2018 Departmental Awards Ceremony

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A photo gallery of the 2018 Departmental Awards Ceremony and a list of the award recipients are now available online.   

The annual Departmental Awards Ceremony was held at the CNSI auditorium on Monday, April 9, 2018. In addition to recognizing the efforts of our accomplished students and faculty, we had an opportunity to celebrate our department’s excellence in teaching and research. 

Photos from the ceremony and reception can be viewed here.

At this year’s ceremony, four new award categories were presented:

• The Alumni Legacy Awards, which honor our illustrious Ph.D. graduates in recognition of their achievements in life, and generous support and service to UCLA.  

• The Safety Awards, which recognize individuals and groups who go above and beyond in promoting safety in all research activities within their research groups.

• The Departmental Postdoctoral Research Awards, which recognize postdoctoral fellows in the department for their excellent work.

• The Staff Awards, which recognize staff members who have a wide ranging positive impact on many areas of the department.

The award recipients are listed below. Congratulations to all the winners!

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Department Chair Professor Catherine F. Clarke gave the opening remarks and spoke about the awards and recognition received by chemistry & biochemistry faculty and students.

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Professor Catherine Clarke (center) with the 2018 Alumni Legacy Award recipients – Dr. Atsuko Fujimoto, Dr. Margaret Holzer, Dr. Audree Fowler, and Dr. Kate Murashige. The women are holding their Ph.D. theses.

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(Left) Professor and dean of the division of physical sciences Miguel Garcia-Garibay presented the Undergraduate Awards. He is pictured here with Gold Family Foundation Award recipient Karina Nugroho. (Right) Professor Neil Garg (center) presented the Majeti-Alapati Fellowship awards to his graduate students Emma Baker-Tripp and Elias Picazo.

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Professor Sarah Tolbert’s group (pictured) received the inaugural LabENGAGE Safety Award in recognition of their commitment to actions and changes in procedures that resulted in improved laboratory safety. The Safety Awards were presented by Professor Craig Merlic, Executive Director of the UC Center for Laboratory Safety (fourth from right).

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Chair of the Postdoctoral Awards Committee Professor David Eisenberg (left) presented the 2018 Postdoctoral Awards to Dr. Jian Guo (accepting on behalf of Dr. Yuan Liu), Dr. Jonathan Axtell, Dr. Marc Garcia Borras, Dr. Steven Jonas, Dr. Duyoung Min, and Dr. Stefan Schmollinger.
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(Left) Chief Administrative Officer Aaron Sanchez with recipients of the 


 Staff Key Element Awards – Dr. Jonathan Erde (Hydrogen Award), Denise Mantonya (Carbon Award), Rochanne Pucket (Technical Staff (Ts) Award), and Penny Jennings (Oxygen Award). (Right) Recipient of the Staff CHEM Honoree award Jin Lee (left) was presented the award by assistant dean of the division of physical sciences Dr. Kathleen Micham.
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(Left) Professor Zhao Li, recipient of the Hanson-Dow Award for Excellence in Teaching, and Professor Hosea Nelson, recipient of The Herbert Newby McCoy Faculty Award. (Right) Recipient of the William M. Arnold Biochemistry Alumni Award undergraduate Jamel Simpson (third from left) with his family and Ahmed Arnold (second from right), son of William Arnold. 

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(Left) UCLA Molecular Instrumentation Center (MIC) Magnetic Resonance Staff Scientist Dr. Ta-Chung (TC) Ong; Jeff McCormick, recipient of the Dafni Amirsakis Memorial Fellowship Award; Dr. Jane Strouse, the former director of the MIC, and Dafni Amirsakis’ husband Peter Glink. (Right) Retired researcher and department supporter Gloria Turner with Department Chair Professor Catherine Clarke.

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(Left) UCLA Graduate Division Vice Provost and Dean Robin Garrell with Postdoctoral Award recipient Dr. Steven Jonas. (Right) Professor Emil Reisler with Herbert Newby McCoy Staff Award recipient Dr. Elena Grintsevich, who conducts research in the Reisler group.


Presented by Dean Miguel Garcia-Garibay, UCLA College, Division of Physical Sciences, and Prof. Yung Ya Lin, Vice Chair for Undergraduate Education

Alpha Chi Sigma (AXE) Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship

Cole Meyer

Alumni Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship

John Kozlowski

William M. Arnold Biochemistry Alumni Award

Jamel Simpson

Daniel Kivelson Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship

Yuxin Pan

Gold Family Foundation Award

Paul Chong 

Karina Nugroho

Hosmer Stone Prize

Ara Mandjikian

Ghattas Malki

Raymond & Dorothy Wilson Research Fellowship

Omar Ebrahim, Dyana Kenanova, Yifan Warrick Ma, Ryan McLaughlin, Tate Reuter, Inwhan Roh, Joyce Samson, Miles Savage,Yi Shen, Sungho Son, Abby Thurm, Jocyelyn To, Shang-Lin Tsai, Luke Verlinsky, Guan Wang, Matthew Ye, Yuyang Zhang, and James Ziegenbein

Whitcome Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Xinyi Cheng and Kayla Frank


Presented by Prof. Patrick Harran, Vice Chair for Graduate Education; Dr. Jane Strouse, Former director of the UCLA Molecular Instrumentation Center; Prof. Anastassia Alexandrova, Grad Advisor for the Chemistry Ph.D. Program; Prof. Jorge Torres, Grad Advisor for the BMSB Ph.D. Program; Prof. Alex Spokoyny, Area Advisor for Inorganic Specialization; and Prof. Neil Garg, Area Advisor for Organic Specialization

Excellence in Second Year Academics and Research

Michelle Bradley, Emily Cosco, Jacob Dander, Huanchen Zhai, and Chuanzhen Zhao

Departmental Leadership Award

Terri Lin and Emma Pelegri-O’Day

Hanson-Dow Awards

Andrew Dawson, Ga Young Lee, Yolanda Li, Cheng-Wei Lin, Lucas Morrill, Stasik Popov, Roselyn Rodrigues, Stephen Sasaki, Andy Smaligo, Robert Susick, Gail Vinnacombe, KJ Winchell, and Patrick Yee

Graduate Research Award for Interdisciplinary Research

Jeong Hoon Ko

Dafni Amirsakis Memorial Fellowship Award

Jeff McCormick

George Gregory Research Award

John Abendroth

Daniel E. Atkinson and Charles A. West Prize in Metabolic Biochemistry

Agape Awad

John Stauffer Fellowship

Anish Nag

John M. Jordan Memorial Award

Rebeccah Warmack

Roberts A. Smith Research Award

Kanishk Jain

Ralph & Charlene Bauer Research Award

Kent Kirlikovali

Faculty Award for Innovation in Inorganic Chemistry

Georgiy Akopov

Majeti-Alapati Fellowship

Emma Baker-Tripp and Elias Picazo

Ernest F. Hare, Jr., Memorial Scholarship

Leibniz Hang


Presented by Prof. Craig Merlic, Executive Director, UC Center for Laboratory Safety.

Laboratory Safety Award

Stephen Sasaki


Tolbert Lab

Safety Theory Recognition Awards

Georgiy Akopov, Matthew Fontana, and Stephen Sasaki

Christopher S. Foote Fellows

Presented by Vice Provost and Dean Robin Garrell, UCLA Graduate Division

Senior Foote Fellows

Alex Bagdasarian, Emily Cosco, and Michael Yamano

Foote Fellows

Annabelle Cantu, Jason Chari, Francesca Ippoliti, and Ben Wigman


Presented by Prof. David Eisenberg, Postdoctoral Awards Committee Chair.

Dr. Jonathan Axtell, Dr. Marc Garcia Borras, Dr. Steven Jonas, Dr. Yuan Liu, Dr. Duyoung Min, and Dr. Stefan Schmollinger


Presented by Aaron Sanchez, Chief Administrative Officer, and Assistant Dean Kathleen Micham, UCLA College, Division of Physical Sciences.

Key Element Awards

Carbon Award – Denise Mantonya

Hydrogen Award – Jonathan Erde

Oxygen Award – Penny Jennings

Technical Staff (Ts) Excellence Award – Rochanne Pucket

CHEM Honoree

Jin Lee


Hanson-Dow Award for Excellence in Teaching

Introduced and presented by Prof. Catherine Clarke, Department Chair; and Prof. Ken Houk, Awards Committee Chair.

Prof. Zhao Li

The Herbert Newby McCoy Awards

Introduced and presented by Prof. Ken Houk, Awards Committee Chair

Staff – Dr. Elena Grintsevich

Faculty – Prof. Hosea Nelson


Presented by Prof. Catherine Clarke, Department Chair

Dr. Audree Fowler, Dr. Atsuko Fujimoto, Dr. Margaret Holzer, and Dr. Kate Murashige

The Department is extremely grateful to our generous donors and alumni whose support makes these many fellowship and award programs possible.

Photos by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry