BS, University of California - Berkeley, 1977
PhD, Stanford University, 1982
NSF-NATO and NSF-CNRS Postdoctoral Fellow, Universite Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg (1982-83)
Fulbright Specialist, 2009
Alexander von Humboldt and JSPS Senior Fellowships, 2005
Pollack Award, 2003
Izatt-Christensen Award, 2001
Fellow of the AAAS, 1999
ACS Cope Scholar, 1991
Sloan Fellow, 1989
Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, 1988
My group might be considered to be in the business of "Molecular Engineering" in that our research involves the design and construction of molecules carefully tailored so as to accomplish a specific objective. Often these objectives are medically or biologically inspired in that we seek to understand complex biochemical processes through the study of simple, well-characterized "model" compounds or use our knowledge of chemistry to prepare new compounds that we think could find application in the clinic as novel therapeutic or diagnostic agents. On the other hand, as often as not, we simply set out to prepare molecules or assemblies of architectural elegance with interesting chemical, physical, or biological properties. In both cases, however, we try to accomplish our goals through an appropriate combination of design, synthesis, and testing. As a result, the research projects in the group tend to be highly interdisciplinary in nature, involving at times elements of inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, spectroscopy, and synthetic organic chemistry. This helps keep our research activities fresh, focused, and exciting, as does the fact that much of what we do relates to the "real world" of patents, patients, and biotechnology.
The development of new organic batteries — lightweight energy storage devices that provide power much longer than conventional batteries without the need for toxic heavy metals — has a brighter future now that chemists have discovered a new way to pass electrons back and forth between two molecules. University of Texas at Austin chemists Christopher Bielawski and Jonathan Sessler led the research, which is also a necessary step toward creating artificial photosynthesis, where fuel could be generated directly from the sun, much as plants do.