Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Deputy Editor Sarah Rainford visits Professor Ahjeong Son at Ewha Womans University

RSC Advances Deputy Editor Sarah Rainford was delighted to visit our Associate Editor, Professor Ahjeong Song, at Ewha Womans University in May.

Sarah met with members of Ahjeong’s research group, and delivered a talk on Publishing with Impact, providing tips and tricks on how to prepare your manuscript, and how to ensure you include all the relevant information that editors, reviewers and readers would want to see.

Sarah thanks her wonderful host for such a terrific visit!

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CBBG Meeting 2024 – RSC Poster Prize Winner

The RSC Chemical Biology and Bioorganic Group (CBBG) Postgraduate Symposium meeting took place at the University of East Anglia on the 19th April 2024. The meeting brought together early career researchers working across a range of chemical biology backgrounds and showcasing their cutting-edge chemical biology research. In addition to a plenary speaker the symposium included both short talks and poster presentations by postgraduate students.

We are delighted that the symposium was a success and we would like to wish a huge congratulations to the poster prize winner, Thomas E. Mills. Tom’s poster was titled “Novel Quantitative Methodology for Studying Inhibition of Protein-Protein Interactions”, and Tom’s research is funded by the Institute of Chemical Biology EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (ICB CDT).

 

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Brenno Neto at Organic Synthesis Workshop, Brazil

RSC Advances Associate Editor Brenno Neto recently attended the 7th Organic Synthesis Workshop of the North, Northeast and Midwest, which took place at the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil.

 

The aim of the congress was to foster exchanges between Organic Synthesis researchers from these Regions. The Workshop program included lectures and oral presentations of student work, reflecting the results of research groups.

 

Brenno Neto presented his latest research results and took the opportunity to also talk about RSC Advances and how it supports the global chemistry community.

 

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Bioinorganic Chemistry (GRS) – Interview with Caitlin Palmer

On 19th – 22nd January 2024, the Bioinorganic Chemistry Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) took place. This annual seminar provides an opportunity for young doctoral and post-doctoral researchers to present and discuss their work. GRS encourages active participation and engaged discussion from all attendees, in order to encourage scientific collaboration.

This year, the conference focused on Elucidating the Influence of Metals on Biological Processes and RSC Advances were lucky enough to sponsor the event and support attendance of early career researcher! Caitlin Palmer is a graduate student at Northwestern University, United States. She completed her BS in Chemistry and Biochemistry and MS in Inorganic Chemistry at East Carolina University.

Caitlin Palmer

At the conference, Caitlin presented her research on “Uncovering the Role of CopD in Methanotroph Copper Homeostasis”.

Caitlin has told us about her research and discussed the triumphs and challenges she has faced throughout her career so far. She also provided some advice for other students and early career researchers.

What is the focus of your research and why it is of current interest?

The focus of my research is how metals are trafficked, stored, and delivered to essential enzymes in bacteria. Specifically, I work on a new class of copper transport proteins that are only found in bacteria, and potentially deliver copper to enzymes involved in carbon metabolism and antibiotic resistance pathways. Because of this, my lab is very interested in studying the mechanism of how this class of proteins is involved in copper homeostasis, and how they can be targeted for drug therapies down the line.

What are the key design considerations for your study?

The key design considerations for my study include finding ample controls for some of the in vivo assays I’ve created to monitor a copper transport in bacteria. In addition, since this class of proteins is a membrane protein, it’s been very important to optimize its stable expression and purification for in vitro assays.

Which part of the research so far has proved to be the most challenging?

I think the most challenging portion of my research so far was the switch to membrane proteins – during my undergraduate and masters, I worked with soluble metal binding proteins that had been established in the literature for many years, which were relatively easy to purify and characterize for my experiments. Now in my PhD, working with membrane proteins has been a challenge due to their solubility and instability issues during purification. I’ve had to work with numerous constructs (+30 homologs and tag configurations) in order to optimize stable expression and purification of these proteins.

What aspect of the work are you most excited about?

I think I’m most excited about the structural aspect of my project – I’ve been working on collecting cryoEM data recently, so I am very excited to start my foray into structural characterization, especially since cryoEM is such a hot field right now.

What advice would you give to students and early career researchers in a similar situation to yourself?

The best advice I was given came from a postdoctoral scholar in our lab – she told me that the best way to get through some of the lows and “failed experiments” in grad school is to keep your energy and excitement up throughout it, even when it feels like everything is going horribly. My project has been really difficult, and at times when I’ve felt like nothing is going right, I’ve really leaned into this thought of staying excited about my research and why it is so exciting for me to do.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a researcher starting out in your career and what positive progress have you seen throughout your career so far?

Since I’m a graduate student, I’m not too far into my career just yet, but at least from my transition from undergraduate to graduate studies, I’ve noticed my confidence in my research and my technical abilities has really increased – during my undergraduate research experience, I had the unfortunate experience of being viewed as only a tech and someone who only ran data for others (rather than contributing to science and doing thoughtful experiments), so that really hurt my confidence in my abilities. However, as I’ve grown my skills and spent more time in the lab as a graduate student, I’ve gained more confidence and respect as a researcher, which has been a very restorative experience.

Do you have any recommendations for improving the STEM workforce to create an environment that better supports early career researchers? Is there anything publishers such as the RSC can do to help?

I think the biggest advice I can give is to provide more funding and support for early career researchers, especially from minority and LGBT/queer communities, because these researchers represent more of the type of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars that are being attracted to STEM careers, including myself. One of the biggest influences on my career was an early career faculty member at my undergraduate institution who is queer and a minority – seeing him thrive in the face of adversity really shaped my perspective as a young queer researcher, and gave me the spark to love my research even more and continue on my graduate school career. To the second part of your question, I think journals and publishers should strive to publish articles and thought pieces from a diverse range of researchers, and really try to support these historically underrepresented communities (in the form of publishing, scholarships, travel awards, funding, etc) to help them achieve greater success. It really takes a village to support early career researchers, so any support from the community is paramount to their success.

Anything else to note?

I also love to plug my cat in any interview I do, so please find attached to this email a copy of my cat (Miss Sammie) who keeps me sane during graduate school. She has also donated many whiskers to our lab for crystallography experiments, so she is an active “researcher” in my lab as well!

Miss Sammie

Submit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest Popular Advances, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

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MASC Meeting 2023 – RSC Poster Prize Winners

The RSC Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry (MASC) Group meeting took place at the University of Birmingham on the 18th and 19th December 2023. The meeting brought together researchers working in the diverse and growing field of modern macrocyclic and supramolecular chemistry, and included an exciting collection of invited talks from leaders in the field, as well as oral and poster presentations.

We are delighted that the conference was such a success and we would like to wish a huge congratulations to the poster prize winners, Ben Barber, Francis Crick Institute (Chemical Communications), Sophie Patrick, University of Oxford (RSC Advances), and Jiarong Wu, Universität Würzburg and (Chemical Science).

Sophie Patrick, University of Oxford

A group photo of the poster prize winners

Submit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest Popular Advances, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

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FORCE-IICS Conference 2023

On September 28 – October 1, 2023, Hyatt Regency in Nepal organised the FORCE-IICS conference bringing together scientists and facilitating the exchange of ideas on a platform entitled FORCE themed: Interdisciplinary Initiative in Chemical Sciences (IICS)

RSC Advances provided some general sponsorship money for the event, and proudly sponsored members of Tribhuvan University, Nepal, to attend the event; Prof. Dr. A. P. Yadav, and PhD students Ms. Asmita Shrestha, Ms. Maya Das,  and Ms. Anju Das.

We are delighted that RSC Advances Associate Editor Prof. Vandana Bhalla also attended and presented at the event, sharing her support for the journal.

From left to right: Prof. Sandeep Verma, IIT Kanpur (Assoc. Editor, Chem. Commun.); Prof. Dr. A. P. Yadav, Tribhuvan University, Nepal; Prof. Vandana Bhalla (Assoc. Editor RSC Advances); Ms. Asmita Shrestha, Ph.D. Student, Tribhuvan University, Nepal; Ms. Maya Das, Ph.D. Student, Tribhuvan University, Nepal; Ms. Anju Das, Ph.D. Student, Tribhuvan University, Nepal

Event organiser Professor Vishal Rai, from IISER Bhopal, India, commented “FORCE-IICS-2023 was empowered by 106 participants from eight countries. The multidisciplinary scientific brainstorming over three days included 45 lectures and 50 poster presentations. It also enabled the engagement with the Chemical Science community from Nepal.

You can find more about the conference on their website.

 

Submit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest Popular Advances, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

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Minerals2Materials – Interview with Foster Mbaiwa

On 26th – 27th June 2023, in celebration of Professor Nora de Leeuw’s 60th birthday, University College London held a two day symposium including presentations and discussions on recent experimental and theoretical progress in the investigation of mineral-based materials.

RSC Advances were lucky enough to sponsor the event and offer a bursary to an early career researcher from Africa to attend and give an oral presentation at this event.

Foster Mbaiwa is an Associate Professor in Physical Chemistry at Botswana International University of Science and Technology. He completed his PhD on dipole moment effect effects in photodetachment from cluster anions at Washington University, St. Louis in 2011. His research interests surround the production of biodiesel from various feedstocks and catalytic conversion to hydrocarbon fuels using mixed metal oxides, as well as molecular dynamics simulation of industrially important liquid mixtures.

At the conference, Foster presented a computational study of the decarboxylation of methyl palmitate using NiMoO4 catalyst – towards improving the flow properties of biodiesel”.

 

Professor Nora de Leeuw, Associate Professor Foster Mbaiwa and RSC Advances Assistant Editor Namita Datta

Foster told us more about the research and what he hopes to achieve in the future. He gave some advice for early career researchers and his thoughts on open access publishing.

What is the focus of your research and why it is of current interest?

The focus of this research is to improve the flow properties of biodiesel. Essentially, we want to make sure that biodiesel is similar to fossil fuel so that it doesn’t harm the engine. There are many ways you can do this, for example, mixing the fuel so that it is 90% diesel and 10% biodiesel. Or you can change the chemical structure and composition of biodiesel, so it is closer to diesel. We can use a catalyst to convert the biodiesel in the hopes of creating a cleaner, more available diesel, thus reducing the demand for fossil fuel. The focus of this study is finding a catalyst that is able to do that without producing small chain hydrocarbons – we want to improve the catalytic selectivity.

What are the key design considerations for your study?

It is important that the catalyst is safe and environmentally friendly. The catalyst should reduce the energy demand on the whole process. We must also consider the recyclability of the catalyst. Of course, we must consider affordability too – catalyst with metal centres (such as copper) are cheaper.

Which part of the research proved to be the most challenging?

The surface selection. Selecting a surface with all the right properties can be challenging. If you don’t choose the right surface, the catalyst can be too reactive.

To go about this, we started with the current catalysts that are used. Currently, the active centre used is nickel – it is easily attainable as it a by-product of a copper mine in Botswana. Understanding these surfaces allowed us to suggest improvements.

What aspect of the work are you most excited about?

The application of reactive molecular dynamics to catalysis – using computational chemistry to map reactions and visualise new structures. Although new to me, this field has been around for a long time and has proven to be highly effective.

How has your research evolved from your first article to this particular article? What do you have planned next?

I actually completed my PhD in the United States on the photoelectron spectroscopy of anions. When I moved back home there wasn’t as much funding for laboratory work, so I changed direction to computing. I had support from the Centre for High-Performance Computing and I managed to adapt.

Hopefully, funding permitting, I can move from the computer back to the lab to design catalysts based on what’s been discovered through the simulations. The aim is to perfect a catalyst for the decarboxylation of methyl esters into green diesel.

In the future, through collaboration, I would like to return to spectroscopy. For instance, exploring computational chemistry in the direction of spectroscopy. Combining mass spectrometry of anions with theoretical calculations could be really interesting in terms of astrophysics. One idea I’m interested in is the application of theoretical mass spectrometry in studying ions which can only occur under extreme conditions, hence difficultly to study this experimentally.

What advice would you give to students and early career researchers in a similar situation to yourself?

PhD students – talk to people! The more you network the more you’ll realise you’re not the only person with problems. The chances are you will find someone who can help you. Make sure to really think about the research you’re doing now because it might be the defining research of your life. Could you see yourself doing this forever? If not, that’s okay! You can always change direction, it is one of the freedoms of life.

Early career researchers – don’t run away from your mentors too quickly. There will always be someone with more experience than you – learn from them.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a researcher working in Botswana and what positive progress have you seen throughout your career so far?

Laboratory resources are limited and even with computational chemistry you need high computational power. The Centre for High Performance Computing is great but a lot of researchers in Africa rely on it – it’s a limited resource. Computational chemistry is not taught here because we simply don’t have the resources. However, throughout my career I’ve seen a lot of great students who are willing to take on the challenge and learn on the fly.

Do you have any recommendations for improving the STEM workforce to create an environment that better supports researchers from lower- and middle-income countries? Is there anything publishers such as the RSC can do to help?

Following on from my previous answer, it would be great to see publishers such as the RSC provide funding for students to learn computational science. We have benefited from this in the past and it contributes to the positive progress we’ve made. The computational chemistry society is very supportive and helps create a great network for researchers in Africa and the UK.

Finally, what are your thoughts on open access publishing?

As a researcher, and end user of published research, open access is the best! It allows for easy access to papers – it’s like gold! In that regard it helps a lot of researchers from poorly funded universities and institutions.*

However, at the same time, there is the idea that open access is motivated by money rather than research. The pressure to publish is very much there, and there’s a belief that “predatory” open access journals benefit from this. Also, from a university management perspective, there’s this idea that papers in open access journals are generally of lower quality – this might be because the reviewing process often leaves something to be desired.

My advice to researchers would be to avoid these “predatory” journals. My advice to publishers would be to ensure that peer review is rigorous and so does not tarnish the benefits of open access.**

Anything else to note?

I would like to thank RSC Advances for this opportunity – I am very grateful.

*RSC’s journals provide APC waivers for authors from low and middle income countries, in line with the Research4Life programme.

**RSC Advances has recently introduced Transparent Peer Review (TPR) as an option for authors. TPR is where the reviewer reports, authors’ response to reviewers, and decision letters are published alongside the manuscript. A top priority for the journal is to ensure rigorous and high-quality peer review, so by offering TPR we hope to ensure transparency around the peer review process, offering our readers a chance to understand the scientific discussions behind an accepted article. Please see here for more information on TPR.

Submit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest Popular Advances, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

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Minerals2Materials – £1000 to an Early Career African Researcher

From Monday 26th June 2023 (12:00) to Tuesday 27th June 2023 (13:00), in celebration of Professor Nora de Leeuw’s 60th birthday, University College London will be holding a two day symposium which will include presentations and discussions on recent experimental and theoretical progress in the investigation of mineral-based materials.

Participation in the symposium event is free, but the number of spaces is limited, so registration is necessary – the last booking date for this symposium is 26th May 2023. Please see here for more information on the symposium.

RSC Advances is sponsoring the event and is offering a single award of £1000 to an early career researcher from Africa wishing to attend and give an oral presentation at this event.

Applications for this bursary are open until 30th April 2023. In order to apply, please send the following information by email to Sarah Sharp (RSC Advances Deputy Editor) at advances-rsc@rsc.org, using the phrase “minerals2materials bursary application” in the subject line:

  1. A short (two page) CV, clearly indicating the year of your PhD graduation (to be considered as early career, our guidance indicates that you should be roughly within 7 years of starting your first independent research position. However, career breaks will be taken into consideration, for example, parental or medical leave). Please include a summary of your educational and work experience details (including any career breaks), and a list of your top 5 publications over the past 10 years.
  2. A statement (400 words max) about your motivation to attend this event, and about the impact that having access to this bursary will have on your career at this stage.
  3. A proposed title of your talk plus a brief (1-2 sentence) outline of the research that you’d hope to present, highlighting how the content would be in scope with the theme of the conference.

We will notify all applicants about the outcome of the application within two weeks of the application deadline.

We look forward to reading your applications!

Head to our events page to find out about the symposiums, conferences, and training courses we run.

Find out more about funding opportunities available via the  Pan Africa Chemistry Network, which seeks to create a self-sustaining science base in Africa.

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SACI-44 Poster Prize and Flash Presentation Winners

The 44th South African Chemical Institute’s National Convention took place between 8 – 13 January 2023. Over the course of these 5 days, the conference was home to plenary and parallel sessions covering all areas of chemistry, though the overarching theme was chemistry for sustainable development in Africa. The event was part of the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development – SA IYBSSD 2022.

RSC Advances, along with Dalton Transactions, were pleased to sponsor six poster prize winners and four flash presentation winners. We are delighted that the conference was such a success and we would like to wish a huge congratulations to all of the winners!

Poster prize winners:

• PA5 Geyan Kempkes, University of Pretoria
Development of a novel graphene-based passive air sampler for mercury monitoring

• PI5 Taryn Golding, University of Cape Town
Ferrocenyl aminoquinoline-benzimidazole molecular hybrids as antiplasmodial agents

• PA43 Derrick Sipoyo, University of Venda
Synthesis of naphthalene derivatives as bifunctional electrolyte additives for lithium-ion batteries

• PP14 Kgalaletso Otukile, University of the Free State
First-principles based evaluation of rate constants for R + O2 reactions with R = ethyl, isopropyl, isobutyl, t-butyl and neopentyl

• PO30 Trégen Snayer, Stellenbosch University
Studies towards resolving racemic C4-symmetric inherently chiral calix[4]arenes

• PI33 Shira Zinman, University of Cape Town
Expanding the versatility of aminoquinoline organometallic complexes as anticancer and antibacterial agents

Peter Mallon (SACI previous president), Geyan Kempkes, Trégen Snayer, and Catharine Esterhuysen (Chair of 44th SACI National Convention)

Flash presentation winners:

• PO27 Ursula Ralepelle, University of Limpopo
Reduction of alkynyl carbonyl compounds using SnCl2 and computational investigation of the reaction mechanism

• PO37 Sarah Wright, University of the Witwatersrand
Phenylcyclobutenone annulation reactions as new entry towards total syntheses of aglycones gilvocarcins

• PP8 Mofeli Leoma, Rhodes University
Better insights into the squalene monooxygenase inhibitors for lowering cholesterol in cardiovascular biology using molecular docking and molecular dynamics simulations

• PI12 Luccile Mbonzhe, University of Venda
A Zinc-based 3D mixed ligand metal-organic-framework with stepwise CO2 adsorption at low temperature

Peter Mallon, Ursula Ralepelle, Sarah Wright, Mofeli Leoma, and Catharine Esterhuysen 

Find out more about the Pan Africa Chemistry Network, which seeks to create a self-sustaining science base in Africa, helping to build capacity, solve local challenges and contribute to global knowledge.

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RSC Advances Science Communications: LatinXChem: Towards greater inclusivity and diversity in scientific conferences

Lockdown measures due to COVID-19 and bans on international travel have imposed many changes of plans for scientific conferences. However, for many researchers and students across Latin America, traveling to international conferences for oral and poster presentations was already challenging even before the COVID pandemic, given the limited funding available to principal investigators. Often times, when scientific research is underfunded, the decision to support a student’s conference participation occurs at the cost of other necessary laboratory resources (1). Moreover, while the use of English as lingua franca in the sciences helps knowledge dissemination, it has also become a barrier to science communication for non-native English speakers (2). Creating multilingual and accessible fora needs to be a key component of efforts towards greater inclusivity and diversity in scientific research.

For these reasons, Latinx student exposure to networking and learning opportunities at scientific conferences remains a challenge, further magnifying disparities in academic research among Latin American and other Western scientific communities. Taking example from the successful #RSCPoster Twitter conferences organized by the Royal Society of Chemistry, LatinXChem has emerged in the face of these challenges as the first event of its kind: a trilingual poster conference in the chemical sciences held entirely on Twitter, allowing for presentations in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. This collaborative effort is spearheaded by Latinx researchers in Mexico, Chile, Brazil, the US, Canada, Belgium, the UK, and Germany, who have ensured participation by stellar Latinx researchers as evaluators.

The involvement by distinguished Latinx evaluators is key, as they enrich the event not only with their academic expertise, but also by allowing for multilingual poster presentations and increasing Latinx representation in the chemical sciences, thus encouraging underrepresented students to pursue a scientific career. Latin American and Latinx students and trainees from around the world can participate in this event at no cost to them, sharing their research in any of 11 different categories within the chemical sciences.

We hope initiatives like LatinXChem keep growing, as they strive for greater inclusivity and diversity in chemical research, helping to break down economic and linguistic barriers to science communication in the Latinx community.

Register before August 25, 2020 at latinxchem.org. LatinXChem will be held on September 7, 2020 with the generous support of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

References:
(1) D. Solis-Ibarra. Chem. Mater. 2020, 32, 3, 913–914.
(2) M.C. Márquez and A.M. Porras. Front. Commun. 2020, 5, 31.

 

About the Web Writer:

Gerardo Cedillo-Servin received his BSE from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently a MSc student in materials science and engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, under the supervision of Dr. Ricardo Vera-Graziano. He is working on functional polymers for protein release and dynamic cell-material interactions. In addition to biomaterials research, he seeks to contribute to science communication and advocacy. You can find him on Twitter @gecedillo.

 

 

 

 

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