Chair's Welcome Message

Dear Students, Parents, Alumni and Friends:
Welcome to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. I am so pleased and honored to be the new Chair of this illustrious department!

Our department continues to make amazing strides in research and education. We are moving up in international rankings and our faculty and students continue to gather a remarkable number of national and international awards. Our research is published and cited at impressive rates. We have some of the most diverse faculty and student bodies in the nation. In this sense, we proudly reflect the cultural wealth of the city of Los Angeles and the state of California. We are fortunate to have a dedicated and talented staff who keep the department running smoothly.

Our undergraduate students and programs are truly remarkable; we have attained a steady state of more than 1500 majors, including Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Materials Science. Our undergraduate students (ca. 21,000 enrollments/year) have a mean high school GPA of ca. 4.3 and learn from some of the most innovative and highly awarded educators within the College of Letters and Sciences. Student evaluations of our instructors (average 7.5 on a scale of 9.0) reflect a high level of satisfaction with the quality of our instruction.

Following an active recruitment, we are excited to welcome new graduate students to departmental programs that reflect the intellectual diversity of our faculty: Analytical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Materials Chemistry & Nanoscience, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Theoretical Chemistry, Biophysics, Structural & Computational Biology, Systems Biology & Biological Regulation, Metabolism, Aging & Development, and Bioenergy & Environment. The success of our faculty reflects the high quality of our graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

We are delighted to welcome our new Boyer, Cram and Libby Postdoctoral Teacher Scholars. The individuals awarded these fellowships were selected from a large and talented group of applicants. Our Teacher Scholars have outstanding track records in both teaching and research, and we look forward to seeing their talents put into action: they will teach undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry courses in addition to making new research discoveries. The Teacher Scholars help our educational programs attain the highest quality and provide the best experiences for our students, and foster happy alumni!

Which brings me to you, friends and alumni! Thanks to your support, we have had the necessary resources to welcome prospective students for campus visits and impress them with the collegiality and enthusiasm of our research community, and with the rigor of our research and academic programs. The generous support of alumni and friends facilitates our recruiting efforts, supports departmental teaching and research awards, provides opportunities for undergraduate research, and enhances our seminar series. Our endowed named lectures allow us to invite world-leading scientists to campus, and our still limited but invaluable endowed chairs have been essential in helping us attract and retain some of our top faculty.

I think you will agree that our department’s creative research will need strong support in order to remain competitive. While our department has one of the best funding records from state, federal, and private sources, this success is only possible through the generosity of our donors. I invite you to contribute to our efforts in research, teaching and outreach by any means available to you.

I look forward to meeting you and thanking you in person at one of our alumni events.

Catherine Clarke
Professor and Chair
UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry