Keriann Backus named the Alexander and Renee Kolin Endowed Chair

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Professor Keriann Backus has been named to the Alexander and Renee Kolin Endowed Professorship of Molecular Biology and Biophysics Term Chair for five years. 

This endowed chair is funded by Alexander and Renee Kolin to junior faculty to support career development of a molecular biologist with appointment in the College of Letter and Sciences or the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Backus’ research focuses on the development of new chemical tools and chemical proteomics methods to study and manipulate the human immune system.

Backus joined the UCLA faculty in 2018 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.  After receiving bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and in Latin American studies from Brown University in 2007, Backus pursued her Ph.D. in the laboratories of Professor Benjamin Davis (Oxford) and Professor Clifton Barry (NIH, NIAID) as a 2007 Rhodes Scholar and an NIH Oxford Cambridge Scholar. In 2012, Backus completed her doctorate and began an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute in the laboratory of Professor Benjamin Cravatt.

In 2019, Backus received a prestigious 2019 Young Faculty Award from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and was named a 2019 Beckman Young Investigator by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.

To learn more about Backus’ research, visit her group’s website.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry,