Jacob Berenbeim

Graduate student researcher Jacob Berenbeim
Graduate Student

Office Location

CHEM 4120


The Interface of Chemistry, Art & Archaeology

Origin of Life


I am in my 5th Ph.D. year at UC Santa Barbara.

My research primarily involves elucidating photo-relaxation mechanisms of culturally relevant organic pigments by investigating them isolated and cold in the gas phase. What's very interesting is that the relaxation mechanisms in pigments are the same as those studied in the UV-absorbing nucleobases!

I've been making exciting progress in building a picosecond pump probe laser system to expand our understanding of relaxation dynamics into the shorter time regime.

I'm currently working on publishing my work (bellow) towards my dissertation and am an assistant in the Mass Spec facility this summer before graduating UCSB.


•    Molecular Mechanics of the Photostability of Natural Red Anthraquinone Dyes (manuscript in progress)

•    Studied near-the-well excited state dynamics of isolated nucleobases in the nano- and pico-second time regimes. Specifically, pyrimidines cytosine, and isocytocine, and the purine 6-thioguanine.

•    Joint project with the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) to develop unambiguous organic pigment identification method for cultural heritage science.

•    Joint project with Santa Barbara based Anasys Instruments which led to a publication in AFM proximal probe desorption as a mass transport tool with sub-micron spatial resolution. Paper accepted.

•    Joint project with the UC Santa Barbara Anthropology department in analyzing ancient pottery sherds for bio markers indicative of past usage. Paper accepted.


1. Berenbeim, J.A., Owens, S., Schmidt Patterson, C.M., de Vries, M.S., “Molecular Mechanisms of the Photostability of Common Madder Chromophores Alizarin and Purpurin and Hydroxy-Substituted Anthraquinones” Manuscript in Preparation

2. Berenbeim,  J.A.,  Siouri,  F.,  Boldissar,  S.,  Gate,  G.,  Haggmark,  M.,  Aboulache,  B.,  Cohen,  T.,  de  Vries,  M.S.,“Excited  State  Dynamics  of  Isocytosine;  a  Hybrid  Case  of  Canonical  Nucleobase  Photodynamics” Manuscript Submitted

3.   Siouri,  F.,  Boldissar,  S.,  Berenbeim,  J.A.,  de  Vries,  M.S.,  “Excited  State  Dynamics  of  6-Thioguanine” J.  Phys.  Chem. 2017.

4.   Owens, S., Berenbeim, J.A., Ligare, M., Gulian, L.,    Siouri, F., Boldissar, S., Tyson-Smith, S., Wilson, G., Ford, A.,De Vries, M.S., “Direct Analysis of Xanthine Stimulants in Archaeological Vessels by laser desorption REMPI” Anal. Chem. 2017.

5.   Owens, S. C., Berenbeim, J. A., Patterson, C. S., Dillon, E. P., de Vries, M.S., “Sub-Micron Proximal Probe Thermal Desorption and Laser Mass Spectrometry on Painting Cross-Sections.” Anal. Methods, 2014

6.   Burgard, D. A., Bria, C.R.M., Berenbeim, J. A., “Remote Sensing of Emissions from In-Use Small Engine Marine Vessels.” Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45, 2894-2901