriminate between O2 and NO. One outcome may be an inexpensive blood substitute that can provide oxygen to the body without interfering with the regulation of blood pressure by NO. College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

bers in his department remained skeptical of his research, and he was denied tenure. Marletta accepted the decision with equanimity. “If you had asked me then, I would have guessed I wouldn’t get tenure. But not getting tenure at MIT was not the end of the world. I applied for seven other positions, and I got seven offers.” Marletta accepted a position as an associate professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Michigan. In 1987, Marletta made the move to Michigan. He was in the process of setting up his lab when a conference took him to the west coast in the fall. On the way home, he stopped in Salt Lake City to visit with his friend and colleague John Hibbs. A thunderstorm grounded his flight in Denver’s Stapleton airport. To pass the time Marletta reached into his briefcase for copies of articles from Nature magazine that he had set aside to read. There he spotted an article by Salvador Moncada, a researcher in England, who had established what pharmacologists had begun to suspect—that EDRF was the gas nitric oxide. The scientific community was stunned to learn that a simple gas, whose short-lived molecules consist of one oxygen atom and one nitrogen atom, could play such a vital role in regulating blood pressure. The concept was so foreign to medicine that at first Moncada had to use modified automotive pollution testing equipment to verify the presence of nitric oxide. Marletta was about to jolt the scientific community even further. “There may have been a thunderstorm in Denver that day,” says Marletta, “but the lightening bolt went off inside my head.” In a flash, Marletta realized that the macrophage killing factor he had been searching for was nitric oxide. The same simple molecule studied by Moncada was also produced and used by macrophages to kill bacteria, viruses, and tumor cells. Before he left the airport, Marletta placed a call to his old colleague at MIT, Steve Tannenbaum. Marletta’s new lab in Michigan wasn’t equipped to test for nitric oxide, but Tannenbaum’s lab had instruments that could be modified to perform the tests. On his way to MIT to conduct the experiment, Marletta made a brief stop in Michigan to collect his macrophage cultures. Back at MIT, Tannenbaum let Marletta borrow an interested graduate student and research space. Working very long hours, they took four days to modify and calibrate the instruments and to perform the test to verify that macrophages also produced nitric oxide. Marletta began to write up the results of his experiments and to strategize about the best place to seek publication. During that time Moncada contacted him from England to inquire about the metabolic pathways of nitric oxide production, information that Moncada incorporated into a second Nature paper in 1988. Marletta felt that submitting to a publication like Nature or Science magazine was too risky and might take too long. He instead chose Biochemistry, a journal that had just introduced accelerated publication, an avenue for quickly making significant findings public. Marletta was incredulous when the journal rejected his paper. He had maintained his composure through the criticisms early on by NIH review panels. He had brushed aside his failure to get

f e a t u r e :

tenure at MIT. But this was too much. “I was furious,” says Marletta. In a rage he called Joanne Stubbe, a colleague who was a member of the editorial board of Biochemistry. Marletta unleashed an angry tirade. Stubbe calmly suggested that Marletta send her a copy of the rejected paper. A few days later he got some good news—the journal would publish the paper after all. The paper quickly shot to the top of the hot list of highly-cited scientific papers. Nitric oxide research exploded, and the University of Michigan let Marletta know they were glad to have him. The awards and recognition finally followed. A list of highlights includes the University of Michigan Faculty Recognition Award (1992), the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award (1995), appointment as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator (1997), and election to both the Institute of Medicine (1999) and the National Academy of Sciences (2006). In 1998, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Robert Furchgott and two other pharmacologists, Louis Ignarro and Ferid Murad, “for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system.” A Nobel Prize can be awarded to no more than three people. “Had it been possible to give the award to one more person,” says Marletta, “Moncada would get my vote. He was the first person to experimentally verify the presence of nitric oxide secreted by the endothelial lining of blood vessels, and to explain how it was produced.” Other researchers suggested Marletta himself for his seminal work on macrophages. It has now been almost exactly 20 years since the publication of Moncada’s 1987 Nature paper that struck Marletta that day in Stapleton airport. Science magazine declared nitric oxide the “molecule of the year” in 1992. A recent survey counted 13,000 scientific articles on the molecule in the last five years alone. Nitric oxide research led to the development of one of the most profitable drugs ever produced, and many others are in the pipeline (see sidebar). In 2001 Marletta joined the faculty of Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry and in 2002 became the Aldo DeBenedictis Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. “It’s been an interesting journey,” says Marletta, “and it’s not over yet. There have been many therapies developed based on our new understanding of nitric oxide’s role in the body, and there most likely will be more to come.” Some of them may come from the lab of Michael Marletta in the College of Chemistry.

t o

b e

o f

u s e

Nitric oxide and health Nitroglycerin (glyceryl trini-

Pulmonary hypertension

trate) has been used since the 1860s to relieve angina, or pain in the chest due to clogged heart arteries. Little was known about how it worked until the discovery that nitroglycerine releases nitric oxide (NO), causing blood vessels feeding the heart to relax, increasing blood flow.

occurs when pressure rises in the arteries that send deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs. It occurs in many heart and lung disorders and can be a complication of heart surgery. Inhaling small amounts of NO (up to 40 parts per million) can relax the minute blood vessels in the lungs where carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen, leading to reduced pressure and better blood flow.

Viagra (Sildenafil citrate) was originally developed for the management of angina, but it failed at this purpose. An unexpected side effect was the arterial dilation of the smooth muscle cells of the corpus cavernosum, causing increased blood flow to the penis and enhancing erection.

Anti-inflammatory drugs reduce pain and swelling. In addition, aspirin and other more powerful anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to delay the onset of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease and to help prevent strokes. But long-term use of these drugs can inhibit blood flow and damage the digestive tract and the kidneys. Anti-inflammatory drugs modified to release NO help regulate blood flow and prevent these longterm side effects.

Preterm labor occurs when labor starts before the baby is fully developed (before 37 weeks). In studies, NO has controlled preterm labor, thereby reducing the medical complications of premature birth. NO is typically delivered by a transdermal nitroglycerine skin patch.

Tuberculosis, especially in its drug-resistant forms, is a serious public health problem. Several recent studies explore how NO functions as part of the body’s immune response to tuberculosis. With better understanding of how NO kills the bacteria, the body’s natural immune response could be enhanced, or new types of antiTB drugs could be developed.

Spring 2007 Catalyst


The applications of science Jon Ellman opens doors for drug discovery


ert-butanesulfinamide. Thumbing through a chemistry magazine, you’d probably overlook it among the other advertisements for specialty bulk reagents. But it still catches the eye of chemistry professor Jon Ellman, who sees the ads for the compound he developed and feels a tinge of satisfaction. The name doesn’t tell you that it has become a standard reagent used for the discovery of new drugs, or that Ellman’s goal in synthesizing it was to help speed the development of therapeutics to fight cancer, diabetes and other human maladies.

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Tert-butanesulfinamide has become an indispensable part of the toolkit of pharmaceutical chemists, just as battery-powered drills have become standard equipment for carpenters and woodworkers. Without the drills, many projects—from bookcases to houses—would never be built, or would be built more slowly. Similarly, without tert-butanesulfinamide, several drug candidates that are now undergoing clinical trials may never have been developed at all.

f e a t u r e :

Although the creation of this chiral amine reagent required venturing into under-explored regions of organic synthesis, Ellman’s goal was always to find something of use—even though it took years of exploration. The reagent is a good example of the benefits of use-directed fundamental research. Once Ellman’s research group figured out how to make tertbutanesulfinamide, they refined their techniques to make its production as simple and inexpensive as possible. Then Ellman did something remarkable. In a world where valuable new compounds are often caught up in battles over patents and licensing agreements—battles that can delay their use for years—Ellman simply published his results in the scientific literature. Chemical makers everywhere began producing tert-butanesulfinamide. “There are good reasons for patenting drugs,” says Ellman. “Developing a new drug and taking it through clinical trials can cost a pharmaceutical company as much as a billion dollars. Companies need patent protection in order to justify risking such huge amounts of money. “But a reagent like tertbutanesulfinamide is used very early in the discovery of drug candidates or during their production. These are very important but relatively inexpensive parts of the overall cost of bringing a drug to market,” Ellman continues. “Because I wanted the reagent to be used as widely as possible, I avoided the risk of getting bogged down in intellectual property issues by simply publishing our results. With tert-butanesulfinamide, my satisfaction is not measured in royalty checks, but in tons of reagent produced and by the new applications developed with it.” Born in Los Angeles in 1962, Ellman liked science in high school, but wasn’t drawn to chemistry in particular. His undergraduate education at MIT stressed a broad exposure to the sciences, and there he took an organic chemistry class to fulfill a requirement. “I was fascinated by it,” says Ellman. Ellman credits his mentors for instilling the value of pursuing research with the potential for practical applications. At MIT, Ellman’s undergraduate advisor was Barry Sharpless, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001 for his work on asymmetric catalytic oxidation reactions. Graduating from MIT in 1984, Ellman pursued his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Harvard, where he worked with organic chemist David Evans. Evans is known for developing new synthetic techniques and reagents and for synthesizing complex organic compounds such as the antibiotic vancomycin. After earning his Ph.D. in 1989, Ellman accepted a postdoctoral appointment with Peter Schultz in Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry. When his postdoc was complete in 1992, Ellman joined

t o

b e

o f

u s e

the department as an assistant professor. In 1999, he became a full professor and also a member of the faculty at UC San Francisco’s Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology. Ellman was a pioneer in combinatorial chemistry—techniques that enable the synthesis and screening of many compounds in a parallel fashion. He and his colleagues continue to apply and advance these techniques for the study of enzymes, collaborating with a number of researchers, including Charles Craik and Jim McKerrow at UCSF and Tom Alber at Berkeley. The Ellman research group works in the area of organic synthesis, with an emphasis on developing methods for probing biological systems and for drug discovery. In addition to his research on the asymmetric synthesis of amine-containing compounds, Ellman collaborates with Robert Bergman on the application of carbonhydrogen bond activation to organic synthesis.

“There are no such things as applied sciences, only applications of science.” —Louis Pasteur Ellman’s group worked on tert-butanesulfinamide alongside these other projects for several years. They were pursuing a better route to the synthesis of single enantiomers (compounds that exist as both left- and right-handed mirror images) of amine-containing compounds. At least 80 percent of the compounds of interest to pharmaceutical chemists involve amine synthesis. Yet there were no good reagents that provided the key imine (carbon-nitrogen double bond) intermediates with the right combination of stability and reactivity. Prior literature on the sulfinyl group (containing an atom of sulfur bonded with an atom of oxygen) indicated that imines with this group might have special properties. “But we really didn’t understand how special,” says Ellman. Tert-butanesulfinamide turned out to provide imine intermediates with the desirable reactivity properties that the group had been seeking. Chemically, tert-butanesulfinamide is fairly simple. Start with a carbon atom. Add three methyl (CH3) groups. On the remaining carbon bond, add the sulfinyl group (S=O) and then add an amine (NH2) to the sulfur atom. Although tert-butanesulfinamide may be simple to describe, finding a cost-effective way to produce tons of it was not. The Ellman group first published a description of the synthesis and applications of the reagent in 1997, but it took another six years of refinement for the reagent to become widely manufactured.

Spring 2007 Catalyst


College researchers garner prestigious national awards Yang wins NSF Waterman Award


Ellman’s group designed a method of producing tert-butanesulfinamide that started from a widely available and inexpensive byproduct of the oil industry, tert-butyl disulfide. By 2003, demand for the reagent took off as applications became obvious. “The demand was huge,” says Ellman, “and the initial production methods couldn’t keep up, so we went back to the lab and streamlined the techniques for producing tert-butanesulfinamide even further. Today over 25 chemical suppliers market the reagent, and a large majority of them rely on our process, including some companies with ton-scale production capacity.” A recent example of the utility and versatility of tert-butanesulfinamide is the synthesis by Ellman and colleagues of tubulysin D, a potent anticancer compound first isolated from myxobacteria. Tubulysin D has cell growth inhibition properties exceeding those of taxol, a widely-used anticancer therapeutic, by a factor of more than twenty. Using tert-butanesulfinamide, Ellman and colleagues have completed the first total synthesis of this complex molecule. A recent article in Nature Chemical Biology hailed the breakthrough as “an innovative synthetic strategy” that is “remarkable for its brevity.” This success is expected to greatly enhance the development “of a drug that can stop cancer cell propagation.” So far the track record of tert-butanesulfinamide has been impressive. More than 350 publications have appeared describing applications of this chemistry in academic labs and in the biotechnology, chemical, agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries. More than 145 patents have been filed in which the reagent aided in the discovery of drug candidates or is being used in their production for clinical trials. “And most of those publications and patents appeared in the last three years,” adds Ellman, “so the momentum seems to be growing. Tert-butanesulfinamide is being used for real problems in many different laboratories around the world. That’s the best reward.”

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley


Ellman’s new reagent, also called 2-methyl-2-propanesulfinamide, gets top billing in this advertisement from a chemical supplier.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has chosen Professor of Chemistry Peidong Yang to receive the 2007 Alan T. Waterman Award, an annual $500,000 prize that recognizes the most outstanding young scientist in any scientific discipline supported by NSF. Yang is a nanotechnology pioneer who has driven research on nanowires—flexible strips one-thousandth the width of a human hair that show promise for a range of high-technology devices, from tiny lasers and computer circuits to inexpensive solar panels and biological sensors. Candidates may not be more than 35 years old when nominated, or seven years beyond receiving a doctorate, and must stand out for their individual achievements. In addition to the three-year grant for scientific research or advanced study in their field, the award is also accompanied by a medal. Yang received the award during a ceremony on Monday, May 14, at the U.S. State Department. “Not only was Yang the first to grow fully crystalline inorganic nanotubes, but he continues to demonstrate such creative energy when exploring fundamental physical and chemical principles, such as the basic science needed to underpin transformative developments in fields ranging from sensors and molecular computers to biotechnology,” said David Nelson, director of NSF’s Solid-State Chemistry program and one of the officers for the foundation who has supported Yang’s research.

c o l l e g e

o f

c h e m i s t r y

u p d a t e s

Graham R. Fleming, the Melvin Calvin Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and deputy director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), is one of 72 new members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. The results were announced May 1 in Washington, DC. Fleming is widely considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on ultrafast interactions among the molecules in liquids, solids and solutions. Using femtosecond lasers that flash a million billion times a second, he is able to obtain stop-action images of the individual steps in a chemical reaction, which help to explain the dynamics of these reactions. Fleming also is director of the UC Berkeley branch of the California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3), one of four California Institutes for Science and Innovation created by the state of California in 2000. QB3 is a cooperative effort among UC Berkeley, UC San

15 M a s t e r b l a s t e r Lonnie Martin, the college’s demonstration expert, holds the audience captive as he burns phosphorus in pure oxygen at the annual Cal Day celebration on April 21.

Francisco, UC Santa Cruz and private industry to harness the quantitative sciences to understand biological systems at all levels of complexity. The new Stanley Hall will house Berkeley’s branch of QB3.

Symposium honors Lester: Chemistry Professor William A. Lester Jr. is surrounded by current and former students at the March 28 reception for the symposium honoring his 70th birthday.

Bell elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences



Fleming elected to National Academy of Sciences

Professor of Chemical Engineering Alexis T. Bell, along with six other Berkeley faculty members, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in late April. They are among 227 scholars, scientists, artists, civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders from 27 states and 13 countries, ranging in age from 36 to 92, to be elected this year. Bell is an expert in catalysis, especially in its application to green chemistry and pollution reduction. Spring 2007 Catalyst

f a c u l t y

p r o f i l e


John Newman on sustainable power and sustainable societies For Professor of Chemical Engineering John Newman, societies are like batteries—they improve slowly, they can be hazardous if mishandled, and they are ultimately constrained by the laws of thermodynamics. Newman’s thinking about batteries, and lately about civilization, has been evolving for 44 years, since he started as an assistant professor at Berkeley in 1963. Newman helped build the field of the mathematical simulation and analysis of batteries, and he is the author of the classic textbook, Electrochemical Systems, now in its third edition.


Newman’s website lists 368 publications and technical reports that trace the evolution of electrochemistry over four decades, from his early papers on transport processes in electrolytic solutions, to current ones on lithium batteries and fuel cells. His work has been recognized with his recent election as an Honorary Member of the Electrochemical Society and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. In 2006, he was appointed to the Charles W. Tobias Chair in Electrochemistry. Born in Richmond, VA, in 1938, Newman graduated from high school in Huntington, WV, a city on the Ohio River near the intersection of the borders of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. He attended Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, graduating with highest distinction in 1960. Newman came to Berkeley and, in a brief three years, earned both an M.S. in chemical engineering with Charles Tobias and a Ph.D. with mechanical engineer Frederick Sherman, then a faculty member in Aeronautical Sciences. Newman joined the Berkeley faculty in 1963. “I loved my chemistry teacher in high school,” says Newman. “At the time, engineering was the thing to get into, but I was a radio amateur and I didn’t want to do electronics at work, so I chose chemical instead of electrical engineering.” Adds Newman, displaying his characteristic dry sense of

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

humor, “I followed the path of least resistance—so far, as a strategy, it has paid off.” Although Newman has spent much of his career deriving models of batteries and trying to improve them, he remains cautious about their potential. He keeps handy a quote from Thomas Edison, the 19th century inventor: “The storage battery is, in my opinion, a catchpenny, a sensation, a mechanism for swindling the public by stock companies. . . . Scientifically, storage is all right, but commercially, as absolute a failure as one can imagine.” The Edison quote may put it too bleakly, but Newman points out there will never be gains in battery efficiency that rival Moore’s law, the rule-of-thumb that computers double in processing speed every 18 months. “A Moore’s law for batteries would violate the laws of thermodynamics,” says Newman.

“But batteries remain a great research medium,” Newman says. “There will always be demand for better ones, from lithium-ion laptop batteries to lead-acid auto batteries. With batteries, the chemical system is not specified in advance, so there is a wide range of design possibilities to explore.” With new awareness of climate change and the challenge to design more fuel-efficient vehicles, the need is growing for hybridvehicle batteries that can last for many years while still delivering peak power for acceleration, recharging quickly, and surviving sub-freezing temperatures. Although these are applied problems, the solutions may require breakthroughs at a more fundamental level. As Newman likes to stress, “Applied problems can be addressed in a fundamental manner.”

f a c u l t y

Even after his years of investment in battery research, Newman remains a skeptic of the purely electric car because of its short driving range and long recharge time. He is far more optimistic about the potential of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Compared to a conventional hybrid, building a plug-in hybrid involves adding extra batteries and a power plug to allow the hybrid to be charged from the electrical grid. Toyota is planning on introducing a new Prius with lithium-ion batteries late in 2008, and a plug-in version may follow a few years later. First-generation plug-in hybrids may be able to travel as far as 40 miles on an overnight charge before their gasoline engine kicks in. For many urban drivers, this may be sufficient for almost all of their driving. “Consumer acceptance of the Toyota Prius is already very high,” says Newman. “The plug-in hybrid will give us a platform to improve batteries incrementally on a massproduction scale, gradually increasing their range and reliability.” A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory senior faculty scientist since 1978, Newman is involved in transportation research through the Berkeley Electrochemical Research Council. BERC manages the Department of Energy’s Batteries for Advanced Transportation Technologies Program, which uses facilities at UC Berkeley, LBNL, and across the country. Newman is also involved in the LBNL Helios project, for which he is designing electrochemical systems to store solar energy in the form of liquid fuel. Although there is tremendous potential for solar power, one big problem is how to store it.

Using electricity from solar cells, water can be split into oxygen and hydrogen. Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere can be combined with the hydrogen to produce methanol, which in turn can be used to fuel vehicles.

One possibility could be to store the power in batteries, but the reality is that batteries don’t come close to providing the necessary storage capacity, especially in comparison to liquid fuels. “A fully-charged lithium-ion battery holds about one percent of the energy stored by an equal weight of gasoline,” Newman points out.

p r o f i l e

some of the implications of UCLA geographer Jared Diamond’s recent book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” Newman starts with the energy in the sunlight that falls on earth. The endpoint is the number of calories of food energy that we all need to survive, and above that, the amount of energy we each need to have developed-economy standards of living. Newman and his research group are working out various calculations to trace how efficiently solar energy can be converted to

The solution may be methanol, the simplest of the alcohols (CH3OH). “Electricity provided by photovoltaics can be used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen,” says Newman. “Methanol then can be produced by reacting “Applied problems can be addressed the hydrogen with CO2 from in a fundamental manner.” the atmosphere.” Methanol contains about half the energy content of food, biomass, electricity, liquid fuels, and gasoline, but methanol made in this chemical feedstocks. process would have the advantage of being “There may be several possible steady states carbon-neutral. and related standards of living, depending At an age when many people are enjoying upon population, planning, and execution,” says Newman. “There are many additional their retirement, Newman is taking on yet another intellectual challenge. “Most major complications that come in before we have a suitable model that could predict how events civilizations in world history thrived by might unfold in the next few hundred years.” burning carbon-based fuels faster than they were replenished—whether the fuel was Although calculations based on engineering wood, peat, coal, oil or natural gas,” says efficiency can provide an upper bound for Newman. “What will the world look like if standards of living in the future, they do we insist on using only renewable energy?” not take into account human fallibilities. The United Nations estimates that by 2050 “History shows us that population-limiting mechanisms have included war, disease the world’s population will be somewhere and famine,” Newman recalls. “If we want between 8 and 11 billion people. How would the constraints of living with only renewable to avoid these outcomes, we need to have a energy shape a world with that many people? realistic sense of the constraints that mitiIf such a population is not sustainable, gating and adapting to climate change will impose on society and population growth.” then what? These are the questions that Newman is tackling. If Newman had chosen electrical engineer“In a very thermodynamically rigorous way,” ing half a century ago, and if he had worked in the thick of the revolution in says Newman, “I am trying to work out computing technology, perhaps he could share the jaunty optimism of some scientists in the face of climate change. But Newman chose a field where progress is more evolutionary than revolutionary, one where the fundamental physical laws bind more tightly. Over the next few centuries, will responding to climate change drain societies, or will it recharge them? For John Newman, that is an open question.

Spring 2007 Catalyst



Nobel Laureate Y. T. Lee— global citizen In 1936, Lee Yuan-Tseh (Yuan T. Lee) was born on an island off the coast of China. Throughout his life as an international citizen-scientist, he has witnessed and played a role in many of the major events of his time, both in Asia and in the United States. Modest and soft-spoken by nature, Lee discusses the details of his life, including receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1986, in a methodical way. Yet his reserve cannot conceal a person whose life has been touched almost since birth by war, a person with a quiet passion to bring peace to the world and to improve the well-being of humanity through science.


Lee’s island birthplace, named Ilha Formosa (“beautiful island”) by passing Portuguese sailors in 1544, had been ceded by China to Japan in 1895. In the quiet years before WWII, Lee learned to speak Japanese as his first language. But Japanese imperial ambitions led to war, first against China in the 1930s, and then against the United States and its allies in 1941. Lee still recalls the Allied bombings that forced his family to relocate to the mountains outside the city of Hsinchu. His education was disrupted soon after he entered elementary school. With the war’s end, Lee returned to school as a third-grader. The island was placed once again under control of China, and Lee’s young life briefly returned to normal. He was a talented student who studied hard, but also enjoyed playing baseball and table tennis. War touched Lee’s life again in 1948–49. In mainland China, the communists under Mao Zedong took control, forcing more than a million refugees and the remnants of the Nationalist government under Chiang Kai-Shek to flee to Taiwan. Chiang’s army brutally suppressed dissent on Taiwan and established a police state that would last for several decades.

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

In the same period, the young Lee read about yet another war and refugee crisis taking place on the opposite side of the Asian continent. During 1948–49, Israel fought a war for independence and won recognition by the United Nations. The war forced thousands of Palestinian refugees to relocate to surrounding countries. These two crises—and the ongoing political problems spawned by them—would become a focus for Lee many years later, after he had spent more than three decades as a scientist in the United States and had returned to Taiwan. In high school Lee was an adept student. In addition to studying, he played trombone and developed a lifelong love for tennis. He was accepted to the National Taiwan

University in Taipei in 1955 without having to take national exams, an exception reserved for the country’s best students. Inspired by reading about the life of Marie Curie, Lee chose to study chemistry. “Like Madame Curie,” he says, “I wanted to be useful to humanity through science.” He earned his undergraduate degree in 1959 and returned to Hsinchu for graduate school at the National Tsinghua University. After earning his M.Sc., he remained at the university as a research assistant in the lab of professor C. H. Wong. In 1962, Lee came to the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley for further graduate work and completed his Ph.D. with Bruce Mahan three years later.

a l u m n u s

After earning his doctorate, Lee remained in Mahan’s group, where he worked on ion-molecule reactive scattering and ion beam techniques to measure energy and angular distributions. Lee taught himself glass blowing and machining in order to build instruments for his increasingly sophisticated experiments. In February 1967, Lee joined Dudley Herschbach at Harvard University for a postdoctoral appointment. There Lee constructed a universal crossed molecular beam apparatus—pursuing studies that would eventually lead to the Nobel Prize he would share with Herschbach and John C. Polanyi of Toronto. As Lee would later explain in his Nobel lecture, “If the motion of individual atoms were observable during reactive collisions between molecules, it would be possible to understand exactly how a chemical reaction takes place by just following the motion of these atoms. . . . The idea of crossed molecular beams experiments is in a sense to ‘visualize’ the details of a chemical reaction by tracing the trajectories of the reaction products.” Lee started as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago in 1968 and returned to Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry six years later. “I came to Berkeley in 1962 to pursue my graduate studies because Berkeley had the best professors in the world. I returned in 1974 as a professor because we have the best students,” Lee has remarked. His lab gained a reputation as one of the best places in the world to conduct experiments with crossed molecular beams. “One of the things I am most proud of,” says Lee, “is the number of my former students who have become successful professors in major universities, as well as those making contributions in national laboratories and the private sector.” One of those students is Daniel Neumark, a professor of chemistry at Berkeley and the Director of the Chemical Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Neumark earned his Ph.D. with Lee in 1984 and returned to Berkeley

as an assistant professor in 1986 after a postdoctoral appointment. “When I was a student in Lee’s group,” says Neumark, “we didn’t realize what a unique group of individuals Lee had assembled, or how state-ofthe-art our equipment was.” Neumark came back to Berkeley just a few months before his mentor was awarded the Nobel Prize. Says Neumark, “Lee had a unique combination of scientific vision and an understanding of how to execute his vision. He was soft-spoken, but had very strong ideas about how science should be conducted. Although there have been lots of new techniques developed since then, his approach to crossed molecular beams is the most general and is the most applicable to complex problems. It has withstood the test of time.” Dudley Herschbach, Lee’s mentor at Harvard and fellow Nobelist, praised Lee’s unique talent and intellectual passion by calling him “the Mozart of physical chemistry.” Berkeley Assistant Professor of Chemistry Haw Yang remembers very well the first time he met Lee. Yang had grown up in a small town in central Taiwan, and in 1987 he was one of the first students to attend

p r o f i l e

“Many of my fellow students from that time are now academics here in the United States and in Taiwan. Under Lee’s influence,” says Yang, “a whole generation of students were inspired to become chemists.” In addition to the Nobel Prize, Lee also won the National Medal of Science in 1986. Always a shy person, Lee found it challenging to make the transition from lab researcher to public advocate for science. He likes to tell the story of how at one point, sensing his frustration, his wife suggested that he give back the Nobel award so he could return to the anonymity of his lab. But Lee understood the importance of his new role, and in 1994 he returned to Taiwan to become the president of Academia Sinica, the country’s leading academic institution. “I was able to accomplish many things in the United States,” says Lee, “and I felt it was time to return to Taiwan to serve my native country.” When Lee had first come to the United States in 1962 as a student, he thought his stay would be brief. It took him 32 years finally to return to Taiwan. Academia Sinica could be described as a combination of the U.S. National Academy

“Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world.” —Louis Pasteur the National Taiwan University on a Y. T. Lee scholarship. Nobel Laureate Lee was there to shake hands with the students as they received their scholarships. “I was in awe of him,” says Yang. “Even as a teenager I had read about his work in popular science magazines. Lee did excellent science and tried to improve many aspects of human society—he didn’t just talk about it.

of Sciences and a national laboratory with a strong social science research component. Under Lee’s leadership, the institution has attracted world-class scholars and creative young researchers. Lee has used his stature to promote educational reforms, to advocate for more democratic political leaders, and to encourage a peace treaty between Taiwan and China. The Taiwanese media have dubbed him the “conscience of Taiwan.”

Spring 2007 Catalyst



a l u m n u s

Lee has not restricted his conscience to the affairs of his native country. His goal of seeking peace is by its nature an international one. In January 2003, he was one of 41 Nobel Laureates (18 of whom, like Lee, were also National Medal of Science winners) to sign a petition opposing “a preventive war against Iraq without broad international support.” The statement continued, “War is characterized by surprise, human loss and unintended consequences. Even with a victory, we believe that the . . . consequences of an American preventive attack on Iraq would undermine, not protect, U.S. security and standing in the world.” Nor has Lee forgotten about the other refugee crisis he read about as a boy in 1948. He is one of eight Nobel Laureates who have joined the International Scientific Council, the policy-making body

Lee in his element, hard at work in his Berkeley lab in this 1970s photo.

p r o f i l e

of the Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization. IPSO was conceived in 2002 to promote joint, high-quality scientific research between Israeli and Palestinian scientists who want to work together in the region. The organization also supports quality education for Palestinian students and researchers. In October 2006, as his 70th birthday approached, Lee retired from the presidency of Academia Sinica. He will remain affiliated with the institution as an emeritus fellow. Far from slowing down, he is now working to call attention to the dangers of climate change. In honor of Earth Day on April 22, Lee publicly urged the Taiwanese government to confront the threat of global warming and to encourage the development of renewable energy resources such as wave, wind and solar power. In January 2007 Lee returned to Berkeley for a Discover Cal forum on sustainable energy that featured six of the seven living Berkeley Nobel Laureates. Lee told the audience that “the 21st century will be a critical turning point for mankind.” Climate change has demonstrated that the planet’s resources are finite. “For the first time in human history, the world has to live together,” he concluded.



Lee urged UC Berkeley to take the lead. Never one to shirk responsibility, Lee is taking his own advice. Starting in July 2007, he will return to Berkeley on a parttime basis to serve as a special advisor on energy policy to LBNL Director Steven Chu, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and College of Chemistry Dean Charles Harris. Lee is the center of attention at the announcement of his Nobel Prize in 1986.

“I came to Berkeley in 1962 to pursue my graduate studies because Berkeley had the best professors in the world. I returned in 1974 as a professor because we have the best students.” —Y.T. Lee

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Lee’s retirement finds him once again on the move, seldom at home. Or perhaps it is that Lee’s spirit can no longer be confined to one country or one national identity. For Lee, the world is his home.

Catalyst Alumni Questionnaire http://chemistry.berkeley.edu Date

Name title

first name

middle name

last name

previous name



UC Berkeley degree(s) degree(s)

Degrees from other institutions Spouse/Partner’s name Home address (New Info?

) street



Work or school (New Info?




) position

job function

name of organization

start date academic department or company division

street state


Preferred mailing address: Preferred email address:

Home Home




Work Work

Name and address of someone who will always know how to contact you: name street






FOR CLASS NOTES Tell us your news: recent promotions, family additions, exciting trip . . .

I grant permission for the use of this information in College of Chemistry publications and the alumni directory I do not grant such permission signature granting permission

I want to join the Alumni Association (it’s free!) and receive announcements I want to help by: Participating in future planning for the association Planning events in my area (with the assistance of the college) I am interested in participating in the following: Lectures or Symposia Career Networking Social Events Graduate Student Recruiting





f i r s t c l a s s postage h e r e

university of california berkeley

College of Chemistry College Relations Office 420 latimer hall 1460 berkeley, ca 94720-1460


u n i v e r s i t y

u p d a t e s

Largest, brightest supernova discovered An exploding star first observed last September is the largest and most luminous supernova ever seen, according to University of California, Berkeley, astronomers, and may be the first example of a type of massive exploding star rare today but probably common in the very early universe.


Unlike typical supernovas that reach a peak brightness in days to a few weeks and then dim into obscurity a few months later, SN2006gy took 70 days to reach full brightness and stayed brighter than any previously observed supernova for more than three months. Nearly eight months later, it still is as bright as a typical supernova at its peak, outshining its host galaxy 240 million light years away. “Of all exploding stars ever observed, this was the king,” said Alex Filippenko, UC Berkeley astronomer and leader of the ground-based observations at the University of California’s Lick Observatory in California and the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. “We were astonished to see how bright it got, and how long it lasted.”

Diamonds and lasers generate pressure of 10 million atmospheres

“This lets us explore a new regime of chemistry and reproduce the conditions of more extreme planets,” said Raymond

New goal set for campus greenhouse-gas emissions Berkeley has committed to reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2014—six years earlier than the target set by California Assembly Bill 32, the Global Solutions Warming Act. Chancellor Birgeneau made this announcement at the campus’s fourth annual Sustainability Summit in May. The reduction will be achieved by increasing energy efficiency and conservation. It is the campus’s intention to “play a pivotal role in California’s climate strategy and action,” said Birgeneau. He and other UC chancellors recently signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which calls for UC to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions, with the ultimate goal of making all ten UC campuses carbon-neutral.

Jeanloz, a professor of astronomy and of earth and planetary science at Berkeley. Jeanloz and colleagues at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), New Mexico State University and France’s Atomic Energy Commission reported their development in early May in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. To date, Jeanloz and his colleagues have achieved pressures near 10 million atmos-

pheres. They hope eventually to use the two megajoule laser of LLNL’s National Ignition Facility to achieve more than a billion atmospheres of pressure. RAYMOND JEANLOZ/UC BERKELEY

Combining diamond anvils and powerful lasers, Berkeley researchers have developed a technique that should be able to squeeze materials to pressures 100 to 1,000 times greater than possible today, reproducing conditions expected in the cores of supergiant planets.


Campus expands program to spot depression The shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech earlier this year highlights the need on university campuses for ongoing attention to student mental health issues. “Look for the Signs,” a University Health Services program launched in 2005, trains faculty and staff to recognize serious mental or emotional distress and to direct an afflicted person to expert help. The “Look for the Signs” campaign includes stickers and posters with a distinctive green logo that says, “I look for the signs. I can help.” Posted on campus doors and workspaces, these announce the presence of someone trained in the program. The Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health, co-chaired by chemistry professor Heino Nitsche and Mary Ann Mason, Dean of the Graduate Division, has been formed to assess the situation on student mental health and annually advise the chancellor, the chancellor’s cabinet, and the Academic Senate on trends in student mental health. compiled by karen elliott

for the press releases on which these stories are based, see http://newscenter.berkeley.edu.

Spring 2007 Catalyst

AIChE | 11.14.06

Dear Alums, Here are several snapshots from some of our stimulating and funfilled winter and spring events. We hope to see you at the next one! —REBECCA ZUCKERMAN Ph.D.’00, Chem Chair, Chemistry & Chemical Engineering Alumni Association Steering Team


Springfest | 5.2.07

G.N. Lewis Era Luncheon | 11.16.06

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Alexis T. Bell Chair, and Warren & Katharine Schlinger Distinguished Professor

a l u m n i

a s s o c i a t i o n

n e w s

Cupola Era Luncheon/Nobel Laureate Panel | 1.20.07

Developing Our Potential The fall semester has proven to be an exceptionally busy period, with several activities getting underway simultaneously. The first, and in many ways the most important, activity is the recruitment of new faculty members for the department. The University has given us authorization to recruit for a senior position in the area of biotechnology and a junior position in the area of micro/nanoelectronics or computational biology. Both recruitment efforts are now in full gear, and I hope to report on our successes in the next NewsJournal. The second important activity is getting ready for the visit in the fall of 2006 by the American Board on Engineering Training (ABET). In preparation for this event, we are putting together a document detailing the department’s assessment of its effectiveness in under-graduate education. I am very pleased that all of my colleagues have agreed to help me in the preparation of this material.


by alexis t. bell

Real World Engineering | 2.22.07


Spring 2007 Catalyst

Class Notes David E. Burge (B.S. Chem) earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Oregon State University. His early career included research with the U.S. Geological Survey and Shell Oil, as well as product development and marketing with two small instrument companies. He served as president of Wescan Instruments, developing, manufacturing and marketing instruments worldwide, and he has provided technical assistance to a major petroleum company in patent litigation and served on the Board of Directors of UIC of Joliet, Illinois. Retired for the past 15 years, he has been consulting on instrument design and business solutions for small companies. He currently serves on the board of directors of Phynexus in San Jose, CA.


David R. Nethaway See 1957.



At the March ACS meeting in Chicago, the 2007 Pittcon Heritage Award was presented to David Schwartz (B.S. Chem), founder and chairman of the board of Bio-Rad Laboratories, in Hercules, CA. The Pittcon Award recognizes “outstanding individuals whose entrepreneurial careers have shaped the instrumentation community, inspired achievement, promoted public understanding of the modern instrumentation sciences, and highlighted the role of analytical chemistry in world economies.” Awardees are also inducted into the Pittcon Hall of Fame, which recognizes pioneers in the analytical instrumentation world. From 1947 until his retirement in 1991, Richard Davis (B.A. Chem) worked for Stauffer Chemical Company (acquired by ICI in 1987) in Richmond, CA. He worked in both production and research and co-authored a patent, “Process of Removing Iron from Aluminum Salt Solutions.” He and his wife, Dorothy, make their home in Groveland, CA.


College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Bonnie Cushman Hubbard (B.A. Chem) completed Berkeley’s regional group major in Russia and Eastern Europe before starting her Chem B.A. studies here. While still a Chem undergrad, she took a job translating Russian scientific articles at the Information Division of the UC Radiation Laboratory, where she met her husband, Edward. They lived primarily in Illinois while raising a family, but they finally returned to California, where they now reside in La Jolla. Lahmer Lynds (B.A. Chem) earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Caltech in 1970 and worked in industry for 33 years, doing research in synthesis, solid state physics, laser physics, and molecular and atomic dynamics. After retiring in 1992, he served for four years on the faculty of the electrical and systems engineering department at the University of Connecticut, transferring in 1997 to the department of radiology at the university’s medical center, where he worked on developing a high speed x-ray device for cardiac applications and explored early cancer detection using MRI. Although officially retired from UConn since 2004, he is currently teaching resident M.D.s the physics of 2D planar x-rays, ultrasound, CT, and MRI, and is trying to relate fractal dimensions of vascular networks to cancer activity. He is also exploring the application of stochastic resonance in medical imaging to improve contrast.



David R. Nethaway (M.S., B.S. ’51 Chem), worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a nuclear chemist from 1953 until his retirement in 1992, with time out for his M.S. degree here and a Ph.D. at Washington University. He still works part time at the lab, where his focus has been helping to measure the yields of nuclear devices using radiochemical methods. His hobbies are home winemaking and “raising gophers in the garden.” He and his wife, Sally, live in Alamo, CA, and they enjoy traveling and have been on a number of Bear Treks. They have three children and three grandchildren.


Following his retirement from Applied Magnetics Corp, John L. Shellabarger (B.S. Chem) worked at a sporting goods outlet and an arts-andcrafts store, but he has now found greater satisfaction in pursuing activities related to the chemistry of art materials. These include hiking and backpacking while collecting materials used in Chumash rock art and volunteering at the Los Padres National Forest. He and his wife, Aida, live in Goleta, CA.


Sher G. Singh (B.A. Chem) recently left his home in Berkeley, CA, to live in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is working with Environmental


Darsh T. Wasan (Ph.D. ChemE), Motorola Chair Professor of Chemical Engineering and Vice President of International Affairs at Illinois Institute of Technology, has been elected to the Indian National Academy of Engineering for his major advances in research in interfacial engineering and colloidal processing, leadership in chemical engineering education, and contributions to Indian engineering and technology.

c l a s s

Cooperation–Asia (ECO–Asia) as a water and sanitation team leader on a USAID regional project in seven South Asian and Southeast Asian countries. After 30 years of service with the U.S. Marines, Le’Ellen Kubow (B.A. Chem) recently retired as a colonel. She now works with the defense contractor L-3 Titan, supporting the U.S. Navy. She makes her home in Virginia.


Living in Berkeley and selfemployed as a scientific editor, John H. Jennings (B.A. Chem, M.L.S. ’93 Library Science) wistfully noted that, although he didn’t get a Ph.D. himself, he recently helped two of his clients attain M.D./Ph.D. status through his editing. He visits the college from time to time to attend seminars.


n o t e s

Early this year, Emily A. Carter (B.S. Chem) was named Princeton University’s Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Applied and Computational Mathematics. She also holds courtesy appointments in the departments of chemistry and chemical engineering. In March, she became the first woman to receive the 2007 American Chemical Society Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, sponsored by Accelrys, at the ACS meeting in Chicago, where a symposium was held in her honor. She is credited with developing and applying quantum-mechanics-based methods to understanding and controlling the behavior of molecules, metals, ceramics, and semiconductor crystals, surfaces, and interfaces. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from Caltech in 1987, did postdoctoral work at the University of Colorado, and then joined the faculty at UCLA, where she became professor of physical chemistry and materials science and director of modeling and simulation at UCLA’s California Nanosystems Institute. C&EN quoted William Goddard, her Ph.D. adviser at UCLA, as saying that her background in organometallic research as an undergrad at Berkeley with Robert G. Bergman and Andrew Streitwieser equipped her with “a good intuitive grasp of reaction mechanisms in organometallic reactions,” and has allowed her to “apply this know-how to problemsolving via computational methods, which has advanced chemistry in materials research.” Her husband, Bruce Koel (Postdoc ’82 Chem), is a professor of chemistry at Lehigh University.


Thomas B. Ottoboni See 1986.

’81 27 Former MitoKor Chairman and CEO Walter H. Moos (Ph.D. Chem) was recruited in 2005 as vice president of the Biosciences Division at SRI International in Menlo Park, CA, an independent non-profit institute that conducts client-sponsored research for many types of government and private organizations. He also serves on the boards of Alnis BioSciences and Rigel Pharmaceuticals. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at UC San Francisco, where his wife, Susan M. Miller (Ph.D. ’83 Chem) is a professor in the same department.


Thomas E. Mallouk (Ph.D. Chem) has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science—an honor that recognizes outstanding efforts in the advancement of science as well as scientifically or socially distinguished applications of scientific knowledge. He has been on the faculty of Penn State University since


1993 and is currently the DuPont Professor of Materials Chemistry and Physics. Working in solid-state chemistry, he is best known for applying inorganic materials to a broad range of problems in chemistry and for his contributions to pioneering research on self-assembly of inorganic molecules.

Steven D. Schwartz (Ph.D. Chem), professor of physiology and biophysics and biochemistry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in recognition of his development of the theory of the coupling of protein vibrations to catalytic function in enzymes. His wife, Jil Tardiff, M.D. (B.S. ’84 Genetics) is on the faculty of Einstein College’s department of physiology and biophysics.


Michael Matlosz (Ph.D. ChemE) has recently been named Director of the École Nationale Supérieure des Industries Chimiques (ENSIC) in Nancy, France. Founded in 1887 as the National School for Advanced Study of the Chemical Industries, ENSIC ranks among the largest centers for teach-


Spring 2007 Catalyst

c l a s s

n o t e s

ing and research in chemical engineering in Europe. He also initiated and directs the European consortium, IMPULSE (Integrated Multi-scale Process Units with Locally Structured Elements), which, in 2005, was awarded a four-year grant of 10 million euros, the largest collaborative research project in chemical engineering ever funded by the European Commission. The first ENSIC director of non-French origin, Matlosz applies his international background and European experience to bring new perspectives in the global economy to the future development of the school. He and his wife live in Nancy with their three children. Thomas B. Ottoboni (Ph.D., B.S. ’81 Chem) currently serves as chief operating officer at POINT Biomedical in San Carlos, CA. He was vice president of research and development from the company’s inception until 2000. From 1994 to 1996, he was manager of systems development and drug delivery research for InSite Vision, developing ophthalmic pharmaceutical delivery systems. From 1991 to 1993, he held various technical and management positions at Vitaphore Corporation, including senior scientist responsible for the development of microsphere drug delivery systems and director of drug delivery. He has more than 22 patents in organic and macromolecular chemistry.



In September 2005, James Z. Huang (B.S. ChemE) was elected to the position of president of Anesiva in South San Francisco, where he



had been for three years as senior vice president of business development and commercial operations. He was previously employed by Tularik, where he held the position of vice president of business development and commercial operations and led the development and negotiation of commercial and scientific collaborations, alliances, and licensing agreements. He also was product director of Avandia at SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline), and he held various positions in Bristol-Myers Squibb’s worldwide strategic product planning, managed care, and sales and marketing organizations, as well as research and development positions at Alza Corp. He holds an M.B.A. from Stanford. Michael J. Krische (B.S. Chem) is the recipient of ACS’s 2007 Elias J. Corey Award for Outstanding Contribution in Organic Synthesis by a Young Investigator, sponsored by the Pfizer Endowment Fund. A professor of chemistry at the University of Texas, Austin, he and co-workers have developed a new class of hydrogenations that enable formation of carbon-carbon bonds produced in reactions in which two or more unsaturated organic molecules are exposed to hydrogen gas in the presence of a metal catalyst to furnish a single, more complex molecule. His research is regarded by colleagues as taking one of organic chemistry’s most well-studied and economically significant catalytic processes in a powerful new direction that will cause all chemists to view hydrogenation differently. Krische, who completed his Ph.D. at


William F. Polik (Ph.D. Chem) was named Chair of the the ACS Commiteee on Professional Training. He is leading the committee through the development of new guidelines for the approval of undergraduate programs in chemistry. He is the Hofma Professor of Chemistry at Hope College in Holland, MI.

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Stanford University in 1996 and did postdoctoral work at the Université Louis Pasteur in France, joined the UT Austin faculty in 1999. One of the key figures in his development was the late Henry Rapoport, from whom he learned “the value of practicality; that chemistry is just as much a craft as it is a science.” Outside of chemistry, he is also an accomplished musician. Douglas S. McWilliams (B.S. ChemE) earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Purdue University in 1995 and has been working as a research scientist at the Eastman Chemical Company for the past 11 years. His current job function is group leader for the specialty plastics applications R&D laboratory. He and his wife, Lisa, have been married for 17 years and have two girls, 10 and 12 years old.


Ricardo “Rick” Unikel (B.S. ChemE) earned a J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2002 and is currently a patent attorney with the law firm of Fitzpatrick Cella Harper and Scinto in New York City.


At the Spring 2005 ACS BIOT meeting in San Diego, where he co-chaired the Metabolic Engineering Session, Edward M. Driggers (Ph.D. Chem) presented a paper on his joint research with, among others, Zev Gartner (see 1999), on the application of DNA programmed chemistry (DPC) for the rapid discovery of functional compounds. DPC holds the potential to be a central element of an integrated approach to the discovery of functional compounds, designing synthetic genomes by using DNA as a universal molecule selection tool, according to the authors. The approach taken by Driggers et al., combined with other components, functions “to convert the traditional compound discovery


c l a s s

approach into a facile, transferable strategy for selecting and evolving novel chemical species.” Driggers works with Ensemble Discovery in Cambridge, MA.

Joshua N. Leonard (Ph.D. ChemE) is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

Zev Gartner (B.S. Chem) received his Ph.D. in 2004 from Harvard University. He then worked for a short period as a research consultant for a start-up company in Cambridge, MA, followed by a half year of world travel and, in 2005, began postdoctoral work at Berkeley with Professor Carolyn Bertozzi (Ph.D. ’93 Chem). He received the 2005 Prize for a Young Chemist at the Beijing meeting of IUPAC (the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry).

Mostafa E. Ashpari (B.S. ChemE) reports that one of his recent achievements has been to ‘school’ Tom Chao (B.S. ’07 ChemE) in basketball . . .


Arneh Babakhani (B.S. Chem) lives in San Diego with his wife, Daniela, and is a graduate student at UCSD, studying physical and computational chemistry under Professor Andy McCammon. He is currently exploring different methods in the modeling of membrane phenomena and mesoscale biology. In his spare time, he takes pictures, snowboards, runs, dives and is “trying to write the mother of all guitar solos!” More at www.arneh.net.


Michael J. Milos (B.S. ChemE) took a position as a commercial analyst in BP’s Carson, CA, office in December 2006. In 2005, Angus C. Lam (B.S. ChemE) moved to Tucson, AZ, where he is stationed at DavisMonthan Air Force Base. A captain in the Air Force, he is a bioenvironmental engineer, doing industrial hygiene; environmental surveillance; and wartime chemical biological, radiological, and nuclear medical readiness and health risk assessment. Currently deployed in the United Arab Emirates for Operation Iraqi Freedom until fall 2007, he is, in his words, “enjoying the action!”




Gregory I. Ball (B.S. ChemBio) will be a graduate student in geochemistry and marine chemistry at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UC San Diego, this fall. Anton Bashkirtsev (B.S. ChemE) will be attending medical school at Rosalind Franklin University’s Chicago Medical School.

n o t e s

Michaeleen C. Doucleff (Ph.D. Chem) will do postdoctoral research with Dr. Marius Clore at the National Institutes of Health. Mary J. Franklin (B.S. Chem) begins graduate school in chemistry at Columbia University this fall. Jeffrey Hua (B.S. ChemE) has accepted a position with Samsung Austin Semiconductor in Austin, TX, as a process engineer. Michael E. Kallen (B.S. ChemBio) will attend medical school next year. Tsz Na “Gina” Ko (B.S. Chem) is looking forward to starting pharmacy school at UC San Francisco next fall. Irena E. Kozarev (B.S. Chem) will enter University of the Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy in August.

Daniel E. Bost (B.S. ChemE) is headed for Austin, TX, to do graduate studies, and he expects that “good times will ensue.”

Shadi M. Lanham (B.S. ChemBio) was recently certified with Alameda County as an emergency medical technician.

Ravi A. Chandra (Ph.D. Chem), son of S. Kumar Chandrasekaran (M.S. ’65, Ph.D. ’71 ChemE), starts medical school at Johns Hopkins in August.

Laura Lati (B.S. ChemE) starts work this August as a process engineer in the process and construction unit of Air Liquide, a global leader in gas production, based in Houston, TX. Working in design and optimization of gas production plants, she will spend her first two years in their ALLEX program (Air Liquide Leading Engineering eXcellence), in which she will rotate through their North American sites as well as within the different business units of the company.

Tom Chao (B.S. ChemE) starts work as an associate process engineer with Valero in June. Patrick C. Chen (B.S. ChemE and Mat Sci & Eng) will be working as a process engineer for Fluor Daniel starting in June. Charlene Choi (B.S. ChemE and Mat Sci & Eng) has taken a position as a strategic consultant analyst with VeriSign and starts work this July.


Philip W. Leonard (Ph.D. Chem) has already started postdoctoral research at the Chemistry, Materials, Life Sciences division of Lawrence Livermore National Lab.

Constantyn E. Gieskes (B.S. ChemE) will be moving to Houston, TX, to work for a start-up company, NorthernStar Natural Gas, as a project engineer. NorthernStar currently has two projects to provide the west coast of the U.S. with natural gas, bringing it in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Spring 2007 Catalyst


c l a s s

n o t e s

Jody L. Lin (B.S. ChemBio) will begin her studies at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine this summer. Michael Lopez (B.S. Chem) has been accepted into the chemistry and chemical biology graduate program at UCSF. He starts this fall. Wei Lu (B.S. ChemE and Mat Sci & Eng) is happy that, after graduation, he’ll be taking three months off to spearfish, go on various road trips, travel to China, and just relax, after which he starts work with a management consulting firm in San Francisco. “Life is good,” he says. Gal Mariansky (B.S. ChemE) has already started work as a process engineer with ZeaChem in Menlo Park, CA.


Geoffrey R. Masterson (B.S. ChemE) has been selected by Johnson & Johnson to be a facilities engineer in the Global Pharmaceutical Supply Group within their Global Operations Leadership Development (GOLD) program. This program offers technical training and expansion of leadership skills and business knowledge, and it helps participants build a strong global peer network and a strong foundation for accelerated career growth. Soham Mookerjea (B.S. ChemE and Mat Sci & Eng) enjoyed an exciting trip to Miami over spring break. Calvin W. M. Myint (B.S. ChemE) has been hired by Merck to do research in fermentation and cell culture, starting in August. Elena Perez (B.S. ChemE) has taken a position with Aera Energy in Bakersfield, CA, as a facilities engineer, starting in September.

internship at Bayer Healthcare in Berkeley in the fall. Krishanu Saha (Ph.D. ChemE) starts postdoctoral research at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, MA, in November. Hirroki Satooka (B.S. ChemBio) will do graduate studies in molecular toxicology at UC Berkeley and is already working with Professor Isao Kubo, preparing his first paper as primary author. Hui-Wen Shih (B.S. Chem) has been accepted into Princeton University’s graduate program in chemistry for fall 2007. Nika Sirouskabiri (B.A. Chem) is planning to take off for Florence, Italy, for the summer! Kevin A. Sivilla (Ph.D. Chem) starts postdoctoral research at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland, this summer. Christopher J. Smyrniotis (B.S. ChemBio) is eagerly looking forward to teaching secondary biology this fall in an under-resourced school in San Jose, CA, through Teach for America.

Yau-Man Chan almost survives Survivor This television season’s Survivor: Fiji results proved to be a big disappointment for fans of Yau-Man Chan, the college’s information-systems director. Chan, 54, became a favorite among the program’s estimated 13.8 million fans only to be eliminated just before reaching the competition’s final round. He was named the most popular cast member by nearly twothirds of the visitors to the program’s website. From the outside, Chan’s life since Survivor seems to have returned to its previous character. “I can’t afford to retire without my million dollars,” he says wryly. (Chan did get $60,000 for his fourth-place finish). In less visible ways, the experience has been transformative. “I’m really quite a shy person,” Chan reveals. “After being on the show,

Aaron J. Van Tassle (Ph.D. Chem) has been working at Sandia National Lab in Albuquerque, NM, as a member of the technical staff since last December. Joseph J. Vegh (Ph.D. ChemE) will remain at Berkeley as a postdoc in the lab of his Ph.D. director, Professor David Graves. Jimmy Vu (B.S. ChemE) plans to begin work with Dow Chemical following graduation. Heather Whitley (Ph.D. Chem) will do postdoctoral research in the Physics and Advanced Technologies Directorate at Lawrence Livermore National Lab starting in August.

Jessica Marie Pittman (B.S. Chem) has been accepted into UC San Francisco’s School of Pharmacy for this fall, and she is also looking forward to a July wedding— soon to be “Mrs. Takahashi.”

Hanna M. Wisniewska (B.S. Chem) is going to Europe for the summer.

Moulik A. Ranka (B.S. ChemE) will travel on vacation to Vienna and Salzburg with his family this summer and then begin an

Siyan Zhang (B.S. ChemE) will begin graduate work in chemical engineering at Princeton University in the fall.

One unanticipated benefit—his teenage daughters now see him differently. “They think they have the coolest dad in the world,” says Chan.

compiled by dorothy read

by wendy edelstein, public affairs

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

I’m a lot more outgoing. I have confidence in myself after facing and surviving something this different from my normal routine.”

s t a f f

n e w s

2007 Staff appreciation party and service awards At the College of Chemistry’s annual staff appreciation party, held this year in Tilden Park, Dean Charles Harris honored ten staffers for their many years of service to the college. Here are brief excerpts from the dean’s comments:



Neemah Daggao’s first position at Berkeley was in the Engineering Research Lab, handling benefits and payroll. She is a friendly and helpful member of our human resources team.

Lonnie Martin joined the College of Chemistry in 1981. His first job was meant to be just a nine-month stint supervising the Chem 4 storeroom. Once that ended, Lonnie was asked to run the demo lab for chemistry courses, and he has done that ever since.

ADELE LAPUT 10 years

Adele Laput works as an editorial assistant to Professor Jean Fréchet, helping him in his duties as editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and providing support to the Fréchet group. CATHERINE MADSEN 10 years

Catherine Madsen started working in the College of Chemistry as a student employee. She eventually became a full-time programmer analyst, and is now responsible for all the major databases in the college. SHARON MUELLER 15 years

Sharon Mueller was an undergraduate when she first came to work in the College of Chemistry. She advises transfer students, approves students’ class schedules, reviews transfer admission applications, and updates the College of Chemistry Announcement. MARY HAMMOND 25 years

Mary Hammond has provided administrative support to Richard Mathies’ research group for the past 10 years. Professor Mathies notes that “Mary is fabulously responsible and takes care of the group like a second family. We could not do it without her.”

MICHAEL MURPHY Retirement Michael joined the college in 1972 and proceeded to spend nearly 35 years with us. Michael started off in the mail room and, after a few years of taking on more responsibilities, he was promoted to senior storekeeper/supervisor. Over the years, Michael has received four special performance awards for contributing to the Chancellor’s goals, including creating a supportive and inclusive campus community.

BOB STEINER 25 years

Bob Steiner graduated from Cal in 1979 with a chemistry degree. Bob manages the organic storeroom; he also handles the disposal of hazardous unwanted chemicals in the college—a job he feels lucky to have survived for 19 years!


NORMAN TOM 25 years Norman Tom, the manager of the college’s shops and research support services, is a Berkeley graduate with a degree in biology. After his graduation, he decided not to pursue his original goal of medical school, and instead stayed on to oversee and improve the operation of the research support services in the college. RUDI NUNLIST 30 years Rudi Nunlist, the director of the college’s NMR lab, is one of the longest-serving members of the College of Chemistry. He has played a crucial role in supporting a wide range of research in the college. If an instrument experiences a crisis, no matter what time it is, Rudi will come to the lab and solve the problem.

(Top photo) Norman Tom is all smiles after being recognized for 25 years of service to the college. (Bottom photo) The children of staff members were a welcome addition to the party.

Spring 2007 Catalyst

i n

m e m o r i a m

Alumni Franz A. Horsley (B.S. Chem) passed away on December 27, 2005, in Danville, CA, at the age of 94. During his 35-year career with Shell Oil, he was instrumental in bringing synthetic rubber from test tube to full-scale production early in WWII. In retirement, he maintained apricot and almond orchards in Winters, CA, and enjoyed sailing and fly fishing. In addition to his wife, Kathleen Fanoe (B.A. ’33 General Curriculum), his family included three sons, seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.


John C. Potts (Ph.D., B.S. ’30, M.S. ’32 Chem) passed away on December 20, 2004. His wife, Charline Chilson (C. Mult. Education ’28), with a chemistry B.A. from UCLA, predeceased him by eight years. They had made their home in Pismo Beach, CA.




Harry Rosen (B.A. Chem), died on September 29, 2006.

Edmund “Ed” F. Feichtmeir (B.A. Chem), passed away June 30, 2006. In the early 1980s he served as chairman of the San Joaquin County Council of Governments, and he was president of the Feichtmeir Foundation, which supported numerous charities in California. He is survived by his wife, Barbara.


Vernon W. Frederickson (M.S., B.S. ’36 Chem) worked for Unocal, and he and his wife, Margaret, made their home in Solvang, CA. He died on September 28, 2006.

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Jonathan S. Powell (B.S. Chem) gave 31 years of his career to Southern California Gas and went on to create Powell Energy Company in Pasadena, CA, in 1969. He eventually moved his business to Mariposa, CA, but also maintained a residence in Lake San Marcos, CA. An avid traveler who particularly enjoyed flying his single-engine plane, he “went west,” as pilots say, on September 9, 2006, and is survived by his wife, Cristina, their two sons, and two grandchildren. His attendance at various college events and his generous involvement in its well-being have been greatly appreciated. Ernest A. Hahl (B.A. Chem) died on January 5, 2007. He and his wife, Margaret, who survives him, operated Highland Farms near San Luis Obispo, CA, before retiring to Gig Harbor, WA.


Margaret Voyer Bither (B.S. Chem) held positions in the chemistry libraries at the Shell Development Company and, later, at the DuPont Experimental Station. She and her husband, Tom A. Bither Jr. (B.S. ’39 Chem), settled in Wilmington, DE, where he was a research chemist with DuPont. Her interests included golf, painting, surf-fishing, and managing the used-book sales for her local library. She and Tom were much appreciated for their generosity and volunteer work in support of the college. She passed away on January 4, 2007, after a long illness, leaving her husband, three daughters, and six grandchildren.


We recently learned that Kenneth J. Frederick (Ph.D. Chem) died on February 22, 2004. He had worked for Abbott Laboratories and was retired and living in Lake Forest, IL. His wife, Eleanor Loudon

(B.A. ’35 Health & Medical Science), had died in 1977. Henry E. Hubbard Jr. (B.S. Chem) passed away on July 27, 2006. He had made his career with Rockwell International as an aerospace engineer and lived in Northridge, CA. James W. Painter (B.A. Chem) died on March 16, 2006. He had made his home in Gardnerville, NV. Douglas L. Watkins (B.A. Chem) was retired from Vovida Networks and living in Concord, CA, when he passed away on December 11, 2006. His wife, Jeanne, predeceased him. Robert E. Buckles (M.S., B.S. ’39 Chem) passed away on August 28, 2006. He was an emeritus professor at the University of Iowa and had retired to Cameron Park, CA, with his wife, Arlyne.


John M. Davis (B.A. Chem) died on August 23, 2006. Retired and living in Oakland, CA, John W. Gibson (B.A. Chem) had worked for Shell Development Co. and was widowed since 2003. He passed away on April 9, 2005.


Edwin S. Templeton (B.S. Chem), who lived in San Luis Obispo, CA, died on December 5, 2006. Frank E. Young (Ph.D. Chem), who had retired as a Cal Poly faculty member, died on August 29, 2006. His wife, Lore, and a son and daughter survive him.

i n

Robert Y. Mixer (B.S. Chem) passed away on September 9, 2005. He and his wife, Sally, who survives him, made their home in Encinitas, CA.


Albert R. Morgan Jr. (B.S. ChemE), who contributed to the building of Tan Hall, among other college projects, was retired as president of Therma Technology, residing in San Antonio, TX. His wife, Alice (B.A. ’45 PoliSci) notified us recently that he had passed away.


Carol Nelson Kennington (B.A. Chem), of Ontario, OR, passed away on February 3, 2006. She was self-employed. She is survived by her husband, William. Edward L. Alpen (B.S. Chem; Ph.D. ’50 Pharmacy) joined the Lawrence Berkeley Lab in 1975 as director of the Donner Laboratory and associate director of the Biology and Medicine Division. In 1986, he became a senior faculty scientist of Cell and Molecular Biology, while also holding professorships at both UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco. He retired from LBNL in 1991, but continued PI work until 1995. His work was primarily in experimental radiotherapy with charged particle beams and neutrons, radiation biophysics and medical physics, radiation, carcinogenesis, non-stochastic late effects in organ systems, and cellular radiation biology. The recipient of many awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal of the Department of Defense and the Navy Science Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Science, he also authored Radiation Biophysics. He died on November 3, 2006, at the age of 84 following complications resulting from radiation therapy for a brain tumor. He is predeceased by his wife, Wynella.


George M. Brodrick (B.S. Chem) passed away on July 29, 2006, in Palm Desert, CA. He had worked as a manager for Shell Oil. He is survived by his son and predeceased by his wife, Helen.


Donald E. Garrett (B.S. Chem and ChemE) served at Los Alamos during WWII. He earned his Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1950 and went to work for Dow Chemical, designing the pilot plant for Dacron fiber. He then took positions at Union Oil and American Potash, as well as forming his own research and consulting firm in La Verne, CA, which he sold to Occidental Petroleum in 1967. He served as Occidental’s executive vice president for research and development until 1975, and during the ’80s he was adjunct professor of chemical engineering economics at UC Santa Barbara. Known for his expertise in crystallization, phase chemistry, solar pond evaporation, solvent extraction, and oil shale recovery, he pioneered the development of processes for the recovery of useful minerals from lakes in North and South America. He authored six books, over 200 technical publications and 200 patents, and he was the recipient of numerous honors. Recently, he established Saline Processors in Ojai, CA. He died on December 14, 2006, and is survived by Maggie, his wife of 31 years, three children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.


Lewis W. Myers (B.S. Chem) made his home in Filer, ID. He passed away on December 28,


m e m o r i a m

made his home in Greenville, SC, with his wife, Lillian. We have recently learned of the passing of Henry G. Curme (Ph.D. Chem) on February 23, 2000. Prior to his work at Berkeley, Curme served in the U.S. Army at Oakridge, TN. In 1950, he took a position at Eastman Kodak Company, where he became head of the chemistry lab and the clinical products division, retiring in 1986. He and his wife, Nancy, made their home in Rochester, NY, where he was active in his church’s work to address poverty and racism. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, their three children, and nine grandchildren.


Marie H. Lavering (B.S. ChemE) gave her career to teaching high school in Vallejo, CA, and in retirement she lived in Florence, MT. She died on March 4, 2006, predeceased by her husband, Leroy. Ervin Reichardt, Jr. (B.S. ChemE) passed away on September 6, 2006. He and his wife, Dorothy, who survives him, lived in Kennet Square, PA. Hector Rubalcava (B.S. Chem) earned a Ph.D. in 1956 from Caltech, where his colleagues included Gordon Moore (B.S. ’50 Chem), and he went on to join the faculty of the University of Dublin’s chemistry department. He was retired and residing in Shankill, County Dublin, Ireland, with his wife, Sarah, when he died on February 6, 2007. Duncan W. Cleaves (Ph.D. Chem) was on the faculty of the University of Nevada as a lecturer in mathematics, chemistry, and electrochemistry. In retirement, he moved to the Mattole River Valley on California’s “Lost


Clayton C. Shepherd (B.S. ChemE) passed away on November 19, 2006. He had worked in the aerospace industry and


Spring 2007 Catalyst


i n

m e m o r i a m

Coast,” where he worked to establish a selfsustaining community based on spiritual and ecological principals. He passed away on March 1, 2006. William R. Durland (B.S. ChemE) worked for Shell Chemical Company in Houston, TX, and spent the latter part of his retirement in Truckee, CA, with his wife, Iris. He died on November 15, 2006. Morton M. Wong (B.S. ChemE) was retired from Unocal and living in Reno, NV, with his wife, Elizabeth, when he passed away on November 29, 2006. Joseph M. Kunkel II (B.S. ChemE) worked as a chemical engineer and plant designer for Shell Oil for 28 years, until 1990. In retirement, he was active in his church and numerous service organizations. He and his wife, Dorothy Kathryn, who survives him, made their home in Friendswood, TX. He is also survived by three daughters, three sons, and twelve grandchildren. A member of the Cal Club of Houston, he was a generous donor to the college.



Renowned pioneer of gel electrophoresis, Andreas C. Chrambach (B.A. Chem) spent most of his 44-year career at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. From 1962 until 1966, he was a Fellow in the Department of Biophysics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and, in 1970, he moved to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, first as a visiting scientist, then as senior investigator, and ultimately as Chief of the Section on Macromolecular Analysis. He was respected for his personal integrity and his lab policies, which were based on his belief that creativity could flourish only if people were given free rein to follow their instincts. His lab brought


College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

together many outstanding scientists who shared his enthusiasm for the collaborative process. Born in Breslau, Germany, he was interned during WWII in a concentration camp, and half his family perished in the Holocaust. To overcome the trauma, he resolved to create a “Lebensparadies”—a sanctuary both in his lab and at home. Those who knew him would agree that in this he was eminently successful. He died on February 23, 2006, from injuries sustained in a traffic accident. Stanley H. Dinsmore (B.S. ChemE; M.S. ’57 EECS) had held positions at Sequel in Santa Clara, CA, and at Seagate Technology in Scotts Valley, CA, and authored multiple patents. He retired to Keaau, HI, where he was an advocate of converting solid waste to useful materials. He passed away there on June 6, 2006.


John W. Flynn (B.S. ChemE) who had retired from Raychem in Menlo Park, CA, died on January 17, 2007.


Joe P. Surls Jr. (Ph.D. Chem), who died on October 12, 2006, made his career with Dow Chemical, partially retiring in 1986 to Kona, HI. He ran his own company, HydroTech, an environmentally oriented consulting firm, in Fountain Valley, CA, but eventually moved his consulting operation to Kona. A humorous individual and generous donor to the college, he is survived by his wife of 54 years, Joan. As a second-generation Japanese-American, Kenneth T. Fujimoto (B.S. ChemE) endured the internment of his family while he was a child during WWII. He worked for McDonald Douglas in Los Angeles and then served for two years in the U.S. Army, followed by a job with Lockheed in


Sunnyvale, and finally a position with Ford Aerospace and Communications Corp. in Palo Alto. In 1980, he began the second phase of his work life, joining his youngest brother to run their parents’ store, Monterey Market in Berkeley (much appreciated by this author and other producelovers!), which he later expanded to Monterey Market II in Palo Alto. After a long battle with cancer, he passed away on February 25, 2007. He is survived by Naomi, his wife of 34 years, and their son, Brandon. Having grown up in war-torn Europe and having put herself through UC Berkeley and UCSF, Tamara W. Suslov (B.A. Chem) became the first female general surgery intern and resident in the UCSF Department of Surgery and the second female resident in the Ophthalmology Department at UCSF. While serving as an Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at UCSF, she also opened a private practice, Eye Associates of Sebastopol. Her own practice drew patients from throughout the world, and she opened several satellite offices in Northern California, providing state-of-the-art eye care and educational programs closer to patients’ homes, available regardless of their ability to pay. In 1993, she contributed her family’s estate to create Vision International Eye Missions, a charitable organization dedicated to the preservation of sight throughout the world, training, assisting, and providing medical equipment and supplies to ophthalmologists in seriously underprivileged areas. Dr. Suslov passed away on June 23, 2005; she is survived by her husband, Paul, and two daughters, all of whom practice medicine.


Alan S. Wingrove (B.S. Chem) was on the chemistry faculty—including a 12-year stint as chair—at Towson State University, MD, from 1973 until his death in early January 2007.

i n

We recently learned that Ulrich Hollstein (Postdoc Chem) died on August 1, 2001. He had been on the faculty of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.


Bruno E. Trombella (B.A. Chem) was a technical manager in the analytical department of Gallo Wineries in Modesto, CA. He lived in Farmington, CA with his wife, Margaret, who survives him. He passed away on September 27, 2006.


Brian R. Reid (Ph.D. Chem) was an emeritus professor in the University of Washington’s chemistry department, having served since 1980 until his death on February 26, 2005. He and his wife, Wendy, lived in Seattle.


Robert M. Moore Jr. (Ph.D. Chem), a long-time supporter of the college, died on January 7, 2007. He had worked at Ethyl Corp. as a research and development specialist and then at Albemarle Corp. He and his wife, Jennifer, who survives him, made their home in Baton Rouge, LA.


Emilio Kuan (B.S. Chem) spent most of his tragically short life in San Francisco. He died on January 20, 2007, and is survived by his wife and four children.


Todd A. Brooks (M.S. ChemE) died unexpectedly on February 15, 2007, at the age of 46. He began his career as a senior equity research analyst with Franklin Templeton Funds, followed by a position as a managing principal with JAFCO America Ventures and, in 1998, he joined the Mayfield Fund in Menlo Park as a venture capitalist. After leaving Mayfield in 2003, he and another ex-Mayfielder co-founded a


new venture capital firm in 2005, tentatively named BLX Partners. Friends and colleagues learned of his death with shock and sadness, and they remember him as a kind, generous person and a good friend— attributes that were well-known and appreciated by the College of Chemistry, where he and his wife, Marilee M. Brooks (M.S. ’88 ChemE), who survives him, were wonderfully supportive members of the alumni community. He is also survived by their son, Grant, and twin daughters, Lindsay and Dana.

Staff Robert G. “Bob” Snyder, a senior research scientist who had worked since the late 1970s with Professor Herbert Strauss, passed away due to complications of pancreatic cancer on February 28, 2007. He and his wife, Kay, who survives him, made their home in Berkeley.

Special Friends of the College Hugh D. Guthrie, who served on the college’s advisory board and supported its programs for many years, died on February 17, 2007. During his long career of excellence he worked for 33 years with Shell Oil Company, was a division director with the Energy Research and Development Association, served as director of the Energy Center at Stanford Research Institute, and was a manager of

m e m o r i a m

technical assessment at Occidental Research Corporation. His career brought him many honors and memberships in distinguished scientific societies. As a leading technical expert on oil shale, he authored patents on distillation equipment, co-authored a book, The Strategic Significance of America’s Oil Shale Resource, and worked to promote the conversion of organic material in oil shale to oil. At the time of his death, he was an advisor to the National Energy Technology Laboratory. He and his wife, Elizabeth, who survives him, made their home in Morgantown, WV. J. Hodge Markgraf, who was a visiting professor here under the auspices of Professor William Dauben and a long-time supporter and friend of the college, died of an apparent heart attack on January 11, 2007. He dedicated his academic career to his undergraduate alma mater, Williams College in Williamstown, MA. As a member of their chemistry faculty, he also served in many administrative positions and, at the time of his death, was emeritus Ebenezer Fitch Professor of Chemistry. One of his former students dedicated a web page to his colorful quotations: http://faculty.washington.edu/ crowther/Teaching/hodge.shtml. My layperson’s favorite is “On how gas chromatography works: It’s like a pig going through a python.” He was predeceased by his wife, Nancy. compiled by dorothy read

Spring 2007 Catalyst



138 commencement C O L L E G E O F C H E M I S T R Y, U C B E R K E L E Y MAY 19, 2007 • 2:00 PM • ZELLERBACH HALL


I am fully cognizant that it is impossible to stick an old head on a young body but I’ve tried to distill five lessons I’ve learned about the important things in my life and what I wish I had known when I sat where you’re sitting today:


What do I mean by that? Although your life may be cruising along smoothly, I recommend that every once in a while you stop and envision a sudden shipwreck occurring. Then think, re-think and remember what you would really want to hold on to if disaster should strike. LESSON TWO: NEVER SEND OUT A CHRISTMAS CARD DESCRIBING ALL YOUR AILMENTS


You are all high achievers. And YES, it’s true that delayed gratification is a key factor in achieving future productivity and prosperity. But, delaying happiness along with gratification is quite another thing, because each milestone along your path ought to have its own form of happiness.

Larry Bock is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur par excellence. His honors include the Einstein Award for lifetime contributions in the field of life sciences and Venture Capital Journal’s one of the Ten Most Influential Venture Capitalists. He currently serves on the College of Chemistry’s Advisory Board, and he has endowed a chair for the college in nanoscience. College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley


My former business partner used to say to those who wanted to know how he made so much money: “I invest in ‘TWO-LEGGED MAMMALS.’” In my career as a startup entrepreneur, I have deliberately remained focused on the value of people even amidst our ever-rising worship of technology. LESSON FOUR: SUCCESS TAKES EQUAL PARTS OF CHUTZPAH AND HUMILITY

In your chemistry vocabulary, that’s the required stoichiometry. The secret is maintaining a balance between courage and confidence on one side, and retaining a sense of humbleness and modesty on the other side.


In the final analysis, the strength of your character comes not from how you react to your successes, of which I know there will be many. The strength of your character comes from how you react to your failures, of which there also will be many, especially if you make bold moves. You have been given powerful tools with which to solve the world’s greatest problems. We look to you to: • create abundant and renewable energy sources, • relieve global warming, • avert worldwide starvation, • and, to increase, not only the length of life, but the quality of life for every man, woman and child on this earth. And, for that, you have my heartiest encouragement and congratulations. for full text of speech, please see: http://chemistry.berkeley.edu/about/ commencement_2007_speech.html


nonprofit org. u.s.postage paid university of california

university of california berkeley

College of Chemistry 420 latimer hall 1460 berkeley, ca 94720-1460

Upcoming 2007 Alumni Events Fast Forward to Your Future September 20 5:45–7:45 p.m. 180 Tan Kah Kee Hall, Berkeley Campus Alumni from chemistry, chemical biology and chemical engineering are needed to participate on professional panels to discuss career fields with current undergraduate and graduate students as they decide on their career options. Following the panel presentations there will be a reception and time for networking. For more information and to volunteer to help the students, contact Camille Olufson at colufson@berkeley.edu or by phone (510) 643.7379.

Homecoming Weekend October 13 9:00–10:15 a.m. 105 Stanley Hall, Berkeley Campus A panel discussion entitled In Service to Society: Energy and Health will be presented by Professor Jay Keasling of chemical engineering and Professor Dan Kammen of engineering and public policy. Keasling will talk on “Synthetic Biology: Cheap Energy and Drugs,” and Kammen will discuss “Our Energy Future: The Role of Science, Technology and Policy in Shaping our Common Future.” There will be time for questions and answers after the talks, followed by tours of the new Stanley Hall. Prior to the lecture, attend a complimentary continental breakfast in the stunning new Stanley Hall atrium from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m.

“Free Radicals” and “CHEMillennium” Alumni Era Brunch October 13 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Heyns Room, The Faculty Club After the Energy and Health panel, join us at The Faculty Club for a brunch with fellow classmates and alumni from the graduating years of 1963–1999. For registration go to chemistry.berkeley.edu/alumni/events.html. Reserved parking will be available. Children are welcome at this casual event!

AIChE Reception for Alumni and Friends November 6 7:00–8:30 p.m. Location TBA Join us for this annual alumni and friends reception in connection with the AIChE Annual meeting, to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Check online for more details as the date approaches.

“Alumni of the G.N. Lewis Era” Luncheon November 15 12:00–2:00 p.m. Heyns Room, The Faculty Club Alumni and friends from the pre-1945 graduating years are invited to attend this annual luncheon. Look for a separate mailing in early fall.

MIT-Stanford-UC Berkeley Nanotechnology Forums Check the homepage at http://mitstanford berkeleynano.org/ for more information on these monthly nanotech forums.

+ For a list of College of Chemistry seminars, please go to chemistry.berkeley.edu/seminars.html.

+ For alumni events, see chemistry.berkeley.edu/alumni/events.html. background image: rayograph courtesy of michelle douskey

Profile for CATALYST MAGAZINE College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Catalyst Magazine V 2.1  

SP 2007. To be of use Research in Pasteur’s quadrant; A prepared mind; The application of science; The cycle of energy; Illuminating the wor...

Catalyst Magazine V 2.1  

SP 2007. To be of use Research in Pasteur’s quadrant; A prepared mind; The application of science; The cycle of energy; Illuminating the wor...