Rebecca Abergel

Rebecca Abergel

Assistant Professor
Dept of Nuclear Engineering
Research Expertise and Interest
Heavy element coordination and biological chemistry for new decontamination, separation, and radiotherapeutic strategies
Research Description

Rebecca Abergel is an assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at UC Berkeley.  Her research group, the BioActinide Chemistry Group, is a part of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Chemical Sciences Division. 

The multidisciplinary research undergone in the group is at the interface of coordination chemistry, analytical chemistry, photophysics, biological chemistry, health physics, pharmacology, and molecular and cellular biology. We study the effects of heavy element exposure and contamination on different biological systems in addition to the coordination chemistry and metabolic properties of lanthanide and actinide complexes formed with synthetic and biological ligands. Our goals are to gain a better understanding of the biological coordination chemistry and toxicity mechanisms of the f-elements and to develop specific strategies for decontamination, remediation, and separation. Other applications include the development of new antimicrobial strategies that target metal­acquisition systems and the design of advanced alpha-immuno therapeutic and diagnostic agents.

In the News

September 12, 2019

A Single Dose for Good Measure: How an Anti-Nuclear-Contamination Pill Could Also Help MRI Patients

When chemist Rebecca Abergel and her team at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) successfully developed an anti-radiation-poisoning pill in 2014, they hoped it would never have to be used. Designed to remove radioactive contaminants from the body in the event of something horrible, like a nuclear reactor meltdown or, even worse, a nuclear attack, the pill may also double as an anti-gadolinium-toxicity pill for MRI patients injected with commonly used contrast dye.