Anastassia Alexandrova, an associate professor in UCLA’s department of chemistry and biochemistry and a member of UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute, has been honored by the American Chemical Society (ACS) with a 2016 Rising Star Award, which recognizes exceptional women chemists on a national level. She presented her scientific research on multiscale modeling in materials chemistry at a symposium sponsored by the Women Chemists Committee of the ACS during the national meeting in San Diego in mid-March.

Alexandrova’s laboratory at UCLA also works on the applied theory of chemical bonding, focusing on heterogeneous catalytic interfaces decorated with small clusters of transition metals. She and her research team design new catalysts of this kind, building up from detailed understanding of their electronic structure, to the shapes, stability and catalytic properties. 

Alexandrova and her colleagues are interested in both pure chemistry — how, for example, an enzyme that contains a metal atom catalyzes a chemical reaction at the atomic level — and applied chemistry.

“We are interested in the choices that nature makes for certain metals to play a catalytic role in different enzymes,” Alexandrova said.

Earlier this year, Alexandrova was awarded a 2016-2017 J. William Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant. She will use the grant to conduct research in the chemistry laboratory of the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Lyon, France. Her research project will focus on computational catalysis.