Chemistry

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Chemistry PhD program is designed towards developing within each student the ability to do creative scientific research. Accordingly, the single most important facet of the curriculum for an individual is his or her own research project. In keeping with the goal of fostering an atmosphere of scholarly, independent study, formal course requirements are minimal and vary among disciplines; adviser's tailor course requirements to best prepare the student for the chosen research field.

The doctoral program includes the following concentrations, each of which has specific degree requirements:

  1. Physical Chemistry: In general, the Physical Chemistry Graduate Program encompasses experimental physical, analytical, nuclear, biophysical, and theoretical chemistry.
  2. Synthetic Chemistry: The Synthetic Chemistry Graduate Program includes emphases in preparation of organic or inorganic compounds, development of methods for their synthesis, and their characterization and use.
  3. Chemical Biology: The Chemical Biology Graduate Program covers research areas at the interface of chemistry and biology ranging from synthesis of bioactive materials through characterization of living systems.

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Admissions

Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
    • courses in English as a Second Language,
    • courses conducted in a language other than English,
    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
    • courses of a non-academic nature.

If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Doctoral Degree Requirements

The Requirements for a PhD Degree in Chemistry

  • Coursework: There is no formal coursework requirement, however, the equivalent of four semester-long courses is normally taken. Courses you will take will depend on your background and research interests.

  • Graduate student instructor service: A total of three semesters of graduate student instructor service is required, usually in the first semester and one semester in each of the next two years.

  • Research:

First-year report (synthetic and chemical biology division): An original, journal quality research proposal no more than 10 pages read by two chemistry faculty.

Second-year seminar (all divisions): A 25-minute presentation to the department on your research progress.

  • Qualifying examination (all divisions): An oral examination with a committee of three chemistry faculty and one outside department faculty member on your research and defense of an original research proposal (synthetic) or critical analysis of a recent outside paper (non-synthetic).

  • Dissertation (all divisions): Submission of your dissertation approved by a committee of your research adviser, a second chemistry faculty member, and one outside department faculty member. No dissertation defense.

Courses

Chemistry

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

Paul Alivisatos, Professor. Physical chemistry, semiconductor nanocrystals, nanoscience, nanotechnology, artificial photosynthesis, solar energy, renewable energy, sustainable energy.
Research Profile

Richard A. Andersen, Professor. Chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organometallic chemistry.
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John Arnold, Professor. Organometallic chemistry, organometallic catalysis, materials chemistry, coordination chemistry.
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Anne Baranger, Adjunct Professor. Chemical education, chemical biology, organic chemistry.
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Kwabena Bediako, Assistant Professor. Inorganic Materials Chemistry, Electrochemistry, Low-Dimensional Materials, Quantum Transport, Optoelectronics.
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Kristie A. Boering, Professor. Physical chemistry, climate change, atmospheric chemistry, environmental chemistry, ozone, earth and planetary science, isotopic compositions of atmospheric trace gases, stratospheric ozone, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, molecular hydrogen, methane.
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Carlos J. Bustamante, Professor. Nanoscience, structural characterization of nucleo-protein assemblies, single molecule fluorescence microscopy, DNA-binding molecular motors, the scanning force microscope, prokaryotes.
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Jamie Cate, Professor. Molecular basis for protein synthesis by the ribosome, RNA, antibiotics, a thermophilic bacterium, escherichia coli.
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Christopher J. Chang, Professor. Chemistry, inorganic chemistry, neuroscience, bioinorganic chemistry, general physiology, organic chemistry, new chemical tools for biological imaging and proteomics, new metal complexes for energy catalysis and green chemistry, chemical biology.
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Michelle Chang, Associate Professor. Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, and Synthetic Biology.
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Ronald C. Cohen, Professor. Physical chemistry, water, climate, air pollution, atmospheric chemistry, environmental chemistry, analytical chemistry, ozone, nitrogen oxides, CO2, clouds.
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Jennifer A. Doudna, Professor. RNA machines, hepatitis C virus, RNA interference, ribosomes.
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Felix Fischer, Associate Professor. Organic and Inorganic Materials Chemistry, Supramolecular Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry, Molecular Electronics.
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Graham R. Fleming, Professor. Chemistry, proteins, chemical and biological dynamics in the condensed phase, ultrafast spectroscopy, body dynamics, liquids, solutions, glasses, photosynthetic proteins, role of solvents in chemical reactions, complex electric fields, electron transfer.
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+ Matt Francis, Professor. Materials chemistry, drug delivery, organic chemistry, Protein modification, artificial photosynthesis, water purification.
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+ Phillip Lewis Geissler, Professor. Statistical mechanics, theoretical chemistry, microscopic behavior of complex biological and material systems, biomolecular structure and dynamics, nonlinear vibrational spectroscopy.
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Naomi Ginsberg, Associate Professor. Physical and biophysical chemistry; light harvesting, spectroscopy, and imaging.
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Jay T. Groves, Professor. Chemistry, physical chemistry of cell membranes, molecular organization in cell membranes, receptor-ligand binding, spatial rearrangement of receptors, ligands.
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John F. Hartwig, Professor. Inorganic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, catalysis, organic chemistry.
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Martin Head-Gordon, Professor. Theoretical chemistry, electronic structure calculations, development of novel theories and algorithms, quantum mechanics.
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Teresa Head-Gordon, Professor. Computational chemistry, biophysics, bioengineering, biomolecules, materials, computational science.
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John Kuriyan, Professor. Structural and functional studies of signal transduction, DNA replication, cancer therapies, phosphorylation.
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Stephen R. Leone, Professor. Physical chemistry, molecular dynamics, atomic, molecular, nanostructured materials, energy applications, attosecond physics and chemistry, radical reactions, combustion dynamics, microscopy, Optical physics, chemical physics, soft x-ray, high harmonic generation, ultrafast laser, aerosol chemistry and dynamics, neutrals imaging.
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David Limmer, Assistant Professor. Theoretical chemistry.
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Jeffrey R. Long, Professor. Inorganic and solid state chemistry, synthesis of inorganic clusters and solids, controlling structure, tailoring physical properties, intermetal bridges, high-spin metal-cyanide clusters, magnetic bistability.
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Thomas Maimone, Assistant Professor. Organic synthesis, total synthesis, natural products chemistry, catalysis, synthetic methodology, medicinal chemistry.
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Michael A. Marletta, Professor. Chemical biology, molecular biology, structure/function relationships in proteins, catalytic and biological properties of enzymes, cellular signaling, nitric oxide synthase, soluble guanylate cyclase, gas sensing, cellulose degradation, polysaccharide monooxygenases.
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Susan Marqusees, Professor. Director of QB3 and Eveland Warren Endowed Chair Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology.
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Evan W. Miller, Assistant Professor. Chemical biology, organic chemistry, fluorescence microscopy, neuroscience, imaging.

Luciano G. Moretto, Professor. Chemistry, nuclear science, statistical and dynamical properties of nuclei, nuclear reactions, multifragmentation, thermal scaling, monovariant and bivariant regions.
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Daniel Neumark, Professor. Physical chemistry, molecular structure and dynamics, spectroscopy and dynamics of transition states, radicals, and clusters, frequency and time-domain techniques, state-resolved photodissociation, photodetachment of negative ion beams.
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Eric Neuscamman, Assistant Professor. Electronic Structure Theory, Quantum Chemistry.
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Daniel K. Nomura, Associate Professor. Chemical Biology and Analytical Chemistry.
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Eran Rabani, Professor. Theory of nanomaterials.
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Jonathan Rittle, Assistant Professor. Inorganic Chemistry and Chemical Biology: Applying structure and spectroscopy to understand and augment the reactivity of metalloenzymes and transition metal clusters.
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Richmond Sarpong, Professor. Organic and organometallic chemistry.
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+ Richard J. Saykally, Professor. Physical chemistry, surface science, analytical chemistry, materials solid state chemistry, laser spectroscopy methods, X-ray spectroscopy, molecular astrophysics, novel forms of matter, nonlinear optical molecular imaging(NMI), water clusters.
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Kevan M. Shokat, Professor. Chemistry, bio-organic chemistry, diabetes, protein phosphorylation, fundamental signal transduction pathways in cells and whole organisms, kinase, drug development, asthma, multiple forms of cancer, neurological disorders, drug addiction.
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+ Angelica Stacy, Professor. Chemistry, solid states, physical and inorganic chemistry, emerging technologies, synthesis and characterization of new solid state materials with novel electronic properties, magnetic properties, development of new synthetic methodologies.
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T. Don Tilley, Professor. Inorganic, organometallic, polymer and materials chemistry; synthetic, structural, and reactivity studies on transition metal compounds; catalysis; new chemical transformations; advanced solid state materials; renewable energy; solar fuels.
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Dean F. Toste, Professor. Organometallic chemistry, organic, development of new synthetic methods, enantioselective catalysts, strategies for the synthesis of natural products, synthesis of complex molecules, formation of carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bonds, olefins.
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K. Peter Vollhardt, Professor. Organic and organometallic chemistry, transition metals, novel synthetic methodology, synthesis of complex natural and unnatural products, assembly of novel oligometallic arrays, phenylenes, organic magnets and conductors.
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K. Birgitta Whaley, Professor. Chemistry, physical and theoretical chemistry, cluster and nano science, quantum information and computations, quantum mechanics of clusters and advanced materials, elucidating and manipulating chemical dynamics in strongly quantum environments.
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Evan Williams, Professor. Spectroscopy, molecular structure and dynamics, analytical chemistry, biophysical chemistry, structure and reactivity of biomolecules and biomolecule/water interactions, mass spectrometry, separations, protein conformation, protein and DNA sequencing.
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Ke Xu, Assistant Professor. Biophysical chemistry, cell biology at the nanoscale, super-resolution microscopy, single-molecule spectroscopy.
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Ting Xu, Professor. Polymer, nanocomposite, biomaterial, membrane, directed self-assembly, drug delivery, protein therapeutics, block copolymers, nanoparticles.
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Omar Yaghi, Professor. Reticular chemistry.
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Peidong Yang, Professor. Materials chemistry, sensors, nanostructures, energy conversion, nanowires, miniaturizing optoelectronic devices, photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, solid state lighting.
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Lecturers

Michelle Christine Douskey, Lecturer.

Peter C. Marsden, Lecturer.

Maryann Robak, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Paul A. Bartlett, Professor Emeritus. Bio-organic chemistry, synthetic chemistry, enzyme inhibitors, combinatorial chemistry, peptide conformation, proteomimetics.
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Robert G. Bergman, Professor Emeritus. Organic and inorganic chemistry: synthesis and reaction mechanisms, organotransition metal compounds, homogeneous catalysis.
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Joseph Cerny, Professor Emeritus. Nuclear chemistry, nuclei, radioactivity, isotopes.
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Jean M. J. Frechet, Professor Emeritus. Materials chemistry, catalysis, drug delivery, analytical chemistry, organic synthesis, polymer science, macromolecules, chiral recognition, control of molecular architecture at the nanometer scale, reactive surfaces.
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Charles B. Harris, Professor Emeritus. Physical chemistry, surface science, theoretical chemistry, chemical dynamics, femtosecond lasers in the visible and infrared, energy transfer, relaxation, primary processes in chemical reactions in liquids, the dynamical properties of electrons.
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Robert A. Harris, Professor Emeritus. Molecules, radiation, theoretical chemistry, atoms, weak interactions, condensed matter.
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John E. Hearst, Professor Emeritus. Nucleic acid structure, psoralen photochemistry.
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Clayton H. Heathcock, Professor Emeritus. Organic synthesis, organic chemistry, large-molecule synthesis.
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Darleane C. Hoffman, Professor Emeritus. Nuclear chemistry, actinide, transactinides, superheavy elements, liquid-liquid extractions, solid-phase chromatographic extractions, gas-phase chromatographic separations, meitnerium, nuclear decay properties of the heaviest elements, decay.
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Sung-Hou Kim, Professor Emeritus. Computational genomics, Structural Biology, drug discovery, disease genomics.
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Judith P. Klinman, Professor Emeritus. Catalytic and regulatory mechanisms in enzyme-catalyzed reactions, kinetic, spectroscopic, stereochemical biological techniques, peptide- derived cofactors, Nuclear tunneling and role of protein dynamics in catalysis, enzymatic activation of molecular oxygen.
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Yuan T. Lee, Professor Emeritus.

William Lester, Professor Emeritus. Theoretical and physical chemistry, advances in basic theory, computational methods, study of molecular electronic structure, quantum Monte Carlo method, Born-Oppenheimer approximation.
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Marcin Majda, Professor Emeritus. Electrochemistry, analytical chemistry, electrode and solution interfaces, electron tunneling, bioanalytical chemistry.
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Samuel S. Markowitz, Professor Emeritus. Nuclear chemistry, environmental chemistry, nuclear reactions for chemical analyses.
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Richard Mathies, Professor Emeritus. Genomics, biophysical, bioanalytical, physical chemistry; laser spectroscopy, resonance Raman, excited-state reaction dynamics photoactive proteins, rhodopsins, microfabricated chemical biochemical analysis devices, forensics, infectious disease detection.
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William H. Miller, Professor Emeritus. Theoretical chemistry, chemical dynamics, quantum mechanical and semiclassical theories, dynamical chemical processes at the molecular level, photodissociation, femtosecond pump-probe spectroscopy, calculations of rate constants for chemical reactions.
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C. Bradley Moore, Professor Emeritus.

Steven F. Pedersen, Professor Emeritus.

Norman E. Phillips, Professor Emeritus. Materials, solid state chemistry, low-temperature specific heat measurements, microscopic theories, models for condensed matter, macroscopic properties, microscopic structures, measurements on nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes.

+ Alexander Pines, Professor Emeritus. Theory and experiment in magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging, quantum coherence and decoherence, novel concepts and methods including molecular and biomolecular sensors and microfluidics, laser hyperpolarization and detection, laser and zero-field NMR, in areas from material science to biomedicine.
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John O. Rasmussen, Professor Emeritus.

Kenneth N. Raymond, Professor Emeritus. Chemistry, bacteria, bioinorganic chemistry, biophysical chemistry, coordination, design of specific chelating agents for metal ions, human iron storage and transport proteins, low-molecular weight chelating agents, metals in medicine, metal-ligands.
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Kenneth Sauer, Professor Emeritus.

Charles V. Shank, Professor Emeritus.

David Shirley, Professor Emeritus.

Gabor A. Somorjai, Professor Emeritus. Physical chemistry, catalysis, surface science, low-energy electron diffraction, solid state chemistry, macroscopic surface phenomena, adhesion, lubrication, biocompatibility, bonding, and reactivity at solid surfaces, scanning tunneling.
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Andrew Streitwieser, Professor Emeritus.

David E. Wemmer, Professor Emeritus. Nuclear magnetic resonance, nucleic acids, biophysical chemistry: proteins, NMR spectroscopy, magnetic resonance methods, structure of proteins and DNA, conformational fluctuations, biopolymers.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Department of Chemistry

419 Latimer Hall

Phone: 510-642-5882

Fax: 510-642-9675

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Matthew Francis

724 Latimer Hall

Phone: 510-643-9915

chemchair@berkeley.edu

Vice Chair of Biological Graduate Program

Christopher Chang

532A Latimer Hall

Phone: 510-642-4704

chrischang@berkeley.edu

Vice Chair of Synthetic Graduate Program

Richmond Sarpong

841A Latimer Hall

Phone: 510-643-6312

rsarpong@berkeley.edu

Vice Chair of Physical Graduate Program

Kristie A. Boering

BG3 Giauque Hall

Phone: 510-642-3472

boering@berkeley.edu

Graduate Student Affairs Officer, Supervisor

Lynn Keithlin

419C Latimer Hall

Phone: 510-643-0571

keithlin@berkeley.edu

Student Affairs Officer

Joel Adlen

419F Latimer Hall

Phone: 510-642-5884

joeladlen@berkeley.edu

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