USU Chemistry & Biochemistry Alumni Achievement Award

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Professor Anastassia Alexandrova receives Utah State University’s 2021 Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of her pioneering endeavors.

A professor of chemistry and biochemistry and vice chair for undergraduate education, Alexandrova’s laboratory focuses on computational and theoretical design and multi-scale description of new materials. 

Excerpted from Utah State TODAY (by Mary-Ann Muffoletto:

USU Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry Announces Alumni Achievement Awards

Dale Christensen, BS 1987, and Anastassia Alexandrova, Ph.D. 2005, recognized for pioneering endeavors.

SCI 1ChemBiochemAlumniAwards USTFeb2022 UST

Dale Christensen, BS 1987, and Anastassia Alexandrova, Ph.D. 2005, are recipients of the USU Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry’s 2021 Alumni Achievement Awards.

Utah State University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has announced its Alumni Achievement Award recipients for 2021.

The honorees are Dale Christensen, BS 1987, Chemistry, who has forged a distinguished career in drug design and discovery as a contributing scientist, leader and founder of a number of drug companies, and theoretical chemist Anastassia Alexandrova, Ph.D. 2005, professor and vice chair for undergraduate education in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“We are excited and proud to recognize these two exceptional Aggies,” Department Head Lance Seefeldt says. “Following a new awards format we initiated in 2020, we name a senior award recipient, recognizing an individual who is completing a long and distinguished career, as well as a junior award recipient, who is an emerging leader in our field, each year.”

Christensen, the senior award recipient, and Alexandrova, the junior award recipient, will be formally recognized during Chemistry and Biochemistry’s Spring 2022 department seminars, presented in person and virtually. Christensen will be honored April 6, and Alexandrova will be honored April 20.

Anastassia Alexandrova, PhD’2005

A native of Russia, Alexandrova earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry at Saratov State University in southeast Russia. She won the 2000 Russian Regional Student Olympiad in chemistry and completed predoctoral studies at the Vernaskii Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.

In 2001, Alexandrova moved to the United States to pursue doctoral studies at Utah State, which she considers her first major career milestone.

“I benefited tremendously from a small research group I was part of, where I could talk with my adviser, Professor Alex Boldyrev, on a nearly daily basis,” she says. “I got to see how he thinks; following him, I learned to trust my scientific intuition, to go after the problem until we beat it to the ground, to argue with a forceful scientific opponent.”

Boldyrev encouraged her to publish, attend scientific meetings, network and “kept my mind open.”

“He gave me an excellent start,” Alexandrova says. “Alex is an incredible mentor, scientist and citizen of the world. His research is top class and his group is well taken care of, at the level that can make any student in any university jealous.”

Following USU, Alexandrova pursued postdoctoral research at Yale University and joined UCLA’s faculty in 2009.

Alexandrova’s research is focused on computational design of functional materials. This includes investigation of ultra-hard borated alloys, as well as efforts aimed at the in-silico design of metallo-proteins with specific, desired catalytic properties.

At UCLA, Alexandrova has received repeated university honors in research and teaching. In addition, she received a 2014 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant and a 2016 Fulbright Scholarship.

Alexandrova has received numerous American Chemical Society accolades. In 2011, she was awarded the society’s Younger Chemists Committee Leadership Development Award, along with the 2015 Rising Star Award from the ACS Women Chemists Committee. In 2020, Alexandrova received the ACS Early Career Award in Theoretical Chemistry from the society’s Physical Chemistry Division.

Most recently, Alexandrova is a 2021 recipient of the prestigious Max Planck-Humboldt Medal.

Read full article here.


Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry,