2015 Guggenheim Fellow

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Professor Paula Diaconescu has been awarded the 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship.             

Prof. Diaconescu, whose research involves the design and synthesis of complexes with specific geometric and electronic properties, was the only chemist among the group of 175 scholars, artists, and scientists from the United States and Canada to receive the honor.

UCLA Newsroom (by Stuart Wolpert): The new fellows were chosen from a pool of more than 3,100 applicants. UCLA has the most 2015 Guggenheim fellows of any higher education institution in California, and is tied with Columbia University for the most in the nation.
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Professor Paula Diaconescu with ferrocene, an organometalic compound used in her research.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowships, now in their 91st year, recognize innovative scholars who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and exceptional promise. The foundation, which provides grants to support each fellow’s work, has distributed more than $325 million in fellowships to nearly 18,000 individuals since its establishment in 1925.

“These artists and writers, scholars and scientists represent the best of the best,” said Edward Hirsch, president of the foundation. “It’s an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do.”

This year’s UCLA recipients and the projects they will pursue as Guggenheim Fellows are:

Paula Diaconescu

Diaconescu, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, whose research involves the design and synthesis of complexes with specific geometric and electronic properties. Her current research efforts focus on the design of reactive metal complexes with applications to small molecule activation, organic synthesis, and polymer formation. Her Guggenheim project will concern redox switchable catalysis. She joined UCLA’s faculty in 2005. Her honors include a research fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This new area of chemistry is inspired by nature’s sensory processes and uses external agents as switches in order to control the catalytic activity of multiple species with different reactivity.

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Photo of Prof. Diaconescu by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry