Jun 8, 2017
2017-2020 Postdoctoral Teacher-Scholars
We welcome our new 2017-2020 Postdoctoral Teacher-Scholars, who will join the department in July 2017.
 
Dr. Rachel Prado, Dr. Roshini Ramachandran, and Dr. Chencai Wang will join our Postdoctoral Teacher-Scholar instructional faculty. They were chosen from a competitive pool of many applicants.
 
Our Postdoctoral Teacher-Scholar program allows postdoctoral scholars to experience research and teaching at the same time as a way to prepare them for future faculty positions. The positions honor UCLA Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Nobel Laureates Paul D. Boyer, Donald J. Cram, and Willard F. Libby and recognize their many contributions to the advancement of chemistry and biochemistry.
 
Dr. Rachel Prado (Cram Teacher-Scholar) - Rachel attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) for her undergraduate studies. As a freshman in the Chemistry Fellows Program, she taught general chemistry labs, continuing through as a peer-leader for organic chemistry recitations. In her sophomore year, Rachel began her undergraduate research in Prof. Sergey Vyazovkin’s group. In 2012, she graduated summa cum laude and with honors, including the UAB ACS Undergraduate Chemistry student award, with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. 
 
Following graduation, Rachel continued her studies in the Vyazovkin Lab as a graduate student at UAB. Her research encompassed the thermodynamic and kinetic effects of solid surfaces and nanoconfinement on the gel-sol phase transition of gelatin. She obtained three teaching certificates (Associate, Practitioner, and Scholar) through UAB’s Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL), which culminated in a Teaching-as-Research project on developing dimensional analysis laboratory activities for non-major chemistry students. Rachel also taught multiple chemistry courses, laboratories, as well as participated in several outreach organizations including: Ask-A-Scientist National Non-profit Organization, ACS Science Coaches, Girls in Science and Engineering Day at UAB, and Outstanding Women in Science Seminar Series. As the Cram Teacher-Scholar, Rachel will teach organic chemistry classes and she will conduct research on conjugating nanodiamonds with different functional groups, peptides and proteins as well as characterization of nanodiamond surface chemistry in Prof. Louis Bouchard’s group. 
 
Dr. Roshini Ramachandran (Boyer Teacher Scholar) – Roshini received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Madras University, Chennai and her master's degree in applied chemistry from Anna University, Chennai. She was elected as President of the Students' Union in her final year of undergraduate studies, through which she established various peer-teaching and outreach programs in her university.
 
In 2017, Roshini received a Ph.D in inorganic chemistry from The University of Georgia, Athens (UGA). Her Ph.D research focused on the synthesis of inorganic nanomaterials for defense and refractory applications. At UGA, she taught introductory and upper-level lecture and lab courses, and implemented several teaching-as-research projects to improve classroom engagement and inquiry-based learning. Roshini was instrumental in establishing UGA's 'STEM Peer Learning Assistant Program' and developed a pedagogy of teaching course for undergraduate learning assistants.  As the Boyer Teacher-Scholar, she will teach general chemistry and conduct research on 2D and 3D hybrid boron-rich polymers in Prof. Alex Spokoyny's group.
 
Dr. Chencai Wang (Libby Teacher Scholar) – Chencai received his double bachelor degree in Engineering (summa cum laude) and Economics from Nankai University (Tianjin, China). In 2017, he received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from UCLA where he conducted research on early tumor detection and therapy using advanced Magnetic Resonance nano-theranostic technique in Prof. Yung-Ya Lin’s group.
 
According to Chencai, his four years of academic and instructional training as a Ph.D. student at UCLA not only humbled him as a scholar, but has also prepared him to be an effective instructor. Besides multiple honors and awards from worldwide presentations, he was awarded the 2015 Hanson-Dow Teaching Assistant Award. 
 
As the Libby Teacher-Scholar, Chencai will teach general chemistry and continue to conduct research in Prof. Lin’s group. His research will focus on three projects: 1) developing new MRI pulse sequences using a novel homemade electronic active-feedback device to enhance the imaging contrast for early tumor detection, 2) implementing machine learning algorithms for tumor image enhancement, 3) optimizing the heating efficiency of magnetic nanoparticles for cancer magnetic hyperthermia.  

Our 2016-2019 Postdoctoral Teacher-Scholars, Dr. Shuming Chen (Cram Teacher-Scholar, Nelson Group), Dr. Jacquelin Kammeyer (Boyer Teacher-Scholar, Maynard Group) and, Dr. Zhao Li (Libby Teacher-Scholar, Lin Group) (pictured right), will continue to teach undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry courses and conduct research in the 2017-2018 academic year.
 
Boyer/Cram/Libby Postdoctoral Teacher-Scholars are expected to serve for three years, with the initial appointment for one year, plus the possibility of renewal annually. They are expected to teach three one-quarter undergraduate chemistry or biochemistry courses during a given academic year and will also conduct postdoctoral research with a sponsoring faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
 
Our first 2013-2016 Cram Postdoctoral Teacher-Scholar, Dr. Sharon Neufeldt, who conducted research in Prof. Ken Houk's group, went on to join the chemistry and biochemistry faculty at Montana State University.