2022 Glenn T. Seaborg Symposium and Medal Dinner

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Prof. Carolyn Bertozzi and Dean Miguel Garcia-Garibay

On August 17, 2022, the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry honored 2022 Nobel Laureate Professor Carolyn Bertozzi (Stanford) with the 2022 Glenn T. Seaborg Medal in recognition of her seminal contributions to the field.

A symposium entitled “Bringing Chemistry to Life”, a poster session, and an evening medal award dinner were held in Bertozzi’s honor on the UCLA campus.

A photo gallery from the event can be viewed here and select photos can be viewed below.

2022 Seaborg Symposium speakers – Professors Ellen Sletten, Alanna Schepartz, Carolyn Bertozzi, Jennifer Prescher, and Francis Arnold.

After welcoming remarks by Department Chair Professor Neil Garg and Seaborg Committee Co-Chair Professor William Gelbart (2017 Seaborg Medalist) at the afternoon symposium, Bertozzi and four other prominent scientists from Californian institutions gave talks:

  • Professor Carolyn Bertozzi (Stanford) – “Bioorthogonal Chemistry, an Enabling Tool for Biomedicine” (Introduced by Seaborg Committee Co-Chair Prof. Ellen Sletten)
  • Professor Frances Arnold (Nobel Laureate, California Institute of Technology) – “Innovation by Evolution: Bringing New Chemistry to Life” (Introduced by Prof. Yi Tang)
  • Professor Jennifer Prescher (University of California, Irvine) – “Imaging Tools and Technologies Inspired by Nature’s Light-Emitting Chemistry” (Introduced by Prof. Ken Houk)
  • Professor Alanna Schepartz (University of California, Berkeley) “Expanding the Definition of a Protein” (Introduced by Prof. Paul Weiss)
  • Professor Ellen Sletten (UCLA, Seaborg Committee Co-Chair) – “Bioorthogonal Complexation for Labeling Living Systems” (Introduced by Prof. Alex Spokoyny)

The Glenn T. Seaborg Medal was established in 1987 and is given annually by the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to honor individuals for their significant contributions to chemistry and biochemistry. This is the first time the Seaborg Symposium has had an all-female slate of speakers.

A poster session by chemistry and biochemistry postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students was held as part of the symposium on the Court of Sciences patio. Six poster session winners were chosen by our three newest faculty members, Professors Prineha Narang, Matthew Nava, and Danielle Schmitt, who served as judges. The winners were announced at the medal award dinner.

The Seaborg Symposium poster session with undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs was held in the Court of Sciences patio.

Following the symposium, a reception and medal award dinner were held at the UCLA Covel Commons Terrace. Bertozzi’s father, MIT Physics Professor Emeritus William Bertozzi, and her sister, UCLA Math Professor Andrea Bertozzi, attended both the symposium and the evening events. Also attending the day’s events were Seaborg Medalists Professor David Eisenberg (2004), Professor Michael Jung (2016) and his wife Alice, and Professor Kendall Houk (2013).

(Left) Bertozzi with her father Professor William Bertozzi and her sister UCLA mathematician Professor Andrea Bertozzi. (Right) Dean of Physical Sciences Professor Miguel García-Garibay presented the 2022 Seaborg Medal to Bertozzi.

In his welcoming remarks at the Medal Dinner, Dean of Physical Sciences Professor Miguel García-Garibay pointed out that all the symposium speakers have affiliations with California universities. He asked the audience, “What is it that brings some of the brightest and most distinguished women in the world to the State of California? Could it be the weather? Sunny beaches and remarkable nature? Great food and wine? While no doubt all of that helps, I am sure that many distinguished scientists come to California because we are one the most diverse and welcoming states in the world, with open minded and progressive people who look to the future, and who welcome and celebrate gender equity and diversity.”

The highlight of the evening was when García-Garibay presented the 2022 Glenn T. Seaborg Medal to Bertozzi, who then made remarks.

(Left) Alumni and supporters Drs. Karen and Bill Timberlake and Mel Sahyun. (Right) Alice Jung, Nobel Laureate Frances Arnold, Prof. Michael Jung (2016 Seaborg Medalist).
(Left) Dr. Rachel Loo, Prof. Joe Loo, and supporter Bruce Weiller. (Right) Supporters Marion Peters (UCLA Librarian Emeritus) and Jonathan Mersel with Prof. Pri Narang (center).
2022 Seaborg Symposium Poster Session winners with the new faculty who served as judges! (From left) Professor Danielle Schmitt, PhD student Hayden Montgomery, Professor Matthew Nava, Professor Pri Narang, postdoc Dr. Tianhan Liu, undergrad Abigail Chapman, & PhD student Becky Jenkins. PhD students Cecilia Chang & Maria Flores are not pictured.

Congratulations to the following Poster Session Winners!

(Left) Cecilia Chang (graduate student, Alexandrova group) – “Design Principles for Molecular Qubits” and (right) Abigail Chapman (Undergraduate researcher, Knobler/Gelbart group) – “Comparing the Gene Delivery Efficiencies of In Vitro Reconstituted Virus‐Like Particles with Different Geometries”.
Maria Flores (graduate student, Rodriguez group) – “Learning the structural basis of mammalion prion: CPEB3’s amyloid core”, and Becky Jenkins (graduate student, Rodriguez group) – “Bioconjugation of Amyloid Fibrils for Fluorescence Tracking in Living Cells”.
(Left) Dr. Tianhan Liu (postdoctoral fellow, P. Weiss group) – “Control of Chirality, Spin, and Orbital in Chiral Molecular Semiconductor Junctions”, and Hayden Montgomery (graduate student, Maynard/Spokoyny groups) – “Organometallic Au(III) Reagents for Protein‐Polymer Conjugation”.

The department wishes to thank the generous supporters whose donations made the Seaborg events possible.

Photos by Reed Hutchinson. Article by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.