Congratulations to the ACS Reaction Mechanisms Conference poster prize winners!

We want to say congratulations to the winners of the RSC poster prizes at the recent ACS Reaction Mechanisms Conference, hosted by University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada!

Juliet Macharia won the prize from Catalysis Science & Technology. Juliet is originally from Kenya and is now a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the field of organic chemistry at the Binghamton University in New York. Juliet says her career in science was led by curiosity. She wants to understand how and why things happen the way they do to provide a “path to illumination of the many mysteries of the universe.”

Juliet Macharia with her poster

Juliet’s current research focuses on the chemistry of a class of compounds called “arylboronic acids”. These molecules are widely used in fine chemical, pharmaceutical, agrochemical, and modern-material industries due to their stability, easy preparation and environmental benign nature. The key step in many reactions employing arylboronic acids involves carbon-boron (C-B) bond cleavage. Due to the relative inertness of the C-B bond, the in-situ generation of a more reactive ‘boronate’ species is considered to be vital to the success of these reactions. Her goal is to determine the exact mechanism of C-B cleavage in reactions using a physical organic tool, Kinetic Isotope Effects (KIEs) at natural abundance. In the future, she will utilize the mechanistic information from these studies for the rational design and development of new catalytic processes.

Anna Lo, who works with Professor Jared Shaw at UC Davis, was the winner of the Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry prize. She says that she decided to pursue a career in chemistry to take advantage of the creative thinking and liberty in the practice of organic synthesis.

Anna Lo

Anna’s work focuses on two goals: (1) to elucidate conditions that provide reliable selectivity for additions to a-chiral imines, (2) to develop a mechanistic rationale for the deviating selectivity trends her research group observes. Stereoelectronic models such as the Felkin-Ahn model and Cram’s rules have been used as powerful tools in the asymmetric synthesis of complex synthetic targets. Due to their robust utility, Felkin-control and chelation-control have been generalized to imine stereocontrol, despite fundamental differences in reactivity between N-substituted imines and their carbonyl analogues. Recent work has illuminated a class of a-chiral aldehyde derived imines that deviate from previously well-established stereoelectronic models. This illuminated a gap in understanding of existing stereocontrol models, specifically when applied to N-substituted imines, which Anna is now investigating.

This conference sounds like it was a great event, and we’re glad to support young researchers as they build their careers!

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Certified Excellent: Congratulations Winners!

We are happy to announce the recipients of the 2018 Certificate of Excellence! Back for its second year, this special program was developed to recognize outstanding students who have shown special achievement in the chemical sciences. Join us in congratulating these stellar students who are being honored by their departments for their achievements. We first introduced the Certificate of Excellence in 2017 as a way to recognize the younger generation of students who have shown interest and curiosity and a passion for learning in the chemical sciences. If you’re interested in getting your department involved in future Certificate of Excellence programs, please contact us at americas-editorial@rsc.org.

 

 

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2019 Faraday Discussion on Ultrafast Photoinduced Energy and Charge Transfer in Ventura, CA – Submit an Abstract

Faraday Discussions: No Ordinary Conference

Faraday Discussion, Collaborative interaction, 5 min talk, 25 min discussionThe Faraday Discussion conference series are true to name. They honor Michael Faraday, who made seminal contributions to electrochemistry. Each conference has a scientific committee that invites world-class speakers on a key topic focused on physical chemistry and interfacing fields. The Discussions part of the name reflects the core emphasis of the meeting with a 5-minute talk from a speaker, followed by 25 minutes of discussion.

Interactive Discussions: Key Messages in 5 Minutes

It may sound challenging to highlight a research project in 5 minutes, but it’s possible since accepted speakers submit papers which are circulated to attendees in advance, with the expectation that attendees read all papers before arriving.

After the initial 5-minute talk, anyone can speak for up to 5 minutes. In the past, attendees have prepared comments, questions, and even short presentations of their own work to confirm or raise concerns about results.

Posters: Opportunity for Recognition

Attendees can also submit posters for consideration by the scientific committee. Once accepted, poster presenters can make contributions to the Discussion itself, including showing their own work if pertinent, and there are prizes to recognize exceptional work.

Faraday Discussions (The Journal): Keep the Conversation Going

Since not everyone can attend the meeting in person, the corresponding Faraday Discussions volume publishes all discussion remarks alongside the papers and poster title and abstracts. Updates and highlighted content can be found on the Faraday Discussions Blog.

2019 Faraday Discussion on Ultrafast Photoinduced Energy and Charge Transfer

ultrafast photoinduced energy, charge transfer, faraday discussion, april 2019, ventura, california, ca

Faraday Discussions are held all over the world, but the next meeting in the US takes place in Ventura in April 2019. The meeting broadly addresses critical challenges in ultrafast energy and charge transfer across four main themes:

  • energy and charge-transfer in natural photosynthesis
  • photovoltaics and bio-inspired light harvesting
  • photo-induced electron transfer
  • photo-protection/photo-damage in natural systems

The Committee organized the following distinguished speakers in the area, including Gordana Dukovic from University of Colorado Boulder, Advisory Board member for Sustainable Energy & Fuels; Greg Scholes from Princeton University, Advisory Board member for Materials Horizons and Chemical Science; and Emily Weiss from Northwestern University, Advisory Board member for Materials Horizons.

A Conversation with Committee Co-Chair, Professor Stephen Bradforth

We had a chance to hear from Committee Co-Chair Divisional Dean and Professor Stephen Bradforth, at University of Southern California, who shared his perspective.

What surprised you/was your favorite part about your first Faraday Discussion Meeting? What inspired you?

I attended my first Faraday Discussion at the University at Nottingham on the subject of Structure and Dynamics of Reactive Transition States.  For me, as a graduate student in Berkeley, it was a return to Britain after three scientifically rich years in California.  The format of the meeting was incredibly engaging.  Seeing names familiar from the literature as speakers wrestling with only 5 minutes to summarize their work! But immediately followed by an in-depth questioning and scholarly discussion of each speaker’s written paper that revealed what was fact, what was conjecture and what simply wasn’t known. It was invaluable for a student finding his feet in the field of physical chemistry.

Why did you decide to get involved and why do you think the topic of the meeting is timely?

I was persuaded by Mike Ashfold and Tom Oliver, with whom I had collaborated on two Faraday Discussion contributions over the years, that it was time to bring the Faraday Discussion to the west coast of the USA.  In fact, this is the first time an FD has been held west of Chicago, and about time too!  This meeting, on Photoinduced Charge and Energy Transfer, comes after a recent trans-disciplinary surge in activity to better understand solar energy conversion, both in natural photosynthetic systems and in man-made materials, spurred by the formidable energy challenge in front of us as a society.

“Attendees will gain a window on the array of contemporary advanced tools,
both experimental and theoretical, that are being developed to attack this scientific grand challenge”

–Committee Co-Chair Stephen Bradforth, Divisional Dean of Natural Sciences and
Professor of Chemistry at University of Southern California–

What do you hope prospective attendees will gain from the upcoming meeting?

The goal of the meeting is to bring together experts from several areas, spectroscopists, biophysicists, theoretical chemists, and materials scientists, to uncover the basic design principles for efficiently converting the energy delivered in a photon into useful chemical potential. And all while considering the potential photodamage to the molecular and nanoscale architectures employed.  FD attendees will gain a window on the array of contemporary advanced tools, both experimental and theoretical, that are being developed to attack this scientific grand challenge.

deadline, oral, abstract, poster, early, standard, registration

Welcoming You

The oral abstract deadline is approaching in July, but there is still time to submit either oral or poster abstracts. Monetary support in the form of travel grants of at least £200 are available for early-career RSC members (only £20 for students), within 10 years of completing their PhD or still students, as detailed in the bursary section of the website.

We hope you take advantage of the opportunity to share your ideas and connect with the community in a uniquely interactive meeting. Whether you’re a spectroscopist, biophysicist, computational or theoretical chemist, physicist, or a material scientist working in photo-induced biomolecular and nanoscale dynamics, join us for the first Faraday Discussion in California.

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Congratulations Alberta Nano Research Symposium!

For the fifth year running, the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary Nano Groups co-organized the two-day Alberta Nano Research Symposium. The symposium provides a platform for showcasing innovation in nanotechnology research done in Alberta, as well as fostering deeper connections among researchers in academia and industry.

Students from across Alberta in all nanotechnology disciplines were invited to present their research, with prizes awarded to the top oral and poster presentations. Plenary speakers – leaders in nanotechnology – from Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan were invited to give talks on some of their latest work. A poster session and a networking event brought together the community in the evening.

Special congratulations to Muhammad Zubair, who won the RSC Nanoscale Horizons Poster Award. He presented a poster about the development of a novel membrane based on chicken feathers/graphene oxide for water purification. In Canada, approximately 100,000 tons of poultry feathers are produced every year, and most of them are landfilled or burnt. He is using these chicken feathers to make membranes for water purification, which will not only help to reduce the environmental pollution related to chicken feathers but also bring a new and low-cost solution to existing water purification membranes.

The RSC is particularly enthusiastic about supporting the efforts early career researchers, so we want to say congrats for a successful event!

Nanoscale Horizons Poster Award winner Muhammad Zubair (center), with Nicolas Macia (L) and Alyx Aarbo (R), co-chairs of the Symposium. Photo credit: Vladimir Kabanov.

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SBQ-RSC: Celebrating UK-Brazil collaborations

   

Brazil has been the research centre of South America since the beginning of the 21st century and is responsible for more than 50% of chemistry papers published in Latin America. The Royal Society of Chemistry has been committed to fostering international collaborations for at least as long. Ties between UK and Brazilian researchers have become common, and it was a natural result to sign our first Memorandum of Understanding with the Brazilian Chemical Society (SBQ) in 2007, promoting and fostering collaborations. The MoU was renewed in 2012, and this May, the RSC and SBQ are signing an updated MoU that will incentivize UK and Brazilian researchers to participate in SBQ or RSC meetings, encourage inclusion and diversity and seek out joint third party activities.

In honour of this event, we have organized a special virtual issue highlighting collaborations between UK and Brazilian researchers. Articles from authors from 34 institutions in Brazil and 41 in the UK were selected, resulting in more than sixty articles on topics such as electroanalytical techniques, nanomaterials, catalysis, synthetic pathways and theoretical calculations, among others.

 

The close ties and friendship between the SBQ and the Royal Society of Chemistry has helped foster many scientific collaborations and has brought scientists together to promote and share knowledge and ideas. Some of the results of these collaborations are now showcased in this web collection and we are immensely proud that these researchers chose to publish their work in our journals.” said Emma Wilson, Director of Publishing, RSC

 

I’m very satisfied to renew the SBQ/RSC partnership signing a new Memorandum of Understanding during the SBQ Annual Meeting in Foz do Iguaçu, as an official activity of the UK-Brazil Year of Science and Innovation. To celebrate, the editors of both RSC journals portfolio and the Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society-JBCS decided to create themed issues. Each society selected scientific papers by authors from Brazil and UK. This is a great initiative, and the success is guaranteed. Congratulations to all the people engaged in actions to approximate SBQ and RSC much more, hence the Brazilian and the UK sciences. said Prof Aldo J G Zarbin, SBQ President

 

Our future collaborations include a themed issue in the Royal Society of Chemistry journals portfolio and the JBCS of selected scientific papers shared by authors from Brazil and UK. I am also very much looking forward to formally renewing our partnership and friendship by signing our Memorandum of Understanding –  a welcome commitment between our two countries to collaborate further in the future for the benefit of chemistry and humanity. said Professor Dominic Tildesley Past President, Royal Society of Chemistry

 

This themed issue will also celebrate the UK-BRAZIL Year of Science and Innovation 2018-2019, organized by the Science and Innovation Network Brazil (SIN). This initiative recognizes the significant increase in collaborations between the two countries and their resulting publications.

 

The UK-Brazil Year of Science & Innovation is a celebration of current and new world class collaborations in global challenges including in energy, climate, biodiversity, agriculture and health & linked to our Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Grand Challenge. I am thrilled that the Royal Society of Chemistry and Brazilian Chemical Society are a strong part of this Year said Dr Julia Knights, Director of Science & Innovation at the British Embassy in Brasilia. Check the provisional UK-BR YoS&I program here.

 

We invite you to browse the collection to see what’s been happening between Brazil and the UK since 2016.

 
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Chemistry Education: All Fun and Games

Besides publishing high-quality research from around the globe, the RSC’s activities support chemistry education and lifelong learning. During Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7-11) we celebrated the launch of Professional Development of Chemistry Teachers: Theory and Practice, the first book in the RSC Advances in Chemistry Education series. We reflected on all the educators who are making a difference for those studying chemical sciences and wanted to showcase one of the outstanding young educators we’ve met who are making an impact in the North America chemistry community.  At the 3rd annual University of California Chemical Symposium, Zachary Thammavongsy from the Yang Group at UC Irvine (UCI) won the coveted “Social Media Prize” for generating the most buzz around the meeting, but what really made Zach stand out was his game company, d-Orbital Games. Attendees like Chemical Science Deputy Editor, Jeremy Allen, had so much fun playing that they may not have even realized they were learning. Since many graduate students with a passion for teaching are often torn between their roles as a researcher and an educator, we caught up with Zach during Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7-11) to learn more about his accomplishments while in graduate school, what he has in store for the future, and what advice he would give to others who are inspired to teach. Zach, who won the 2017-2018 UCI Most Promising Future Faculty Award, has found a unique way to manage both research and teaching and even start his own business. Read on to learn more about Zach’s story and how teaching and learning really can can be fun and games.

Chemical Science Deputy Editor Jeremy Allen plays SeArCH with UC grad students and postdocs at the 3rd annual UCCS

“A game can be many things, but, at its core, a game is a defined set of parameters that allow a player or players to compete. This is a very structured answer, but these predefined parameters make games fun to play (either alone or against other players). A game should be fun, challenging, thought-provoking, foster a sense of competition, and ultimately provide a tangible way to accomplish one’s goals (winning). These concepts are easy to translate into simplified science topics. When playing a new game one must become familiar with the rules; I just make those rules simple to understand while teaching players about science!

“Growing up, I had amazing teachers. My source of inspiration for how to teach effectively has always been my high school teachers. They put maximum effort into their curriculum and I felt that they genuinely loved interacting with students. Now as a teaching assistant (TA), I take the same approach to teaching my lab sections and discussion courses. I don’t think I have a skill that others don’t possess in teaching, but I do believe I have the desire and the drive to pursue teaching as a career that I admire in other teachers. This is why I improve my teaching ability by taking advantage of the education classes offered at UC-Irvine and I attend teaching conferences. I am fascinated by the teaching techniques and learning strategies utilized in the subject of chemistry, and I hope to pursue conceptual learning as a research topic in the near future.

“I am a pedagogical fellow at UCI through the Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation (DTEI). The fellowship is highly competitive as it is open to every graduate student at UCI. I learned of the fellowship through a former pedagogical fellow in the chemistry department. I submitted a sixty minute video of my teaching, collected student evaluations and underwent a formal interview process. The fellowship provided invaluable opportunities, like taking a year-long seminar on teaching techniques with pedagogical fellows from other departments and leading a two-day teaching workshop to prepare incoming graduate students in  chemistry for teaching responsibilities. Preparation for the workshop was rigorous; I now fully appreciate the time commitment instructors invest into preparing lecture notes.

“Initially, I was apprehensive about revealing my  games to my advisor. I didn’t know how she would receive the news since research is a graduate student’s top priority.”

Zach’s company d-Orbital Games uses simple but clever games to teach chemistry concepts while making education fun.

“As a pedagogical fellow, I crafted a few chemistry flash cards with some paper, pen and scissors to make a simple game to play with my colleagues. The game was so popular with those who did not have a chemistry background, that I used it as the basis of the first d-Orbital game, SeArCH! I launched a Kickstarter soon after, where I converted the seed money from the funded campaign to make more science-based card games and built a brand! The name d-Orbital Games (dOG) was brainstormed one late night in lab with an undergraduate researcher, Wyeth Gibson. It was only fitting that as an inorganic chemist, the chemistry card game company would be named after the transition metal electron orbitals (d-orbitals). I also love the acronym “dOG” since I love dogs and my parents have a shiba inu – which is the company mascot featured in our logo wearing a lab coat and goggles.

Initially, I was apprehensive about revealing my games to my advisor. I didn’t know how she would receive the news since research is a graduate student’s top priority. I finally told my PI four months after launching the d-Orbital game website and she was absolutely supportive and encouraging. I am not quite sure why I initially felt that my PI would not be receptive to the idea, as she is a very supportive mentor to her students and their scientific goals, even if it isn’t strictly research. My PI has even retweeted things posted on d-Orbital game’s Twitter. If she is reading this, Jenny, you are the best!

“I wandered often while navigating my way into starting a company. I gathered the courage to approach all types of people, not just academics. I asked business owners who started their own companies and shared my business platform at entrepreneurial meet-ups sponsored through UCI. One of my biggest challenges was approaching domestic or international manufacturers to make my games for the lowest price. The best advice I received thus far is from Catherine Croft, Ph.D., the CEO of Catlilli Games, who advised me to submit my games to award shows and attend conferences to showcase d-Orbital Games. It is amazing how many doors open by starting a conversation with people you barely know. I was happy to receive such a warm welcome at UCCS. I went to the symposium unsure how chemistry graduate students from other UCs would react to d-Orbital Games. I had one of the best moments this year watching other graduate students take interest in the education games my team developed. Specifically, I enjoy seeing the smiles and laughter that “Slap Count” brought to the table when a collective group of graduate students were competing to show off their skills in counting d-electrons! The UCCS Chair, Andrea Coleman from UC-Davis, was the star player that night, by bringing the energy to the game table.

“It is amazing how many doors open by starting a conversation with people you barely know.”

My current team is made up of lab members and childhood friends who possess skills that are unique and vital to the success of d-Orbital Games. They provide critical feedback on every detail, allowing us to provide the most accurate and fun chemistry games. Also, it is nice working with your friends! They don’t hold back on their opinions and I appreciate that a lot. The game designers can be anyone on the team, but usually Bianca and Wyeth help come up with initial concepts and game mechanics. The two editors Kim and Brian are extremely critical of spelling and grammatical errors. Ali and Mike are hometown friends that have helped me get through some of the computing and business side of the company. They are a big help from far away. Fortunately, the game designers are my lab mates. I see them every day. Since we are all busy researching, we don’t normally set a schedule for designing games. The game design happens over at the pub or during our group bonding time. We choose a chemistry topic to tackle and share how certain game mechanics can be incorporated into highlighting a difficult chemistry concept. We try to simplify our games as much as possible, so that students can quickly pick up the game in a one-hour classroom setting. From there, I talk to my editing team about the overall look of the game. I make a lot of grammatical errors, and I am so lucky to have editors that can spot all of my mistakes. The most exciting game that my team is currently working on is a proton NMR game. We try to focus primarily on games that can be implemented in the college level classroom. The proton NMR game will be our first game with a gameboard! I even had students from my organic chemistry course play test the game several times. I am exciting to be presenting the results from the proton NMR game at this summer’s ACS Biennial Conference on Chemical Education! Please come check it out if you are attending the conference!

“I had one of the best moments this year watching other graduate students take interest in the education games my team developed.”

Zach Thammavongsy (right), founder of d-Orbital Games with Connor Easley (left), Chair of the next UCCS where Zach’s games will be featured during the 2019 meeting.

“I envision some universities giving d-Orbital Games a try, if not in their classroom then hopefully in their office hours. We hope our games will assist students in their chemistry learning. Eventually, we hope to tackle every topic in general, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. We want teachers to be able to pull one of our games off the shelf and seamlessly incorporate them into their lesson plan. We can provide the tools and detail all the new techniques for an educator to be great, but if we don’t get educators to buy in to how teaching can be beneficial to them as much as it will be for the students then that is when students suffer. From my experience, the skills I think graduate students gain from teaching are improved communication skills and professionalism. Every day is a chance for graduate teaching assistants (TA) to practice these skills so that they can be perfected for job interviews or handling difficult workplace situations in the future. Not everyone has to have the passion for teaching, but if everyone knows the benefits from getting the opportunity to teach then perhaps we can start to improve the teaching mindset of our graduate TAs and many other educators.”

We were impressed by Zach’s story and hope it will inspire other young people who are passionate about teaching and the 2019 UCCS is planning to incorporate some of Zach’s games into the program for attendees to play. The biggest lesson that Zach has learned through this experience:

Continue through the tough times. Even when your ideas don’t work out the first, or second or third time – very similar to research – talk to as many people that are willing to listen and play your game and do what makes you happy.”

We appreciate Zach sharing his story with us and hope you join us in thanking all the teachers who are making a difference;  follow Zach & d-Orbital Games and the Yang Group on Twitter to keep up with the latest happenings in both teaching and research. Educators looking for additional teaching tools can explore Learn Chemistry, the RSCs educational resource and teacher support publishing program. In addition to the magazine Education in Chemistry which covers all areas of chemistry education, our peer-reviewed journal Chemical Education Research and Practice is free to access for all, thanks to sponsorship by the RSC’s Chemistry Education Division.

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Congratulations CQMF prize winners!

Materials Horizons, posters, prize

Prof JF Masson presents the Materials Horizons poster prize to Nicolas Zindy

The Centre Québécois sur les Matériaux Fonctionnels/Quebec Center for Advanced Materials recently held its annual meeting in Montreal, and we were pleased to sponsor poster prizes from Analyst and Materials Horizons at the event. Congratulations to winners Nicolas Zindy from Laval University and Régis Imbeault from the University of Sherbrooke!

Régis won the Analyst prize for his poster describing the development of high performance functionalized polynorbornenes (PBBEs) from simple, inexpensive and environmentally friendly synthesis procedures. Because of their very high physicochemical properties and their low anticipated cost, these new materials can compete with many commercial products, while offering a greener alternative and bringing new solutions for advanced applications.

Nicolas won the Materials Horizons prize for his poster that presented a new strategy to create a pi-conjugated polymer using pyromelltic diimide (PMDI) as an aromatic C-H bond bearer for direct heteroarylation polymerization (DHAP) with 1,4-dibromobenzene. This material has been difficult to synthesize with conventional methods such as Suzuki or Stille couplings and has potential to be used as a cost-effective active material in next generation Li-ion batteries.

Editors from two of our journals also took the initiative to present their advice on publishing, following our Meet the Editor format. Thank you Profs Jean-François Masson from Analyst and Federico Rosei from Journal of Materials Chemistry C for helping us educate the community about good publishing practice!

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2018 Prize Winners at 3rd Annual UC Chemical Symposium

 

Research Presentation Prize winners from the Cohen group at UC San Diego. Left to right: Jessica Moreton, Chemical Science Oral Research Presentation Prize; Joey Palomba, Dalton Transactions Poster Prize; Kyle Bentz, Materials Horizons Poster Prize; Christine Morrison, Analyst Poster Prize.

Several RSC journals supported the 3rd annual University of California Chemical Symposium by sponsoring poster and  presentation prizes. Chemical Science, our flagship journal, sponsored oral Research Presentation Prizes in each of the six subject areas and our core subject-area journals sponsored poster prizes.

 

An impressive showing came from the Cohen group from UC San Diego with three poster prizes and an oral presentation prize. Jessica Moreton was awarded a Chemical Science prize for her talk on MOFs in mixed-matrix membrane systems in the Materials/Nano category. In addition to Jessica’s talk, three posters from the Cohen group won poster prizes. Joey Palomba won the Dalton Transactions Poster Prize for Inorganic Chemistry for his work on high-throughput screening methods for MOFs for nerve agent degradation. Christine Morrison won the Biochemistry category ChemComm Poster Prize for her work on drug discovery methods using metallofragments. Kyle Bentz won the Materials category with a Materials Horizons Poster Prize for his work on hollow amphiphilic crosslinked nanocapsules; Kyle is also serving as Vice-chair of the 2019 UCCS. The group’s leader, Seth Cohen, helped found the UCCS and is surely pleased to see such a strong performance from his group. 



Netz Arroyo from UC Santa Barbara is presented a Chemical Science Research Presentation Prize by Professor Carrie Partch.

The Chemical Science Prizes were presented by keynote speaker, Prof. Carrie Partch from UC Santa Cruz and were also awarded for oral presentations in each of five other categories. Sean Nguyen from Jenn Prescher’s research group and Bryan Ellis in the Vanderwal Group took home prizes for UC Irvine. Sean’s talk on the development of orthogonal reactions for multicomponent labeling in biological systems earned him the Chemical Science Prize in Chemical Biology/Biochemistry and Bryan’s presentation on the development of an oxetane-based polyketide synthase substrate mimic won in the Organic category. In the Analytical category, the prize went to Netz Arroyo, a postdoctoral researcher in Prof. Kevin W Plaxco’s group at UC Santa Barbara. Netz presented his work on coupling electrochemical, aptamer-based sensors with closed-loop control algorithms. The goal is to achieve continuous real-time measurement of specific molecules in living things and ultimately feedback-controlled delivery of therapeutic drugs, which would be valuable in a clinical setting for any number of diseases. Also from UC Santa Barbara, Andrew Cook from the research group of Trevor Hayton was recognized in the Inorganic category for his talk on catalytically active nanoclusters. These acetylide-stabilized copper and thiolate-stabilized cobalt nanoclusters can also be immobilized on silica and would be valuable for nanostructured materials. Will Hollingsworth, who also served on the organizing committee for the 2018 UCCS from the Ayzner Group at UC Santa Cruz was awarded the prize for his talk in the Physical category on electronic energy transfer dynamics in conjugated polyelectrolytes, which would be especially useful for artificial photosynthesis when oppositely-charged donor-acceptor pairs are used. Will used a variety of time-resolved techniques as well as steady-state measurements to study these complex systems. 



Chad Cruz from UC Riverside with his prize-winning poster on charge-separated S-bridged chromophores at the 2018 UCCS poster session.

The remaining posters were claimed by UC Riverside. The PCCP Poster Prize for best poster in the Physical Chemistry category went to Chad Cruz, a graduate student at UC Riverside jointly in the Chronister group and the Bardeen research lab. Chad presented on studies using anthracene in sulfur-bridged chromophore systems and examining the effects of changing the S oxidation state. His work shows significant insights into ways to tune excited-state properties in these bridged systems that could be used for optoelectronic devices due to their potential for forming long-lived charge-separated states. 

Bill Weigel from UC Riverside with his prize-winning organic poster on anacardic acid derivatives for enzyme-inhibition studies.

 

 

The Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry Poster Prize in the Organic Chemistry category went to Bill Weigel, a graduate student in the research group of Dave Martin at UC Riverside, which focuses on the design and synthesis of bioactive molecules; Bill presented his work on the use of computational docking studies to design anacardic acid derivatives, which he then synthesizes in order to study structure-activity relationships with enzymes. Specifically, they are examining the inhibition of the enzyme SUMO E1, which is known to be involved in oncogenesis, by these rationally-designed substrates.

 

The next UCCS will take place March 24-27th 2019 in Lake Arrowhead, California where we expect to see more exciting research and recognize the hard work of the graduate students and post-doctoral fellows behind it.  

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Meet the Royal Society of Chemistry at ACS National Meetings

We always enjoy meeting new people and catching up with familiar faces at ACS National Meetings, most recently in New Orleans.  We packed our schedules with talks during the day, learning about the latest and exciting developments across the chemical sciences.  Many of us attended sessions related to the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water theme, which also aligns with the global challenges the RSC aims to support.

It was a good opportunity to congratulate Chemical Science Associate Editors Professors Kit Cummins and Mircea Dinca at MIT in person as they received ACS awards for their achievements.  Editor-in-chief Professor Daniel Nocera, Executive Editor Dr. May Copsey, and many other Chemical Science Board members discussed some exciting developments for our flagship journal – stay tuned for updates on the website and learn more about the Associate Editors!

Booth, ACS, RSC, Chemical Science, Environmental Science journals, New Orleans

Dr. May Copsey, Executive Editor for Chemical Science, Dr. Sam Keltie, Executive Editor for the Environmental Science journals, and Dr. Jenny Lee, Assistant Editorial Development Manager, meeting attendees at the RSC booth during opening night of the Expo.

While it’s challenging to keep up with the conference programming, we wanted to spend some time to meet conference attendees at the booth and organize separate gatherings.  Larger conferences are great since colleagues travel from our Cambridge, UK office.  The Meet the Editor event involving Executive Editor Dr. Sam Keltie and the Editor-in-chiefs for the three sister Environmental Science journals was a nice chance to talk about publishing, and to also continue the conversation with the environmental chemical sciences community during happy hour.

RSC, ACS, Environmental Science: Nano, Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, ESN, ESW, ESPI, Meet the Editor, Booth, Sam Keltie, New Orleans

Meet the Editor event with Dr. Sam Keltie, Executive Editor of the Environmental Science journals, Prof. Kris McNeill, Editor-in-chief of Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, Prof. Peter Vikesland, Editor-in-chief of Environmental Science: Nano, and Prof. David Cwiertny, Editor-in-chief of Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology.

We also were glad to connect with a few RSC Advances Associate Editors, Editorial Board member Professor James Batteas, and Executive Editor Dr. Andrew Shore where we discussed ideas to continue developing the latest Gold Open Access option within the RSC journals.  While these are only a few highlights of all the events we organized throughout the conference, we appreciated the many opportunities to hear everyone’s thoughts to guide our future activities.

RSC, ACS, RSC Members' Reception, New Orleans

RSC Members’ Reception with Dr. Guy Jones, Executive Editor for Data, pictured in the foreground.

We’d love to meet you at a future ACS National Meeting – you can usually catch most of us at the booth on the opening night of the Expo so we hope to see you soon!

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Science Connect: helping Brazilian scientists communicate their research

The British Council is an organization in the UK that promotes cultural relations and educational opportunities in countries around the world. Three years ago, the RSC began collaborating with them on their Researcher Connect program. Researcher Connect brings workshops on communication skills to universities around the world, including Brazil. For our part of the program, we conduct 1-day, science communication focused workshops, which we call Science Connect. If you think your university in Brazil might be interested, the British Council will be putting out a new call for Researcher Connect applications starting April 2 2018 here. We will be selecting a few institutions chosen for the main Researcher Connect 2018 program to also host an extra day for Science Connect.

This year, we held our Science Connect workshops at three universities: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES), Universidade de Brasília (UnB) and Universidade de São Paulo (USP). We had students, postdocs and professors from not only chemistry departments, but also related fields such as materials science, molecular biology and environmental science.

First, Elizabeth Magalhaes from our São Paulo office gave a presentation about the publishing process, with tips from our Editors about all stages of the process, from submission to revision. She also covered best practices for reviewing articles and ethics. The participants told us they found it really useful with lots of tips and good advice on how the publishing process works from the Editors’ perspective.

presentation, publishing

Elizabeth Magalhaes presenting on how to publish at USP

Then, our first hands-on module started with students reading the text of an RSC Advances article from which we’d removed the title and abstract. After giving them some instruction on the essential components of abstracts and titles, we asked them to work in groups to first write an abstract for the article and then a title. Some of the students found this challenging because it was outside of their field, but many of their results included elements that could have improved the real abstract!

Students at UnB collaborate to write an abstract for the RSC Advances article.

The second module focused on communicating your research orally. We went over how important body language and manner of speaking can be. We looked at a real example and asked them to critique the speaker based on what they’d learned. The second half of this module focused on elevator pitches, which are generally unfamiliar to Brazilian researchers. With a worksheet as guidance, we walked them through the elements of a good pitch and asked them to take a stab at writing their own. Several of the students said they found this really useful because they hadn’t really sat down and thought about what they do and why it’s valuable to others.

And finally, and most fun, we looked at the elements of great poster design. We showed some real life examples and asked the students to point out the good and bad elements. We emphasized that communicating your science in a logical way is the most important aspect of posters – they don’t always have to follow the same format as a paper. We encouraged them to get creative (but not too creative!) in thinking about the best way to visually communicate their science. Then some brave students allowed us to look at their real posters for friendly critique.

Elizabeth Magalhaes shows students at UFES an example of a fabric poster.

We had a lot of great feedback from the attendees and really enjoyed helping them better communicate their research. “The partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry has flourished greatly over the past few years and, the feedback we got from universities’ representatives is nothing but really positive,” says Camila Almeida, Newton Fund Project Manager with the British Council. “We have now delivered eight Science Connect workshops in various Brazilian states, and we have observed an increasing interest from the institutions each year. We are very pleased with the results and looking forward to the forthcoming workshops in 2018!”

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