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Awards, Prizes, and Lectureships: Open for Nominations

Royal Society of Chemistry Prizes and Awards

Do you know an outstanding chemist who deserves recognition? This is your chance to raise awareness of those who are making a positive impact in the chemical sciences. The Royal Society of Chemistry aims to use our international platform to showcase outstanding researchers from all areas of the chemical sciences through a variety of awards and prizes. There are over 60 awards and prizes that are now accepting nominations for 2020, including team awards that allow self-nomination. 

We recognize the importance of valuing all members of our community and as a professional body and voice for the chemical science community, we believe that we have a responsibility to promote inclusivity and accessibility in order to improve diversity. In line with our commitment to support diversity and inclusion, it is important for nominators to note that the guidelines for the number of years since completing a PhD are suggestions rather than rigid boundaries. We understand that some of the most deserving nominees may have had challenging or unusual career paths, and aim to recognize researchers and educators from a wide variety of backgrounds including those who have taken non-traditional career paths. We don’t require that nominators be senior researchers, and encourage people from all career levels to nominate their peers and colleagues and tell us about the people who you feel have made a difference.


Lectureships to Recognize Early- and Mid-Career Researchers

Award

Nomination Deadline

ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship November 29th 2019
ChemSocRev  Pioneering Investigator Lectureship November 29th 2019
Polymer Chemistry Lectureship November 30th 2019
Biomaterials Science Lectureship November 30th 2019
Soft Matter Lectureship November 30th 2019
JAAS Emerging Investigator Lectureship January 31st 2020
Analyst Emerging Investigator Lectureship February 29th 2020

In addition to RSC-wide awards, several of our high-quality journals present lectureships to researchers in various stages of their careers. The winners of these awards are nominated by members of their community and carefully considered by the journal Editorial Boards. Not only are publications and citations considered as factors in the decision, but also engagement with and service to the community. Make sure to nominate colleagues before the deadlines, summarized here, and you can find more information about each of these below.


ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship 2020

ChemComm Banner

The ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship recognizes emerging scientists in the early stages of their independent academic career. Eligible nominees should have completed their PhD in 2012 or later but appropriate consideration will be given to those who have taken a career break or followed a different study path. The recipient of the lectureship will be invited to present a lecture at three different locations over a 12-month period, with at least one of these events taking place at an international conference. The recipient will receive a contribution of £1500 towards travel and accommodation costs for their lectures, as well as a certificate. The recipient will be asked to contribute a review article for the journal.

Learn more and submit your nomination. The nomination deadline is November 29th, 2019.


ChemSocRev Pioneering Investigator Lectureship 2020

The ChemSocRev Pioneering Investigator Lectureship recognizes mid-career scientists who have firmly established themselves in their independent careers, continuously publish innovative work, and have pioneered several research areas. Eligible nominees should have completed their PhD between January 2004 and December 2011, but appropriate consideration will be given to those who have taken a career break or followed a different study path. The recipient of the lectureship will be invited to present a lecture at three different locations over a 12-month period, with at least one of these events taking place at an international conference and will receive a contribution of £1500 towards travel and accommodation costs for their lectures, as well as a certificate. The recipient will also be asked to contribute a review article for the journal.

The 2019 ChemSocRev Pioneering Investigator Lectureship was awarded to Professor Yujie Xiong from the University of Science and Technology of China this past summer. Prof Xiong presented his lecture at the International Symposium on Energy Conversion and Storage Materials Conference 2019 in Brisbane, Australia on July 31st, 2019, at the European Research Society 2019 Fall meeting in Warsaw, Poland on September 17th, 2019, and the his third lecture will soon be determined.

Learn more and submit your nomination. The nomination deadline is November 29th, 2019.


Biomaterials Science Lectureship

Coinciding with the presentation of the 2019 Biomaterials Science Lectureship to Professor April Kloxin from the University of Delaware at the European Society for Biomaterials Meeting in September 2019, nominations for the for the 2020 Biomaterials Science Lectureship were opened and will be accepted through November 30th 2019. We are pleased to congratulate Prof Kloxin for winning the 2019 award and to recognize her achievement in advancing the field. The winner of the 2020 Biomaterials Science Lectureship, which will be announced in April 2020, will be asked to present a lecture at the 11th World Biomaterials Congress, taking place in Glasgow in May 2020. The recipient will also be asked to contribute a lead article to the journal and will have their work showcased free of charge on the front cover of the issue in which their article is published.

This annual award was established in 2014 to recognize an early-career researcher who has made a significant contribution to the field of biomaterials science. Candidates should be independent researchers who are at an early stage of their independent career; this is typically within approximately 12 years of attaining their doctorate or equivalent degree, but appropriate consideration will be given to those who have taken a career break, for example for childcare leave, or followed an alternative study path. Nominators do not have to be senior researchers and nominations from community members at all levels are encouraged. Candidates will be notified of their nomination and asked to provide three recent articles that reflect their current research. They will be assessed by a shortlisting panel made up of Biomaterials Science Advisory Board members as well as a previous lectureship winner. The shortlisted candidates will be assessed by the journal’s Editorial Board and selected using an anonymous poll.Selection is not based simply on quantitative measures. Consideration will be given to all information provided in the letter of recommendation and candidate CV, including research achievements and originality, contributions to the biomaterials community, innovation, collaborations and teamwork, publication history, and engagement with Biomaterials Science. 

Learn more and submit your nomination. The nomination deadline is November 30th, 2019.


Polymer Chemistry Lectureship

The Polymer Chemistry Lectureship was established in 2015 to honor an early-career researcher who has made significant contributions to the field of polymer chemistry. The 2019 Lectureship was awarded to Dr. Frederick Wurm from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research after consideration of many worthy nominations.The recipient is chosen by the Editorial Board from a list of candidates nominated by the community. Nominations are now being accepted through the end of November. Candidates should be independent researchers, having completed PhD and postdoctoral studies, actively pursuing research within the polymer chemistry field, and having made a significant contribution to the field. They should be at an early stage of their independent career, which is generally within 15 years of attaining their doctorate or equivalent degree, but appropriate consideration will be given to those who have taken a career break, for example for childcare leave, or followed an alternative study path.

The recipient of the award will be asked to present a lecture at the Warwick Polymer Meeting in 2020, where they will also be presented with the award. The Polymer Chemistry Editorial Office will provide financial support to the recipient for travel and accommodation costs. The recipient will also be asked to contribute a lead article to the journal and will have their work showcased free of charge on the front cover of the issue in which their article is published. 

Learn more and submit your nomination. The nomination deadline is November 30th, 2019.


Soft Matter Lectureship

If you know an early-career researcher that you believe deserves recognition for her or his contribution to the soft matter field, the Soft Matter Lectureship is your opportunity to highlight their work to leaders in the community.  Nominations for the 2020 Soft Matter Lectureship are now being accepted, since the start of September through November 30th 2019.The recipient of the award will be asked to present a lecture at an international conference in 2020, where they will also be presented with the award. The Soft Matter Editorial Office will provide financial support to the recipient for travel and accommodation costs. The 2019 Soft Matter Lectureship award was presented to Professor Tim White from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Prof White gave his lecture at the 5th International Soft Matter Conference, held in Edinburgh from June 3-7, 2019. 

Candidates should be independent researchers who have completed their PhD and postdoctoral studies and actively pursuing research in the soft matter field. They should be an early stage of their independent career, generally about 12 years out from attaining their PhD, although this is, of course, only a loose guideline and nominations for candidates who have taken an alternate study or career path are welcome. Selection is not based simply on quantitative measures. Consideration will be given to all information provided in the letter of recommendation and candidate CV, including research achievements and originality, contributions to the soft matter community, innovation, collaborations and teamwork, publication history, and engagement with Soft Matter. 

Learn more and submit your nomination. The nomination deadline is November 30th, 2019.


JAAS Emerging Investigator Lectureship

The JAAS Emerging Investigator Lectureship recognizes and supports an emerging scientist working in the area of atomic spectrometry in the early stages of their independent career. The winner of the 2019 JAAS Emerging Investigator Lectureship was announced earlier this year and we are pleased to congratulate Dr. Maria Costas-Rodriguez from the University of Ghent.

To be eligible, nominees will be have published in JAAS  and should generally have finished their PhD in the last ten years, although that is simply a guideline and not a hard boundary for those who have followed a different career trajectory. The recipient of the lectureship will present their research at a relevant high-profile international meeting (to be agreed with the Editorial Office) and receive a contribution of £2000 to cover associated travel and accommodation costs. They will be awarded a certificate and asked to contribute a Primary Research or Review Article to JAAS. Nominations should be received by the Editorial Board by January 31st, 2020 for consideration. 

The Editorial Office will screen each nomination for eligibility and draw up a shortlist of candidates based on the nomination documents provided. The lectureship winner will be selected by the JAAS Editorial Board based on the originality, quality, impact and significance of the candidate’s research, as highlighted in their nomination.

Learn more and submit your nomination. The nomination deadline is January 31st, 2020.


Analyst Emerging Investigator Lectureship

Now in it’s third cycle, the Analyst Emerging Investigator Lectureship is an excellent platform to recognize an early-career researcher in the analytical sciences. This biannual award was established in 2016 to raise the profile of the analytical sciences to the wider scientific community and general public. The winner of the 2018 Analyst Emerging Investigator Lectureship was Professor Wei Min from Columbia University. He received his award at the SciX 2018 meeting, where he also presented his plenary lecture.

Nominees will typically will be within 10 years of completing a PhD, although consideration will be given to candidates who have taken an alternate study or career path.The editorial team will screen each nomination for eligibility and draw up a shortlist of candidates based on the information provided by nominators. The recipient of the Lectureship will then be selected by the Analyst Editorial Board. The award winner will receive up to £2,000 towards travel costs to attend and present a lecture and will receive an invitation to contribute a review to Analyst in the following year. 

Learn more and submit your nomination. The nomination deadline is February 29th, 2020.

 


Other 2019 and 2020 Lectureships

Keep an eye out for other lectureships and prizes throughout the year, as the calls for nominations and announcements vary by different journals. Here is some information on the other lectureships that the RSC offers and the typical timelines when you can expect to submit nominations.

Energy & Environmental Science Readers’ Choice Lectureship 2019

Recognizing and supporting those at an early stage of their independent career within the fields of energy and environmental sciences, the lectureship is a platform for early career researchers to showcase their research to the wider scientific community. Formerly based on the most-read articles within the journal in a given year, we are delighted to announce that from 2019, the EES Lectureship will be awarded through a nominations process, whereby nominations of candidates are invited from our fantastic community. The winner of the 2019 Lectureship will be announced in early 2020. The winner of the 2018 Energy & Environmental Science Readers’ Choice Lectureship was Professor Guo-Liang Chai from Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter (FJIRSM), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). 

PCCP Emerging Investigator Lectureship 2019 and 2020

Nominations were accepted  in June and July of this year and the winner, who is decided at the fall Editorial Board meeting will be announced soon. Selected articles published by winners have been showcased in a special PCCP Emerging Investigator Lectureship themed collection. Look for next year’s call for nominations in the spring of 2020, and nominations are typically accepted throughout June and July before the winner is announced in the late fall or early winter.

Lab on a Chip/Dolomite Pioneers Lectureship 2019 and 2020

The “Pioneers of Miniaturization” Lectureship, sponsored by Dolomite and Lab on a Chip, is for early to mid-career scientists who have made extraordinary or outstanding contributions to the understanding or development of miniaturized systems. The winner of the 2019 “Pioneers of Miniaturization” Lectureship was announced in July of this year; the award was presented to Professor Hang Lu from Georgia Tech at the µTAS 2019 Conference, which was held in Basel, Switzerland, on October 27-31 2019. Look for the call for the 2020 Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship in early spring of 2020, typically accepting nominations in March-May. 

Journal of Materials Chemistry Emerging Investigator Lectureship

The Journal of Materials Chemistry Emerging Investigator Lectureship winner is determined by the Editors-in-Chief of Journal of Materials Chemistry A, B, and C. The 2019 winner was announced on September 30th, 2019. Congratulations to Professor Qiang Zhang from Tsinghua University! Look for the call for nominations for the 2020 award in June and July of 2020.

MedChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship 2019

The recipient of the 2019 MedChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship was announced in March of this year; congratulations to Professor Amanda Hargrove from Duke University on winning the award. MedChemComm is undergoing a transformation! We are excited to announce that starting in 2020, the journal will be called RSC Medicinal Chemistry – a change that will allow the journal’s title to better reflect the content that it publishes – research articles and reviews, and not only communications. Look for more information on lectureships next year.

Natural Product Reports Emerging Investigator Lectureship 2019 and 2020

Nominations were open for the 2020 Natural Product Reports Emerging Investigator Lectureship in August and September 2019 and the winner will be announced in the late winter or early spring of 2020. The winner of the 2019 Natural Product Reports Emerging Investigator Lectureship was awarded to Professor Mohammad R. “Mo” Seyedsayamdost from Princeton University and he was presented with his award at the 2019 spring ACS Meeting in Orlando. 

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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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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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Summer Board Member Awards and Accomplishments

We wish to extend our sincerest congratulations to all of our Board Members, as they continue to impress the community with their achievements and contributions!

Several of our Chemical Science Board Members have been recognized for outstanding contributions to their respective fields.

Many other Board Members across the US and Canada have been recognized for their accomplishments with a variety of awards, prizes, and appointments. 

  • Sarah Tolbert was appointed the Director of the new UCLA-led Synthetic Control Across Length-scales for Advancing Rechargeables, or SCALAR. Sarah is a professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Materials Science & Engineering and serves on the Editorial Board of Nanoscale Horizons and led the organizing committee of the 10th International Mesostructured Materials Symposium, IMMS10, which took place September 10-13, 2018 at UCLA.
  • Green Chemistry Associate Editor Chao-Jun Li was awarded a prestigious Killam Research Fellowship by the Canada Council for the Arts. CJ is the E.B. Eddy Chair Professor of Chemistry at McGill University, Canada Research Chair in Green/Organic Chemistry, and Director of the NSERC CREATE Center for Green Chemistry Training.
  • Professor Heather Maynard serves on the Editorial Board of Polymer Chemistry and was selected for the 2018 UCLA Faculty Student Development Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award.
  • At this year’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Professor Geoffrey Coates was presented with the 2017 Newcomb Cleveland Prize from the for the best paper published in Science. Geoffrey serves on the Editorial Board of Organic Chemistry Frontiers.
  • Peter Vikesland has been named the Nick Prillaman Professor in Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. Peter is the Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Science: Nano and a professor of the civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.

Other North American Board Members were honored by the RSC with awards and medals for their contributions to advancing the chemical sciences.

  • Professor Bradley Moore, Editorial Board Chair of Natural Product Reports, was honored by the RSC with the Natural Product Award for his pioneering discoveries in the chemical biology, biosynthesis, genomics and engineering of marine natural products. 
  • Professor Warren Piers was recognized for his contributions to detailed mechanistic understanding of catalytic reactions with the 2018 Ludwig Mond Award. Warren is S. Robert Blair Chair in Polymerization Catalysts and Canada Research Chair in the Mechanisms of Homogeneous Catalysis and serves as an Associate Editor for Dalton Transactions.
  • Professor Yang Shao-Horn was honored by the RSC as the first woman to win the Faraday Medal for her work at the chemical/materials physics and physical/materials chemistry interfaces. Prof. Shao-Yang serves on the Editorial Board of Energy & Environmental Sciences 

See all of the 2018 winners of Royal Society of Chemistry Prizes & Awards, which include many of our Advisory Board Members, colleagues and friends from around the world.

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Outstanding Student Profile: Caroline Rouget-Virbel

We introduced the Certificate of Excellence in 2017 and continued it in 2018 as a way for institutions to recognize students who have shown outstanding achievement in the chemical sciences; this year we want to showcase one of the recipients who embodies the spirit of the award and who inspires those around her to pursue their dreams while making a difference not only in their own communities but also those around the world. We are pleased to introduce you to Caroline Alice Rouget-Virbel, who will be starting her graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley this fall.

At Princeton’s Class Day ceremony for Chemistry seniors in the Class of 2018, Caroline was recognized for her academic performance and her contributions to the department. She earned Highest Honors in Chemistry, was elected to Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society, and was awarded The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Certificate of Excellence. But Caroline was not the typical Princeton University undergraduate. She grew up in Pélissanne, a small town in the south of France, in what most would describe as a rural area. She attended a public school and then applied to an international boarding school, Ecole Internationale de Manosque (EIM) in the French Alps, for her high school education. There she obtained a British OIB (International Optional Baccalaureate) diploma, a joint educational degree between the French Department of Education and the University of Cambridge.

While in high school, Caroline developed interests in both science and foreign languages, which in turn got her excited about applying to foreign universities in the U.S. and England. To put this in context, Caroline grew up in a comprehensively working class environment and it was not typical and expected in her family to apply to college. To then take the step of applying outside of France for higher education was quite remarkable. She took a major leap of faith and applied to Princeton University. When she was offered admission along with a generous grant for financial aid, she simply could not turn down the opportunity. Needless to say, her acceptance of Princeton’s offer not only provided a highly constructive four-year experience for Caroline, but her contributions to the department and to the campus as a whole proved to be a plus for the University community.

During her first week on the Princeton campus, Caroline quickly identified a way to produce a steady income. Always determined to pay her own bills and add to her personal savings as much as possible, she held down a paid position as a Dining Services Student Manager, training new incoming workers and overseeing meal services for her dining hall and for special catered events. In fact, she continued to hold that job during all four years at Princeton. The summer after freshman year, she added another country to her growing list of travel experiences by serving as a volunteer at the Mahatma Gandhi Orphanage in Jaipur, India. While there, she assisted with childcare, global health initiatives, and infectious disease prevention efforts. And, of course, she explored the area and soaked in the culture.

Caroline hails from Pélissanne, a small town in rural France and is the first person in her family to apply for college, but by following her passion for science, foreign language, and community service, she has managed to expand her horizons and travel the globe.

During Caroline’s freshman and sophomore years, she began work with the campus mental health initiative. In addition, knowing how it felt to be an international student, she became involved with the University’s David International Center, taking on the responsibility of planning and leading events for incoming undergraduate and graduate students, as well as year-long community-building activities. This particular type of involvement helped not only others adjust, but also helped her as she took steps to find her place within the University, so much so that she continued to contribute to this program until she graduated. During the spring of her sophomore year, Caroline gathered information about the various science departments at the University and, after much deliberation, elected to major in chemistry. With that plan in place, she lost no time laying out her “What Next?” The summer of 2016 offered her yet another opportunity to live abroad. Caroline traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to pursue research at the National Children’s Research Center. She studied the underlying patho-mechanisms of the dysregulation of the NOX-1 and -4 genes in Hirschsprung’s-Associated Enterocolitis. Her work gave her the opportunity to add skills in protein expression and PCR analysis, gel electrophoresis, and immunofluorescence microscopy to her research “toolbox.”

As a first semester junior, Caroline decided to join a research lab a full term earlier than her peers. That plan led to a round of investigations to identify a lab that would be the right fit with her interests and her style of learning. By the second month of the term, she was hard at work in the lab of Professor David W. MacMillan, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry. While 12 to 14 hours of original research per week is the expectation for young chemists, Caroline spent as much time on her project as the demands of her coursework and extracurricular commitments permitted. That dedication spoke volumes since the junior year for chemistry majors is extremely demanding with regard to reading assignments, papers to write, problem sets to complete, discussion groups to attend, and the time commitment need to complete the required experimental laboratory course. She also took on the role of undergraduate preceptor in our newly restructured organic chemistry sequence. Preceptors assist instructors of auxiliary class sessions that work on learning material and practicing skills outside of the lecture period. Caroline was one of the preceptors instrumental in developing and running review sessions prior to exams. She also spent many hours tutoring students one-on-one, providing not only academic guidance, but also a “Can Do” attitude for her students who were concerned about doing well in mastering a difficult subject.

During that same period, Caroline elected to plan for a semester of study abroad with the goal of completing her Spring 2017 term in Australia. The opportunity to explore another country and live in yet another culture proved irresistible. Within no time at all, plans were put in place for her to study at the University of Melbourne. Adjusting to a program with courses that involved no periodic evaluation until the final exam, blending into a different culture, completing an original research project in a new chemistry laboratory, and pursuing opportunities to explore Australia formed the perfect combination for this intellectually curious student. And, as luck would have it, her sister was pursuing a program in Southeast Asia, so they were able to meet up and travel together, exploring the beautiful landscape of New Zealand, spending two full weeks road-tripping and camping around the South island. Caroline’s world was expanding rapidly from the rural area of France into a global viewpoint.

The summer prior to the start of her senior year was spent on the Princeton campus in order to focus on her senior thesis research. During those months, she was the senior class catalyst, bringing all of the summer researchers together for meals and other activities to create a sense of community. In her senior year, the craving for travel led her to plan a trip to the Caribbean for yet another cultural experience, which she hopes will be her next voyage into unfamiliar lands. In September of senior year, Caroline was off and running, returning to her role as a preceptor and tutor for undergraduate organic chemistry courses. Her dedication has yet to be matched. She developed a reputation for patience and careful instruction. As side projects, she designed a senior class t-shirt that included a structure from each of the senior chemistry theses and organized various get-togethers for her classmates. She also served as a Peer Academic Advisor, shepherding first and second year undergraduates as they settled into University life. All the while, Caroline was tackling her own demanding academic schedule, which included graduate level coursework, and was spending innumerable hours on her laboratory research project. The culmination of Caroline’s research was the submission of her senior thesis entitled “Application of Dual Nickel-Photoredox Catalysis to the Synthesis of Unnatural Amino Acids.”

To quote her faculty mentor, Professor MacMillan, “Caroline is one of the best undergraduates that I have ever worked with in 20 years of being an independent academic. She is smart, driven, funny, creative, and a team player. She is beloved by my research group and she can hold her own with any current graduate student in terms of her research drive.” Caroline has been accepted into the chemistry PhD program at the University of California, Berkeley. We have no doubts whatsoever that Caroline will continue to be an outstanding student and researcher as she works towards her graduate degree.

Special thank you to Kirsten M. Arentzen, Undergraduate Administrator for the Department of Chemistry at Princeton University, for contributing the majority of the content for this article, for continuously supporting the student body, and encouraging the recognition of outstanding undergraduates. 

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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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