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Michelle Chang wins Agilent Early Career Professor Award

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Michelle Chang
Assitant Professor Michelle Chang.

May 6, 2010

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Michelle Chang has won the Agilent Technologies second annual Agilent Early Career Professor Award. The prize provides an unrestricted research award of $50,000 per year for two years to the Berkeley chemistry department in Professor Chang's name.

The Agilent Early Career Professor Award, under the auspices of Agilent's University Relations group, is awarded annually to promote and encourage excellence in measurement research. It seeks to establish strong collaborative relationships between Agilent researchers and leading professors early in their careers, as well as to underscore Agilent's role as a sponsor of university research.

This year’s award focused on the field of Systems Biology. Chang, who joined the chemistry faculty in 2007, was among five finalists and many excellent candidates whose research builds on understanding and relating the different views of biological systems, while contributing to the understanding of life.

Says Chang, “My group and I are extremely grateful to Agilent for their generosity and continual support of academic research. This award will let us push our research forward with new instrumentation and we are definitely looking forward to working with their research team in future projects.”

Agilent picked Chang because she is “making fundamental contributions in the areas of chemistry, molecular and cell biology, and bioengineering. Chang brings a deep knowledge of chemistry, enzymology, reaction mechanisms and microbial synthesis pathways to the challenge of engineering microbes to produce useful chemicals.”

In her thesis work at MIT, Chang applied a novel measurement approach to elucidate the action mechanism of ribonucleotide reductase and brought new understanding to the study of so-called proton coupled electron tunneling reactions. Her advisor, Joanne Stubbe, described this highly cited work as a “tour de force.”

In her postdoctoral work with ChemE professor Jay Keasling at UC Berkeley, she worked on the production of an antimalarial drug using metabolic engineering and was successful in a short period of time.

Chang has also focused on combining metabolic engineering, chemistry, and biochemistry to make novel therapeutic molecules and biofuels.

More Information

More details are available on the Agilent University Relations website at

Chang Research Group website

Michelle Chang Departmental webpage

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