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Celebrating a decade of interdisciplinary and innovative research to advance human health

The 10-Year Sarafan ChEM-H Symposium featured opening remarks from Carolyn Bertozzi, keynote address by David Baker, research talks from the community, and more.

The Sarafan ChEM-H Symposium marked a decade of pioneering interdisciplinary human health research and fostering a diverse community of exceptional scientific innovators. This milestone event brought together more than 300 attendees, including our core and affiliated faculty members, students, postdoctoral researchers, staff members, and our extended community. 

“We are creating a hub of innovation that brings the power of diversity to bear on the most important and challenging problems in human health. Diversity is the word that describes our superpower as an institution,” said Baker Family Director and Nobel laureate Carolyn Bertozzi who kicked off the event by reflecting on our institute’s young history and accomplishments, groundbreaking research contributions, the diverse and brilliant community of researchers, future directions, and more. Her opening remarks further emphasized how ChEM-H aims to engender diversity across two axes to advance human health: diversity of disciplines by bringing together life sciences, physical sciences, clinical sciences, and engineering; and diversity of people by bringing together the ideas and brain power of scientists with different backgrounds in their training, life experiences, geographical origins, and self-identities.

Bertozzi envisions the institute's future will be dedicated to closing the gap between scientific discovery and patient care:

“We spent a lot of time in our first decade fleshing out the faculty and trainees that could bring chemistry, engineering, and medicine together, and now in the next decade, we’re going to be really focusing on how we move the needle in the H part, which is the human health. In other words, how can we focus on strengthening the bridges between our institute and physicians as well as doctors and their patients and bring them into the virtuous cycle of discovery and intervention.”

The day-long event had an impressive line-up of talks starting with a keynote address from renowned biochemist David Baker, University of Washington, followed by research highlights from Institute Scholars Polly Fordyce, Lingyin Li, Hawa Racine Thiam, Nicole Martinez, and Peter Kim, and lightning talks by postdoctoral researchers Melissa Gray (Banik Lab), Roman Sarott (Gray Lab), and Uche Medoh (Abu-Remaileh Lab). It also featured talks from alumni Erin Chen, MIT, and Andrew Yang, UCSF, as well as poster presentations by Sarafan ChEM-H students and postdocs.

“What an incredible day of science!  I am so energized - I think the future of Sarafan ChEM-H is pretty bright,” said Institute Scholar and Event Committee Chair Christine Jacobs-Wagner who concluded the Symposium with poster prize announcements and closing remarks. She expressed her appreciation for the community of amazing researchers, faculty, students, and staff who make Sarafan ChEM-H a special place to do “creative and collaborative science.”