ACS Publications’ Newest Associate Editors: Q1 2020 - ACS Axial | ACS Publications
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ACS Publications’ Newest Associate Editors: Q1 2020

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.

Nanfeng Zheng, ACS Central Science

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

Our research focuses on the surface and interface chemistry of functional materials with the aim to develop advanced materials for both fundamental research and practical applications, particularly in the fields of catalysis, energy, and environmental science. I was initially attracted to surface and interface chemistry by challenges in identifying the surface and interface structures of nanomaterials at the molecular level, which is however essential to their chemical properties and many applications. We have been enjoying extensive collaborations with researchers of different backgrounds to gain deep molecular insights for guiding the performance optimization of functional materials towards practical applications.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I studied X-ray crystallography and cluster chemistry during my Ph.D. training, and have been working on the chemistry of functional materials for a variety of applications. I hope my diverse research experience can help me identify the beautiful science for bridging chemistry with different fields to increase the impact of ACS Central Science.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

The most primary challenge in the field is the lack of effective characterization techniques allowing us to “see” how molecules are bound and dynamically reacted on the surface of solid surfaces, in particular under realistic reaction conditions. It requires joint efforts both chemists and physicists to develop operando characterization techniques with both high spatial and temporal resolutions. Moreover, the fabrication of functional materials with a well-defined molecule-like structure should be beneficial to follow the molecule-level structure changes for understanding the surface and interface chemical processes.

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

Atomically Precise, Thiolated Copper–Hydride Nanoclusters as Single-Site Hydrogenation Catalysts for Ketones in Mild Conditions
ACS Nano 2019, 13, 5975−5986
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.9b02052

Roya Maboudian, ACS Sensors

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

Our research program aims to expand our understanding of materials and interfaces and to apply this knowledge to make advances in a number of technologically emerging and societally critical areas. As far back as I remember, I have always enjoyed sciences; but in graduate school, I was introduced to the central role materials play in many areas, ranging from catalysis to electronics to sensing. Since materials interact with the world via their surface, to understand and manipulate materials, it is also essential to understand the role of surfaces in their properties (e.g., electrical, optical and mechanical properties). Chemical sensing is a prime example of the importance of materials, surfaces, and interfaces.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I have a very interdisciplinary background, from pure science to engineering to technology. This background and interest have shaped my research program. I hope to bring forth this experience to serve the sensing community and help in making ACS Sensors as an international forum for disseminating innovative and impactful research in this area.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

From the basic science point of view, in many cases, we lack a deep fundamental and predictive understanding of the sensor response. On the technology side, close partnership between scientists, engineers, and technologists is needed for the full implementation of many of our innovative ideas and demonstrations. Significant advances in sensors and sensor networks are needed to address many of the societal challenges we are faced with, ranging from the environment to sustainability, and from personal health to national security.

Peter Crowley, Crystal Growth & Design

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

Our main focus is protein assembly. We use macrocycles such as calixarenes and cucurbiturils to direct protein assembly and crystallization. Our initial interest was to characterize protein surface recognition by macrocycles. It turned out that calixarenes are rather effective mediators of assembly or “molecular glues”.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope to bring a new focus on proteins. Currently, only about 15 % of the material in Crystal Growth & Design is concerned with proteins. There is an interesting interface between the fields of supramolecular chemistry and protein science. The Crystal Growth & Design community can contribute greatly in this space.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

The major challenge is the lack of resources, in particular, funding opportunities for Ph.D. and postdoctoral researchers. Specific to the field – controlled protein assembly remains an outstanding question. There are many approaches but often these are specific to a given system/protein. Another major issue is the cost barrier to the manufacture of protein-based materials.

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

I wish to highlight our recent work in ACS Nano. In this paper, we showed how “classical” supramolecular chemistry can be used to modulate porous protein assemblies or frameworks.

Tuning Protein Frameworks via Auxiliary Supramolecular Interactions
ACS Nano 2019, 13, 9, 10343-10350
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.9b04115

Jwa-Min Nam, Nano Letters

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My main research focus is chemical nanoplasmonics, and we design and synthesize new types of plasmonic nanostructures with useful properties and functions, mainly for biomedical applications. More specifically, my research interests include plasmonic nanoparticles, surface-enhanced spectroscopy [particularly, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)], nanobiointerfaces and nanobiotechnology (e.g., biosensing, bioimaging, DNA nanotechnology, and biocomputing). When I was a graduate student at Northwestern University, I developed ultrasensitive nanobiosensing assays that could match with the polymerase chain reaction sensitivity for detecting ultralow amounts of protein and DNA targets. Later, I realized that many bio-detection assays require many steps, often with complex instrumentation and tedious optimization processes, to achieve ultrahigh sensitivity, and these largely prevent these assays from being widely used or commercialized. I thought it would be great if one could simply develop and use nanoprobes with highly amplified optical signals to dramatically increase assay sensitivity without complicating assay protocols.

To address this, I became interested in surface-enhanced spectroscopy (in particular, SERS) and eventually developed strategies in precisely synthesizing the desired plasmonic nanostructures with strong and quantifiable optical signals (e.g., plasmonic nanogap-enhanced Raman scattering probes) that could be used as reliable biosensing and bioimaging probes. These SERS probes with molecular fingerprint peaks are also powerful in highly multiplexed bioassays. Recently, I became really interested in designing and synthesizing heterostructured plasmonic nanostructures with new or synergistic properties and using plasmonic nanoparticles for modular, scalable molecular computing applications that can be also linked to smart biosensing and biointerfacing platforms.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

My research background is quite broad and highly interdisciplinary, ranging from nanoparticle synthesis to nanoplasmonics and nanobiotechnology. I can work with and complement other editors with widely varying backgrounds, and can also bring expertise and critical views not only in the fundamentals of nanoscience such as the design, synthesis, and plasmonics of metal nanostructure to interdisciplinary or newly emerging fields such as nanobiosensors, DNA nanotechnology, nanointerfaced cell assays, and theranostics.

I believe sorting out and publishing the landmark papers that report a new concept/paradigm is critical for the success of Nano Letters, and many of these are based on interdisciplinary topics. I can help make sure the journal publishes the papers with the most important, compelling advances in both basic nanoscience and interdisciplinary nanotechnology fields.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

Reproducibility and scalability. In plasmonics, biosensing, bioimaging, and biocomputing, it is critical to generate, manipulate and obtain quantitative signals/outputs from plasmonic structures in a reproducible manner. The scalability of nanostructures or newly developed platforms also heavily relies on this. It is widely known that very small changes in nanostructures and assay protocols can significantly affect outcomes. Rigorous quantitative evaluation and improvement on data reproducibility while scaling up nanoparticle synthesis and nanostructure fabrication must be done to validate the reliability and usefulness.

Without overcoming reproducibility/scalability issues, the advances of all these fields are largely restricted, and the wide and practical use of newly developed nanostructures and protocols is doomed. I think this is the key challenge not only for plasmonics and nanobiotechnology but also for whole nanoscience and nanotechnology.

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

In this paper, we report a synthetic strategy to form gold nanocubes in a very high yield (>98%), and the cube size and shape were precisely controlled over a large number of particles. Even by very small changes at nm scale in plasmonic nanostructures, the optical signal from each nanostructure can be largely varied, prohibiting the reliable use of plasmonic nanoparticles for sensing and imaging applications.

This is particularly important in the field of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) that is based on many orders-of-magnitude signal enhancement with plasmonic nanostructures to make Raman signals readily detectable. Here, we showed quantitative SERS signals can be obtained from dimerized cubes with these ultraprecisely synthesized gold nanocube building blocks — the SERS enhancement factors for the dimers are very narrowly distributed within 1 order of magnitude. This paper offers a strategy in synthesizing metal nanocubes with the desired size and shape in a highly precise manner with scale-up potential and a platform for quantitative SERS/plasmonics with single-particle-level spectral controllability and reproducibility.

Precisely Shaped, Uniformly Formed Gold Nanocubes with Ultrahigh Reproducibility in Single-Particle Scattering and Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering
Nano Lett. 2018, 18, 10, 6475-6482
DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b02973

Pam Tadross, Organic Process Research & Development

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

I am a Technical Product Steward within the Merck Manufacturing Division, responsible for the technical deliverables in support of commercial franchises. My role covers everything from raw materials and API manufacturing through drug product formulation and secondary packaging operations, which exposes me to a lot of different challenges in chemistry and engineering every day. On a given day, I also get to blend elements of project management, investigation support, and proactive risk management to ensure a compliant and continuous supply of life-saving drugs for our patients. The best part of my role though is the technical team I lead and the cross-functional supply team I support. My colleagues keep me coming back for more every day!

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope to bring my unique perspective on the supply side of pharmaceutical manufacturing to ORP&D. After spending several years in API commercialization, and now expanding my experience to include supply support, I am looking forward to supporting our authors through the peer-review process in linking their work to commercial manufacturing.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

Within the supply space, we face a range of challenges, many of them from outside the technical arena, including a changing regulatory landscape, evolving quality requirements, and increasing supply chain complexity. Within the technical operations area, we are further challenged every day to ensure high process performance from end-to-end to enable the continuous supply of our products within the various regulatory, quality, and supply chain constraints. Resolving technical problems in that sort of environment truly pushes the limits of problem-solving and drives innovation.

Liang Deng, Organometallics

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My research focuses on the organometallic chemistry of late transition-metals. I was attracted by the very rich chemical and physical properties of transition-metal species and wished to further expand our knowledge of them.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope to further enhance the impact of Organometallics in Asia and to make Organometallics the most attractive arena of young organometallic chemists.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

We should devote more efforts to the development of new catalytic methods and new materials based on the discovery of organometallic chemists on the chemical and physical properties of organometallic compounds. We also need more advanced time-resolved spectroscopic technologies to probe the electronic structures of reactive metal species and to probe the reaction mechanism.

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