By: Shreyoshi Chakraborti
Markita del Carpio Landry is a Bolivian-American chemist and an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on nanomaterials for brain imaging and the development of sustainable corps. She was the recipient at the 2022 Vivek prize for creative promise. Del Carpio Landry’s work had been featured on NPR, Popular Mechanics, and the San Francisco Chronicle and the C&E news.
Markita del Carpio Landry was born in Quebec, Canada, to a Bolivian mother and French-Canadian father. She grew up a dual citizen of Bolivia and Canada, and when she was 14, her family immigrated to the United States. The challenge of being thrust into a new school while learning English bolstered del Carpio Landry’s love of science mathematics, she said: “The classes made sense independent of language and set my path as a career scientist.”
Del Carpio Landry earned her bachelor’s at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and went on to pursue her PhD at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. A physicist by training, she pursued postdoctoral work in nanotechnology and spectroscopy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to build a comprehensive set of skills which she would go on to apply in her expansive research.
In 2016, del Carpio Landry earned her tenure track appointment at University of California Berkeley. Fascinated by the brain, del Carpio Landry’s work centers on understanding aberrations in neurotransmitter signaling- a fundamental component in psychiatric disorders such as depression, and schizophrenia, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzeimer’s disease. Merging single molecule biophysics and nanomaterials, del Carpio Landry has developed probes to visualize neurochemical communication at the molecular level; her research has yielded insights into the range of neurotransmitter “communication styles” and their responses to stimuli with implications on the variable effectiveness of psychiatric drugs.
As a passionate mentor del Carpio Landry is passionate about empowering the next generation of scientific leaders. “I am motivated by the knowledge that my presence in STEM sets an example for others from immigrant and non-traditional backgrounds,” she says. “While it is rewarding to produce good science, my greatest impact will come from producing great scientists.”