2024 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards


The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of 18 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholars for 2024. These faculty are within the first five years of their academic careers, have each created an outstanding independent body of scholarship, and are deeply committed to education. Each Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar receives an unrestricted research grant of $100,000.

Chibueze Amanchukwu, The University of Chicago
Ion and Molecular Solvation to Control Electrochemical Processes

Raphaële Clément, University of California, Santa Barbara
Solid-State Lithium-Sulfur Batteries

Scott Cushing, California Institute of Technology
Understanding When Quantum Mechanics Controls Macroscopic Devices Using Novel Forms of Light

Joseph Gerdt, Indiana University Bloomington
Uncovering the Chemistry of Microbial Symbioses

Todd Gingrich, Northwestern University
Computational Tools for Stochastic, Far-From-Equilibrium Chemical Kinetics

Kelsey Hatzell, Princeton University
Next Generation Materials for Energy and Climate Applications

Guosong Hong, Stanford University
Deep-Tissue Light Delivery and Imaging Enabled by Chemistry Advances

Xiongyi Huang, Johns Hopkins University
Bringing New Catalytic Functions to Metalloenzymes

Quentin Michaudel, Texas A&M University
Harnessing New Modes of Reactivity for the Precise Synthesis of Polymers with Tailored Properties

Lisa Olshansky, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Emergent Properties from Dynamicity: Investigating Conformational Control in Biomimetic Inorganic Systems

Giulia Palermo, University of California, Riverside
Dynamics and Mechanisms of Genome Editing Systems through the Lens of Computer Simulations

C. Wyatt Shields IV, University of Colorado Boulder
Synthetic and Living Microrobots for Directed Transport in Biomedicine

Junpeng Wang, The University of Akron
Molecular Solutions to Challenges in Materials for a Sustainable Future

Alison Wendlandt, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Selective Catalytic Isomerization Reactions

Sidney Wilkerson-Hill, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Advancements in the Chemistry of Non-stabilized Carbenes – Synthesis of Orphaned Cyclopropanes

Dianne Xiao, University of Washington
Reimagining Porous Materials for a Sustainable Future

Rong Yang, Cornell University
Advancing Polymer Synthesis via Non-covalent Interactions

Michael W. Zuerch, University of California, Berkeley
Symmetry and Beyond: Unveiling the Mysteries of Quantum Materials and Complex Interfaces

Chemistry Shorts Releases New Film on Chirality

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation-sponsored Chemistry ShortsTM series released its newest film, “Cracking Chirality,” which explores how the essential molecules of life, like DNA, RNA, and proteins, acquired their homochiral structures and how magnetic rocks at the bottom of a prebiotic lake may have set the stage for life as we know it.

Chirality is the idea that some molecules come in two mirror-image configurations. Despite having the exact same chemical compositions, their physical structures are different. These left-handed and right-handed molecules can have different properties and functions. Understanding how chiral molecules function differently is essential to chemical synthesis and medicine. But it also holds a curious question about early life: why are the nucleic acids that hold genetic information in all of life right-handed, while the amino acids that they encode left-handed?

In “Cracking Chirality,” two Harvard University scientists, Dimitar Sasselov and S. Furkan Ozturk, present their exciting new findings: magnetized molecules found at the bottom of lakes on the primordial Earth may be the key to how important biological molecules crystallized and grew, tipping the scales from a 50-50 mixture of molecules to homochiral solutions made up of just one or the other. Their simple experimental setups, growing crystals on tiny magnetized plates, help provide a solution to an essential question about life itself that has plagued scientists for decades.

“Cracking Chirality” is targeted towards high school and college students, and can be used as a starting point for discussions around the chemical origins of life, molecular chirality, electron spin, magnetism, and more. A full lesson plan with an experiment to accompany the film is available on the Chemistry Shorts website.

The Chemistry Shorts series spotlights the positive impact of chemistry on modern life as scientists work to solve important problems and create new opportunities that benefit humanity. See all of the films and lesson plans in this series at chemistryshorts.org and keep updated on new films and resources by following Chemistry Shorts on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

The Chemistry Shorts series is funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Dreyfus Foundation 2023 Year in Review

We invite you to read the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation 2023 Year in Review, which is now available online.

The nine-page publication spotlights the Foundation’s major accomplishments in 2023 and looks ahead to 2024. Last year, the Foundation conferred many notable awards, including the 2023 Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences. The Foundation also conceived and sponsored the production and release of new short films from the Chemistry Shorts program – “Driving Reactions” and “Frosty Formulations” – with additional films under development for release this year. The Year in Review also details the upcoming 2024 Dreyfus/ACS Symposium on Imaging in the Chemical Sciences.

Read the entire report by clicking here or on the cover image below.


Dreyfus/ACS Symposium on Imaging in the Chemical Sciences


The Dreyfus Foundation has organized an American Chemical Society (ACS) Symposium on Imaging in the Chemical Sciences – the topic of the 2023 Dreyfus Prize – which will be held at the spring national meeting of the ACS in New Orleans on Monday, March 18, 2024. The symposium is open to all attendees of the spring ACS meeting.

The distinguished speakers are Paul Weiss (University of California, Los Angeles), Naomi Ginsberg (University of California, Berkeley), Wilson Ho (University of California, Irvine), Dorit Hanein (University of California, Santa Barbara), Christopher Chang (University of California, Berkeley), and Xiaowei Zhuang (Harvard University, HHMI), the winner of the 2023 Dreyfus Prize conferred in Imaging in the Chemical Sciences.

The anticipated agenda is provided below. A reception will follow. For up-to-date information, including how to attend, please visit the ACS meeting website.


Dreyfus Foundation ACS Symposium on Imaging in the Chemical Sciences
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 244


Note: All times shown are Central.

10:00 am: Morning Welcome
H. Scott Walter, Dreyfus Foundation President
Matthew V. Tirrell, The University of Chicago, Dreyfus Foundation Chair, Scientific Affairs Committee and Senior Scientific Advisor

10:20 am: Paul Weiss, University of California, Los Angeles
Nanoscale Chemical Imaging






10:55 am: Naomi Ginsberg, University of California, Berkeley
Imaging Nanoscale Electronic, Thermal, and Ionic Energy Transduction and Transport in Emerging Functional Materials






11:30 am: Wilson Ho, University of California, Irvine
The Quantum Superposition Microscope





2:00 pm: Afternoon Welcome
Milan Mrksich, Northwestern University, Dreyfus Foundation Board Member

2:05 pm: Dorit Hanein, University of California, Santa Barbara
Nanometer Scale Dissection of Cellular Processes – A Multiscale Imaging Journey from Live Cells to Cellular Cryogenic Tomography





2:40 pm: Christopher Chang, University of California, Berkeley
Activity-Based Sensing: Leveraging Chemical Reactivity for Selective Bioimagings





3:15 pm: Xiaowei Zhuang, Harvard University, HHMI
Winner of the 2023 Dreyfus Prize conferred in Imaging in the Chemical Sciences
Spatially Resolved Single-Cell Genomics and Cell Atlas of the Brain





3:50 pm: Closing Remarks
H. Scott Walter
Matthew V. Tirrell
Milan Mrksich

Please reach out to [email protected] with any questions.

2024 Leadership Developments and Staff Promotions

As we look ahead to 2024, we celebrate leadership developments and staff promotions.

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation is pleased to announce advancements among our devoted staff. We celebrate and thank our team for their exceptional service, and eagerly anticipate a bright future for the Foundation.

Pictured at the 2023 Dreyfus Prize Award ceremony held at Harvard University: Retiring Executive Director Dr. Scott A. Siegel, Senior Program Manager Ali Chunovic, Administrative Assistant Chloe Rickert, and Managing Director Gerard Brandenstein

Matthew V. Tirrell, Ph.D.
Senior Scientific Advisor

On January 1, 2024, Dr. Matthew V. Tirrell joins the staff as Senior Scientific Advisor, a newly established part-time advisory role at the Foundation. “Matt’s extensive history with our organization, from grant recipient to Director and Chair of the Scientific Affairs Committee, and his deep commitment to our mission, make him the perfect fit for this vital advisory role,” says H. Scott Walter, Foundation President. Dr. Tirrell will oversee the Foundation’s scientific grant programs and grant reviews, and play a key role in advisor/reviewer selection. Dr. Tirrell’s history with the Foundation began when he received a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award in 1980 for his project “Polymer Dynamics and Polymerization Reactor Engineering.” In 2002, Dr. Tirrell became an advisor to the Board; and in 2012, he was appointed to the Board. In 2016, Dr. Tirrell took on a leadership role on the Board as Chair of the Scientific Affairs Committee. Dr. Tirrell has an extensive and impressive resume outside of his work with the Foundation. Among his accomplishments, he is the D. Gale Johnson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he served as the founding dean of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering from 2011 until 2023. Dr. Tirrell has also served as Deputy Laboratory Director for Science at Argonne National Laboratory from September 2015 to April 2018 and again June 2022 to September 2023. From 2009-2011, he was Professor and Chair of Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Tirrell was Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara from 1999-2009. From 1977-1999, he was on the faculty of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota, where he served as Head from 1995-1999. Dr. Tirrell earned his Bachelor of Science at Northwestern University and his Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Massachusetts.

Scott A. Siegel, Ph.D.
Retiring Executive Director

The Foundation’s Executive Director, Dr. Scott A. Siegel, retires at the end of 2023, after serving the Foundation for the past 3 years. President Walter emphasizes that “Scott has been an impactful leader who has made significant contributions to the Foundation during his tenure. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for his dedication, vision, and unflagging efforts in advancing our mission.” Dr. Siegel previously spent more than 35 years as a scientific and business leader in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector, working in companies ranging from start-up to large multinational, before turning his attention to the non-profit sector. He also served in several academic teaching roles. Dr. Siegel’s earlier research career is highlighted by his co-invention of Remicade®, a breakthrough anti-TNF therapeutic that has transformed the lives of millions of patients. Dr. Siegel earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from SUNY Downstate Medical Center and completed postdoctoral studies in Pharmacology at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Dr. Siegel has been working closely with the team to ensure a seamless transition of leadership responsibilities. Our best wishes go with him.

Gerard Brandenstein
Managing Director

With over 30 years of dedicated service to the Foundation, Gerard Brandenstein steps into the role of Managing Director effective January 1, 2024. “Gerry’s steadfast commitment to our mission and values has been evident throughout his tenure,” says President Walter. “In his role as Associate Director, Gerry adeptly managed our operational, financial, events, and administrative functions. His passion for our mission, leadership acumen, and strategic vision make him the ideal candidate to guide us into the next chapter of the Foundation’s work.” Mr. Brandenstein is also a member of Touro University’s Institutional Review Board. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Stony Brook University, an M.B.A. from Dowling College, and a master’s degree from New York University. He has continued his post-graduate education with studies at Harvard Business School and Cornell Law School.

Ali Chunovic
Senior Program Manager

Ali Chunovic is promoted to Senior Program Manager effective January 1, 2024. Ms. Chunovic oversees the Foundation’s core grantmaking activities and communications efforts, shaping and leading these pivotal areas. President Walter underscores that “Ali’s unwavering dedication to the Foundation has already yielded positive change during her time here.” Ms. Chunovic joined the Foundation in 2022 having served formerly as Program Associate, Science & the Arts, for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and Public Affairs Associate at The Dana Foundation. Ms. Chunovic earned her bachelor’s degree at Boston University.