Meet ACS Publications' Newest Associate Editors: Summer 2019 - ACS Axial | ACS Publications
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Meet ACS Publications’ Newest Associate Editors: Summer 2019

When a scientific journal adds a new associate editor, that change means more for readers than just a tweak to the masthead. New associate editors bring new experiences, new perspectives, and new ideas to their publications. Get to know some of ACS’ latest editors and learn what unique gifts they’ll be bringing to their respective journals.

Peng Chen, ACS Chemical Biology

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?
My laboratory is interested in developing and applying bioorthogonal reactions to probe and perturb protein activity within the native cellular context. A collection of genetically encoded chemistry tools have been created that allowed the study of dynamic protein modifications, interactions, and activations under living conditions.

Recently, we spearheaded the development of bioorthogonal cleavage reactions for the gain-of-function study of diverse proteins in living systems, and we are also exploiting the therapeutic potential of such reactions.

I have been attracted to the bioorthogonal chemistry and genetic code expansion field because these chemistry-enabled strategies have revolutionized our ability to probe and perturb biomolecules such as proteins within their native cellular context. This offered us an unprecedented opportunity to dissect native protein functions and biological processes with high specificity and temporal resolution.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?
I hope to further promote ACS Chemical Biology as a timely platform to report innovative work with distinct chemical biology features. Whether the work reported on new chemical biology tools or addressed important biological questions using chemistry-enabled methods, or a combination of both, I hope to speed up the review process to make these new work available to our readers as soon as possible.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?
Proteins are the workhorse of a cell, but methods to study their structures and functions under living conditions are still lacking. In particular, research tools to investigate the dynamic features of proteins in situ (e.g. dynamic modifications, interactions, and spatial organizations) are highly desired. Secondly, directly amplifying proteins in a way similar to the polymerase chain reaction for DNA molecules would open many exciting frontiers such as single-molecule protein sequencing. Finally, protein folding is still an unresolved problem and a holy grail in the field. We are still not able to predict how a protein folds into the three-dimension structure from its primary sequence. The rapid emerging of new frontiers such as artificial intelligence and machine learning may shed light on decoding the protein “folding code.”

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Gap-Junction-Dependent Labeling of Nascent Proteins in Multicellular Networks
ACS Chem. Biol., 2019, 14,2, 182-185
DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.8b01065

This paper reports an enzyme-triggered amino acid deprotection method that allowed selective labeling of nascent proteomes and record translation in adjacent cells connected by gap junctions. This cell contact-dependent protein tagging method offered a powerful tool to study molecular events such as material transfer and signal transductions within a multi-cellular network.

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Xinbin Ma, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?
Our research is focused on the design, synthesis, and characterization of solid materials useful as catalysts and adsorbents for efficient conversion of synthesis gas to commodity fuels and chemicals, as well as carbon dioxide capture and utilization. The studies cover both fundamental science and applied engineering from understanding the relationships between the material characteristics and performance, reaction kinetics and mechanism to process integration, scaling-up, and industrialization. I have a strong interest in C1 chemistry and technology and a desire to convert the knowledge to practical technologies lead our research to the current areas.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?
I hope my joining in the associate editor team of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research will bring new horizons, new experiences, and ideas to the journal. My experience will help to discover more valuable research for the community, and rapidly deliver the most original results to the readers. I hope my work with other editors will further enhance the impact of the journal and contributes to the development of applied chemistry and chemical engineering.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?
We have been working for many years on C1 chemistry and technology and applied catalysis. It is difficult to design green chemical technology that can realize sustainable production of chemicals with no hazardous effect on the environment or on humans. With the fast development of chemistry and material science, a number of novel catalytic technologies and materials have been generated in the lab. The challenge is to further enhance the process efficiency, reduce the complexity, facilitate scaling-up and industrialization.

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Donald Wink, Journal of Chemical Education

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?
I am currently working in research in chemistry education and the learning sciences. Both grew out of engagement in projects in curriculum development at the college level and teacher professional development in K-12 settings. I continue to also use my “bench” training in the collaborations for small molecule single crystal X-ray diffraction.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?
Since I have worked on the development of curricula and materials, the training of teachers, and on research about these settings, I hope I bring an ability to see how practical questions and theoretical perspectives are important in reporting the most current work in the field.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?
There is a need for ongoing engagement between empirical studies about learning and teaching and their application to authentic settings. This is why innovation in teaching methods should be accompanied by rigorous quantitative and qualitative research–and why research should be alert to important new areas of practice. And, as innovation and research are disseminated, it is important to examine how they shift in new settings, especially with diverse audiences.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?
One of the fascinating aspects of learning (and teaching) is that, in many ways, it is only important at the level of the individual. As a result, we are confronted with the challenge of figuring out “what works” in a way that identifies broad, reproducible trends and also responds to the authentic diversity of teaching and learning settings

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?
I am very proud of the opportunities I have had to work in a collaborative setting with other investigators. A recent example of this is the project led by my colleague Ginevra Clark:

Relating Chemistry to Healthcare and MORE: Implementation of MORE in a Survey Organic and Biochemistry Course for Prehealth Students
J. Chem. Educ., 2018, 9, 5, 137-46
DOI: doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00272

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