Berkeley Lab Highlights


With a physicist father at MIT and a mathematician sister at Duke, Carolyn Bertozzi decided to make her mark in the West. An A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard, a doctorate from UC Berkeley, and a postdoctoral fellowship at UC San Francisco preceded her appointments to UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab in 1996. Last year the MacArthur Foundation named her a Fellowójust one among numerous recognitions of her skills as an organic chemist working at the frontier of materials and biology.



omfortable as they are, today's soft contact lenses are still foreign objects that can starve the eye of oxygen, dry it out, and harbor disease organisms. If the cornea and the contact lens are ever going to coexist, biomimetic materials may be essential - artificial creations that mimic the remarkable things made by nature.

"Think of wood, soft and light but able to form flexible structures up to hundreds of feet high," suggests Carolyn Bertozzi, a member of the Lab's Materials Sciences and Physical Biosciences divisions and an associate professor of chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. "Or think of cartilage, which creates low-friction, shock-absorbing interfaces between hard and soft parts of the body. Or mucin, stuff that lubricates membranes and resists microbes at the same time. If we apply principles of chemistry and engineering to biological inspirations, we can design new materials rationally, instead of by trial and error."

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