Miguel García-Garibay, dean of the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been elected a 2019 fellow of the American Chemical Society.

García-Garibay has earned worldwide recognition in the fields of organic photochemistry, solid-state organic chemistry and physical organic chemistry. He studies the interaction of light and molecules in crystals. Light can have enough energy to break and make bonds in molecules, and his research team has shown that crystals offer an opportunity to control the outcome of these chemical reactions.

His research has applications for green chemistry — the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances — that may lead to the production of specialty chemicals that would be very difficult to produce by traditional methods due to their complex structures. His research group has made advances in the field of artificial molecular machines and amphidynamic crystals, a term García-Garibay invented, referring to crystals built with molecules that have a combination of static and mobile components. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation, among other funding sources.

“I can get a precise picture of the molecules in the crystals, the precise arrangement of atoms, with almost no uncertainty,” García-Garibay said. “This provides a large level of control, which enables us to learn the different principles governing molecular functions at the nanoscale.”

ACS fellows are nominated by their peers and selected for their outstanding accomplishments in scientific research, education and public service. The 2019 fellows will be honored at a ceremony during the ACS national meeting in San Diego on Aug. 26.

UCLA chemistry and biochemistry faculty to be previously elected as ACS fellows are Professors Neil Garg, Kendall Houk, Richard Kaner, Charles Knobler, Arlene Russell, Joan Valentine, Paul Weiss and Herbert Kaesz.