Oct 15, 2020
Dr. Jeffrey Vinokur
Graduate students Musibau Francis Jimoh (Kaner lab) and Rachel Knapp (Garg lab) are featured in video with alum Dr Jeffrey Vinokur (PhD ’17 Bowie lab).
 
Jimoh and Knapp are interviewed about their research in the latest episode of Vinokur’s educational streaming platform for K-8 schools, Generation Genius. The episode titled “How to be a Scientist (College & Careers)”, which was filmed on campus, showcases the diversity of research and researchers across UCLA, with a goal of inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers. The 17-minute episode can be viewed here.  
 
In 2018, after receiving his Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular, and Structural Biology from UCLA with Professor James Bowie, Vinokur co-founded Generation Genius with Eric Rollman (former president of Marvel TV & Animation). Generation Genius is currently used by more than 1 million students each week and 20% of all elementary school schools in the United States have subscriptions.  
 
In the video, chemistry graduate student Rachel Knapp (Garg lab) shares her research on making molecules to treat Alzheimer’s disease. 
 
Knapp is a Chemistry Ph.D. student conducting research in Professor Neil Garg’s group. Her research interests include medicinal chemistry and utilizing unconventional building blocks, such as amides and strained intermediates, in chemical synthesis. 
 
In the video, materials science and engineering graduate student Francis Jimoh (Kaner lab) shares his story about growing up in Nigeria and his mission to bring energy solutions to Africa. 
 
Jimoh is a Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. student conducting research in Professor Richard Kaner’s group. His research interest is focused on the design, synthesis, and characterization of materials for energy and the environment. This includes photovoltaics for energy generation, microsupercapacitors for energy storage, and membranes for gas separation.
 
Vinokur stars in the video, explaining the various types of STEM subjects that students can study at UCLA.
 
Generation Genius produces content in partnership with the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) and cover every science topics from K-8. Each video comes with resources like lesson plans, discussion questions, DIY activities, quizzes, etc. 
 
Previously, Generation Genius raised $2.7 million in seed funding which included investments from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, two UCLA professors and $1 million in crowdfunding from the public. Pitchbook recently ranked Generation Genius at #2 on LA’s 50 Hottest Startups list behind, Quibi.  
 
With all science topics now complete the company plans to translate the videos and lessons into Spanish and expand to Math lessons. 
 
Photos courtesy of Generation Genius. Article by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.