October 2015 - ACS Axial | ACS Publications

Real-life CSI: Age Dating Fingerprints

Find out how researchers at NIST are using mass spectrometry to determine how long a finger print has been at a crime scene in new research published in Analytical Chemistry. Watch the latest episode of ACS Headline Science to learn more.

Looking Back: Two New Journals Reflect on Their First Year of Publication

In January of 2015, ACS Publications launched two new journals to advance research and further the conversation in the high-growth fields of biomaterials and infectious diseases.

ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering is a flagship journal for high-quality, innovative research at the interface of biology, materials science and engineering. By drawing from both the science and engineering perspectives, the journal showcases leading research that is helping to catalyze and grow this rapidly expanding field.

ACS Infectious Diseases has filled a gap in the publishing industry for researchers who are focused on the integration of chemistry and infectious diseases. The need for this venue is pressing. Every year, infectious diseases are responsible for about one-third of all deaths — roughly 3.5 million people — according to the World Health Organization.

The journals are filling critical niches in the ACS Publications portfolio. A year after their launch, both publications can look back on a year of success, with much promise ahead.

ACS Biomaterials Science & EngineeringOffering a top destination to publish pioneering research

The launch of ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering couldn’t have been timelier; the global market for biomaterials is expected to reach $88 billion within the next three years. It’s no surprise, then, that interest was strong from the start. Submissions outpaced expectations for 2015, and the journal has already received more submissions than anticipated for the coming year.

“The first year has been above expectations on all fronts, but most importantly in terms of the response from the scientific community for this new publication venue,” says Editor-in-Chief David Kaplan, Ph.D. “There was clearly a gap in the ACS Publications portfolio in the field of biomaterials, and the response to the new journal suggests that we have a strong and important future in the field.”

With every issue of this online-only journal, authors are gaining a greater understanding of the journal’s standards and scope, according to Managing Editor Paulomi Majumder, Ph.D. Even so, defining the journal remains a continuous process, which can be expected in a field that is growing at such a fast clip.

As Majumder explains, “It will always be a work in progress, because we need to continuously keep pace with a field that is always changing.”

Recognizing that speed to publish is a key driver in this applications-heavy field, ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering was launched with a commitment to offer a rapid response for authors. The journal’s staff has worked hard to balance this demand with the high quality, rigorous review process that is a standard for all ACS Publications journals. Their efforts are paying off as a differentiator over competing journals.

“We are hearing from the community that ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering has already established itself as a trustworthy source for biomaterials research,” Majumder says. “Our rapid response and high-quality review are being noted by the community as a benefit.”

The journal’s staff is actively participating in author outreach by attending conferences and meetings, conducting email campaigns and maintaining open contact with readership. At every step, they are working to educate the community that the journal covers a broad scope of biomaterials research, and that papers are reviewed by some of the most top-notch active researchers in the field.

In September, the journal will hold its first editorial advisory board meeting to review areas of improvement and strengths to build on. And in the coming year, readers can look forward to targeted, thematic issues on emerging and hot topics of interest in the field.

ACS Infectious Diseases – The first journal to publish high-quality chemistry-focused infectious diseases research

Before the launch of ACS Infectious Diseases, there were few appropriate choices for publishing research on the chemistry of infectious diseases. ACS Infectious Diseases is changing this dynamic, serving as a forum for researchers in widely dispersed disciplines who are united in their focus on infectious disease research. In the first year alone, the journal has attracted and published submissions from chemists, medicinal chemists, microbiologists, parasitologists and virobiologists.

“It has been an exhilarating time, and we are proud of the outstanding work that has been featured in ACS Infectious Diseases,” says Editor-in-Chief Courtney Aldrich, Ph.D. “With the support of ACS, the journal has established a forum for chemists to disseminate research that features the importance of chemistry in the multidisciplinary field of infectious diseases.”

Topics published in 2015 have included biochemistry and drug development for tuberculosis, drug discovery for the Ebola virus, molecular mechanisms of drug resistance for malaria and the development of biofilm agents.

As with ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, the ACS Infectious Diseases editorial team has focused intently on author outreach and education. The editorial board’s diversity, both in terms of specialty and geographic location, has also enhanced organic efforts to reach out to key audiences.

“We are receiving a very positive response and are pleased with the quality of submissions we are receiving,” notes Kristen Kindrachuk, Ph.D., managing editor for ACS Infectious Diseases. “It’s been exciting to see the journal grow from one month to the next in terms of the number of articles published as well as diversity of scope.”

The editorial team will also hold its first editorial advisory board meeting in September. For 2016, the journal aims to establish a presence on PubMed to become more accessible to the medical community as a whole. Special issues are also planned for the fall, and ACS Infectious Diseases will partner with other ACS journals for special issues in 2016.

“In the coming year, we hope to expand our reach and highlight additional areas where chemistry is making a substantial contribution to the field,” says Aldrich.

The ABCs of Becoming a Ph.D.

What’s more grueling than earning a Ph.D.? Not much. That’s why student Lina G. Abdul Halim hopes to help aspiring Ph.D.candidates survive the daily grind. Inspired by editorials she read from JPC Letters Deputy Editor Prashant Kamat including, “Looking Beyond the PhD”, she sought to help other students successfully complete their Ph.Ds. by offering some helpful tips. Read below to learn “The ABCs of Becoming a Ph.D.”

Download “The ABCs of Becoming a Ph.D.” here.

ACS Offers Strong Showing at International ChinaNANO Conference

ACS has long been at the forefront of scientific research by publishing high-quality work that encourages conversation and innovation between researchers and disciplines.

This influence was on display at the sixth International Conference on Nanoscience and Technology, China 2015 (ChinaNANO 2015), one of the largest nanoscience conferences in the world. Held September 3-5 in Beijing, ChinaNANO 2015 attracted approximately 1,300 registrants and offered an international stage for groundbreaking research in the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Editors from ACS Nano and Chemistry of Materials maintained a highly visible presence at the conference by participating in the Directors’ Forum, a gathering of nanoscience research center directors from around the world. This select group of renowned researchers met before the conference started to share their experiences, goals, and challenges and to discuss the future of the field. In addition, six ACS Nano editors delivered session keynotes and one served as an invited speaker.

Chemistry of Materials Editor-in-Chief Jillian Buriak introduces the University of Alberta at the Directors' Forum

“We represent high-quality research, and we had very esteemed editors at the conference,” says Feng Chen, assistant director of the Editorial Development Department. “All of this speaks to the international reputations of our editors and the global presence of ACS.”

Awards presentations highlight established and emerging researchers

This year, ACS Nano also partnered with ChinaNano 2015 to hold the ACS Nano Lectureship Awards and ACS Nano Poster Award presentations during the conference.

ACS Nano annually honors the contributions of three individuals who have made major impacts on the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology from around the world. Recipients are chosen to represent the Americas, Europe/Middle East/Africa, and Asia/Pacific.

This year’s winners are Prof. Hua Zhang for the Asia/Pacific region, Prof. Peidong Yang for the Americas, and Prof. Maurizio Prato for the Europe/Africa/Middle East region. The three awardees were invited to present on their research and to each invite one guest speaker to give a talk during the special lectureship session. Prato and Zhang have additionally contributed special Perspectives to ACS Nano.

Hua Zhang of Nanyang Technological University given 2015 ACS Nano Asia/Pacific Lectureship Award by Editor-in-Chief Paul Weiss

The ACS Nano poster awards were also presented to the top three posters from the conference. Posters were judged according to excellence in science, novelty, and overall presentation, with the awards going to Jing Cao, Hui Zhao, and Kerui Li.

“The poster awards help to recognize some of the up-and-coming scientists in the field,” says Heather Tierney, managing editor for ACS Nano.

Outreach efforts reinforce high-level connections

ChinaNANO 2015 provided other avenues for outreach, as well. Following the conference, Chen toured leading research institutions in the region to gain a greater understanding of student and researcher needs and to share ACS’ readiness to work with them.

“We have such a highly visible platform, and publishing with us validates researchers’ work,” says Chen. “From our perspective, we want to attract as many of these cutting edge researchers as possible from the international community.”

In her travels, Chen also emphasized ACS’ position to foster opportunities for collaboration among international researchers. “There are dual roles that ACS could offer:  To facilitate the exchange of scientific information and to promote the interaction of scientists around the world to create more opportunities for collaboration and success,” she notes.

Taking the fullest advantage of opportunities like these strengthens the platforms for publishing and participation that ACS offers researchers around the world.

Chemistry of Materials’ Up and Coming articles: Meet Science’s Rising Stars

When scientists begin their research careers, they tend to think carefully about the research directions they will pursue. After all, their success depends on choosing research questions that are exciting, have broad societal impact, and have high growth potential. For this reason, early-career scientists tend to have fresh perspectives on which research directions are most interesting.

Chemistry of Materials wanted to hear from these emerging scientists. In 2014, the journal launched the “Up and Coming” series of perspectives, written exclusively by early-career researchers. The perspectives, according to Chemistry of Materials Editor-in-Chief Jillian Buriak, are a way to “hear what is up-and-coming from the front lines of research in the chemistry of materials, directly from the researchers who are themselves up-and-coming.”

Reports from the front lines of research

The articles are written by promising young researchers, typically pre-tenure assistant professors or others at government laboratories or in industry.

Up and Coming perspectives accomplish multiple goals. They highlight the work of future leaders in materials science and chemistry—and they provide insights into exciting, high-potential new areas in the field.

The perspectives are roughly the length of a traditional journal paper and typically include:

  • A brief review of existing work in a particular field
  • A description of what a researcher has accomplished
  • If applicable, explanation of latest works in progress
  • A discussion of a researcher’s outlook for the future of a field

Up and Coming perspectives have been among the journal’s most popular content since the series began in May 2014. The articles must have the same level of peer review required of all other Chemistry of Materials manuscripts.

The first up-and-comer, Darren Lipomi, wrote about molecularly stretchable electronics. Other recently featured researchers include François-Xavier Coudert, who described novel responses of metal organic frameworks to external stimuli. Lauren Marbella and Jill Millstone wrote about nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques for noble metal nanoparticles.

A unique take on emerging science

The journal expects to publish roughly 12 Up and Coming perspectives per year. There are no set criteria to qualify, but, says Buriak, “we want to feature up-and-comers that represent much geographic and topical diversity as possible.”

Researchers are excited about the potential of the series. Says Coudert, “In various conferences and visits to groups in my field, I’ve had good feedback about both the content and the medium of my perspective. It seems to have a wide reach and to be well read.”

“As an author, it’s a great platform to discuss the recent evolutions and future of one’s favorite topic.”

Chemistry of Materials welcomes nominations of talented researchers interested in contributing to the Up and Coming series. To nominate yourself or a colleague, contact Managing Editor Carlos Toro or Editor-in-Chief Jillian Buriak.

Combi Chem Is Not Dead!

Tune into this fascinating Reddit AMA today at 1:00PM EST with ACS Combinatorial Science Editor-in-Chief, M.G. Finn. He’ll discuss his research and explain why, in his view, the field is very much alive. Dr. Finn’s group does research in a variety of areas that seek to develop molecular function. They define “molecular” in ways that go from small molecule drugs, to large multiprotein assemblies, to organisms. The group develops and optimizes reactions for bioconjugation and release, engineers virus-like nanoparticles for immunology, cell targeting, and enzyme encapsulation, and works on new ways to evolve aptamers and enzymes.

The journal publishes research on a variety of areas in which functional structures are made, identified, or enhanced by combinatorial means. This includes synthetic, analytical, and theoretical methods by which function can be created and measured.

Want to learn more about the journal or submit your research? Get information here.

If you missed the Reddit AMA, you can view the archived conversation here.

ACS on Campus: Learning the Art of Publication in Utah

On September 18, ACS on Campus traveled to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City—home to the editorial offices of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the Journal of Organic Chemistry, and Accounts of Chemical Research. Led by Editors-in-Chief and Utah faculty members Peter Stang, Dale Poulter, and Cindy Burrows respectively, the journals and their presence on campus set the tone for a full day of interesting discussions and dynamic engagement between ACS staff, ACS journals editors, and University of Utah faculty, students and librarians.

ACS on Campus is the Society’s outreach program that helps students, post-doctoral scholars, and faculty advance their careers by bringing together leaders in chemistry, publishing, and science communications to university campuses worldwide. The group organizes a series of seminars and workshops focused on various aspects of the scientific world. The ACS on Campus at the University of Utah marked the eighth institution visited in 2015.

The event kicked off with opening remarks from Dean of Sciences and JACS Associate Editor Henry White. He peppered his introduction with a fascinating prop—a 1979 copy of Analytical Chemistry in which his first paper was published. “It isn’t science until it’s published,” he stipulated, emphasizing the importance of and impact that can be made from having your research published in a top scholarly journal.

Opening remarks from Dr. Henry White.
With the beautiful Salt Lake Valley as the backdrop, Utah faculty and ACS staff presented their advice to nearly 100 undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty members. Faculty sessions included Dale Poulter’s “Top 10 Tips for Getting Published” (#8—graphics matter!) and Cindy Burrows’ insight into the how and why of peer review.

Post-lunch fatigue was staved off by an interactive session on SciFinder, where participants put their research skills to the test. C&EN Vice President and Editor-in-Chief Bibiana Campos-Seijo followed this session with a talk on the art of communication skills, walking the audience through techniques they can use to effectively talk about their research in a way that makes it accessible to anyone. The day wrapped up with an overview of ChemWorx from JACS Managing Editor Sonja Krane and a Q&A session about copyright and ethics.

Laptops out for an interactive search for Science!
The ACS would like to thank the nearly 100 students and faculty who attended this event, as well as the Utah student chapter for their continued involvement on campus and with the Society at large.

For more information on ACS on Campus and to see if ACS is coming to a school near you, visit acsoncampus.acs.org.

What’s Next for Sensors Research?

When nonscientists think of advanced sensors, images of Star Trek’s “tricorder” often come to mind. The tricorder could detect contamination, sense approaching enemies, and give quick evaluations of an individual’s health (even one of a non-human species).

As J. Justin Gooding, editor-in-chief of ACS Sensors explains, however, this depiction of sensors couldn’t be further from reality.

On September 1, Gooding talked sensors with science enthusiasts around the world during an “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” session on the popular social networking site Reddit. AMAs are text-based discussions in which a celebrity or expert answers questions about a topic in real time. Gooding fielded questions about future directions and challenges for chemical and biological sensors.

Scaling up sensors

First, says Gooding, it’s important to understand what today’s sensors can do—and what they can’t. Unlike tricorders, chemical and biological sensors don’t detect just anything. Instead, they are designed to detect a single thing very well. (When we need a sensor to detect many things, we build arrays of sensors into a single device.) Some of the most common everyday examples of sensors are the glucose meters used by diabetics and pregnancy test kits.

Sensors are also made for situations in which there’s no time to send samples back to a lab for analysis. They must give results instantly and be foolproof to interpret.

If sensors are so useful, why don’t we see more of them than we do? “There are barriers in making many types of sensors commercially viable,” Gooding says. Markets have to be sufficiently large to justify making a particular sensor, and in many cases, applications just aren’t broad enough.

Another roadblock: sensors must be replaced frequently. In complex environments, sensors can often become “swamped” by irrelevant stimuli. This makes it difficult for them to detect what they’re supposed to. Ideally, says Gooding, we’d have “continuous” sensors impervious to distractions. But he doesn’t expect these will be available anytime soon.

Looking to the future

There are plenty of exciting innovations happening in the sensors world, however. “Single-molecule and single-cell sensors are going to explode,” Gooding says. Such sensors could be used for drug testing and personalized medicine applications. For example, a sensor could be used to identify cells resistant to cancer drugs to quickly determine whether a cancer treatment will be effective for a particular patient.

These sensors could also be tailored to detect a single diseased cell among many, or identify a molecule that corresponds to a certain sequence of DNA.

Gooding also predicts an increase in sensors for environmental and food monitoring. We could use these sensors to learn, for example, whether a water source is safe to drink or seafood safe to eat.

In addition, says Gooding, innovations in sensors technology are likely to follow developments in biology, chemistry, and other related fields. As scientists discover new and important biomarkers, sensors will be developed to detect them.

In the Lab with Craig Lindsley

Nashville, Tennessee, also known as Music City, is home to Vanderbilt University and musically connected ACS Chemical Neuroscience Editor-in-Chief Craig Lindsley, Ph.D. ACS Axial caught up with Lindsley at his two labs, one on campus and one off, to find out what projects he is currently working on and which musicians he’s recently spotted around town.


Craig in his office on campus at Vanderbilt


By day Lindsley is a co-Director at the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery, where he serves as the Director of Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Metabolomics and Pharmokinetics. He is also a professor of pharmacology and chemistry at Vanderbilt University. His focus is on research that expands on possible treatments for diseases that most in big pharma have already written off—schizophrenia, autism, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and rare diseases like fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP).

At Lindsley’s on-campus lab, researchers focus on making tool compounds to publish and validate novel targets. It is home to six graduate students and two postdocs. Research from the lab has been published in ACS Chemical Biology, ACS Chemical Neuroscience, ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, Biochemistry, and the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

A special editorial board for ACS Chemical Neuroscience located in Lindsley's on campus lab

A special editorial board for ACS Chemical Neuroscience located in Lindsley’s on campus lab

However Lindsley is most excited about his laboratory at the Cool Springs Life Sciences Center, a 20-minute drive from Vanderbilt’s main campus.

Built to plans that Lindsley personally oversaw only 5 years ago, the lab is located in an industrial park and houses a variety of lab equipment more likely seen at biotech companies than in academia. This off-campus lab is the staff-scientist arm of the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery, employing roughly 40 staff scientists. Here, Lindsley and team develop patented compounds for licensing.  And they have been quite successful.

Results from recent research led to several patents being licensed to large companies like Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company, Seaside Therapeutics, Karuna Pharmaceuticals, and Ono. The patents in turn have paid for new research, and have helped to fund the general expenses that come from operating a 15,000-square-foot medicinal chemistry and drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics lab in this space.

Lab Craig

One of the stations inside Lindsley’s Cool Spring lab

On the drive to the Cool Springs lab, Lindsley spoke about his love for Nashville, his family of seven, and, per this writer’s request, some of the musicians he sees when hanging out downtown—he mentions having spotted Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Jack White, and many others who have made their homes in Tennessee.

An avid Kiss fan, Lindsley has photos of himself with Gene Simmons covering the walls of his office. Twenty years ago, Lindsley met Simmons, Kiss’ Israeli-born rock-bassist, at the first Kiss convention tour in Burbank, California. Now, he sees Simmons before shows when Kiss plays in Nashville.


Craigs KISS Pic

Over the years, Lindsley has collaborated with other celebrities for causes including the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research, where he received initial funding for mapping out the mGlu4 PAM portfolio his group licensed to BristolMyers Squibb, and for which they received three years of collaborative sponsored research.

In the evenings, Lindsley is a devoted father of five, making time for family, dinner, and homework before he does a final email check or begins to write an ACS Chemical Neuroscience editorial. Be sure to view our illustrated version of Lindsley’s lab for more interesting tidbits, and look out for subsequent articles in our new ACS Axial In the Lab series.

5 Most Recent Articles by the Craig Lindsley Research Group

  1. Oct 1, 2015 – Research relating to modulators of mGlu1 receptors of therapeutic potential for treating schizophrenia
  2. May 20, 2015 – Development of a compound for prospective treatment of schizophrenia via a new molecular mechanism
  3. Dec 2, 2014 – Research into a potential new compound for curing Parkinson’s Disease
  4. Nov 19, 2014 – Novel scaffold to target various forms of ubiquitous enzyme
  5. August 28, 2014 – Elucidation of the genetic differences underlying schizophrenia


Click image to enlarge – or view our interactive pdf hereITL-CraigLindsley-v-3

Celebrate National Chemistry Week with the Journal of Chemical Education

From the moment you open your eyes, you are surrounded by color. From the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, to the paintings that decorate our walls, chemistry colors our world.

National Chemistry Week is October 18–24, 2015. This year’s theme, “Chemistry Colors Our World,” explores the chemistry of dyes, pigments, and light. The Journal of Chemical Education is helping celebrate: editors have highlighted articles, classroom activities, and laboratory experiments related to the theme.

Gain access to classroom activities that explore the relationship between Chemistry & Color. Introduce your students to lather printing so they can discover how artists have created beautiful marble papers since the Middle Ages and how chemistry has influenced their work. Or show them how to conduct flame tests to investigate the chemicals responsible for the colors of commercial fireworks.

Artificial food colorants are used around the world to enhance the appearance of food—and have been since ancient times. Read articles on Dyes & Pigments to learn how chemistry concepts have helped make food more appealing.

Light brightens the world around us. Investigate the luminescent properties of common items by accessing JCE classroom activities. Discover how the chemistry of light sticks illustrates chemical properties and how computers use light to produce color.

Chemistry is the world’s paintbrush. Explore the chemistry of dyes, pigments, and light by accessing the Journal of Chemical Education today.

Be sure to read C&EN for more coverage on National Chemistry Week.