Paul Weiss to Step Down as Director of the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI)

February 25, 2014

UCLA Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

To Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, Administrative Officers, and the CNSI

Dear Colleagues:

Over the past five years, Paul Weiss has bought exceptional energy and insight to his role as director of the UCLA California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), establishing it as one of the world’s preeminent centers for nanoscience. On June 30, 2014, Dr. Weiss will step down as director and return to the faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry full time as a distinguished professor.

Dr. Weiss and his students explore the ultimate limits of miniaturization, studying the world’s smallest switches and motors. Their work has led to the development of new tools and methods to combine lithography and patterning from the single-molecule subnanometer scale to the centimeter scale. They also have developed new microscopies and imaging methods to measure structure, function and spectra simultaneously, with atomic resolution. They have recently applied these tools to biomolecules, to relate variations in function to variations in structure, conformation, environment and other factors, and to develop nanoscale measurements of brain function.

One of the world’s leading nanoscientists, Dr. Weiss has published more than 300 papers and patents, and has given more than 500 invited, plenary, keynote and named lectures. In 2007, he founded ACS Nano, one of the top two journals in the field.

Dr. Weiss has developed strong new cooperative projects among the physical and life sciences, engineering and medicine, and he has forged connections to other UC campuses, private industry, nonprofit foundations and the city of Los Angeles. He has expanded entrepreneurship and the Technology Incubator at CNSI, and he has established collaborations and exchange programs for CNSI with leading institutions worldwide. His vision for CNSI and deep understanding of its strengths helped guide the Institute to where it is today. CNSI is a key element in the intellectual life of UCLA and an exemplar of how universities can position themselves to address significant multidisciplinary scientific and technical challenges.

Prior to joining UCLA in 2009, Dr. Weiss served as distinguished professor of chemistry and physics at Pennsylvania State University. Since his arrival at UCLA, he led the creation and funding of two additional centers, one in imaging science and another in biofilms, which will remain under his direction. A leading international figure in the merger of nanoscience and neuroscience, he was one of the architects of the BRAIN Initiative and was part of the UCLA delegation led by Chancellor Gene Block that attended President Obama’s White House announcement of a federal effort to fund research to better understand the structure and function of the human brain.

Please join me in wishing Dr. Weiss all the best in his new endeavors and thanking him for his meaningful contributions to CNSI and UCLA.

We are beginning a process to establish a strategy for the continued development of CNSI. This process will include consultation with both UCLA faculty and experts from other institutions about how to maintain and deepen CNSI’s vibrant contributions to nanoscience and keep it at the forefront of nanoscience institutions.


Scott L. Waugh
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost