Bakar Fellows Program seeks early-career faculty pursuing innovative research

Ana Claudia Arias

Ana Claudia Arias has developed a technology to print lightweight electronic circuits and devices onto thin films. (Peg Skorpinski photo)

Ana Claudia Arias is working on new, customized hardware to allow better MRI technology. The new device she is developing is already being tested in a clinical setting at UC San Francisco and Stanford Children’s Hospital.

John Dueber is creating a sustainable indigo dyeing process. The novel technology has the potential to transform the dyeing of jeans and other textiles, currently a polluting industry with most of its manufacturing located outside of the United States, into a “green” industry.

Shawn Shadden integrates diagnostic imaging with computational modeling to better diagnose stroke severity in patients. Laura Waller is working on computational imaging methods for quantitative phase microscopy. And Andreas Martin has developed novel systems and strategies to screen for compounds that selectively inhibit protein turnover in the cell and may lead to new drugs against cancer.

All five are early career faculty at UC Berkeley — and, they have one more thing in common. They are all part of the Bakar Fellows Program, a unique UC Berkeley initiative that exists to support the kind of innovative research these scientists are conducting, with a focus on projects that hold commercial promise.

John Dueber

John Dueber (right) and bioengineering graduate student Zach Russ examine a culture of indigo-producing E. coli bacteria. (Peg Skorpinski photo)

The Bakar program, now entering its fourth year, is inviting applications from other early career professors interested in such work for its 2015-16 cohort, Vice Chancellor for Research Graham Fleming announced last week. Each of the new faculty awards will provide discretionary research support of $75,000 per year for a maximum of five years.

The program supports research that could translate important scientific discoveries into practical solutions in the fields of engineering, computer science, chemistry, biological sciences, physical sciences and in multidisciplinary work in these areas, Fleming wrote in a CalMessage.

The Bakar Fellows Program already supports three cohorts. Each cohort consists of faculty working in areas with a high likelihood of contributing to California’s economy, according to Fleming.

The five faculty whose work is briefly outlined above were those selected in 2014, and their projects are already showing progress. A full profile of Ana Claudia Arias and her work can be viewed on the Bakar Fellows website.

Additional profiles will be featured on the UC Berkeley NewsCenter and on the Bakar Fellows website over the next four weeks.

Information about the program, the fellows and details of the application process and requirements is posted on the Bakar Fellows Program website. Applications for the new cohort of fellows are due Sunday, March 29, 2015.