Welcome the Newest Associate Editors of ACS Publications Journals: Q1 2017

New associate editors bring more than just changes to a publication’s masthead. They bring new experiences, new perspectives and new ideas to their publications. Get to know some of ACS’ latest associate editors and learn what unique gifts they’ll be bringing to their respective journals.
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Frank Quina, ACS Omega


What do you hope to bring to your journal?
A broad background in organic and physical chemistry, including extensive interaction with chemical engineers and environmental scientists, combined with previous ACS editorial experience. In addition, as a member of the research community in chemistry in South America, enthusiasm for the challenge of developing ACS Omega as a truly global forum for publishing innovative research. Historically, in many parts of South America one of the limiting factors for the progress of research has been adequate widespread access to scientific information, precisely where quality open-access publication can have a lasting impact.
Describe your current research.
Research interests of the Quina group include: (a) the chemistry and photochemistry of natural plant pigments, particularly in the context of the relationship to their biological roles in vivo; (b) environmental chemistry, focalizing on fundamental studies of advanced oxidation processes for effluent remediation; (c) studies of the structure and dynamics of organized systems formed by detergents and polyelectrolytes and the modification of chemical reactivity by such systems; (d) interfacing with chemical engineers in the development of new on-line process monitoring strategies.
What are the major challenges facing your field today?
Advancement of our theoretical understanding of the structure, dynamics and reactivity of the electronically excited states of molecules, fundamental to areas as diverse as energy storage and conversion, safety and resistance of materials and the interaction of light with living systems.

Further advances in predicting how molecular structure and intermolecular interactions govern the structure and properties of solvents and, particularly, the selective solvation of solutes in mixed solvent systems.

Integrated multidisciplinary (chemistry, biology, mathematics, engineering) and multiscale (macro, micro/nano, molecular) approaches to the study of complex chemical systems that can provide a framework for the rational manipulation of the behavior of such systems.

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Dean Tantillo, ACS Omega

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope to bring more organic chemists to the ACS Omega community.

Describe your current research
My research is driven by a desire to understand the structures and reactivity of organic and organometallic molecules, both naturally occurring and rationally designed. Two main areas include: (1) The use of computational quantum chemistry to unveil new principles of reactivity that influence the course of complex carbocation rearrangements leading to terpene natural products. (2) The analysis of reaction mechanisms for synthetic organic reactions with an eye toward the development of useful models for rationalizing and predicting rate acceleration and selectivity.
What are the major challenges facing your field today?
Accurately predicting the impact of entropy and non-statistical dynamics effects on organic reactivity.

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Maarten Merkx, ACS Sensors


What do you hope to bring to your journal?
There are many opportunities for protein engineering and synthetic biology to contribute to the sensor field.I would like ACS Sensors to become the premier platform to disseminate original work in the area, including the engineering of protein sensors that address important biological or societal questions, the development of new, generally applicable sensor approaches and specific protein engineering strategies, and studies that provide molecular insight into sensor mechanisms that will help future sensor development. Protein engineering has much to offer to sensing, and vice versa.
Describe your current research.
My group combines approaches from protein engineering, chemical biology, and synthetic biology to develop biomolecular sensors and actuators for applications in intracellular imaging, point-of-care diagnostics, optogenetics, and antibody-based therapies. Modular, rational design principles are applied to develop fluorescent and bioluminescent sensor proteins for metal ions, enzyme activity, nuclear receptor ligands, and antibodies. We are also interested in the integration of protein-based switches with DNA nanotechnology to construct hybrid biomolecular devices with autonomous signal processing properties
What are the major challenges facing your field today?
Several interesting approaches for chemo-selective conjugation of proteins have been reported in recent years, but their application in the biosensor field remains underdeveloped. Similarly, novel capture molecule formats developed for therapeutic applications such as the use of alternative antibody domains (fibronectin, DARPIN, affibodies, nanobodies, etc.) and bispecific antibodies have not been widely applied in the sensor community. These examples illustrate that there is a lot of opportunity for protein engineering to increase sensor performance, in particular when biosensors requirements are taken into consideration during protein development. These possibilities could be expanded even further by combining protein engineering with related molecular engineering fields such as synthetic biology and DNA nanotechnology. Another active area of protein engineering is the development of protein sensors that integrate molecular recognition, signal transduction and signal generation within in a single protein. Generic sensor approaches that do not rely on a specific conformational change in a receptor domain would allow more rational engineering of these sensor proteins and thus significantly expand the scope of target molecules. An alternative approach to make sensor development more efficient is to use the power of evolution, but efficient approaches for the directed evolution of protein-based sensors are mostly lacking.
Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Detection of Antibodies in Blood Plasma Using Bioluminescent Sensor Proteins and a Smartphone

Anal. Chem., 2016, 88 (8), pp 4525–4532
DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b00534

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Danielle Julie Carrier, ACS Sustainable Engineering and Chemistry


What do you hope to bring to your journal?
Knowledge on biomass handling, biomass deconstruction, extraction of value-added products from biomass and use of fractionated biomass streams for development of novel biobased materials.
Describe your current research.
Biomass fractionation and development of novel biobased materials.
What are the major challenges facing your field today?
Developing sustainable processes that are economically viable.

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Lina Zhang, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering


What do you hope to bring to your journal?
As an expert in natural polymer and polymer physics, I know that the sustainable development and green chemistry is essential for the environmental preservation. There are a lot scientists working in such fields in China, and I would like to promote my journal in China via different means, and encourage more outstanding submission. I hope to make it a better journal in the future.
Describe your current research.
My researches are as follows: to create new materials based on natural polymers; to study the effect of microstructure on their properties , to clarify the chain conformation, function and the biological activities of the natural polymers using the theory of polymer physics as well as advanced instruments and methods.
What are the major challenges facing your field today?
Natural polymer is becoming a hot topic all over the world, however, their process is still a hindrance for their utilization. Take cellulose and chitin, the first and second most abundant natural polymer on earth, as examples, both of them are hardly dissolved in common solvents and only few solvent can be used to dissolve them, but often with toxicity, difficulties in process, high cost, etc. Therefore, the “low cost” and “green” processing technique is very important in the field. In our group, we have made great progress. Breaking the limitation of traditional heat dissolving methods of cellulose by creating novel and fast dissolution and “green” technology, a series of aqueous-based new solvent systems (e.g. NaOH/ urea) have been developed and a new dissolution mechanism was discovered. Moreover, the alkali/urea aqueous solution at low temperature can also be used to dissolve chitin, chitosan and polyaniline, showing certain universality. Furthermore, a series of new materials with optical, electrical, magnetic, biological compatibility, separation and catalytic functions have been fabricated from the cellulose solution, chitin solution and polyaniline/ cellulose solution, respectively, including fibers, films, hydrogels, aerogels, microspheres and bioplastics. Today, the major challenges facing our field are as follows: 1. to clarify the relationship between structure and properties of the natural polymers; 2. to finish a “green” industrialized trial to produce the new materials derived from these natural polymers via a simple approach combined a non-pollution, low cost and quick process; 3. to realize “green” transition from renewable resources to materials and chemicals.

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Kristala Prather, ACS Synthetic Biology


What do you hope to bring to your journal?
Synthetic biology is an area that overlaps with many established disciplines. The journal thus provides an outlet for a wide array of views and approaches to be featured. I hope to continue the strong tradition of facilitating the dissemination of the last and most exciting work within synthetic biology.
Describe your current research.
My work is centered on the engineering of microbial compounds for chemical production. We work to establish new biosynthetic routes to target molecules and to improve the efficiency and productivity of biological pathways.
What are the major challenges facing your field today?
We are consistently faced with the challenge of achieving results that move beyond proof-of-concept towards industrial utility with a path towards commercialization. Such translation is important to maintain relevance and support of the field. At the same, we must push to explore those early stage, truly new ideas that may take much longer to develop but are essential for the step changes that drive scientific disciplines. Achieving this balance is a challenge that we must meet.
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Feng-Shou Xiao, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research


What do you hope to bring to your journal?
More readership in industrial and academic research in the broad fields of applied chemistry and chemical engineering, in particular to catalytic process.
Describe your current research.
Dr. Feng-Shou Xiao’s current research mainly focuses on design and preparation of efficient heterogeneous catalysts such as zeolites, amorphous porous materials, and supported metal nanoparticles.
What are the major challenges facing your field today?
There are still by-products in many catalytic reactions, and it is developed highly efficient catalysts for sustainable production of fuels and chemicals and complete removal of pollutants in the air and indoor.
Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Solvent-free and Mesoporogen-free Synthesis of Mesoporous Aluminosilicate ZSM-5 Zeolites with Superior Catalytic Properties in the Methanol-to-Olefins Reaction

Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2017, 56 (6), pp 1450–1460
DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.7b00062
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If you have comments or questions for the author of this post, please e-mail: Axial@acs.org.