Dear Molecular Foundry Community,
As 2020 is drawing to a close and we look back upon an unprecedented year we reflect on all that has changed. For the Molecular Foundry: in addition to being a year of challenges, this year also brought a number of impressive accomplishments and new opportunities for progress and growth.
The Foundry supported over 800 users in FY2020 and produced over 350 publications, 30% of which were in high impact journals. These are really impressive numbers given the difficulties presented by the pandemic. It speaks to the hard work and commitment from our outstanding scientific, technical, and operations staff. I am very proud of the team we have – both the veterans and the newer additions – and am impressed by their dedication to our mission and willingness to go above and beyond on a daily basis.
Speaking of new faces, we have some recent additions to our staff. We welcomed Carolin Sutter-Fella, a new staff scientist in the Inorganic facility, earlier this month. She brings a unique cross-cutting expertise in hybrid inorganic-organic materials. We also welcomed Tasha Molchanova, now a member of our technical staff, to the Biological facility earlier in the summer.
We are happy to have both of these talented researchers on our team, and are also pleased to announce that the Biological facility is now recruiting a staff scientist who will be jointly appointed to the Joint Genome Institute. I welcome you to spread the word about this exciting opportunity!
Adding diverse talent to the ranks of our staff allows us to constantly evolve and serve our dynamic user facility mission of providing access to world-leading expertise and tools for nanoscience research. We are quite proud of our user program model that democratizes science, and are excited to share that it was recently recognized internationally. The Foundry was named a winner by the Falling Walls conference, part of Berlin Science Week, in the Science and Innovation Management category.
We also were recognized for our researchers’ innovations by winning two R&D 100 awards: one for Matter-Wave Modulating Secure Quantum Communicator (MMQ-Com) technology and the other for Porous Graphitic Frameworks for Sustainable High-Performance Li-Ion Batteries.
Sharing our science and how we do research is an important activity, not only for growing our user community, but also to help the public connect with the work we are doing and understand how we are working to bring science solutions to the world. This fall, for National Nanotechnology Day (October 9, or 10-9), the Foundry’s communications team challenged me to explain nanoscience to four students of different education levels in this video. Also, staff scientist Ricardo Ruiz and the Foundry communications team, Laurie Chong and Clarissa Bhargava, joined Berkeley Lab’s K-12 education team in a Live Science event focused on nanoscience. The event was recorded in case you missed it.
I am extremely proud of what we have all accomplished together and look forward to next year.
While there are still many challenges ahead, I feel optimistic that we will be able to move forward together and continue to advance our unique contributions to science and to society. The Foundry will continue to explore methods to facilitate research needs while minimizing risks of COVID-19 transmission and keeping everyone as safe as possible. The Foundry User Community has demonstrated considerable resilience and compliance with new safety requirements (described on our website and Berkeley Lab’s website). We appreciate your patience and cooperation.
We will continue to keep lines of communication open as we chart our path in the ‘new normal’. One great way to get involved is through our User Executive Committee (UEC) that serves as the collective voice of the community. Elections for new members are coming up and I encourage everyone’s participation.