UCLA's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is among the best in the nation, offering students the opportunity to study with its award-winning faculty in a variety of fields, including biophyscial chemistry, molecular biology, materials chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry and theoretical chemistry.UCLA AND LOS ANGELES
Basic research is carried out in the faculty labs and in conjunction with major multigroup efforts such as the Exotic Materials Institute or the Laboratory of Structural Biology and Molecular Medicine. Shared research interests are cultivated by collaborations, talks, seminars, regular scientific conferences and interdepartmental research units, like the Molecular Biology Institute.
The excellence of the department's faculty has often been recognized by prestigious awards. Three members of the faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Paul Boyer , Donald Cram , and Willard Libby . Faculty members have also been awarded numerous Sloan, Dreyfus and Guggenheim fellowships, and several are members of the National Academy of Sciences. The department attracts the brightest new faculty to its ranks, with many of them receiving NSF Presidential Young Investigator or Career Awards, Dreyfus New Faculty Awards, or Searle Scholar Awards.
Students who have completed the graduate programs in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are regularly placed in academic positions at first-rate institutions or in private sector positions in leading biotechnology and chemical companies.
The University of California, Los Angeles is world-renowned for its excellent academic programs. Students come from all 50 states and many foreign countries to study here. There are more than 160 buildings housing the College of Letters and Science, plus 11 professional schools which serve some 35,000 students. Yet the campus has much more to offer than research labs, lecture halls and great libraries. A visit to UCLA's 419-acre campus is an opportunity to unwind by the inverted fountain, gaze off into the hills beyond Janss Steps, or stroll through the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden and the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden. Throughout the year the campus is the place to be for film series, guest speakers and a wide array of extraordinary professional and student performances in music, theater and dance. The UCLA Performing Arts series regularly features internationally acclaimed artists like Isaac Stern, Andre Watts, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Marilyn Horne, Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsalis, the Peking Puppet Theater, or the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company. The campus is also home to the Fowler Museum of Cultural History. For those who like to spend their leisure time engaged in athletic pursuits, the UCLA Recreation Center offers extensive facilities for swimming, tennis, racquetball, squash, basketball, weight training, aerobics and more.GRADUATE STUDIES
UCLA is also renowned for its intercollegiate sports programs. Fans of spectator sports will enjoy watching not only the UCLA football Bruins at the Rose Bowl or the basketball Bruins at Pauley Pavilion, but gymnastics, volleyball, baseball, swimming-the full range of college athletics. Located in an area of Los Angeles known as Westwood and bordered by the upscale neighborhoods of Brentwood and Bel-Air, UCLA is only a short drive from the famous beaches of Southern California-close enough for ocean breezes to moderate the climate, keeping the summers comfortable and the winters mild, and perfect for enjoying the wide range of athletic and recreational facilities the university offers. To the north are the Santa Monica Mountains, filled with hiking and bicycling trails. A one-hour drive leads to trailheads in the Angeles Crest Range, which culminates at the 10,040-foot Mt. San Antonio. On a mild winter day, one can come down from a morning of skiing in the mountains to a pleasant afternoon at the beach. The natural beauty and variety surrounding UCLA and the Los Angeles basin are matched by the cultural vigor of the metropolitan area itself. Los Angeles offers all the cultural attractions and excitement one expects in a major city. This includes art museums like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the I Paul Getty Museum, the Huntington Museum, and the Norton Simon Museum; great music attractions such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Opera, the Hollywood Bowl and the rock mecca on Sunset Boulevard; live theater that runs the gamut from small, intimate productions to the most extravagant "Broadway" shows; the Dodgers; the Lakers; and every kind of restaurant imaginable. L.A. has it all!
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is committed to excellence in graduate education, which is one of our most essential mandates. The department offers two Ph.D. programs: one in Chemistry and one in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Detailed information on these programs and their faculty, as well as application materials, can be obtained by contacting the department graduate affairs office. Contact information can be found on the inside back cover of this brochure.AREA PROGRAMS
First Year CurriculumProgram in Chemistry. Students are admitted to the Chemistry program in one of three areas: Inorganic, Organic or Physical Chemistry. To develop a conceptual foundation for conducting chemical research, first year students engage in a combination of coursework, study of the literature, departmental seminars, and informal discussions with faculty. These activities cultivate an ability to analyze the research literature and formulate a research strategy. Students familiarize themselves with the research pursuits of the faculty in their area of interest by attending faculty presentations and group meetings. They are encouraged to join a research group and initiate their dissertation research as early as possible.Financial Support
Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. During the first year of study, students complete four to five courses selected from an array of subjects such as macromolecular structure and function, cell biology and metabolism, molecular genetics, transcriptional control, developmental biology, neurobiology, plant biology, computational methods and biological catalysis. In addition, participation is required in a series of seminar courses on the critical analysis of experimental design in biochemistry and molecular biology. First-year students also participate in a series of 10-week research rotations, which provide students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the experimental and intellectual activities of three laboratories before selecting a permanent research adviser.All Ph.D. students in the department receive full financial aid, including competitive stipends. First-year students are supported through a combination of teaching assistantships and fellowships. After the first year, students are generally supported by a combination of research and teaching assistantships, training grants and special fellowships.ResearchAfter their first year, students devote nearly all their time and energy to research, leading to the preparation and submission of a Ph.D. dissertation. UCLA graduate students have the opportunity to explore special interests in choosing a research adviser to oversee their dissertation research. Faculty and students work closely together. Students learn how to plan and carry out well-controlled scientific experiments and how to interpret the results of these experiments. The department also funds travel by students to national and international scientific conferences for the presentation of research findings. The results of this research are published in the finest scientific journals. In fact, according to a recent ACS Directory of Graduate Research, the average number of papers published by each UCLA graduate student is among the highest in the country-a result of the individual attention received by members of the research groups. Each fall, the department awards a variety of endowed prizes and fellowships to those students judged to, have made the most significant contributions to chemical and biochemical research during the previous year.TeachingAll graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are required to teach for three quarters prior to graduation. Teaching is an important educational and professional experience. New teaching assistants are provided with an extensive TA training program and teaching mentors. The department also recognizes the important contributions of graduate student teachers each year in an awards ceremony, during which the most outstanding teaching assistants receive generous prizes.
BiochemistryEMERGING RESEARCH AREASThe Biochemistry Division is the home of UCLA's Graduate Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The division's outstanding faculty carry out research in some of the most exciting areas of contemporary molecular life science. These include protein and nucleic acid structure and function, bioinformatics, the regulation of gene expression, protein sorting, cell motility and contraction, photosynthesis, embryogenesis, biological catalysis and the biochemical basis of disease. The Biochemistry Division is an essential component of UCLA's large and vibrant molecular life sciences research community, which includes the DOE Laboratory of Structural Biology and Molecular Medicine and the UCLA School of Medicine. All of the department's biochemists are members of UCLA's interdepartmental Molecular Biology Institute. This close-knit scientific community makes UCLA a superb environment in which to study and carry out research in biochemistry and molecular biology.Inorganic ChemistryInorganic Chemistry encompasses fundamental studies of the properties and reactivities of nearly all of the elements, and the roles of metals in biological systems. It impacts diverse technologies, ranging from catalysis and the synthesis of new materials, to drug design and sensor fabrication. The faculty are synthesizing novel boron and carborane compounds for cancer treatment, and new organometallic complexes for synthesis and catalysis. Innovative low-pressure, low-temperature routes for obtaining high-purity ceramic materials are also being developed. New types of monolayers, thin films and polymer membranes are being fabricated and characterized for use in electronics, sensors and separations. State-of-the-art laser spectroscopic methods are being used to understand the structure and reactivity of complex molecules in the gas phase, solution and ultrathin films. Research into the functions of metal complexes in biological systems is providing new insights into disease processes and strategies for treatments and cures. From synthesis to fabrication, from the nanoscale to living organisms, inorganic research at UCLA combines breadth and innovation.Organic ChemistryOrganic Chemistry at UCLA has always set trends in understanding chemical reactivity and has now established a preeminent program in the design, synthesis and exploration of the properties and applications of novel organic materials and devices. This unique program is complemented by bioorganic chemistry, natural products synthesis and methods development, and a top program in theoretical organic chemistry. Organic Chemistry at UCLA is the Organic Materials and Chemical Biology of the future. The faculty members are leaders in all areas of organic chemistry, including bioorganic chemistry; molecular recognition, natural product synthesis, organic materials science; organometallic chemistry; photochemistry; physical organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, synthetic methods, synthesis of theoretically interesting molecules and theoretical organic chemistry. Additional research opportunities arise from collaborations and interdisciplinary research programs within our department and with other departments. Facilitating interdepartmental programs, the Molecular Biology Institute, the Life Sciences Building, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the UCLA Medical School adjoin our department.Physical ChemistryPhysical Chemistry at UCLA is remarkably broad in scope. Research ranges from chemical dynamics at the heart of gas- and condensed-phase spectroscopy to surface science, to self-assembly of nanoparticles, complex fluids and inorganic-organic composites. The latter topics are at the interface with inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, materials science, computer science and physics. Work is carried out on a variety of exotic systems: photo-activated redox couples, van der Waals clusters, Langmuir-Blodgett films and Langmuir monolayers; foams; DNA and other macromolecules such as conjugated polymers; metal and semiconducting quantum dots; mesoporous materials; metal-ceramic interfaces; semiconductor and metal surfaces; and supercooled liquids. As a result, the physical chemists have strong ties to other divisions in chemistry at UCLA, as well as many other departments in physical science and engineering. Finally, there is a long-standing tradition of collegiality and enthusiasm for research, which has led to many joint projects and close collaborations among theorists and experimentalists. This provides a graduate student with an unusually flexible and superbly rich research experience.
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is leading the way in the research areas that will be at the forefront of 21st-century science and technology. These fields include theoretical chemistry; chemical biology, exotic materials, structural biology and proteomics, and supple electronics.FACILITIES
Theoretical ChemistryUCLA has one of the strongest theoretical chemistry groups in the country. Six fulltime theoreticians, four in physical chemistry, one in organic chemistry, and one in biochemistry work on an incredibly diverse set of problems, including reactions at surfaces, materials interface adhesion and degradation, novel architectures of organic and electronic materials, protein structure elucidation, bioinformatics, and the physical behavior of complex fluids. In addition to these application areas, theorists at UCLA are developing many new techniques, including novel signal processing algorithms, new ab initio electron correlation methods, ab initio simulations of kinetics and dynamics, and a diverse set of approaches for describing complex systems across many length and time scales.Chemical BiologyMultidisciplinary research at the interface of chemistry and biology is a major activity in the department. Increasing numbers of our students graduating with chemistry Ph.D. degrees are finding employment in positions that require familiarity with the language and techniques of biology and experience in applying chemical approaches to the solution of biological research problems. The department has a strong predoctoral training program that meets this need with graduate courses and research laboratories in many areas of bioorganic, biophysical and bioinorganic chemistry. This research and training program at the chemistry-biology interface is enhanced by our proximity to and strong interactions with the many research scientists, seminar programs and extensive research facilities of the UCLA Medical Center and the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute.Exotic MaterialsThe university has established an Exotic Materials Institute to foster interdisciplinary interaction among groups of synthetic chemists, experimental and theoretical physical scientists and engineers. The objective is to design and synthesize condensed-matter materials directed toward desired physical properties; e.g., superconductors, metals, semiconductors, semiconductor devices, ferromagnets, ceramics, liquid crystals, etc. We utilize the versatility of synthetic chemistry to create novel materials, having selected structural features with the eventual goal of using these materials in technology. It is through these kinds of novel materials that new concepts and phenomena are uncovered.Structural Biology and ProteomicsAn integrated group of structural biologists at UCLA aims ultimately to describe life in three dimensions at the atomic level. This mission is inspired by the avalanche of information flowing from genome sequencing projects and is fostered by the UCLA-DOE Laboratory of Structural Biology and Molecular Medicine. On this frontier problem, investigators bring to bear a variety of powerful tools, including crystallography, multidimensional NMR and computational analysis. The highly interdisciplinary research programs offer special opportunities for talented students with diverse scientific backgrounds in molecular biology, chemistry and biochemistry, computing, mathematics and physics.Supple ElectronicsResearch into the chemistry and physics of supple electronic materials and devices constitutes a major interdisciplinary theme within the department. Organic, inorganic, physical and theoretical groups within the department, as well as other groups from engineering and physics, are working together to fabricate a broad class of novel electronic devices. These include: self-assembled networks of molecular switches and resonant tunneling diodes integrated with quantum wires; organic-derived photonic devices such as photovoltaics and light-emitting diodes; and acoustically modulated optical switching crossbars built from quantum dot superstructures. Other related areas of research include photonic band gap materials, switches based on magnetoresistive elements and single electron charging devices.
Computational FacilitiesComputer facilities permeate the UCLA environment, from routine access to workstations by all students to the use of the most powerful vector and massively parallel supercomputers in the department facility at the UCLA Computing and Visualization Centers and around the country. Advanced visualization workstations are also available within the department, along with the UCLA visualization centers that house sophisticated color movie and slide-making facilities. In addition to a variety of workstations used in research groups, the department houses several major computational centers, the Laboratories for Theoretical Physical Chemistry; Organic and Inorganic Theory and Computation, the Structural Biology Computation Center and the facilities associated with the X-Ray Laboratory.
Instrumentation LaboratoryAdvanced instrumentation plays a crucial role in modern innovative research in the molecular sciences. The UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has been a leader in the establishment of instrumentation centers comprised of state-of-the-art equipment and skilled support personnel to assure successful operation of the centers. Complex instrumentation is made available to the research community through spectroscopic and molecular characterization facilities, which are committed to the training of all levels of research personnel in the operation of sophisticated instrumentation. The nature of these facilities evolves rapidly due to rapid improvements in modern chemical instrumentation. Major sources of support are the UCLA-DOE Biochemistry Instrumentation Center, the Magnetic Resonance Laboratories, the Pasarow Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, the James D. McCullough X-Ray Crystallography Laboratory, and the UCLA-Hughes Electronics Materials Characterization Facility.Molecular Life Sciences InstrumentationThe molecular life sciences community at UCLA has established a number of core facilities that greatly enhance the research pursuits of members of the Division of Biochemistry. These include oligonucleotide and peptide synthesis facilities, DNA and peptide sequencing services and facilities for media preparation, fermentation and tissue culture, confocal microscopy, and cryo-electron microscopy. The macromolecular structure group has world-class facilities for X-ray diffraction and multi-dimensional NIVIR analysis of DNA, RNA and proteins. In addition, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry houses a first-rate Biochemistry Instrumentation facility, which includes instrumentation for digital autoradiographic and fluorescent imaging, analytical ultracentrifugation, HPLC, surface plasma resonance spectroscopy and microcalorimetry.Shops and ServicesWith the assistance of our excellent departmental shops and personnel, UCLA faculty and students have designed and built equipment that has defined the state-of-the-art in many fields. The department and Physical Sciences Division maintain and staff a glass shop, microelectronics shop, machine shop and well-stocked chemical and supplies storerooms, all open for student use. The UCLA Visualization Center is available for video, graphics, 3-D animation and imaging of scientific and mathematical models.LibraryThe UCLA Library has been ranked second among all research libraries in North America by the Association of Research Libraries. This high rating-exceeded only by the library at Harvard-was based on the size and quality of the UCLA collections and excellence of professional staff. The Chemistry Library, housed in Young Hall, has 71,000 bound volumes as well as some 750 serial titles in all fields of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology. Its collections of U.S. chemical patents as well as UCLA chemistry and biochemistry theses and dissertations are extensive. The Biomedical Library in the nearby Center for the Health Sciences has an exhaustive collection of books and journals pertaining to molecular life sciences.