About the McCoy Award
June 11, 2020 | 3 p.m. PST | Watch Here
Schedule of Events
Undergraduate awards announced by Sarah Reisman
CCE Teaching Assistant awards announced by Sarah Reisman
Barbara Burger Prize announced by Dennis Dougherty.
McCoy awardee Kai Chen with an introduction by Frances Arnold
McCoy awardee Matthew Chalkley with an introduction by Jonas Peters
McCoy awardee Yapeng Su with an introduction by Jim Heath
McCoy Award Recipients:
Kai Chen, Chemistry PhD
(Arnold Group) | "Expanding the Catalytic Repertoire of Hemeproteins as Carbene Transferases to Access Diverse Molecular Structures"
Kai Chen obtained his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Zhejiang University, China. Before graduate school, Kai researched different areas of chemistry, including organic chemistry, organometallics and chemical biology, with a specific focus on the development of synthetic methods for carbon‒hydrogen bond functionalization. In 2015, he joined Professor Frances Arnold's lab, where he harnessed the strategy of directed evolution for creating new enzymes to catalyze reactions unprecedented in the natural world. His research aimed to provide efficient, selective and sustainable access to high-value chemicals, unmatched by traditional chemical methods, with potential applications in pharmaceutical development, chemical biology research, material science and others. Specifically, he has engineered different heme-dependent enzymes as carbene transferases to efficiently construct diverse chemical structures, including highly strained carbocycles, lactones, organosilicons, organoborons and more. Currently, Kai has joined Professor Jennifer Doudna's lab at University of California, Berkeley, as a postdoctoral researcher, to continue his scientific career in a different field of biochemistry and biotechnology, gene editing.
Matthew Chalkley, Chemistry PhD
(Peters Group) | "Using Weak Bonds to Break Strong Bonds"
Dr. Matthew J. Chalkley received his B.S. from Yale University with exceptional distinction in Chemistry in 2013. There he undertook research with Professor Nilay Hazari on Pd(I) dimers as a Barry Goldwater Scholar. He then received a Fulbright Fellowship to perform research in the group of Professor Karsten Meyer at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg for one year. His Ph.D. was supervised by Professor Jonas C. Peters at Caltech and supported by an NSF Graduate fellowship, a Caltech Environmental Microbial Interactions fellowship, and a Resnick Sustainability Institute fellowship. He is currently a postdoctoral scholar with Professor William DeGrado at the University of California, San Francisco. He hopes to lead an independent research program tackling problems in catalysis and bioinorganic chemistry with an emphasis on proton-coupled electron transfer.
Yapeng Su, Chemical Engineering PhD
(Heath, Davis and Baltimore Groups) | "Resistance is Futile: systems biology and single-cell analysis to understanding drug resistance in cancer"
Yapeng completed his undergraduate study in chemical engineering at Tianjin University, whose chemical engineering major ranked No.1 in China. After obtaining his bachelor degree with the highest honor from Tianjin University in 2013, he started graduate school in chemical engineering at Caltech. Supervised by Professors James Heath, David Baltimore, and Mark Davis, Yapeng's Ph.D. research resided at the intersection of physical science, biotechnology, and systems biology with a particular focus on cancer. His research utilized systems biology approaches and various single-cell technologies to tackle one of the biggest problems in cancer: drug resistance. In the future, he would like to further extend his research interests in cancer towards cancer immunotherapy. He would like to utilize systems-level big data and machine learning to provide rationale on how to better engineer live immune cells as an effective therapy for treating cancer.
Barbara Burger Prize:
The Barbara J. Burger Prize is awarded to a female Chemistry graduate student in at least her fourth-year with interest in pursuing a career outside of academia.
Chong Sun – Rising sixth year Graduate student in Garnet Chan's group:
Chong received a BS in Chemistry from Peking University, China in July 2015. She joined the Garnet Chan group Princeton University in December 2015, and moved to Caltech in July 2016. Her research is focused on extending Density Matrix Embedding Theory (DMET) to finite temperature, and she has developed the theory as well as the code to calculate 1D and 2D Hubbard model at finite temperature.
CCE Teaching Assistantship Award:
The CCE Teaching Assistant award identifies the best teaching assistants in the division from courses taught in Spring 2019 through Winter 2020
Wendy is a rising fifth year Chemistry graduate student in Greg Fu's lab
Marjorie is a rising third year Chemical Engineering graduate student in Mikhail Shapiro's lab
Bruce is a rising fourth year BioEngineering graduate student in Frances Arnold's lab