On February 6, 2023, alumnus Dr. Marco Messina (Ph.D. ’19 Maynard/Spokoyny groups), currently a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley, was presented with the 2023 Norma Stoddart Prize for Academic Excellence and Outstanding Citizenship. Nobel Laureate and UCLA Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Sir Fraser Stoddart visited UCLA to present the prize and to give two informal talks before Messina’s Prize Lecture.
In the morning, Stoddart met with chemistry & biochemistry graduate students for an informal question and answer session, followed by a lecture titled “Around the World in 80 Years, by Fraser Stoddart”, in which he spoke about his late wife Dr. Norma Agnes Stoddart, whom the prize honors, and his extraordinary life leading up to being chosen for the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2016. In the afternoon, Stoddart presented Messina with the crystal award after his lecture.
The events were held in the department’s new Dongwon Yoo Seminar & Conference Hall in the Mani L. Bhaumik Collaboratory in Young Hall. Select photos can be viewed below and a photo gallery can be viewed here.
Messina completed his Ph.D. at UCLA in 2019 under the supervision of Professors Heather Maynard and Alex Spokoyny, where he worked on developing new polymerization and bioconjugation techniques using main-group and inorganic chemistry approaches. In 2019, Messina joined the group of Professor Christopher Chang at UC Berkeley. In June 2023 Messina will join the faculty at the University of Delaware as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Stoddart was a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA from 1997 to 2008 when he joined the faculty at Northwestern University as its Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry.
Established in 2004, the award honors Stoddart’s late wife and it is open to all current and recently graduated research students and fellows in the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. Selections are made by a committee of graduate students within the department. Recipients are chosen for their outstanding science, service and humanity – the same qualities that Norma brought to UCLA. Since 2012, Stoddart has returned to UCLA each year (except during the pandemic) to present the prize at the Norma Stoddart Prize lecture.
Previous Stoddart Prize recipients are Dr. Janice Lin, The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research (2019), Dr. Nako Nakatsuka, ETH Zürich (2018), Dr. Liana Hie, Yale, and Dr. Christian Beren, Colorado School of Mines (2017), Dr. Steven Lopez, Harvard (2016), Dr. Alexander Patananan, Amgen and Prof. Jessica Wang, UC Merced (2015); Prof. Jessica R. Kramer, University of Utah (2014); Dr. Sarah M. Bronner, Maze Therapeutics (2013); Dr. Gregory B. Kuzmanich, Honeywell UOP (2012). (The prize was not awarded in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid 19 pandemic.)