Chris Bernt

Chris cat
Graduate Student

Office Location

PSBN 3638A


Biomass conversion

Lignin disassembly 

Inorganic Photochemistry


Like most Ford group members, I have quite a few non-research pursuits as well.  These include web maintenance and outreach related to CenSURF.  These also include participation in more general outreach programs such as the Science as a Career Outreach Program Experiment serving high schools in the Santa Barbara area and the Graduate Students for Diversity in Science which promotes graduate school as an option for underserved and underrepresented college students.

I also have a life, which includes activities such as playing the Bassoon for the UCSB Symphony Orchestra or enjoying board games with friends and fellow graduate students.


I am a member of the Center for Sustainable Use of Renewable Feedstocks (CenSURF).  My work for this center is in the initial stages, exploring options for the reduction of smaller aromatic subunits of lignin breakdown products in an effort to create a more homogenous (and easily separated) final product.

I also helped start Tony's project, involving the possible role of CS2 as a biological messanger and may have therapeutic applications under the controlled conditions afforded by photochemical delivery.  Our studies have been done with CdSe cores and primarily 1,1-dithiooxalate and O-tert-Butyl-1,1-Dithiooxalate as photocaged CS2-generating species.  To date we have shown that the quantum dots can be coated with the dithiolate ligands and that excitation into the quantum dot bands greatly facilitates dithiooxalate degradation.  Current studies are focused on identifying the breakdown products.  



Christopher M. Bernt, Giovanni Bottari, Jacob A. Barrett, Susannah L. Scott, Katalin Barta, and Peter C. Ford. “Mapping Relative Reactivities for Aromatic Models of Lignin Disassembly Over Cu-doped Porous Metal Oxides” Catal. Sci. Technol., 2016,  DOI: 10.1039/C5CY01555C.

Jacob A. Barrett, Yu Gao, Christopher M. Bernt, Megan Chui, Anthony Tran, Marcus Foston, Peter. C. Ford. "Preserving Aromatic Products from the Reductive Depolymerization of Lignin via O-Methylation with Dimethyl Carbonate in Supercritical Methanol" ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b01827

Bernt, C.M.; Burks, P.T; DeMartino, A.W.; Pierri, A.E.; Levy, E.S.; Zigler, D.F.; Ford, P.C. "Photocatalytic Carbon Disulfide Production via Charge Transfer Quenching of Quantum Dots." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136, 2192–2195, 2014.