Dear Molecular Foundry Community,
It is a pleasure to write to you as the recently appointed interim director of the Molecular Foundry. I am honored to be leading this world-leading user facility and to have the opportunity to advocate for such an impressive group of individuals, across our scientific, technical and operational staff and our international user community. The Molecular Foundry has been my professional home for over a decade and defined my scientific career in many positive ways. I am extremely grateful to Jeff Neaton for convincing me to consider this alternative career path more than a decade ago, when I joined the Theory Facility. I also want to thank Jeff for his stewardship as director. His legacy of collaboration, creativity and integrity is something that I aim to live up to.
I’d like to thank the Molecular Foundry’s User Executive Committee (UEC), and in particular the organizing committee (Francesca Toma, Gregory Su and Keiko Munechika) for putting together such a stimulating agenda. I was particularly inspired by the quality and diversity of the research presented throughout the two days, but was most impressed with the energy and engagement of the community, which will inevitably lead to new ideas and growing collaborations between staff and users.
Along those lines, we have some new faces at the Foundry that I’d like to introduce to you. Dr. Corie Ralston joined the Biological Nanostructures Facility as Interim Director earlier this summer and will handle line management for the facility. Corie is a staff scientist, division deputy in Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) division, and current Head of the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology at the ALS. Corie is a biophysicist with a track record of outstanding research in X-ray studies of proteins, including the advancement of an X-ray footprinting technique for studies of nanoscale protein dynamics; and she is an accomplished leader and will add new strong connections to MBIB, the Biosciences Area, and the ALS.
Dr. Archana Raja joined the Imaging Facility earlier this month as a new staff scientist. She won the highly competitive early career Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) award, which supports early career researchers already at Berkeley Lab. Archana has expertise studying and manipulating the optical and electronic properties of hybrid nanomaterial assemblies and their interfaces. In addition, Dr. Ricardo Ruiz is starting in the Nanofabrication Facility in November as a new staff scientist. He is coming to us from Western Digital Corporation and has expertise in diblock copolymer self-assembly for wafer-scale patterning. Both are creative multidisciplinary scientists who bring unique expertise to our community and will add exciting new directions to our scientific portfolio.
Our recently compiled Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Plan is now available on our website. This plan outlines the DEI values and measurable goals for the Molecular Foundry and proposes activities and policies to achieve them. This was a significant collaborative effort, collecting input from across the Foundry and institutions at Berkeley Lab, such as IDEA.
Finally, I’d like to remind you of the upcoming user proposal call that opens next week with a deadline of October 3. Building off of what you heard at the AUM, I hope you’ll think of new and exciting ways to engage with the Foundry, especially taking advantage our new staff members who add new expertise and capabilities to our already outstanding group of PIs and technical staff. I look forward to seeing these ideas and working with you in the future.