L’Oréal fellow Lilia Xie expresses herself through materials chemistry

2021 L’Oréal For Women in Science fellow Lilia Xie discusses her research on new materials. (Video courtesy of L’Oréal USA)

Lilia Xie, a UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow, finds she is able to express her individuality as much through materials chemistry as through her flute.

“Once you master the basics, you can start asking the question, ‘How can I change this to make it more interesting?’” she said. “As a materials chemist, I am trying to discover something that can improve the electronics of the future. It’s … really fun to be surprised constantly by chemistry, by what these materials do.”

In recognition of her research and her support of female scientists, she was awarded this week one of five 2021 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowships. Each fellow receives a $60,000 grant to advance her research.

“It’s a huge honor to receive this recognition, and I’m so grateful to have this support from L’Oréal to delve deeper into my work in the lab,” said Xie, who conducted her doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before coming to Berkeley this year. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the many incredible women who have been my role models and mentors. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to pay it forward and inspire the next generation of women in science.”

Xie exemplifies the academic excellence, research potential and dedication to supporting women scientists that L’Oréal seeks to encourage through its annual award.

“As a company deeply rooted in science, L’Oréal proudly recognizes and supports our 2021 For Women in Science Fellows who are pioneering research in their fields and serving as role models for the next generation of scientists,” said Stéphane Rinderknech, president and CEO of L’Oréal USA. “As the world has become increasingly aware of the importance of science in securing our collective future, we are more committed than ever to supporting women in science throughout the many stages of their career journeys.”

Xie, who currently conducts research in materials chemistry in the College of Chemistry lab of Kwabena Bediako, focuses on creating new two-dimensional materials and studying their magnetic and electronic properties at the atomic level to enable next-generation technologies for processing and storing information more efficiently.

Physicist Brooke Russell, a postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley Lab, was also named a 2021 fellow.

Postdoctoral researcher Lilia Xie awarded L'Oreal Fellowship