2024 Carolyn and Charles Knobler Lecture

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Prof. Douglas Rees

Professor Douglas Rees (Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology) gave the 8th annual Carolyn & Charles Knobler Lecture on March 11, 2024.

The well-attended lecture, entitled “Nitrogenase: Beyond the Resting State”, was followed by a question-and-answer period and then by a reception. Select photos from the event are below and a photo gallery can be viewed here. The Carolyn and Charles Knobler Lecture is an endowed lecture series made possible by the strong support of alumni, colleagues, and friends of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.

In his welcoming remarks, Professor Bill Gelbart (above right) paid tribute to the five decades of extraordinary research, teaching, and service contributions of Carolyn and Charles “Chuck” Knobler, and enumerated some of the important research achievements of the speaker, Professor Douglas Rees, known for his significant contributions to the field of biochemistry and structural biology, particularly in understanding the structure and function of membrane proteins.

Rees is the Roscoe Gilkey Dickinson Professor of Chemistry and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).  He was a member of the UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty from 1982 until he moved to Caltech in 1989.  Rees visited UCLA in 2016 to give the department’s Fall Distinguished Lecture.

The Dongwon Yoo Hall was filled to capacity for Prof. Douglas Rees’ talk.
(Left) Prof. Hannah Shafaat, one of the department’s newest faculty members, poses a question during the Q&A. (Right) Prof. Rees answers a question (the image shows some of the inner workings of metalloenzymes).
(From left) At the reception following the lecture, Profs. Daniel Neuhauser, Charles Knobler, Emil Reisler, Douglas Rees, David Eisenberg, Juli Feigon, and Jose Rodriguez.
(Left) Prof. Knobler with former Gelbart/Knobler graduate student and current project scientist, Dr. Odisse Azizgolshani.  (Right) Former and current Gelbart/Knobler lab members Dr. Cheylene Tanimoto, Andreas Langenbacher and Dr. Jerrell Tisnado.
(Left) Profs. Knobler and Rees. (Right) Event organizers Rebecca Letts and Isaiah Gutierrez.

About the Carolyn & Charles Knobler Lecture

Carolyn and Charles Knobler

The Carolyn & Charles Knobler Lectures are made possible by the strong support of alumni, colleagues, and friends. The lecture honors Prof. Charles “Chuck” Knobler and his wife Dr. Carolyn Knobler (pictured left) who have been extraordinary contributors to the science, life, and spirit of the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry for over more than five decades.

The inaugural Carolyn & Charles Knobler Lecture took place on January 12, 2015 with a lecture by Prof. Donald Hilvert (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich) on the rational design of protein cages. The 2016 lecture was by Prof. Sharon Glotzer (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) on novel phases of colloids and nanoparticles, the 2017 lecture was by Prof. Michael Hagan (Brandeis University) on the physics of viral self-assembly, the 2018 lecture was by Prof. Jean-François Joanny (ESPCI Paris and Institut Curie Paris) on the physics of tissue monolayers and incipient tumors, the 2019 lecture was by Prof. Daan Frenkel (University of Cambridge), on generalizations of the statistical definition of entropy to include out-of-equilibrium systems, the 2020 lecture was by Professor Bogdan Dragnea (Indiana University at Bloomington) on super-radiance and other coherent emission effects involving viral capsids, and the 2023 lecture was by Professor Vinothan Manoharan (Department of Physics, Harvard University) on the self-assembly of simple RNA viruses.  (Due to the pandemic, there were no lectures in 2021 and 2022.)

Article and photos by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.