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Valerie Welborn

Assistant Professor
421A Davidson Hall

Research Interests

The high subdivision of matter in biological systems results in an abundance of interfaces that govern complex phenomena in ways we do not fully understand. Our work is aimed at developing new models of biological interfaces or biological-like interfaces (such as dye-sensitized devices) to control and exploit their unique properties. Combining morphological, structural, dynamic and electronic factors, we derive new concepts and methodology to study these complex environments by bridging various time and length scales.


  1. "Fluctuations of Electric Fields in the Active Site of the Enzyme Ketosteroid Isomerase" V. Vaissier Welborn and T. Head-Gordon, J. Am. Chem. Soc., DOI:10.1021/jacs.9b05323
  2. "Computational design of synthetic enzymes" V. Vaissier Welborn and T. Head-Gordon, Chem. Rev., 2019, 119, 6613-6630
  3. "Electrostatics Generated by a Supramolecular Capsule Stabilizes the Transition State for Carbon-Carbon Reductive Elimination from Gold(III) Complex" V. Vaissier Welborn and T. Head-Gordon, J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 2018, 9, 3814-3818
  4. "Computational optimization of electric fields for better catalysis design" V. Vaissier Welborn, L. R. Pestana and T. Head-Gordon, Nat. Catal., 2018, 1, 649-655
  5. "The adiabatic approximation in explicit solvent models of redox chemistry" V. Vaissier and T. Van Voorhis, J. Chem. Theory Comput., 12, 5111-5116
  • Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) on Theory and Simulation of Materials (TSM) Ph.D. Prize for Research Excellence, 2014
  • Outstanding Contribution to Outreach and Public Engagement, CDT TSM, 2014
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) fully-funded Ph.D. Fellowship, CDT TSM, 2011
  • Ph.D. Physics, Imperial College London Center for Doctoral Training (CDT) on Theory and Simulation of Materials (TSM), 2014
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2015–2017
  • Postdoctoral Associate, University of California, Berkeley, 2017–2019