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Faculty Profile: Kateri DuBay

Jan 22, 2015
Faculty Profile: Kateri DuBay

Kateri DuBay is an assistant professor of chemistry. A theoretical chemist by training, she is investigating one of the great challenges in contemporary molecular science: the design of self-assembling nanomaterials that could have application in the fields of solar cell technology, drug delivery and other innovations in environmental sensing and material fabrication. Her research involves environmentally directed nanoscale self-assembly and the ways in which kinetic effects can be harnessed in the processing and formation of advanced materials. Before joining U.Va.’s faculty last fall, DuBay was a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University and a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from UC Berkeley, as well as her M.Phil. from Cambridge University as a Gates Cambridge Scholar and holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.


Hometown: Cary, N.C.


Hobbies: Reading, writing, and making things


Tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to hear.

I am an aspiring picture book author.


Who is your greatest hero, and why?

Well, as a Christian, there's really only one greatest, “capital-H” Hero for me. ... As for “lowercase-h” heroes? There are a gazillion: my parents (all parents, really; having recently joined their ranks, I now realize what a heroic undertaking it is), the Danish resistance workers in 1943, all those who care for a sick relative, particularly the spouses of those suffering from Alzheimer's, and so, so many people who carry great burdens of grief and who still manage to make it through each day. We have so many heroes around us.


Tell us about your most embarrassing moment.

Hmm, I don't have one, actually.  But ask me again in a year. I'm bound to have a proper most embarrassing moment after this year juggling life as a brand new professor and a brand new (and pumping) mother ...


What is the best place you've ever lived or visited, and why?

Two places I've lived have stolen my heart:  Cambridge, UK, and New York City.  Very, very different cities, and yet incredible in much the same way – both have unique and strong identities, both are full of quirky and amazing characters, and both are overflowing with the tangible sense of slightly magical possibilities waiting just around the corner.


Thinking about the role of technology in education, what will the U.Va. learning experience be like in 2030?

I have no idea.  And that's kind of the point.  Try as we might, none of us have any solid idea how technological advances will unfold. But the centrality of teaching students to think creatively and critically had better remain.


Since arriving, what have you most enjoyed most about Charlottesville and U.Va.?

The warm welcome extended to us by the C'ville community.


If money were no object, what else would you like to pursue?

Well, I am far more limited by time. If time were unlimited, I'd like to do an MFA in Children's Literature, write more, learn to paint, sew, & quilt, cook better, spin off a company or two, and go on lots and lots of picnics.


What advice would you give to first-year students?

Go on lots and lots of picnics.

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