Highlighting the 6th Annual Alberta Nano Research Symposium

NaNoTeCH: Elements of the Periodic Table in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

The Alberta Nano Research Symposium is co-hosted by the University of Alberta Nanotechnology Group and the University of Calgary nanoGroup, and this year it was held at the Shaw Convention Center in Edmonton, Alberta. The interdisciplinary nature of nanoscience and nanotechnology brings together researchers from a wide variety of backgrounds, which makes the Alberta Nano symposium attractive to individuals with backgrounds in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering, and Computer Science who were encouraged to share knowledge, develop collaborations, and celebrate their accomplishments with fellow experts in the nanotechnology field. The theme of this year’s symposium, NaNoTeCH: Celebrating the Periodic Table, was chosen to coincide the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT), and continued to highlight the diverse and collaborative nature of the field.

Alberta Nano Poster Prize Winners

Taylor Lynk, winner of the Chemical Science poster prize at the 2019 Alberta Nano Research Symposium

To recognize some of the outstanding research presented at the Alberta Nano symposium, the Royal Society of Chemistry sponsored two poster prizes to be awarded to the young researchers that presented their fascinating research and most impressed the judges. The winner of the Chemical Science poster prize was Taylor Lynk, an MSc Candidate in the McDermott Group at the University of Alberta, where she is focusing on surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) for the detection and quantification of natural plant products. Her poster showcased the application of this technique to cannabinoid and terpene detection as a method to provide chemical fingerprints for target molecules. Her poster, cleverly titled ‘The Hunger Games: In-Process Quality Control of Cannabis-Based Consumables,’ surely caught the attention of many attendees, as the recent legalization of cannabis in Canada and upcoming legislation processes has presented a clear unmet need for more advanced analytical tools for this rapidly-growing market. Before coming to Alberta, Taylor worked in the research lab of Prof Christa Brosseau at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Prof Brosseau’s lab focuses on sustainable chemistry and materials, and Taylor co-authored one of the group’s papers that was published in Analytical Methods earlier this year. You can follow Taylor on Twitter @taylorlynk and you can follow Mark McDermott on Twitter @MarkTMcDermott for more updates from the group. 

Nidhika Bhoria, winner of the Nanoscale Horizons poster prize at the 2019 Alberta Nano Research Symposium.

The winner of the Nanoscale Horizons prize was awarded to Nidhika Bhoria, an MSc student in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Calgary, where she works with Prof Md Golam Kibria. Prof Kibria’s research group focuses on electrocatalysis and photocatalysis for the sustainable synthesis of hydrogen and ammonia, as well as carbon fuels or feedstocks, including CO2 conversion to high-value chemicals, which is the focus Nidhika’s work. She presented her poster on ‘Nanostructured MOF Catalysts for Electrochemical Reduction of Carbon dioxide.’ Her poster illustrated the selectivity for 2-carbon and higher products of carbon dioxide reduction, which could provide a basis high-throughput industrial-scale conversion. We look forward to seeing more of the research that both Taylor and Nidhika will be working on over the coming year and wish them the best in all of their endeavors. We will be happy to see the Alberta Nano Research Symposium return again next year and are excited to see how this unique and high-quality meeting continues to grow.  

Highlighting Elements in Nano and Materials Research

The Royal Society of Chemistry has also been celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Mendeleev periodic table, and with the addition of elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 to the 7th row of the periodic table in 2016 we were able to complete our beautiful ‘Visual Elements’ interactive periodic table; among our many IYPT-themed activities in the community, we have fun and informative educational resources, new funding and grant opportunities, and special collections we have been putting together from within and across our journals. Just as the Alberta Nano symposium encourages collaboration and diversity, we too have promoted further collaborative efforts across our journals. Many of our various IYPT-themed collections, like the Elements for Next Generation Batteries collection, feature international collaborations and cover rich and diverse aspects of the elements from multiple journals. This particular collection highlights the elements lithium, sodium, zinc, among other elements contained in new battery materials. Thanks to the teamwork and guest editing by Zhiqun Lin, Journal of Materials Chemistry A Associate Editor, from Georgia Institute of Technology, and Xiaodong Chen, Nanoscale Associate Editor from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, it features papers from across the Materials and Nano journal portfolios, including Materials Horizons, Nanoscale Horizons, Journal of Materials Chemistry A and Nanoscale. We hope that you enjoy this and our other special collections as part of the International Year of the Periodic Table!

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All a Board! Meet Our North American Editors, Board Members, and Chairs in 2019

A selection of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s North American Editorial Board Members that will be participating in events in 2019. Pictured from left to right, top row: Michael Krische, Andrei Yudin, Natalie Stingelin, Douglas Stephan. Middle row: Elena Shevchenko, Ryan Bailey, Alan Aspuru-Guzik, Sara Skrabalak. Bottom Row: Huw Davies, Emily Pentzer, Jim McCusker, Jonathan Sessler.


Do you want to know who is making the decisions behind the papers that we publish? We want you to get to know them too! While what happens behind-the-scenes after submitting a paper may seem mysterious sometimes, it’s no secret here at the Royal Society of Chemistry – our Editorial Boards are made up of international teams of globally-acclaimed researchers. As Editorial Board members, these folks work to stay up-to-date with the most exciting research and shape the field in which they have made significant contributions of their own. They are the world’s leading experts and they believe in the RSC’s mission.

To help our community get to know them, we have been bringing our Editors to events and institutions around the world, giving researchers a chance to learn not only about their science but also about the publishing process and what it’s like to handle manuscripts and be the deciding factor in a publication. Oftentimes, we include additional sessions and activities to help our communities grow stronger, stay connected to the bigger picture, and be in-the-know about the scholarly communication landscape and how it is affecting their research. We are very excited to showcase so many of our Editorial team members around the US and Canada this year. We hope you can join us in one of the cities we will be visiting this year!


Ann Arbor, Michigan

Our first Meet the Editor event will be held in beautiful Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan, the home institution of Professor Ryan Bailey. Prof Bailey is an Associate Editor for Analyst, and the Bailey Lab focuses on  biomolecular signatures of disease in individuals – single patients, in a clinical setting – and the development of tools for multiparameter biological analysis. Prof Bailey will be joined by Jenny Lee, PhD, from our Washington, DC office, and Professor James (Jim) McCusker from Michigan State University. Prof McCusker is an Associate Editor for Chemical Science, and is one of the most prominent researchers working in photochemistry. The McCusker Research Group focuses both on ultrafast spectroscopy of transition metal complexes, and on chemical dynamics related to electron exchange. Prof. McCusker will give a research presentation on “Deconstructing Reaction Coordinates for Ultrafast Excited-state Dynamics: Using Coherence to Inform Synthetic Design.” Afterwards, Jenny will join our two Associate Editors to give an interactive presentation on publishing in high-quality journals like Analyst and Chemical Science, and will cover components of a submission, the peer review process, and more. Attendees can ask the Editors and Jenny for specific advice or insights, and also share their own experiences. Lunch will be provided, while Jenny gives an informal talk on Careers in Publishing, and afterwards she will give an informative presentation on Open Access Publishing – an important topic for publishers that can otherwise be alien to researchers. The events are all free to attend, and you can register now at rsc.li/michigan!

For updates from the University of Michigan Department of Chemistry, you can follow @MichiganChem and for updates from Michigan State University Department of Chemistry, you can follow @msuchemistry


Toronto, Ontario

In September, Marika Wieliczko from our Washington, DC office will travel to Canada, where you can find many of our wonderful Board Members. Toronto is known as one of the most multicultural metropolitan areas in the world, with residents from all nations adding to the diversity of the city. Joining Marika in the provincial capital will be Professor Sara Skrabalak from Indiana University for a day of activities at the University of Toronto. Prof. Skrabalak is an Associate Editor for Nanoscale and our newly-launched Open Access journal, Nanoscale Advances. Her research is focused on developing synthetic methods for solid materials with defined shapes and architectures, and studying their properties for applications in energy, chemical sensing, and secure electronics. For updates from Prof. Skrabalak, you can follow her on Twitter @SaraSkrabalak and for news from the Department of Chemistry, you can follow @chemuoft.

In the Department of Chemistry, Prof. Skrabalak and Marika will join Professor Alán Aspuru-Guzik and Professor Andrei Yudin, both Associate Editors for Chemical Science, as well as Professor Douglas Stephan, Chair of the Editorial Board of ChemSocRev. Prof. Aspuru-Guzik’s research group is renowned as a leader in quantum computing and machine learning. Prof. Aspuru-Guzik is very active on Twitter and posts lots of updates from his group and much more – follow him @A_Aspuru_GuzikThe Stephan Research Group spans a wide range of inorganic main group chemistry and organometallic chemistry. They explore fundamental research on new reactivity and chemical transformations, with the aim of developing new catalysts, materials and processes. Prof. Andrei Yudin is a pioneer in the development of tools for chemical synthesis. The Yudin Group has developed entirely new synthetic process that have reached the commercial market, and they continue to explore intermediates that many would consider impossible to prepare. You can get more updates on their exciting work through Twitter by following @andrei_yudin

Together with Marika and Prof. Skrabalak, Prof. Aspuru-Guzik, Prof. Yudin, and Prof. Stephan will help attendees learn about and understand the publishing and peer review process, and learn from the Editors first-hand how to craft their submissions to maximize their efficiency and improve their experience with publishing. If you can’t make it to the event, you can still ask your questions through Twitter! Send your questions to @ChemMarika with the hashtag #AskTheEditor and Marika will include your questions for Sara and the other Editors during the event and share their responses and advice with everyone! 


Atlanta, Georgia

Also in September, Jen Griffiths, PhD, will travel to Atlanta from our Washington, DC office. The city, whose emblem of a phoenix rising from the ashes, representing its transformation into a major center of the civil rights movement after its decimation in the civil war, has been flourishing with many diverse institutions of higher learning. While visiting Atlanta, Jen will host events at both Georgia Tech University and Emory University. At Georgia Tech, she will be joined by Elena Shevchenko, Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory and an Associate Editor for Nanoscale and our newly-launched Open Access journal, Nanoscale Advances

Next, Jen will bring Professor Natalie Stingelin from Georgia Tech over to neighboring Emory University to introduce the Department of Chemistry to Prof. Stingelin, as a researcher and as an Associate Editor for Journal of Materials Chemistry C. The Stingelin Lab is interested in organic functional materials, including inorganic/organic hybrids, advanced optical systems, and bioelectronics. You can follow Prof. Stingelin @StingelinN and get updates from her lab through @StingelinGroup on Twitter.

Prof. Stingelin and Jen will be joined by Professor Huw Davies, Associate Editor for ChemSocRev. The Davies Group is renkowned for its work on dirhodium catalyts for C-H activation, and leads the nation-wide NSF Center for Selective C-H Functionalization. They will give insights into publishing, and Jen will participate in a career panel to introduce attendees to careers outside of academia. 


Austin, Texas

The city of Austin is unlike the rest of Texas and is known for its lively music and arts scene. Towards the end of the year, Jen Griffiths will visit the great state of Texas, bringing Professor Emily Pentzer, who is moving to Texas A&M University over the summer of 2019, to the Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. Prof. Pentzer is an Associate Editor for Polymer Chemistry, and she will present on her research, which focuses on synthetic organic and materials chemistry, and she will be part of an interactive presentation on publishing along with Jen. They will be joined by two of our Associate Editors for ChemComm from UT Austin, Professor Michael Krische, and Professor Jonathan Sessler. The Krische Research Group focuses on catalytic reaction development for natural product synthesis. You can get updates from the group by following @KrischeLab on Twitter. The Sessler Group explores various aspects of supramolecular chemistry and is highly interdisciplinary, combining inorganic and synthetic organic chemistry with biochemistry and spectroscopy. For updates from the Sessler Group, follow their Twitter account @JLsessler.


We are excited to highlight our high-quality journals, and we know that it’s the people behind them that make them so valuable and integral to the communities they serve. We hope that you have a chance to get to know our Board Members in person at one of our upcoming events, and that what you learn from them helps you in publishing your own research.

Do you want to host an event at your institution, or have suggestions for how we could better connect with your community? While we can’t accommodate all requests, we would love to hear from you and take your ideas into consideration! Email us at Americas-Editorial@rsc.org and we look forward to continuing to serve our community. 

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Congrats to Prize Winners at the 4th Annual University of California Chemical Symposium

Connor Easley from UC Riverside, Chair of the UCCS, and Jade Fostvedt From UC Berkeley at the 2019 University of California Chemical Symposium.

This year the University of California Chemical Symposium, the 4th annual meeting since its founding by Prof. Seth Cohen from UC San Diego, continued to grow and develop into the world’s premier chemistry conference run entirely by and for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. This year’s UCCS brought nearly 150 attendees from across the University of California and beyond. Special guests this year included the opening keynote presentation for the inaugural Ursa Lecture from Nobel Laureate from CalTech, Professor Rudolph A. Marcus. Prof Marcus delivered a beautiful talk on ‘Connecting the Dots’ along his lengthy and impressive career, inspiring attendees to pursue their own research with the same curious and optimistic attitude.

The closing keynote lecture was given by the inaugural Lux Lecturer, Prof Michelle Chang from UC Berkeley, who is also an Associate Editor for Chemical Science. The attendees enjoyed how approachable and interesting her lecture was for a broad audience, even those who previously had no experience with chemical biology. 

Not only were the plenary speakers phenomenal in sharing the stories of their research, but the student and postdoc attendees also gave excellent oral and poster presentations. Several RSC journals provided research presentation prizes to recognize these outstanding young researchers. The RSC’s flagship journal, Chemical Science,  provided Research Presentation Prizes for oral presentations and several other RSC journals supported the meeting by sponsoring prizes for poster presentations. 

 

Nobel Laureate Prof Rudy Marcus delivers the inaugural Ursa Lecture at the 2019 University of California Chemical Symposium at Lake Arrowhead, March 24, 2019.

 


Oral Presentation Prizes

Nor Akmalia Rais, graduate student in the Xue group at UC Riverside, receives her Chemical Science Research Presentation Prize from Chair Connor Easley at the 2019 University of California Chemical Symposium in Lake Arrowhead.

The RSC’s flagship journal, Chemical Science,  provided Research Presentation Prizes for oral presentations in each of the six sub-categories of disciplines in the chemical sciences. The oral presentation prize in the ‘Analytical’ category went to Nor Akmaliza Rais from the Min Xue research group at UC Riverside for her talk on ‘Nanoparticle Enhanced Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) Biosensing on an Antifouling Lipid Membrane in Undiluted Serum.’

The Chemical Science prize in the ‘Chemical Biology/Biochemistry’ category went to Tyler Heiss from UC Irvine for his presentation ‘Cyclopropeniminium Ions Exhibit Unique Reactivity with Bioorthogonal Phosphines.’ Tyler is a graduate student in the Prescher Lab, led by Prof Jen Prescher, who actively posts about the group’s activities on Twitter.

Tyler Heiss, graduate student in the Xue group at UC Riverside, receives his Chemical Science Research Presentation Prize from Chair Connor Easley at the 2019 University of California Chemical Symposium in Lake Arrowhead.

Caleb Karmel, graduate student in the Hartwigroup at UC Berkeley, receives his Chemical Science Research Presentation Prize from Chair Connor Easley at the 2019 University of California Chemical Symposium in Lake Arrowhead.

 

The Chemical Science prize in ‘Organic Chemistry’ went to Caleb Karmel from the Hartwig Group at UC Berkeley for his talk on the ‘Iridium-Catalyzed Silylation of Aryl C-H Bonds.’

Dr. Ido Ben-Shalom from UC San Diego receives his Chemical Science Research Presentation Prize from Chair Connor Easley at the 2019 University of California Chemical Symposium.

Prizes also went to Andrew Ostericher for his presentation in the ‘Inorganic’ category for the ‘Rational Tuning of Hydrogen Transfer for CO2 Reduction and Hydrogen Evolution’ and Sebastian Hietzschold for his presentation in the ‘Materials/Nano’ category, ‘Reductase-Free Synthesis of Highly Monodispersed Silver Nanoparticles Using NADPH as the Sole Reducing Agent.’The ‘Physical/Theoretical/Computational’ prize was awarded to Dr. Ido Ben-Shalom for his talk on ‘Simulating Water Exchange to Buried Binding Sites.’

 


Poster Prizes

Zhili Guo, graduate student in the Xue group at UC Riverside, receives the Analyst poster prize from Chair Connor Easley at the 2019 University of California Chemical Symposium in Lake Arrowhead.

From Analyst, the poster prize went to Zhili Guo from UC Riverside. The title of his poster was ‘A Chemical Approach to Quantify Fatty Acid Uptake in Single Cells.’ Like Nor, who won the oral presentation prize in this category, Zhili is a graduate student in the research group of Min Xue, which is focused on developing chemical probes to achieve single-cell resolution for bioanalytical methods. Work like Zhili’s would enable more precise detection of metabolites from tumor cells, for example, which would allow surgical treatments for cancer to be more effective.The Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry prize in the Chemical Biology/Biochemistry category went to Sierra Williams from UC Irvine for her work on ‘Orthogonal Bioluminescent Probes from Hybrid Luciferins.’

Sierra Williams, graduate student in the Prescher group at UC Irvine, receives the OBC poster prize from Chair Connor Easley at the 2019 University of California Chemical Symposium in Lake Arrowhead.

Samuel Jacob, graduate student at UC Santa Barbara, receives the Dalton Transactions poster prize from Chair Connor Easley at the 2019 University of California Chemical Symposium in Lake Arrowhead.

 

The prize from Dalton Transactions for the ‘Inorganic’ category went to Samuel Jacob from UC Santa Barbara for his poster, ‘Investigation of a Redox Active Tetra-Nickel Cluster for Small Molecule Reactivity.’

 

Ling Zhang, graduate student from UC San Diego, receives the Materials Horizons poster prize from Chair Connor Easley at the 2019 University of California Chemical Symposium in Lake Arrowhead.

Margery Cortes-Clerget, graduate student from UC Santa Cruz, receives the ChemComm poster prize from Chair Connor Easley at the 2019 University of California Chemical Symposium in Lake Arrowhead.

The Materials/Nano prize from Materials Horizons went to Ling Zhang from UC San Diego for her poster on ‘Hyper-Expandable Self-Healing Macromolecular Crystals.’

The ‘Organic’ category prize from Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry went to Margery Cortes-Clerget from UC Santa Barbara for her poster, ‘Bridging the Gap Between Transition Metal- and Bio-Catalysis.’

The PCCP poster prize in the Physical/Theoretical category went to A’Lester Allen from UC Santa Cruz, for his poster on the ‘Development of a Hollow Multibranched SERS Based Biosensor for Early Disease Detection.’


Lightning Talks

One unique aspect of the UCCS is the Lightning Talks, which are short, minimalist and direct presentations. With a total of 5 minutes and 3 (non-animated) slides allowed , speakers have only 3 minutes to talk and 2 minutes to answer questions about their work. The topics are broad and cover the span of the chemical sciences. The audience participates by live-voting on their favorite talks, to crowd-source judging to determine the winners. This year’s Lightning Talks were all fabulous, but there were a few that really stood out to this particular audience. 

The first place winner and recipient of a $100 cash prize was Jade Fostvedt from UC Berkeley for her talk, ‘Towards Low Valent Early Metal Systems: Small Molecule Reactivity of Tantalum N-Heterocyclic Carbene Complexes.’The second place winner and recipient of a $50 cash prize was David Nenon from UC Berkeley for his talk, ‘Design Principles for Trap-Free CsPbX3 Nanocrystals: Enumerating and Eliminating Surface Halide Vacancies with Softer Lewis Bases.’The third place award and a $25 cash prize went to Myles Drance from UC San Diego for his talk on ‘Coordination of Diatomic Boron Monofluoride to Iron.’

Congratulations to all of these award winners from the 2019 UCCS who gave outstanding presentations to their peers and experts in the field. We hope that everyone was able to share their research and also share in the research of others at the meeting, and we are already looking forward to the next one!

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Publishing, Presenting, and Peer Review: Helping Showcase Brazilian Chemistry through the RSC Science Connect Program

Work hard and you will succeed. Getting the research ball rolling to publish frequently is a matter of working hard, and also knowing better what publishers expect. Research is a global “business” and we will only progress scientifically in every corner of the world if we connect. As a scientist, there are many components to the game of your career. You have to teach, get students, make reports, sustain your lab, progress in the career, get involved with global problems, solve bureaucratic issues and make yourself knowledgeable. How to do all of that? We can improve various aspects when you publish and make the world recognize what you are doing. Then you will connect globally, you will have greater ideas and see the world that is full of opportunities, where openness is key.

The Royal Society of Chemistry wants to help every researcher in the world get a better understanding of our publishing process. Having this in mind, we have collaborated with the British Council in Brazil since 2015 to add inside information from a publisher point-of-view into their Researcher Connect program, sponsored by Newton Fund Brazil. We wanted to unlock the door to publishing for Brazilian researchers: the strategy involves me, Dr. Beth Magalhães, Manager of Publishing in Brazil based in São Paulo, and Dr. Jen Griffiths, the Editorial Development Manager for the Americas from the RSC’s Washington, DC office, traveling together around this big country and getting to know the different cultures and facilities that carry on the nation’s high-quality research.  This year especially, we included our tour in the Brazil-UK Year of Science and Innovation agenda. “Science is GREAT is a motto for the year, and this aligns with the idea behind what we proposed: spending a whole day giving a series of four totally hands-on workshops for up-and-coming researchers to improve their publishing, presenting, and reviewing skills as scientists. We named it Science Connect, because more than just publishing numbers and volume, we want people to engage across their community and internationally.

On February 7th, we headed to Alfenas, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, and to the Universidade Federal de Alfenas (UNIFAL). UNIFAL received us with a full house of chemists and pharmacists. We had professors, post-docs, MSc and PhD students all present. Minas has a unique and vibrant atmosphere, being well known for the good food and especially, the coffee and pão de queijo, a popular signature dish of bite-sized cheese-balls. We had the support of Prof. Dr. Vanessa Boralli and we were happy that the audience was really involved and talkative throughout.

Group photo at UNIFAL with RSC trainers.

Then we flew to Teresina, and what a surprise: we were received by Prof. Francisco Guedes, the President of Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Piauí (FAPEPI), which is the Piauí State Funding Agency that highlighted our program in their newsletter. Prof. Beatriz Rodrigues, head of the international office of Universidade Federal do Piauí (UFPI) gave us a warm welcome to the campus, where on February 11th, we held an exciting workshop; together with a varied group of attendees, people were able to talk with us in a relaxed and casual setting. Teresina is located in the far Northeast, and having someone from abroad garnered attention from the locals, who are warm and highly curious about anything. The Serra da Capivara National Park nearby is quite famous for its prehistoric rock paintings which have inspired the local art craft. The weather is hot and humid, and we could feel how proud the locals are of their home, histories and of course the lunch break. By lunchtime it was making total sense why most people stop anything they are doing between 12 and 2 pm, in order to get away from the heat. 

Group photo at UFPI with RSC trainers.

Finally, on February 14th, we went from Teresina to Curitiba, heading then to Ponta Grossa. This region is full of soya farms, making the region very attractive for work opportunities. The Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa organized a nice event inside their Astronomy building. Prof. Dr. Jarem Garcia from the Chemistry department put together a nice mix of students and professors to mingle with us and one another. We were surrounded by the beautiful nature of Vila Velha Park and couldn’t resist sampling the local churrasco, giving us the opportunity to experience the renowned barbecue meat that fills the region.

Group photo at UEPG with RSC trainers.

The workshop was filled with opportunities for attendees to talk about their work and gain presenting experience to improve their oral communication skills. They also trained, in a hands-on mode, in identifying a good abstract and title and to improve and optimize their own, and how important is to formulate a cover letter to call attention to your work. Towards the end of the day, posters were discussed in a more informal way, especially to explore how keeping it simple is typically better; attendees also had the opportunity to self-critique and constructively critique peers .

Communicating science through writing, talking, and displaying while increasing personal impact have to be straightforward and thoughtful. Preparation is essential, training is important and persisting is even more crucial. With these keys, we are sure to be rewarded for our hard work; even if the voyage to be taken will be very long, we are willing to pay the price as we did, covering more than 6,700 km, not only for science but also the joys of cheese balls, geology signs and churrasco that come with the journey!

  

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Have You Ever Been to Bahia? BMOS Went and So Should You!

Brazil is a country made up of states that are sometime more like individual countries. Bahia state, Salvador city, has a different atmosphere, and being away from the usual southwest area gives the science community different opportunities for interaction. The Brazilian soul was there in Salvador, as well our historical beginning as a country, as the most prestigious Organic Synthesis Meeting in Brazil, 17th BMOS, supported by the Federal University of Bahia-UFBA was held there this year. The RSC Organic Division had a long lasting engagement with the organic synthesis community, organizing  the Young Investigator Award in the past. Because the RSC has a close relationship with the Science and Innovation Network in Brazil (SIN Brazil), we included the 17th BMOS in the 2018-2019 UK-Brazil Year of Science and Innovation, which we have embraced with them from the beginning. It was a big opportunity for us to keep the award alive. After a rebranding, the award was renamed BMOS-RSC Young Investigator Distinction, and captured the support of the GREAT campaign associated with the Year.

Opening ceremony for the Young Investigator Distinctions, featuring Rui Lopes (Sin Deputy Director), Elizabeth Magalhaes (RSC Manager in Brazil) and Maurício Victor (17th BMOS Chair).

With this encouragement, we were able to offer four prizes, two each for young UK and Brazilian researchers, following early career request selection criteria. The BMOS organization made a huge celebration for that, and we had a whole slot in the event to talk about the importance of UK collaborations, the importance of internationalization and exposition of early career researchers.

 

 

One of the criteria for the selection was a collaboration statement between UK and Brazil researchers. We were able to show the Year launching video celebrating UK-Brazil collaboration efforts through the years. The video clearly highlights that collaborations truly make better science. The selected awardees received a certificate from Prof Jonathan Clayden beforehand, and had a slot to talk about their current research work.

Andrew L. Lawrance (The University of Edinburgh, UK), Mauricio Victor, Stephen P Thomas (The University of Edinburgh, UK), Giovanni W. Amarante (Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Brazil), Jonathan Clayden and Diogo S. Ludtke (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) presenting their certificates the BMOS-RSC Young Investigator Distinction ceremony.

 Prof Jonathan Clayden (University of Bristol, UK) was our star at the meeting. He came to give a closing talk after the awardees presentations, and he was available during the entire meeting to sign his famous, prestigious and landmark book, “Organic Chemistry”.

Prof. Jonathan Clayden gives the closing talk at BMOS 2019.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, at the closing ceremony two PhD students, Edson Emilio Garambel Vilca and Renoto Zarzotto de Marais, were awarded RSC poster prizes from ChemComm and Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry by for their presentations.

Edson Emilio Garambel Vilca (and Antonio Carlos Bender Burtoloso), Elizabeth Magalhaes, Mauricio Victor and Renato Zorzatto de Morais (and William Kerr, Tell Tuttle) for the titles Studies in the Total Synthesis of (+)-Lysergic Acid and (+)-Lysergol: A Direct Approach for the Construction of the Tetracyclic core of Ergot Alkaloids and Novel Iridium(I) Complexes Bearing Chelating NHC-Phosphine Ligands as Catalysts for C—H Functionalisation Processes, respectively at the poster prize ceremony receiving ChemComm and OrgBiomolecularChem book vouchers and certificates.

This year, the 17th BMOS in Bahia was another great opportunity for the RSC to engage with the Brazilian community and collaborate with the Brazilian Chemical Society and the British Council for the UK-Brazil Year of Science and Innovation. We look forward to more opportunities to bring together researchers from diverse, international backgrounds and highlight the high quality research in Latin America to the world!

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Happy 10th Anniversary to Energy & Environmental Science

We were delighted to organize the EES: New Directions in Energy Research symposium to mark the 10th anniversary of Energy & Environmental Science as a leading journal for the community.  Hosted by founding Editorial Board Chair Professor Nathan Lewis at Caltech, it was a wonderful opportunity to connect with the community, celebrate Prof. Lewis’ inspirational leadership, and consider grand challenges in the field.

EES, New Directions in Energy Research, RSC, Royal Society of Chemistry, Symposium, Caltech

Prof. Lewis opened the day with a forward-looking talk, highlighting potential opportunities and challenges he hopes the community can address in the next decade and beyond to build on the immense progress of the field. Interdisciplinary developments from materials in extreme environments to economic considerations for energy storage to alternative fuels could mean progress towards long-term sustainability.

Nathan Lewis, EES: New Directions in Energy Research, EES Symposium, Royal Society of Chemistry, RSC

Professor Nathan Lewis gives a talk to a packed audience in Hameetman Auditorium at Caltech.

Current and founding Editorial Board members shared their significant advances throughout the years relating to artificial photosynthesis, PV and solar fuels, water oxidation and hydrogen production, and catalyst synthesis.

EES Symposium, panel discussion, Nathan Lewis, Robert Socolow, Joseph Hupp, Arthur Nozil, Michael Wasielewski, Wolfgang Lubitz, Kyung Byung Yoon

Opportunities to connect with the community throughout the symposium | Panel discussion with former and current Editorial Board members Profs. Nathan Lewis, Robert Socolow, Joseph Hupp, Arthur Nozik, Michael Wasielewski, Wolfgang Lubitz, Kyung Byung Yoon (left to right).

The closing panel brought together all former and current Board members to integrate the topics throughout the day and answer questions from attendees. Speakers advised authors interested in publishing articles in EES to approach important problems for the community in a novel and impactful way and to compellingly express their findings to a broad audience. They identified additional opportunities for the field, including robustness and survivability of systems, fundamentally understanding processes to enable new breakthroughs, and considering issues that might arise at the systems level.

Joseph Hupp, EES Symposium, Nathan Lewis, EES, EES: New Directions in Energy Research

Thank you to everyone who was able to join us as we loved meeting everyone! As speakers continue their research along their interdisciplinary topics, many contributions will appear EES in the form of articles, Perspectives, and an Editorial. Also keep an eye out for an updated scope on the EES journal website to incorporate major topics from the Editorial Board meeting and symposium.

We hope that you continue advancing new directions in your area of interest and that you submit your high-quality work to EES online.

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An Intense Year of Chemical Science Activities in Brazil

 

After the winter break in the Southern Hemisphere, Brazil’s position as a leader of science research was showcased, with several chemistry-related meetings happening all over the country. The focus areas ranged from CO2 storage and utilization at the International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization (ICCDU), molecular magnetism at the International Conference on Molecular-based Magnetism (ICMM), new and advanced analytical science at National Meeting on Analytical Chemistry (ENQA) and diverse aspects of inorganic chemistry at the Brazilian Meeting on Inorganic Chemistry (BMIC). These concentrated activities coincide with the Northern hemisphere summer break, making it possible for international speakers to come over and bring the right international flavor. Several engaged RSC authors and editors came and we were able to foster future collaborations. For the RSC, we are happy that the local community now easily recognizes our journals and we can show our commitment to increasing the submission and publication of high-quality work from the region.


The International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization

UK-Brazil Year of Science and Innovation network reception at the British Council residence in Rio.

The ICCDU had partnered with the UK-Brazil Year of Science and Innovation, and so a UK delegation was deeply involved in several activities (Profs Michael North, Peter Styring, Katy Armstrong) as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Green Chemistry, Prof Philip Jessop. The event was included on the Year calendar web site. Above is a photo of the main networking event during the meeting, which brought together Brazilians and international researchers.

Poster prize winners at the 2018 ICCDU; pictured from left to right: Adriano H Braga (USP-Brazil), Juan Arturo Mendoza-Nieto (UNAM-Mexico) and Mathias Smialkowski (Ruhr-Universität Bochum-Germany)

The RSC offered several poster prizes on behalf of our sustainability and energy journals, and wish to take the opportunity here to congratulate the winners: Adriano H. Braga from the University of São Paulo in Brazil won the Sustainable Energy & Fuels prizethe Energy & Environmental Science prize went to Juan Arturo Mendoza-Nieto from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM/Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México); and the Green Chemistry prize was awarded to Mathias Smialkowski from Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany.     


The International Conference on Molecule-based Magnetism

ICMM is a joint community gathering that brings together chemists and physicists, together with biologists and materials scientists for deep and focused discussions on different topics in the field of molecule-based magnets, including metal organic frameworks, modelling and theory of electronic structure, magneto-chiral and frustrated systems, bio-magnetic phenomena, and magneto-optic and magneto-caloric nanomaterials. 

Left to right: Jonathan J Marbey (Florida State University) receiving his prize from JMC C Advisory Board Member, Prof Roberta Sessoli; Luca M Carrella (Univ Mainz-Germany) centre, receiving his prize from Profs Miguel Novak (conference chair) and Inorganic Chemistry Frontiers Editor-in-Chief, Song Gao; Marcus J Giansiracusa (Univ Manchester-UK) centre, receiving his prize from Dalton Transactions Advisory Board Member, Prof Masahiro Yamashita and the conference Chair, Prof Miguel Novak.

RSC offered poster prizes and we wish to take the opportunity here to congratulate the winners. Jonathan J. Marbey from Florida State University won the Journal of Material Chemistry C prize, which was presented by one of the journal’s Advisory Board Members, Prof Roberta Sessoli from the University of Florence in Italy; Luca M. Carrella won the prize from Inorganic Chemistry Frontiers, which was presented by the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Prof Song Gao and conference chair Prof Miguel Novak; and Marcus J. Giansiracusa received the Dalton Transactions prize, which was presented by the conference chair and one of the journal’s Advisory Board Members, Prof Masahiro Yamashita. What an honor for all of us.


Encontro Nacional de Química Analítica: The National Meeting on Analytical Chemistry

The Meet the Editor session at ENQA; pictured from left to right: Prof Dion Dionysiou, Prof Jailson B de Andrade, Prof Susan Lunte, RSC Editorial Development Manager Beth Magalhaes, and Prof Carlos Garcia.

ENQA was something else! With more than 1200 attendees, the meeting was a celebration of their achievements and the internationalization that is clear. Prof Wendell Coltro of Universidade Federal de Goiás (the Federal University of Goiás) did a fantastic job helping us organize a Meet the Editor session; he brought along Prof Carlos Garcia, who serves as an Associate Editor for RSC Advances, to join efforts with Prof Susan Lunte and Prof Jailson B de Andrade, who serve on the Advisory Board and Editorial Board of Analytical Methods, respectively.  Prof Dion Dionysiou from the University of Cincinnati, an engaged author and Editor of the new Chemistry in the Environment books series, was also present to give some tips.

Prof Marcia Mesko, JAAS Lectureship awardee from Univ Pelotas-Brazil, was also honored during the event.

Tayane A. Freitas (UFSCar-Brazil) receiving her RSC Advances prize from Prof Carlos Garcia.

We just could not compete with the parallel section on Women in Chemistry, which goes to show how the Analytical community are discussing diversity and inclusion. Related to that, Prof Marcia Mesko from Universidade Federal de Pelotas was also honored for her recent achievements. She was awarded the JAAS Lectureship in 2018 and was selected for both the 100 Women in Chemistry and Young Analytical Scientists web collections, which include her recent paper from JAAS. She is now an Advisory Board Member for JAAS; she also currently serves as the Analytical Division President at SBQ, the Brazilian Chemical Society, and will be organizing the next ENQA. 

Analyst/Analytical Methods and RSC Advances offered poster prizes and we wish to congratulate the winners. The Analyst/Analytical Methods prize was given to Bernardo F. Braz Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. The RSC Advances prize was awarded to Tayane A. Freitas from Universidade Federal de São Carlos and we took took the opportunity to have Prof Garcia present it.

 

 


The Brazilian Meeting on Inorganic Chemistry

BMIC has a long-lasting relationship with the RSC and its Inorganic Division. This time the event went to Fortaleza, the Brazilian capital closest to Europe that is also easy to reach from North America. Perhaps lured by the lovely sightseeing and beautiful beach, the event brought renowned academics from around the world to Brazil. Americans including Prof Thomas Meyer from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Associate Editor for New Journal of Chemistry Prof Debbie Crans from Colorado State Universityand ChemComm Associate Ediot Prof T. Don Tilley from the University of California, Berkeley, joined international attendees like Prof Peter Junk , also an Associate Editor for New Journal of Chemistryfrom James Cook University in the UK, Prof Osamu Ishitani from the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan, Frank T. Edelmann from Magdeburg University in Germany, Cedric Fischmeister from Université Rennes 1 in France, and Brazilians like  Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences Editorial Board Member, Prof Mauricio Baptista from the University of São Paulo.

Left to right: Poster prize winners Isabela Moreira Soares Diógenis (UNICAMP , Brazil); Santiago Rostan (UdelaR, Uruguay); Victor Eulogio Lopez Guerrero (UNAM, México) with Peter Junk and Don Tilley.

Our journals Nanoscale, ChemComm and Nanoscale Advances awarded poster prizes and we would like to say congratulations to the winners: Isabela Moreira Soares Diógenis from Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil, Santiago Rostan from Universidad de la República(UdelaR) in Uruguay, and Victor Eulogio Lopez Guerrero from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico. The winners received their prizes from Profs Peter Junk and Don Tilley.


Chemistry for Everyone

As a final message, we would like to encourage the Brazilian community to continue its engagement with the RSC. There are many ways to engage with us, such as using social media to participate in online discussion forums and promote events, by tagging our twitter account @RoySocChem to start a conversation with us, and taking advantage of relevant hashtags; researchers can explore our grants opportunities, dig into our events page, explore and read our portfolio of journals, magazines (ChemistryWorld and Education-in-Chemistry) and databases, and approaching us with ideas.  We understand that the success of our community depends on our ability to encourage and nurture the talent of the best people, regardless of who they are or their background.

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Celebrating Our Books and Their Authors


This month, the Royal Society of Chemistry is celebrating its Golden Anniversary of Books, marking 50 years since the publication of the first book in our Specialist Periodical Reports series. With titles spanning the breadth of the chemical sciences for a variety of audiences, from popular science books to textbooks to professional reference books, the books program continues to thrive thanks to contributions from our international community. The RSC’s portfolio of textbooks provide an approachable and engaging suite of books for all students of the chemical sciences, from the fundamentals of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry to the frontiers of knowledge in pharmaceutical development and forensic science. The high-quality content of our books enables us to fully support learners and contribute to the development of the next generation of professional chemists. We are keen to understand how you find, access and read electronic (digital) non-fiction books in a professional or academic context, and would appreciate your insights through this short survey that will be available through December 15th, 2018.  Please join us in celebrating 50 years of books, made possible by our outstanding authors, and read on to learn more about two who recently finished their second book with us.

Meet the Authors of Our Newest Book

We recently published a brand new textbook from two California-based co-authors and leading educators, Professor Christopher Walsh, from Stanford University and Professor Yi Tang  from the University of California, Los Angeles. Their new textbook, Chemical Biology of Human Vitamins, is now the second that they have authored together with the RSC. Professor Walsh and Professor Tang are happy to share their new book with the world, and gave us some insights into their motivations and strategies for writing it, and explain what makes this such a fascinating and timely topic. Christopher Walsh’s research has focused on enzymes and enzyme inhibitors, and specifically on antibiotics and biosynthesis of biologically and medicinally active natural products. He has extensive academic leadership and biotechnology industry experience and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. In 2010, he received the Welch Award in Chemistry for his pioneering work in biological chemistry along with co-recipient JoAnne Stubbe. Yi Tang holds joint appointments in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Department of Bioengineering at UCLA. He has received numerous accolades, including the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award and the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry.  

Over many decades, scientists discovered thirteen essential molecules that humans lost the capacity to make as they evolved from primordial organisms. These thirteen vitamins are crucial for metabolism, and this book chemocentrically analyzes the mode of action of each one of them to tell a compelling tale of the challenges that every human cell faces. It provides a thorough view on the key small molecules of life, the human vitamins and their active coenzyme forms. Detailing how their unique chemistries control the interconversion and the flux of hundreds of central human metabolites, Chemical Biology of Human Vitamins  examines the parallel and convergent tracks of the vitamins and their coenzyme forms. 

With these two leading educators bringing their talents and expertise to the table,  Chemical Biology of Human Vitamins aims to serve as an ideal guide and reference point for chemists in both academia and industry, graduates and advanced undergraduate students in biochemistry, chemical biology, metabolism and metabolomics, with beautifully crafted artwork to complement the cogent and engaging explanations. Professor Walsh explains, “Since the artwork is so much of the communicated message, we work hard to get that right, with clarity and as much elegance as we can.”

Highly Efficient Teamwork

The two professors first met while Tang was a postdoc with Chaitan Khosla. “We had our PKS/NRPS (polyketide synthetase/non-ribosomal peptide synthetase) super group meetings every year,” says Tang. “Chris was very friendly and open to everyone, including me. I started collaborating with Chris as an independent PI in 2010.  We worked on the biosynthesis of fungal indole alkaloids and nonribosomal peptides.”  In 2016, they started collaborating on their first book, Natural Product Biosynthesis: Chemical Logic and Enzymatic Machinery, which was published the following year; that same year, in 2017, they also started working on their newest book,  Chemical Biology of Human Vitamins, which was published earlier this fall. Now with two full textbooks completed in only two years, it is evident that these authors work very well together. They explained that balancing the workload was key to making such speedy progress. “We collaborated on different aspects of the book; Chris was mainly the writer for the text, while I worked on the figures, proofread the documents and prepared the references,” says Professor Tang. Professor Walsh explained why this system is most effective during the process: “I focus on writing a chapter at a time coincident with the artwork so that the text follows the information to be displayed in the figures,” he says. “Otherwise we have to go back and rewrite the text to match how any given figure turns out, and that is tedious with over 200 pieces of ChemDraw artwork in a book.”

A book often requires a great deal of dedication, and Professor Walsh explained how he works through the writing process to assemble the final product. “I tend to write straight through a project, starting before breakfast to capture early morning ideas. I pause when a major section or chapter is finished and only when I know how to start the next topic. I write to the exclusion of almost every other activity and can write a chapter a week with embedded artwork in first draft.  The first draft goes to my coauthor Prof Tang for additions, omissions, corrections, deletions, and most importantly setting the tone and aesthetics of each chapter.” The editorial staff at the RSC were impressed with how quickly these authors were able to work, often beating target deadlines and finishing ahead of schedule. “It was an efficient arrangement and we were able to get through each book in about eight months,” says Professor Tang.

Planning for an Effective Textbook

Once committed and with clear intentions in mind, they were able to finish with impressive haste, but it took a bit more time and a great deal of thought to get to the point where they could really take off. Both authors have previous experience with writing books, which helped make it easier to develop an idea and a plan. “This is the sixth book that I have written, the last two with co-author Professor Tang of UCLA,” says Walsh. “For about a year and a half I had a one page summary of the structures of the vitamins sitting on my office desk with the vague intent that the topic might be worth examining.” He explained what motivated him as an author and what he aims to accomplish with this work. “The prime motivation in each case, and this one in particular,” says Walsh, “is first to explain the topic to myself/ourselves, and then to others with some clarity about the chemical logic that underpins the role of key molecules in nature. Given the “vitamania” that  has turned the global vitamins and dietary supplements market into tens of billions of dollars in sales each year, we thought it would be useful to remind readers what is actually known about the molecular and chemical roles of the 13 human vitamins and why they are essential micronutrients.”

The two co-authors formulated their ideas and decided what they wanted to cover and how to approach it. “I felt that exploration of the chemistry enabled by these thirteen human vitamins, how they had been discovered, would give insight into the connectivity of the network of human metabolism and how those pathways may have evolved. The current interest in metabolomics -the simultaneous measurement of changes in metabolites in different physiologic/cellular states – would benefit from a reminder of what chemistry was actually possible in human cells. For this book, Professor Tang and I had several discussions about the scope and approach of such a work before committing our energies. Once I have committed to writing on a book project, I have outlined the number of chapters and the topics in those chapters.”

Learning by Teaching

One of the benefits of writing a book to teach others is that the authors can dive deeply into a topic and come out with a greater appreciation of different facets of a topic. Professor Tang was surprised to learn how societal focus on different vitamins change, as we understand more about human physiology and cell biology.  “Vitamin C started the wave, followed by vitamin A,” he says. “Nowadays it’s all about vitamin D, because we now understand it regulates many more cellular processes than just strengthening our bones.”

Professor Walsh says that writing this book helped him better appreciate structural features of human vitamins that he hadn’t fully considered before. “What I have learned that I had not thought deeply about the fact that nine of the thirteen vitamins have heterocyclic rings, from monocyclic to tetracyclic frameworks. Each of these nine distinct heterocycles brings particular chemistry to bear in metabolic steps: so one could say that the bulk of the chemical biology of vitamins is the chemistry of the heterocycles which are likely ancient molecules during the evolution of organisms,” Professor Walsh explains. “The eight B vitamins are classified under the letter B because they all have co-enzymatic roles. In a real sense understanding the metabolic nodes where the active coenzyme forms of the B vitamins act explains the logic of essentially all of the intersecting pathways of  energy metabolism in cell, tissues, and the whole human organism. Thus, the topic offers thirteen snapshots of the underlying logic and an alternative title would be: Human Vitamins: Thirteen Insights Into Human Metabolic Logic

Working with the Royal Society of Chemistry

While writing a book can seem like a long and daunting process,  now with fifty years of experience publishing high-quality books, the RSC aims to make it a pleasant and rewarding experience for authors. We are happy that these authors were pleased to write another book with us. “RSC has been wonderful in our writing projects.  Natural Product Biosynthesis: Chemical Logic and Enzymatic Machinery was my first experience as a book author,” says Prof. Tang. “There are many more aspects in assembling a book than just writing, including preparing the graphics to the required resolution, obtaining permissions, and thoroughly checking every detail.  RSC made the process straightforward with instructions and checklists.  The staff at RSC are not only responsive, but incredibly informative and patient with our questions and requests.  The vitamin book was much smoother in terms of assembly and submission, using our prior experience as a guide.  Overall, working with RSC has been fantastic and we will certainly choose RSC again if we write one more.”

To request an inspection copy of Profs Walsh and Tang’s latest textbook, Chemical Biology of Human Vitamins, use our online form. For more about our textbook and professional book publishing, or to propose an idea for a book please see our guidance for authors and readers. 

 

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PhD to Publishing: Jeremy Allen

Jeremy Allen, PhD, was recently appointed the Deputy Editor of Chemical Science, the flagship journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry. While he is based in Cambridge in the UK, as part of his role as Deputy Editor, Jeremy works with international staff and attends conferences around the globe. We first met Jeremy at the 3rd annual University of California Chemical Symposium, where many attendees were interested in learning more about his career path and what led him to his current position. Read on to learn about Jeremy’s current role and how he went from earning a PhD to a rewarding career in publishing!


“I guess I fell into my career in publishing through a desire to move away from active research while still keeping in touch with science. After my undergraduate degree I completed a PhD in computational chemistry. I was unsure about what to do as I was getting to the end of my graduate studies, and wasn’t really sure which direction to go in, but then a post doc opportunity turned up so I thought I’d give it a go. I stuck with my post doc for about 5 years altogether but for the last couple of years I knew that research wasn’t going to be the career for me – I didn’t have the passion and drive for the work that I felt I’d need to be a really successful academic and lecturing didn’t really appeal to me too much – so I started to look around for other industries/roles to move into. By chance I bumped into a former PhD student from my post doc group who was working at the RSC and she mentioned that they were recruiting. Like her I had a similar interest in science communication and I enjoyed proof reading/editing papers and theses from my group so thought I’d give it a try.


“I knew that research wasn’t going to be the career for me – I didn’t have the passion and drive for the work that I felt I’d need to be a really successful academic and lecturing didn’t really appeal to me too much – so I started to look around for other industries/roles to move into.”


Jeremy Allen at the 4th International Conference on Energy and Biological Materials in Hefei, China

“I’ve now been with the RSC for about 4 years and continue to enjoy the role. Publishers differ in whether they have in-house professional editors to handle papers, or whether they use academic-based editors. For the ACS, for example, all editors are based in academia with their staff supporting them in their role, whereas Nature editors are all professional editors. At the RSC we have a mixture, and the composition varies by journal. When I first started at the RSC I worked on PCCP and Nanoscale as a Publishing Editor. PCCP is a hybrid journal so it uses a mixture of the two, giving me a great opportunity to work with and support our academic editors while handling papers myself through the peer reviewer process. This ranged through carrying out initial assessments to check if a submitted manuscript was suitable for the journal based on scope, finding and inviting reviewers, and making decisions. In addition to this, I also played a role in commissioning cover artwork for Nanoscale, editing accepted manuscripts to make them ready for publication and I helped coordinate the production aspects of Nanoscale. I also was involved with a couple of Faraday Discussion meetings, which are  essentially physical chemistry-based conferences where the speakers write a paper ahead of the meeting, which is sent to all delegates, and then the meeting is used to discuss the work. These discussions are all recorded by us and published in a volume with the papers. On one of our blogs, some of our Publishing Editors have shared some brief thoughts about their roles and experience which may be of interest to anyone considering a career in publishing.”

Jeremy Allen with poster prize winners at the 4th International Conference on Energy and Biological Materials.


“I now work alongside the Executive Editor and the Editorial Board, analyzing journal performance and planning the longer term strategy. I am responsible for putting together plans of how much work we want to commission for the journals I work on and what we will do to enhance their visibility within the community.”


After working as a Publishing Editor for a little over 3 years, I then changed position to become Deputy Editor for Chemical Science, ChemComm and Chemical Society Reviews. This role is more about the development of a journal, rather than production, and is much more varied. I now work alongside the Executive Editor and the Editorial Board, analyzing journal performance and planning the longer term strategy. I am responsible for putting together plans of how much work we want to commission for the journals I work on and what we will do to enhance their visibility within the community. I also go to conferences, like a recent GRC (Gordon Research Conference), to connect with academics, to hear of the new developments in a given field and to get direct feedback on our journals and the publishing landscape from our authors/reviewers point of view. My role has been taking me to amazing new places around the world – I recently attended a conference in China, the 4th ICEBM. There I had the opportunity to meet poster prize winners, colleagues like Hongmei Peng from the RSC’s Shanghai office, and Xinhe Bao, who was one of the organizers and also serves on the Editorial Board for Energy & Environmental Science.

Jeremy Allen with Hongmei Peng (center) from the RSC Shanghai office and Energy & Environmental Science Editorial Board Member Xinhe Bao.


“Working for a society publisher is also really nice, not only because of the not-for-profit motivations, but also because there is a whole aspect to the organization that isn’t publishing and focuses on supporting people in the chemical sciences…”


Overall, I’ve really enjoyed working in publishing over the past 4 years and have no plans on changing career anytime soon! Working for a society publisher is also really nice, not only because of the not-for-profit motivations, but also because there is a whole aspect to the organization that isn’t publishing and focuses on supporting people in the chemical sciences, whether it be through education, RSC membership, conferences/events, awards or influencing government policy which leads to a really diverse group of people to work with. While publishing is relatively self-contained at the RSC, there are opportunities to interact with other departments, and potential future career options too!”


We’re happy to have Jeremy on board with Chemical Science and we’re excited to see what the future will hold as the journal continues to develop. The upcoming year will surely be a time of excitement, with IUPAC declaring 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table. We expect lots of events and opportunities to meet more RSC Editorial Board Members, Associate Editors, and Deputy Editors like Jeremy. Next time you’re at a conference that is being supported by Chemical Science, keep an eye out for Jeremy and make sure to say hello!

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Frontiers of Molecular Engineering: A First-of-its-Kind Conference

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 27: The University of Chicago Institute for Molecular Engineering in partnership with the National Science Foundation, The Institution of Chemical Engineers and Molecular Systems Design & Engineering hosted “Frontiers of Molecular Engineering” at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo credit: Randy Belice for the University of Chicago.) © Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

Beyond publishing high-quality journals, The Royal Society of Chemistry aims to bring together communities of researchers from all stages of their careers and from around the world for active exchange of ideas. The inaugural Frontiers of Molecular Engineering Symposium was organized by members of the Molecular Systems Design & Engineering (MSDE) team and hosted by the Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME) at the University of Chicago. This first-of-its-kind symposium brought together world leaders in the emerging field of molecular engineering to share their latest work and to discuss key challenges to innovation.

Developing a diverse, interdisciplinary community

Left to right: Laura Fisher, Andy Ferguson, Luke Connal, Marcus Müller, Patrick Stayton, Neil Hammond, and Kristi Kiick.

As a joint venture between the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), MSDE is a truly interdisciplinary, first-of-its kind journal, crossing the boundary between chemistry and chemical engineering. Dr. Neil Hammond, Executive Editor, and Dr. Laura Fisher, Deputy Editor of MSDE, work with the Editorial Board to develop the journal and the community that it caters to – spanning experimental, theoretical, and computational research in physics, biology, chemistry, engineering, and materials science, with the international Editorial Board reflecting the diversity of the field. Over the course of the two-day event, 25 researchers convened to discuss their discoveries and the future of molecular engineering with 120 attendees that included researchers from all levels, from graduate students to experienced research scientists. Speakers came from institutions across the globe, including the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California at Berkeley, Australian National University, Imperial College London, and Collège de France.  Along with Laura and Neil, almost all of the Editorial Board members attended and contributed to the success of the symposium, including Juan de Pablo, Claire Adjiman, Luke Connal, Andrew de Mello, Andrew Ferguson, Samson Jenekhe, Kristi Kiick and Patrick Stayton.


“Advances in our ability to manipulate molecules have led to the concept of using molecular principles to engineer solutions to societal problems.”


The Chair of the Editorial Board, Juan de Pablo, Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering at IME and vice president of national laboratories at UChicago, opened the symposium, noting that advances in the ability to manipulate molecules “has led to the concept of using molecular principles to engineer solutions to societal challenges.” The conference included a panel discussion focused on how molecular engineering is taught and researched at three of the key molecular engineering institutes: Board Members Claire Adjiman, Professor of Chemical Engineering and co-Director of the Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, and Patrick Stayton, Bioengineering Distinguished Term Professor and Director of the Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute at the University of Washington, joined Matthew Tirrell, dean and founding Pritzker director of the IME for the panel discussion on the past, present, and future of molecular engineering. 

Left to right: Editorial Board Chair Juan de Pablo and Board Members Patrick Stayton, Claire Adjiman join IME Director Matthew Tirrell for a panel discussion at the Frontiers of Molecular Engineering Symposium on September 27 2018. (Photo credit: Randy Belice for the University of Chicago.) © Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago

Cutting-edge research

Poornima Padmanabhan is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and her paper on gravitational collapse of colloidal gels was featured on the cover of Soft Matter earlier this year. Emphasizing the interdisciplinarity of the emerging molecular engineering field, she said she attended the event to “learn about the cutting-edge science and get new ideas for my research.” Frontiers of Molecular Engineering initiated in-depth discussions of critical issues that intersect with this new field of scientific study. Presentations focused primarily on fundamental materials science, with an emphasis on global challenges in health care and the environment.

On the health care side, Sarah Heilshorn of Stanford, who also serves on the Editorial Board of Biomaterials Science, covered new developments in stem cell transplantation. John Rogers of Northwestern University discussed bio-resorbable implants and the development of water-soluble transient electronics.  Jeffrey Hubbell, Eugene Bell Professor of Tissue Engineering at IME, studies cancer immunotherapy, or ways to use the body’s immune system to find and fight cancer, and highlighted innovations in drug delivery systems for tumor suppression. Specifically, he discussed whether targeted therapies injected into the bloodstream could be as effective as treatments injected into tumors, with fewer adverse effects. Hubbell remarked, “We found that if we use targeted drugs, we have just as much efficacy, with less toxicity.” MSDE Editorial Board Member Pat Stayton discussed his group’s work on molecular engineering of macromolecular therapeutics. 

Invited speakers Sarah Heilshorn, Jeffrey Hubell, John Rogers, Seth Darling, Patrick Stayton, and Chong Liu. (Photo credit: Randy Belice for the University of Chicago.) © Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

Presentations on the environment included the work of Argonne National Laboratory’s Seth Darling on water technologies with functionalities ranging from energy transduction to pollution mitigation. Chong Liu, Assistant Professor at IME, also presented her research on water, which focuses on materials for electrochemical resource mining; this work is applicable to, for example, uranium extraction from seawater or heavy metals recovery from wastewater. During the “Molecular Engineering for Energy Research” session, Chaired by Boeing-Martin Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Washington and MSDE Editorial Board Member Samson Jenekhe, Christine Luscombe discussed her research on conducting polymers for wearable electronics. Christine, who is the Campbell Career Development Endowed Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and part of the Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington, explained her work on how to design and build organic electronics that can be stretched while retaining the optical properties for energy capture solutions.  

During the session on “Molecular Engineering of Soft Biological Assemblies,” Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Chris Spadaccini spoke on additive manufacturing. Chinedum Osuji, who recently moved from Yale University to become Eduardo D. Glandt Presidential Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, presented self-assembled polymers and molecular materials with bespoke textures. MSDE Board Member Luke Connal from Australian National University presented his research using enzymes as the inspiration for designing and engineering catalysts. 

Poster session and prizes

Conference programming also featured a poster session with work from more than 40 researchers from across the globe; held in the modern and spacious atrium of the IME, the poster session was an opportunity for attendees to showcase and discuss their research with one another and get to know their peers and seek advice from leading experts. From the myriad engaging discussions, attendees learned from one another and surely to come are many future collaborations and continued friendships. Vivek Sharma, an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is interested in soft matter interfaces and rheology, the connection between the macroscopic behavior & applications and the physicochemical properties of the underlying molecular/macromolecular species. He was drawn to the meeting by the opportunity to attend cutting-edge research presentations by leading researchers while simultaneously witnessing how the molecular systems engineering approach is already impacting diverse scientific disciplines and quests.

Vivek Sharma discusses his research in soft matter and rheology with Chinedum Osuji during the poster session at the Frontiers of Molecular Engineering Symposium at the Institute for Molecular Engineering on September 27, 2018. (Photo credit: Anne Ryan) © Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

Cecilia Leal discusses her research on microfluidic synthesis of cubosomes and cuboplexes with Sarah Heilshorn at the Frontiers of Molecular Engineering Symposium on September 27 2018.

Cecilia Leal is an Assistant Professor of Materials Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying cubosomes. She presented her research on microfluidic synthesis of cubosomes and cuboplexes, loaded with nucleic acid. She said the best part of the meeting was that there were plenty of opportunities to chat with colleagues and friends. 


“The best part of the meeting was that there were plenty of opportunities to chat with colleagues and friends.”


On day two, three students each were recognized for their outstanding posters and received a $100 cash prize from MSDE . Ashley Guo, a fourth-year student at IME, was honored for her poster, “Understanding nucleosome dynamics using diffusion maps.” James Crawford from the Colorado School of Mines was recognized for his outstanding poster on “Deoxygenation of Unsaturated Linoleic Acid to Heptadecane over Zeolite Supported Pt/ZIF-67 Catalysts” and Hao Yan from Stanford University received a prize for his poster “Diamond meets molecules: Scientific opportunities with diamondoids.”

Highlights from the poster session and reception held in the atrium of the IME during the Frontiers of Molecular Engineering symposium on September 27 2018. © Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

The Emerging Investigator Award

Prof. Juan de Pablo (at right) presented the first MSDE Emerging Investigator Award to Prof. Andrew Ferguson. © Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

The second day also included the presentation of MSDE’s inaugural prize for best emerging investigator paper to Andrew Ferguson, Associate Professor of Molecular Engineering at IME. Ferguson was honored for his paper “Rational design of patchy colloids via landscape engineering.” The paper was part of a themed issue, which features work that showcases molecular engineering approaches from leading scientists in the earlier stages of their independent research careers. The 2018 Molecular Systems Design & Engineering Emerging Investigators were individually nominated by members of the journal Editorial and Advisory Boards in recognition of their potential to influence future directions in the field. The Board has been so impressed with Andrew that he was asked to join them, and is now one of the newest Editorial Board Members of MSDE.

Recognizing an emerging field

Matthew Tirrell, dean and founding Pritzker director of IME, said, “This conference demonstrates how the Institute for Molecular Engineering and the University of Chicago have become the epicenter of the emerging field of molecular engineering. This is where world-class researchers from across disciplines come to discuss advancements and promising research in the field.”

Matthew Tirrell, Director of the IME. (Photo credit: Randy Belice for the University of Chicago.) © Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

Ryan Shafranek, a fourth-year chemistry PhD student from the University of Washington in attendance, summed up the symposium this way: “It was an informative and promising conference for the growing community surrounding molecular-level design.”


“This is where world-class researchers from across disciplines come to discuss advancements and promising research in the field.”


Frontiers of Molecular Engineering was co-organized by the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago sponsored by Molecular Systems Design & Engineering, the Institution of Chemical Engineers, and the National Science Foundation. This article has been enhanced with adapted content from an original report, courtesy of the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

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