LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) – Utah State University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is excited to announce Dale Christensen as its senior Alumni Achievement award recipient and Anastassia Alexandrova as its junior Alumni Achievement award recipient.

“We are excited and proud to recognize these two exceptional Aggies,” Department Head Lance Seefeldt says. “Following a new awards format we initiated in 2020, we name a senior award recipient, recognizing an individual who is completing a long and distinguished career, as well as a junior award recipient, who is an emerging leader in our field, each year.”

The duo will be formally recognized during the Chemistry and Biochemistry Spring 2022 department seminars. Christensen will be individually honored on April 6, while Alexandrova will have the limelight on April 20.

Christensen, who received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 1987, has established a successful career in drug design and discovery as a contributing scientist, leader, and founder of numerous drug companies, as stated by Utah State University (USU).

The chem. expert first made up his mind to become an Aggie when he visited his brother at USU when he was ten years old.

“I never wanted or even applied to another school,” he says. “I felt at home in Cache Valley.”

Christensen enrolled in USU after graduating from Taylorsville High School in 1983. He immediately took to late professor Richard Olsen, who became an influential mentor to the undergrad student.

“Dr. Olsen put me on the career path to getting my Ph.D. in organic chemistry,” Christensen says.

Alexandrova, who received her Ph.D. in 2005, has worked her way up to becoming a professor and vice-chair member for undergraduate education in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California in Los Angeles.

The theoretical chemist earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry in her homeland, Russia, before moving overseas to the U.S. in 2001 to pursue doctoral studies at USU, which she notes as her first major career milestone.

“I benefited tremendously from a small research group I was part of, where I could talk with my adviser, Professor Alex Boldyrev, on a nearly daily basis,” she says. “I got to see how he thinks; following him, I learned to trust my scientific intuition, to go after the problem until we beat it to the ground, to argue with a forceful scientific opponent.”

According to USU, Boldyrev can be credited with inspiring her to publish her works, attend scientific meetings, network, and “kept my mind open.”

“He gave me an excellent start,” Alexandrova says. “Alex is an incredible mentor, scientist, and citizen of the world. His research is top class and his group is well taken care of, at the level that can make any student in any university jealous.”

To learn more about the award recipients, click here.