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The Department Overview


The UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry Department has a tradition of excellence and is ranked among the best in the country, as evidenced by the quality of its programs, the caliber of its faculty, and the excellence of its students. The Department is a leader in cutting-edge research and innovative educational programs.

The Department offers undergraduate majors in chemistry, biochemistry, and general chemistry leading to Bachelor of Science degrees. The chemistry and biochemistry majors are designed to prepare students for graduate studies in each field, for entry into professional schools in the health sciences, and for careers in industries and businesses that depend on chemically and biochemically based technology.

Graduate programs leading to Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry are offered in the fields of Biochemistry, Inorganic, Organic, and Physical Chemistry. Since modern research cuts across traditional disciplinary boundaries, UCLA also offers interdisciplinary programs in a variety of fields including bioinorganic, bioorganic, biophysical, materials, molecular biology, and solid state chemistry.

Leading the Department's research and teaching activities are 45 full-time professors and 10 research-active emeriti. The Department has a select, high caliber student body of more than 1500 students. There are nearly 1200 undergraduate students with more than 900 being biochemistry majors, over 250 graduate students working towards doctorate degrees, and more than 50 postdoctoral scholars pursuing advanced research training.

MBI BuildingThe Department is housed in Young Hall, the Molecular Biology Institute Building, and the newly completed Molecular Sciences Building. The latter contains ultra-modern facilities for synthetic chemistry and also houses a state-of-the-art instrumentation facility. The J. D. McCullough X-ray Laboratory is equipped with eight single crystal and powder X-ray diffractometers, the Consortium of Magnetic Resonance Laboratories has eight high-field NMR spectrometers ranging from 200 to 600 MHz, and the Center for Molecular and Biomedical Mass Spectrometry operates seven mass spectrometers. The Chemistry Library has over 62,000 volumes and receives more than 700 journals in chemistry, biochemistry, and related fields. Among the Departmental facilities and services provided are electronics, glassblowing, and computer shops and an extensive network of computers and workstations for research and teaching. The Department's research and teaching operations are supported by an outstanding group of more than 40 technical and nontechnical support staff.

The faculty's commitment to excellence extends well beyond the classrooms and laboratories. Development of new chemistry educational curricula employing the latest in multimedia and distance education technology is being developed in the UCLA Science Challenge with nearly $4 million in federal and private funding. The Bridges and the Minority Scientist Development Programs assist underrepresented students from UCLA and community colleges pursuing careers in biomedical research. The editorships of the American Chemical Society journals Accounts of Chemical Research and the Journal of Inorganic Chemistry are housed in the Department. These and other service activities extend the reach and impact of our faculty.

The total Departmental budget for the current fiscal year exceeds $20 million. This includes more than $12 million in contracts and research grants and over $10 million from the State of California to support teaching activities. The Department's endowments and gifts exceed $5 million.

One measure of the caliber of the faculty is the national and international distinctions they have received. Faculty members of the Department have been the recipients of numerous awards and honors for their outstanding scientific, scholarly achievements including:

  • Nobel Prize in Chemistry (3)
  • President's National Medal of Science
  • Guggenheim Fellowships (15)
  • National Academy of Sciences Membership (5)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow (9)
  • American Physical Society Fellow (5)
  • Alexander von Humboldt US Senior Scientist Award (6)
  • NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award (10)
  • NSF Young Investigator Award (6)
  • NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award (5)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (18)
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (10)
  • Searle Scholar (3)
  • Smithsonian Institution's Computerworld Award in Education and Academia
  • David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering (2)
  • Wolf Prize
  • Coblentz Award
  • Agnes Fay Morgan Award
  • Leonard Medal
  • Rothschild Prize
  • Royal Soceity of Chemistry/Lennard-Jones Medal
  • National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Science
  • Texas Instrument Founders Prize
  • Union Carbide Innovation Recognition Award (2)
  • Exxon Faculty Fellow in Solid State Chemistry (2)
  • Polyhedron Medal and Prize
  • Ralph F. Hirshmann Award in Peptide Chemistry
  • International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science Medal
  • Israel Prize, Exact Sciences
  • Jane Coffin Childs Fellow in Molecular Biology
  • Havinga Foundation Medal
  • American Chemical Society Awards
    • Cope Award (1)
    • Cope Scholar Award (3)
    • Baekeland Award
    • Tolman Award, Southern California (9)
    • Willard Gibbs Medal (2)
    • Inorganic Chemistry Award (2)
    • Colloid and Surface Chemistry Award
    • Kendall Award in Colloid and Surface Chemistry
    • Joel Hildebrand Award (3)

The Department's vision is to continue playing a leading role in ground-breaking research and innovative education in the twenty-first century. Creation of important new knowledge that is conveyed to our students and the world is the essence of our mission. Our researchers are utilizing the latest tools in chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology to examine fundamental and applied problems. The exciting current research projects range from the chemistry of aging, biosensors, and targeted pharmaceutical agents to nanoparticle electronics, functional polymers, and new optical materials. The education of our undergraduate and graduate students encompasses not only transfer of knowledge, but also training to be tomorrow's leaders in academe, government, and industry.


Last Updated: March 2000
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UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry,
607 Charles E. Young Drive East, Box 951569, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569
Copyrightę2002, www@chem.ucla.edu