Academics & Faculty

Martha Krebs Appointed Director of the California NanoSystems Institute and UCLA Associate Vice Chancellor for Research


Martha Krebs, former assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy, has been named the founding director of the California NanoSystems Institute and UCLA associate vice chancellor for research, Chancellor Albert Carnesale announced today.

Krebs will direct operations of the new Institute, known as CNSI, which will conduct research into the manipulation of structures atom-by-atom to engineer new materials, devices and systems. The wide-ranging research effort holds the potential to dramatically change most aspects of technology. CNSI is a joint enterprise of UCLA and UC Santa Barbara.

"Martha Krebs is a distinguished addition to the leadership team of UCLA's research enterprise," Carnesale said. "The California NanoSystems Institute will benefit enormously from her wide-ranging experience as a scientific administrator in both government and academe."

Krebs, 56, said she is excited about the opportunity to lead CNSI, which was established in December 2000. In the same month, Gov. Gray Davis named the Institute as one of the three research efforts statewide to receive $100 million in state support to help propel the future of the state's economy.

"Bringing the outstanding faculty of UCLA and UCSB together with the tools of the new CNSI facilities will enable prompt interaction with California's companies and strengthen the economy of California and the nation," Krebs said. "I am excited to be part of this important enterprise and to work with the leadership of the two campuses in bringing this vision to life."

The Institute is one of three California Institutes for Science and Innovation, which will play an important role in training a new generation of scientists and engineers.

"The collaborative, cross-disciplinary research vision of the CNSI is exactly what is needed to make progress on the nano-scale frontier," Krebs said. "CNSI's research will allow us to build and examine natural systems atom-by-atom and molecule-by-molecule; it will produce new applications for higher performance materials, new concepts and devices for next generation computers, and molecular level diagnosis and treatment of disease."

Prior to joining UCLA, Krebs worked as a senior fellow at the Institute for Defense Analysis in Alexandria, Va., where she directed studies in research and development management, planning and budgeting since April 2000.

Krebs was an assistant secretary of energy and director of the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy from 1993 to 2000. In that position, she managed a department with an annual budget of $3.1 billion and programs that include chemical sciences, biological and environmental research, and nuclear physics. She also was responsible for the management of the department's non-weapons national laboratories and was the lead program secretarial officer for three federal field centers in Oakland, Calif.; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; and Chicago.

Krebs' career includes 10 years at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory — from 1983 to 1993 — in positions including associate laboratory director, planning and development; and associate laboratory director, planning and assurance.

Krebs was born in Atlantic City, N.J., and grew up in central Pennsylvania near Harrisburg. She received her undergraduate degree in physics from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1966 and her Ph.D. in physics from the same university in 1975.

Krebs is married to Philip E. Coyle III. They have four children and three grandchildren.

CNSI is based on the idea of exploiting the realm of the very, very small to create new methods to build products and solve problems. Nanosystems is science done at the scale of a nanometer — one billionth of a meter or about one ten-thousandth of the thickness of a human hair. Goals of the Institute include creating smaller, faster and more efficient computers and developing medicines that target the molecular errors that cause disease, rather than treating the symptoms of illness.



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