I am a chemist that studies the molecular foundations of life, focusing on the contributions of vitamins and mineral nutrients to human health and disease and the development of catalysts for renewable energy conversions. My laboratory has advanced a new paradigm for metals in biology termed transition metal signaling, using activity-based sensing and proteomics reagents to discover new roles of nutrients such as copper and iron as chemical signals in regulating brain and liver activity, how they influence basic functions like eating and sleeping, and how they are misregulated in obesity, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease. My group’s work in catalysis has shown that simple molecular mimics of complex enzymes and materials can be used to create new classes of catalysts for artificial photosynthesis, enabling the synthesis of fuels, food, and medicines from carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen with sustainable electrical input.

Awards and Achievements

  • Investigator ( 2007)
  • Paul Saltman Award, Metals in Biology Gordon Research Conference ( 2008)
  • Amgen Young Investigator Award ( 2008)
  • Hellman Faculty Award ( 2008)
  • Bau Award in Inorganic Chemistry ( 2008)
  • Technology Review TR35 Young Innovator ( 2008)
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator ( 2008)
  • Astra Zeneca Excellence in Chemistry Award ( 2009)
  • Novartis Early Career Award ( 2009)
  • ACS Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award ( 2010)
  • Society for Biological Inorganic Chemistry Early Career Award ( 2011)
  • Miller Research Professor, 2011-2012; Wilson Prize, Harvard University ( 2011-2012)
  • ACS Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, 2012, RSC Chemistry of Transition Metals Award ( 2012)
  • ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award in Graduate Education, 2013; Noyce Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching ( 2013)
  • Baekeland Award, American Chemical Society ( 2013)
  • Thomson Reuters, Highly Cited Author (top 1% from 2002-2012) ( 2014)
  • Sackler Sabbatical Professor, UC Berkeley/UCSF ( 2014-2015)
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Blavatnik Award
  • Baekeland Prize
  • NSF CAREER Award
  • Sloan Fellowship
  • Beckman Young Investigator Award

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