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Segalman and ChemE alumni selected for TR35

Rachel Segalman
Rachel Segalman

September 6, 2007

Chemical engineering professor Rachel Segalman has been recognized by Technology Review magazine as one of the world’s top innovators under age 35. She was chosen for developing a novel way to generate electricity from heat (see previous story).

Technology Review is the oldest technology magazine in the world and a publication of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The 35 innovators on the list were selected from more than 300 nominees as examples of “the spirit of innovation in business, technology and the arts,” according to the magazine.

Segalman, the Charles Wilke Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, aims to create polymers that automatically assemble into a desired structure, such as a flexible plastic sheet that produces energy from sunlight. Although these so-called functional polymers have many uses in the energy field, her main goal is to characterize how these polymers work alone and together—in particular, how changing the chemical structure affects their electronic characteristics.

Two other TR35 winners are Berkeley alumni. They obtained their doctorates working with Jay Keasling, the Hubbard Howe Jr. Distinguished Professor in Biochemical Engineering, who also heads the synthetic biology department at LBNL.

Kristala Jones Prather (Ph.D. ’99 ChemE), an assistant professor of chemical engineering at MIT, was named to the list for developing a promising reverse-engineering strategy for synthesizing commercial molecules biologically.

Neil Renninger, (Ph.D. ’02 ChemE), cofounder and now senior vice president for development of Amyris Biotechnologies, was named for applying synthetic biology to the production of biofuels.

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