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Michelle Chang wins New Faculty Award

Michelle Chang
Michelle Chang

September 7, 2007

Michelle Chang, the chemistry department’s newest assistant professor, has won a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation New Faculty Award. Designed to help initiate an independent research program, the award provides a new professor with an unrestricted research grant of $50,000.

Chang comes to the department from the lab of chemical engineering professor Jay Keasling, where she was a postdoc from 2004-07. Chang co-authored several of the group’s papers on using engineered bacteria to produce a class of compounds that includes the anti-malaria drug artemisinin and anticancer drug taxol.

Born in San Diego, CA, Chang obtained a B.S. in biochemistry and a B.A. in French literature in 1997 at UC San Diego. In 2004, she earned her Ph.D. at MIT with Daniel Nocera and JoAnne Stubbe (Ph.D.’71 Chem), with whom she studied ribonucleotide reductase, an enzyme essential for DNA synthesis.

Chang’s interest in pharmaceuticals embraces organofluorine chemistry, the source of many important drugs, including Prozac, Lipitor and Cipro. Chang will be part of the Berkeley/LBNL Energy Biosciences Institute, where she will help develop bacteria to convert biomass to fuels.

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation was established in 1946 by chemist, inventor and businessman Camille Dreyfus as a memorial to his brother Henry, also a chemist and his partner in developing the first commercially successful system of cellulose acetate fiber production.

Previous winners of the award in the chemistry department include Matt Francis (2001), Dean Toste (2002), and Chris Chang (2004).

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