2019 Keynote Speakers

Ursa Lecture

Heavily influencing the emblems and symbols of the University of California system, the bear also has been chosen to represent the iconic nature of our conference and our opening keynote address. The invitation for this talk is decided upon by graduate student and post-doc attendees to honor and hear from someone who they consider to be one of the most influential members of our field. It is the opening keynote address for the University of California Chemical Symposium and addresses the career and work of the speaker and serves to address the state of chemical sciences as a field.

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Professor Rudolph Marcus

California Institute of Technology

Professor Marcus’s research has focused on formulating theories to explain new and unexpected experimental results and the relationships between phenomena in different fields. For his development of the Marcus theory of electron transfer reactions in chemical systems, he received the Nobel Prize in 1992. Professor Marcus has numerous accolades and awards, including 18 honorary degrees, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry (1984), the William Gibbs Award (1988) and the National Medal of Science (1989), and many more.

The organizers of the University of California Chemical Symposium are honored bring one of the most influential scientists of our time before the next generation of the world’s great leaders.

Lux Lecture

The motto of the University of California system is “Let there be light”; this call to action serves as the origin of the name of our closing keynote address. This lecturer must be nominated by multiple former attendees in recognition of their roles as a researcher, a mentor, and an inspiration to strive ever further. This lecture addresses the career and work of the speaker as well as should serve as an inspiration to return to our universities and continue our noble pursuits.

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Professor Michelle Chang

University of California, Berkeley

Professor Chang’s research focuses designing new biosynthetic pathways for in vitro cellular production of biofuels and pharmaceuticals. Her group designs and creates these new biosynthetic pathways in microbial hosts, where they can be used to convert abundant crop feedstocks into biofuels, or natural products into pharmaceuticals.

Professor Chang was born in San Jose, California to Chinese immigrant parents from Taiwan. In addition to earning a B.S. in Biochemistry, she also earned a B.A. in French Literature from the University of California, San Diego. She completed her PhD at MIT under JoAnne Stubbe and Dan Nocera. She also did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is currently a faculty member. She has won numerous awards, including 3M Young Faculty Award (2013), the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2013) and the Arthur Cope Scholar Award (2015).

2018 Keynote Speakers

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Prof. Carrie Partch

UC Santa Cruz

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About Me

I graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics, where I worked with Aziz Sancar to study the molecular basis of circadian rhythmicity. I went to the 'dark side' for my postdoctoral fellowship, training in biophysical techniques including solution NMR spectroscopy at UT Southwestern Medical Center. I worked with Kevin Gardner to identify novel structural regulatory motifs on the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor, HIF, and with Joe Takahashi, to study the related bHLH-PAS transcription factor that drives circadian rhythmicity, CLOCK:BMAL1. In our lab, we strive to address these questions: How do animals measure time and use it to control biology on a daily basis?

About My Research

Many organisms have molecular clocks that synchronize their physiological processes into rhythms that coincide with the solar day, providing enhanced evolutionary fitness by optimizing energy utilization and coordinating timing of integrated biochemical processes.

Disruption of circadian rhythms in mouse models causes adverse effects by influencing the etiology of psychiatric disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.  By developing a deeper mechanistic understanding of how clocks function at the molecular level, we hope to capitalize on the temporal regulation of physiology to develop new and innovative strategies to treat a broad spectrum of diseases.

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Prof. Adam Veige

University of Florida

About My Research

Our research group is primarily interested in the design, synthesis, isolation, and characterization of novel inorganic molecules.  Our efforts are concentrated towards building new complexes that either model or affect new small molecule transformations relevant to the industrial sector.  We undertake detailed mechanistic studies in order to uncover subtle details of catalytic processes in hopes of buildingupon or challenging current models of molecular structure, periodic trends, reactivity, and bonding.

About Me

I graduated from the University of Western Ontario and went on to Cornell University where I did my PhD with Prof. Pete Wolczanski. I then did a post-doctoral fellowship with Prof. Dan Nocera at MIT before joining the faculty at the University of Florida. 

Career Panelists

Dr. Ben Gardner; UTC Aerospace Systems- Deputy Chief Scientist

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Dr. Janine Tom; Amgen- Scientist, Process Chemistry




Dr. Samantha Page; 

Dr. Emily Sylak-Glassman;  IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), Research Staff Mamber

Dr. Sandra Rodriguez-Cruz; Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Southwest Laboratory, Senior Research Chemist