October 2020 - ACS Axial | ACS Publications

ACS Editors’ Choice: Writing Your Next Medicinal Chemistry Article

Each and every day, ACS grants free access to a new peer-reviewed research article from one of the Society’s journals. These articles are specially chosen by a team of scientific editors of ACS journals from around the world to highlight the transformative power of chemistry. Access to these articles will remain open to all as a public service.

Check out this week’s picks!
Chemical Control of Quorum Sensing in E. coli: Identification of Small Molecule Modulators of SdiA and Mechanistic Characterization of a Covalent Inhibitor
ACS Infect. Dis. 2020, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
DOI: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.0c00654
The Emergence of Halide Layered Double Perovskites
ACS Energy Lett. 2020, 5, XXX, 3591–3608
DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.0c01867
Code Sharing in the Open Science Era
J. Chem. Inf. Model. 2020, 60, 10, 4417–4420
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jcim.0c01000
Molecular Dynamics Reveals a DNA-Induced Dynamic Switch Triggering Activation of CRISPR-Cas12a
J. Chem. Inf. Model. 2020, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jcim.0c00929
Writing Your Next Medicinal Chemistry Article: Journal Bibliometrics and Guiding Principles for Industrial Authors
J. Med. Chem. 2020, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.0c01159
Optimizing the Key Variables to Generate Host Sensitized Lanthanide Doped Semiconductor Nanoparticle Luminophores
J. Phys. Chem. C 2020, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.0c07548
Process Safety in the Pharmaceutical Industry—Part I: Thermal and Reaction Hazard Evaluation Processes and Techniques
Org. Process Res. Dev. 2020, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
DOI: 10.1021/acs.oprd.0c00226
Love ACS Editors’ Choice? Get a weekly e-mail of the latest ACS Editor’s Choice articles and never miss a breakthrough!

Changing the Culture of Chemistry: Race and Diversity in the Lab

An organization’s culture defines how it approaches problems in the workplace. Whether you’re the head of your own lab or a graduate student, workplace culture is something everyone can influence every time they go to work. That’s why ACS Publications is leading a series of free webinars on the ways chemists can improve their lab’s culture and make their workplace increasingly diverse, safe, and sustainable.

The first free webinar in our Changing the Culture of Chemistry series is dedicated to discussing Race and Diversity in the Lab.

Attendees will hear from prominent chemists who are outspoken advocates for increased racial diversity, inclusion, and respect in the lab. Speakers will discuss their own experiences and the ways all chemists can work to improve their lab’s culture. This free one-hour program will end with a moderated discussion and an opportunity to ask questions of the panel.

What you’ll hear about:

  • Understanding the scope of racial challenges in the lab
  • Creating an inclusive environment of excellence through recruitment, retention, and career advancement
  • Working to ensure colleagues feel safe and respected

Who you’ll hear from:

Edgar A. Arriaga, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota

Ann C. Kimble-Hill, Ph.D.
Indiana University School of Medicine

Steven D. Townsend, Ph.D.
Vanderbilt University

Moderator: Carlos Toro, Ph.D.
ACS Publications

Sign up for this webinar today!

23 Critical Topics in Chemistry for Q3 2020

ACS Publications regularly produces collections of the most important chemistry research topics. These Virtual Collections of the most important chemistry research topics bring together the most important ideas in the field in a variety of ways, including Special Issues and ACS Selects from across the portfolio journals. These collections reflect the most important chemistry research topics of current scientific interest and are designed for experienced investigators and educators alike.

Browse 23 of the most important, engaging topics in chemists with Virtual Collections released by ACS Publications journals in Q3 2020:


Rising Stars in Sensing

In this new Virtual Issue, ACS Sensors celebrates a cohort of early-stage investigators advancing the field of sensor science. Developments on high-performance sensors for infectious disease diagnosis, in vivo monitoring, intracellular sensing, and gas detection are just some examples of the exciting research featured in the 25 articles selected for this collection. The Rising Stars in this Virtual Issue provide tremendous promise to our field, and we wish them continued success as they launch their careers.

Frontiers in Research: NanoEngineering and Chemical Engineering at UC San Diego

This Virtual Issue of ACS Nano highlights contributions of the faculty and students of the Department of NanoEngineering and Chemical Engineering Program at the University of California, San Diego. The research interests of the department are highly interdisciplinary—it is known internationally for its strengths in nanomedicine, flexible electronics, and energy storage. A particular strength of the department that cuts across all research areas is computational materials science.

Perovskite Photocatalysis

The ease of preparation and bandgap tunability of metal halide perovskites makes them important candidates for photocatalytic applications. This virtual issue highlights some early efforts to employ perovskite nanostructures in photocatalysis, published in ACS Energy Letters, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, Journal of the American Chemical Society, ACS Applied Energy Materials, and The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry Research from Japan

Japan has a long-standing tradition of world-class innovation and the discovery of new medicines for human diseases. This Journal of Medicinal Chemistry Virtual Issue features 15 articles published during 2017-2019 to showcase outstanding medicinal chemistry research from Japan and includes contributions from the pharmaceutical/biotech industry and academic/government institutions. The therapeutic areas of focus in these publications include cancers, neurological conditions, infectious diseases, heart failure, diabetes, inflammation, among others.

Taming the Nanoscale with Ultrafast Nano-Plasmons

Surface plasmons are collective oscillations of a material free electron gas at its interface, leading to strongly enhanced electromagnetic field confinement below the diffraction limit of light. These excitations display fast dynamics lasting few tens of femtoseconds and can lead to a strong nonlinear optical response at the nanoscale. Thus, they represent the perfect tool to efficiently drive and control fast optical processes, like ultrafast optical switching or single-photon absorption/emission. This Virtual Issue focuses on important papers published in Nano Letters in the last decade reporting studies on the ultrafast dynamics of surface plasmons.

Two-Dimensional Layered Materials Offer Expanded Applications in Flatland

Van der Waals layered materials are formed by stacks of ultrathin layers connected by weak van der Waals forces. Each layer has a complete chemical structure without dangling bonds, which makes each individual layer relatively stable. With the isolation of a single atomic layer from graphite (called graphene) and the discovery of its exotic physical properties, a new era in two-dimensional materials began. Ever since, a wide variety of 2D materials have been synthesized and studied including inorganic, organic, and hybrid compounds. Additionally, high-throughput calculations have identified more than 1,800 compounds that are potentially exfoliable down to few-atom thin layers. In just a decade, 2D materials have expanded into a vast range of applications in diverse areas of technology such as optoelectronics, spintronics, catalysis, energy harvesting and storage, ion transport, and biomedicine. In light of various new development in the field of 2D materials, it is our pleasure to announce a “virtual issue” on two-dimensional layered materials and their applications for ACS Applied Nano Materials.

Combustion Chemistry

Combustion is an important area of research in physical chemistry because of its underlying gas phase uni- and bi-molecular reactions, often involving free radicals and other highly reactive intermediates, and the associated collisional energy transfer. Recent advances in both experimental techniques and theoretical algorithms have greatly improved our understanding of combustion chemistry. In this Virtual Issue, a collection of recent manuscripts published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry A/B/C and The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters relevant to various aspects of combustion chemistry are presented along with an editorial.

Time-Resolved Microscopy: A New Frontier in Physical Chemistry

A universal feature of complex materials and biological systems is that the interactions between different functional components span multiple time and length scales. Furthermore, these interactions are often governed by nonequilibrium states. To gain a fundamental understanding of these multiscale interactions, new experimental approaches combining spatial and temporal resolutions are necessary, which requires a fundamental shift from conventional spectroscopy and microscopy methods. This Virtual Special Issue on Time-Resolved Microscopy focuses on the recent developments of such new experimental approaches.

JACS Young Investigators 2020

We are excited and pleased to provide an ACS Select virtual issue based upon the outstanding work of young investigators published in 2019 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. This collection of Articles and Communications highlights premier research in diverse topical areas from around the world that is of broad interest to the contemporary readership of JACS. These carefully selected publications were chosen by the appropriate, knowledgeable JACS Editors on the basis of reviewer input and editorial evaluation.

Key Resources for Medicinal Chemists

The ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters Early Career Board is celebrating the journal’s 10-year anniversary with a collection of articles in the new Virtual Issue “Key Resources for Medicinal Chemists.” The issue also includes articles from Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, ACS Chemical Neuroscience, ACS Chemical Biology, ACS Infectious Diseases, and Chemical Reviews to illustrate journal collaborations that have shaped the path of ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters over the past 10 years. We hope our readers enjoy this resource and that it may inspire current and future scientists to explore the exciting field of medicinal chemistry!

Atmospheric Chemistry

Research exploring the chemistry of the Earth’s atmosphere addresses both the natural processes that occur and the impact that human activity is having on atmospheric composition, air quality, and climate. The Journal of Physical Chemistry A and ACS Earth and Space Chemistry provide platforms with wide reach for the dissemination of research in all areas of atmospheric chemistry. This joint Virtual Issue highlights examples of articles published since 2017 that examine many facets of atmospheric chemistry using techniques ranging from laboratory measurements and computational studies of reaction pathways to the origins and properties of atmospheric aerosols, and to field measurements of atmospheric composition.

Enhancing Technological Applications through DFT Modeling of Nanomaterials

The practical foundation of modern density functional theory (DFT) was established in the Hohenberg-Kohn theorems more than 50 years ago. The theory is based on first principles and allows material property predictions without requiring any prior knowledge or the ability to synthesize the material. Over the past decades, DFT has rapidly matured and is now considered indispensable in the modeling toolbox of physicists, chemists, material scientists, and engineers. The rise and success of DFT goes hand in hand with more powerful computing hardware, faster algorithms, and smarter workflows. Today, computational researchers can investigate and accurately predict physical and chemical properties of systems up to about a thousand atoms; moreover, the simulations are sufficiently fast to build massive databases for crystalline (bulk) materials, such as the Materials Project, Open Quantum Materials Database, or the Novel Materials Discovery. In light of the recent development in this field, it is our pleasure to announce a “virtual issue” on enhancing technological applications through DFT modeling of nanomaterials for ACS Applied Nano Materials.

Celebrating 5 Years of Open Access with ACS Omega

2020 marks the fifth year in which ACS Omega has published high-quality content that describes new findings in chemistry and interfacing areas of science. In this Virtual Issue, the team of Editors at ACS Omega pick 50 outstanding articles to demonstrate the quality of work published over this period. These articles are divided into five categories: highly cited; highly read; articles that have received considerable online attention; articles from some of our most prolific and prominent authors; and articles published by our own eminent Editorial Board that represent the diversity of topic and geography of the journal. Celebrate with us as we look back on these excellent primary research articles, Mini-Reviews, and Perspectives. We apologize to the many researchers whose works were worthy of selection but have not featured in this Special Issue due to number restrictions in each category. We express our gratitude to all our authors, reviewers, and readers and hope to continue to meet your needs in the future. If you haven’t already engaged with our journal, here are 5 reasons to publish Open Access with ACS Omega.

Paul Geerlings Festschrift

It is a pleasure and a privilege for us to serve The Journal of Physical Chemistry A as guest editors of the virtual special issue in honor of Paul Geerlings, who turned 70 in November of 2019.


Celebrating Organic Chemistry in France

France is known generally for its complex gastronomic and cultural contributions to society, and adding to the country’s ambiance is its rich achievements in science, particularly organic chemistry. The Journal of Organic Chemistry is recognizing these strong traditions with a Virtual Issue featuring recent articles published in the journal by researchers in France.

Celebrating 65 Years of ACS PRF Grants

Since the first grants were awarded in 1954, the ACS Petroleum Research Fund has awarded over $700 million dollars in research grants to professors in academic institutions, supported fundamental research, the early careers of many professors, and assisting established researchers in taking their research scope into substantially new directions. This collection showcases a wide range of research ACS PRF awardees engage in, all published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Celebrating Chemistry in Latin America

Historically, organic chemistry in Latin America has focused mostly on medicinal chemistry and natural products research, mainly because of the potential of this vast region of the world as a rich source of bioactive secondary metabolites from its diverse ecosystems. Over the past 20 years, the field here has experienced a shift toward the development of synthetic methodologies, catalysis, and theoretical approaches to study organic reactions and aid structural characterization, but still maintaining a strong presence in natural products chemistry.

2020 Inorganic Young Investigators

Inorganic Chemistry and the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry are pleased to present a Virtual Issue featuring articles authored by recipients of the Division’s 2020 Young Investigator Award. This annual award was instituted in 2005 to recognize the next-generation of inorganic chemists who are at the forefront of their respective research areas. Young Investigators selected over the years, now numbering more than 100, are enjoying diverse careers at universities, companies, and national labs around the world.

Structure Property Processing Relationships in Polymer Nanocomposites

The “Structure Property Processing Relationships in Polymer Nanocomposites” Virtual Issue is a joint venture by the ACS journals Macro Letters and Macromolecules in collaboration with NanoMine, an open-source data framework for polymer nanocomposites which aims to curate experimental metadata related to polymer nanocomposites with a vision for data-driven discovery and design. This Virtual Issue compiles 15 articles published in ACS Macro Letters and Macromolecules, with research data of 230 samples associated with these publications made openly available on NanoMine. This venture represents an experimental effort by journals and data repositories to encourage authors of relevant publications to archive their published data and make it readily available to researchers. Through this collaboration, we aim to promote data sharing in the scientific community and the development of innovative material characterization and analysis tools with the eventual goal of new discovery and design of polymer nanocomposites. In the accompanying Viewpoint, important aspects of data structure, tools for visualization and analysis, and challenges of curation are presented along with a few demonstrations of NanoMine’s current capabilities incorporating data from the collected articles. Guest editors Cate Brinson of Duke University and Linda Schadler of the University of Vermont invite the broader polymer nanocomposites community to explore the articles in this issue and the capabilities of curated data resources such as NanoMine to provide new avenues for ongoing research.

Graphene, the Swiss Army Knife of Nanomaterials Science

Graphene was discovered 16 years ago by Geim and Novoselov. Since then, this multifunctional material has been used in a plethora of applications across bio-medical, environmental, and energy-related domains. ACS Applied Nano Materials is now a little over two years old with roughly 200 published articles on the topic of graphene. Graphene is unique both in terms of performance and versatility. Indeed, graphene exhibits staggering electron mobility, electronic conductivity, thermal conductivity, and mechanical properties. Yet, subtle changes in its structure and its processing lead to a myriad of novel properties. In light of the recent development in this hot field, it is our pleasure to announce a “virtual issue” on graphene and graphene-based nanomaterials for ACS Applied Nano Materials.


The Impact of Modern Spectroscopy

Inorganic Chemistry has a fine tradition in developing and using spectroscopic methods for characterizing compounds, in particular molecules involving d- and f-elements that give rise to multiple electronic and magnetic states. As new chemistry has developed in recent years, the chemistry community has witnessed rapid progress in both the experimental and theoretical application of spectroscopy to inorganic compounds. The Inorganic Chemistry Editorial Team thus felt it was a good time to demonstrate the power of spectroscopy to probe inorganic systems by assembling a Virtual Issue that highlights the many ways in which spectroscopy can be used in the discipline. This collection, titled “The Impact of Modern Spectroscopy in Inorganic Chemistry,” features articles published in the journal between January 2018 and July 2020, with an additional selection of articles from the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Chemistry in Africa: Open & Global

ACS Omega is delighted to present this special collection of articles that highlight the substantial scientific contributions of researchers based in Africa. Our commitment has always been to serve as an inclusive, broad scope, and global open-access journal. This Virtual Issue serves as a reminder that welcoming and communicating research from Africa to the world remains an integral part of our mission.

Polaritons in Physical Chemistry

This Virtual Issue highlights recent articles in The Journal of Physical Chemistry A/B/C and The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters that focus on polaritons – the unusual states that arise from coupling between light and the optical transitions in materials. Polaritons can be created by placing molecules or quantum dots in optical cavities, or by using the enhanced electromagnetic fields that occur at the surfaces of metal nanostructures. The collected articles describe both theory and experiments, and deal with topics ranging from the synthesis of nanostructure for strong plasmon-exciton coupling, to non-adiabatic molecular dynamics calculations of properties. We hope that this collection will stimulate interest in this exciting field!

ACS Editors’ Choice: Manipulating Electronic Structure from the Bottom-Up — and More!

Each and every day, ACS grants free access to a new peer-reviewed research article from one of the Society’s journals. These articles are specially chosen by a team of scientific editors of ACS journals from around the world to highlight the transformative power of chemistry. Access to these articles will remain open to all as a public service.

Check out this week’s picks!
Mucin Biopolymers and Their Barrier Function at Airway Surfaces
Langmuir 2020, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.0c02410
Manipulating Electronic Structure from the Bottom-Up: Colloidal Nanocrystal-Based Semiconductors
J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2020, 11, XXX, 9255–9264
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.0c01417
Double-Sided Heat-Exchange CBD System for Homogeneous Zn(O,S) Thin Films in Highly Efficient CIGS Solar Devices
ACS Appl. Energy Mater. 2020, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
DOI: 10.1021/acsaem.0c02154
Two-Tier Compatibility of Superelastic Bicrystal Micropillar at Grain Boundary
Nano Lett. 2020, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c03486
Enumerating Intramolecular Charge Transfer in Conjugated Organic Compounds
J. Chem. Inf. Model. 2020, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jcim.0c00913
Machine Learning and Deep Learning in Chemical Health and Safety: A Systematic Review of Techniques and Applications
ACS Chem. Health Saf. 2020, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
DOI: 10.1021/acs.chas.0c00075
Tetrahedral Distortion and Thermoelectric Performance of the Ag-Substituted CuInTe2 Chalcopyrite Compound
ACS Appl. Energy Mater. 2020, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
DOI: 10.1021/acsaem.0c01867
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Meet the Deputy Editors of Two New Agriculture and Food Science Journals

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry is growing into a family of journals with ACS Food Science & Technology and ACS Agricultural Science and Technology in 2021. These two new journals will expand beyond the chemistry and biochemistry focus of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry with a special emphasis on the emerging technologies in the two core fields covered by the parent journal. This expansion reflects the growing importance of innovations in science and engineering as it relates to food and agricultural research, as well as the growing communities and research output in these exciting fields.

I recently sat down with the new deputy editors for each journal, who both shared what they are most looking forward to.

Laura McConnell – Deputy Editor for ACS Agricultural Science and Technology

What are your goals as Deputy Editor?

My goals as Deputy Editor of this new journal, ACS Agricultural Science and Technology, are:

  1. Leading and collaborating with an experienced and diverse team of Associate Editors and Editorial Advisory Board members to maintain a high level of novelty and creativity for accepted manuscripts.
  2. Establishing AgSciTech as the premier journal for scientists working at the cutting edge of Agricultural Science while asking authors to consider novel technologies’ broader environmental implications.
  3. To provide a forum where scientists from university, industry, government research organizations can engage in a transparent and balanced scientific “dialog” on both the challenges and opportunities involved with novel technologies entering the agricultural marketplace.

 What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities in the field today?

Agricultural science crosses the boundaries of many scientific disciplines, and disruptive technologies can impact research programs overnight. Numerous opportunities exist in agricultural science from a technology perspective. For example, gene-editing tools like CRISPR Cas9 offer opportunities to develop more nutritious crops that have longer shelf-lives or are more resilient to drought and storms in the face of climate change. Broadly available digital tools have revolutionized agriculture, allowing farmers to use inputs more precisely and effectively while minimizing negative environmental impacts.

Significant challenges also exist in maintaining a safe and abundant global food supply while protecting and enhancing precious soil, water, and air natural resources. Agriculture has a major role to play in addressing climate change. Agricultural production methods must evolve in order to increase ecosystem services like carbon sequestration and biodiversity protection on a large scale. Technology to quantify and verify sustainable practices’ impact is needed to establish sustainability-related markets whereby growers can reap economic rewards for their conservation efforts.

How do you see the journal and the community working together to address those challenges and seize those opportunities?

As an ACS journal, our team will reach out to and collaborate with ACS technical divisions like AGRO, ENVR, ANAL and others on both scientific programming and publications. We will reach out to ACS Committees, such as the Committee on Environmental Impact, on topics related to chemical risk assessment and risk management policy and sustainability. We will also reach out directly to universities and other research organizations seeking opportunities to develop special issues and viewpoint articles on cutting edge topics in Agricultural Science. We will also collaborate with organizations with a global viewpoint like the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

What types of research are you looking forward to reading in the future?

I am looking forward to reading the results of highly creative and innovative research efforts to solve a difficult challenge in agriculture. I am also looking forward to reading thoughtful manuscripts that provide a balanced analysis of their work, putting their results into the context of other research happening globally, and possible positive and negative impacts of their research. This type of writing approach can be an important part of the scientific dialog to advance knowledge and identify gaps for future research.

 Coralia Osorio Roa,  Deputy Editor for ACS Food Science and Technology

What are your goals as Deputy Editor?

As a Deputy Editor of the new ACS Food Science and Technology journal, I expect to lead a food science and technology network, joining forces between different researchers to improve the amount and quality of food supply worldwide, such as responding to the challenges of a post-pandemic world. This interdisciplinary journal is focused on reports of new and original research related to the characterization, development, processing, and safety of foods.

 What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities in the field today?

It is inadmissible that in some countries, people die because they don´t have enough food to survive. In contrast, in other countries (mainly developed ones), people die due to lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and other cardiovascular diseases. It is also inadmissible that food is lost sometimes in producing countries because there are no adequate storage, packaging, and/ or post-harvest handling strategies. Thus, I think that underdeveloped countries need to work hand to hand with developed countries to solve these problems in an efficient way. And this new journal could be a channel to accomplish these goals.

 How do you see the journal and the community working together to address those challenges and seize those opportunities?

I hope that this new journal, as well as ACS Agriculture Science & Technology, the other new journal related to Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, will be recognized, not only by the scientific community but also by the industry, as a source of relevant and credible research that helps food and agricultural sciences to develop. ACS Food Science & Technology will address the challenges we face in a post-pandemic world, finding solutions through science and technology and strengthening international cooperation.

What types of research are you looking forward to reading in the future?

Food science is an interdisciplinary field. The journal is specifically interested in three big work fronts that we consider relevant now and in the future: food security, food preservation, and health-promoting food ingredients. Food security is related to ensuring the food supply with good quality for the entire world population. This is a challenge for humanity because it has been affected by different factors, such as climate change, sanitary emergency, and population increase, among others. Food preservation is another challenge that maintains food quality during storage and prevents food from being wasted. Health-promoting food ingredients help avoid or prevent lifestyle diseases that are one of the main causes of mortality worldwide and boost the immune system. We are suffering the impact of Covid-19, but it could be possible in the future to have other viruses. Thus, a healthy immune system is our trustworthy protection.

ACS Food Science & Technology and ACS Agricultural Science and Technology are now open for submissions.

Meet the Recipients of the 2021 Advances in Measurement Science Lectureship Awards

ACS Sensors, Analytical Chemistry, Journal of Proteome Research, and the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Advances in Measurement Science Lectureship Awards. This annual award recognizes individuals from three major geographic regions (the Americas; Europe, The Middle East, and Africa; and Asia-Pacific) who have made a recent and major impact in the field. The awards will be presented at Pittcon 2021 in March, where recipients will receive an award plaque, a $1,500 honorarium, and an additional $1,500 for travel and accommodations to attend the conference. Learn about last year’s winners here.

Meet the 2021 Recipients

Below are three brief interviews with the winners regarding their research and their thoughts on the latest in measurement science.

Representing the Americas: Professor Kevin Plaxco, University of California, Santa Barbara

Tell us about yourself.

My training is in molecular biophysics, but some years ago I realized that the naturally occurring mechanisms I was studying, such as binding-induced protein folding, could be used to solve some long-standing problems at the interface of biology and engineering.  Specifically, much of my training and early career had focused on protein folding physics.  From that, we realized that it is quite easy to re-engineering single domain proteins and nucleic acids such that they only fold upon binding their target.  It wasn’t much of a step from there to the realization that this mechanism, which couples target recognition to an enormous change in polymer physics, could have real-world applications, such as being a facile means of transducing binding events into easily measurable output signals for sensing purposes.

What does this award mean to you?

It’s really an honor to receive recognition in the field of analytical chemistry.  My background is very much in molecular biophysics and thus, all the more, it is a delight to see this new direction that my laboratory has taken being so well received by my new community.

What are you working on now?

Our technology allows us to monitor arbitrary molecules (irrespective of their specific chemical or enzymatic reactivity) in real time in the living body and with seconds resolution.  About a third of my group continues to optimize and develop the technology, about a third of the group is focused on some basic biophysics problems -the physics of biomolecules on surfaces- that has important ramifications in both technologies like ours and in biology, and about a third of my work is focused on the scientific applications of our new measurement capabilities.

Why do you choose to regularly publish your work in ACS’ Measurement Science Journals?

I am a devoted fan of society-run, rather than for-profit, journals.  I appreciate what the ACS has done for the dissemination of all forms of chemistry, and want to give back when I can.

What advances are you hoping to see in your field in the next decade?

The ability to measure any but a handful of specific molecules in real time in the body is nascent, but has tremendous scientific and clinical potential; I look forward to being surprised by what other platforms achieve this, and where the field takes these new technologies.

Representing Europe, The Middle East, and Africa: Professor Perdita Barran, University of Manchester

Tell us about yourself.

I hold a Chair of Mass Spectrometry in the Department of Chemistry and am the Director of the Michael Barber Centre for Collaborative Mass Spectrometry at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, The University of Manchester, U.K.

My research interests include biological mass spectrometry; Instrument and technique development; Protein structure and interactions; Dynamic and Disordered Systems; Parkinson’s disease Diagnostics; HDX-MS; Proteomics; and Molecular modeling. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and was awarded the Theophilius Redwood Award from the RSC in 2019, Researcher of the Year 2020 from the University of Manchester, and the ACS Measurement Science Lectureship 2021.  In 2020, I co-founded the COVID-19 Mass Spectrometry coalition and leads a multi-omic consortium in the UK which aims to identify biomarkers that are risk factors to indicate the severe and long-term progression of Sars-CoV-2 infection.

I have a fantastic research group of 15 junior and senior scientists. Thirty people have obtained their PhD. under my guidance to date and I have also mentored 12 postdoctoral scientists. Many of these individuals still work in mass spectrometry. Being able to work with such talented individuals from all over the world and watching them go on to achieve more is a great honor.

What does this award mean to you?

I am absolutely delighted to receive this award. It is of course shared with my group past and present as well as my collaborators. I have a lot of respect for the ACS, as a society, and as a publisher. I have published some of the work I am most proud of in ACS measurement science journals. For me receiving this award along with my co-recipients is pretty exciting – especially this year, where we have needed things to be happy about more than ever.

The noble laureate A.V. Hill said in 1933 that science cannot progress properly except by the fullest internationalization and the fact that these prizes recognize scientists across the globe is very good evidence of this sentiment – which I share.

What are you working on now?

Our work in Parkinson’s Disease diagnostics is gathering momentum with some new findings about to come out. We are doing some really interesting work in the use of mass spectrometry to monitor the products of enzymatic reactions, and how ion mobility mass spectrometry can be used to separate chiral compounds. Our work measuring conformational dynamics in proteins is always exciting, look out for some in the new year with variable temperature IM-MS  and with photoactivation. Finally, we have a number of virus-related projects, we are building a charge detection mass spectrometer to measure the mass of intact viruses, we are working with a big pan-European consortium SPIDOC-MS to build a totally new mass spectrometer that will allow us to obtain x-ray structures of viruses, and here in the U.K., I am helping with efforts to use mass spectrometry to diagnose COVID-19 infection and to discover prognostic biomarkers to stratify the host response.

Why do you choose to regularly publish your work in ACS’ Measurement Science Journals?

Because they are well respected and widely read.

What advances are you hoping to see in your field in the next decade?

In-situ robust electrospray sources coupled with high-resolution ion mobility and lower resolution mass spectrometry for point of care diagnosis and screening.

Mapping of biomolecule conformational space with IM-MS data and statistical methods for functional analysis.

Representing Asia-Pacific: Professor Chaoyong Yang, Xiamen University

Tell us about yourself.

I received my Ph.D. at the University of Florida and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. I am a professor at Xiamen University and associate editor of ACS Applied Bio Materials. My current research is particularly focused on molecular engineering, molecular recognition, microfluidics, and single-cell analysis.

What does this award mean to you?

This award means a great deal to me. It represents an important recognition from international colleagues that my research work has been valued by the community.

What are you working on now?

I am developing new microfluidic platforms for high throughput single cell multi-omic sequencing. The platforms will allow one to study the correlation between genome, epigenome, and transcriptome at the level of single-cell, reveal the heterogeneity of single-cell and its mechanism in growth and development, disease occurrence and progression from the multi-omics level, and provide important research tools for biomedical research and disease diagnosis.

Why do you choose to regularly publish your work in ACS’ Measurement Science Journals?

I have been trained as an analytical chemist. Like many of my colleagues, I read articles from ACS’s Measurement Science Journals every day. ACS’ Measurement Science Journals have great influence in the analytical chemistry community. I choose to regularly publish our work in these journals to rapidly share our results with the community.

What advances are you hoping to see in your field in the next decade?

The fast development of DNA sequencing technologies has promoted the Human Genome Project and revolutionized life science and medicine. In contrast, less progress has been made for single-molecule protein sequencing and glycan sequencing. I hope to see a multiple-function single-molecule sequencer that allows deciphering of DNA, Protein, and glycan.

Congratulations to the Winners!

Stay up-to-date on the correlating Pittcon award symposium, as well as the 2022 award nomination process, by signing up for journal alerts here

ACS Supports HHMI Researchers in Transition to Open Access Publishing

All ACS journals continue to meet funder requirements, as HHMI announces new open access policy.

Accounts of Materials Research EAB Member Professor Ke Lu Receives Future Science Prize

Professor Ke Lu of the Institute of Metal Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences is the winner of the 2020 Future Science Prize for Physical Science. The prize is awarded annually in recognition of scientific breakthroughs and innovations in the Greater China region (including Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau). This year’s prize honors Professor Lu’s discovery of two types of novel nanostructures that improve copper wire’s mechanical strength without sacrificing ductility or electrical conductivity.
Professor Lu is an editorial advisory board member of Accounts of Materials Research and an author of an upcoming paper in the journal. In recognition of these achievements, Accounts of Materials Research Editor-in-Chief Jiaxing Huang reached out to Professor Lu for a discussion about Professor Lu’s approach to science and the kinds of papers and events he enjoys most.

What are the characteristics of the works that make you feel most satisfied?

I like simple works with a simple idea but distinct from the mainstream, especially those ideas that look surprising or even crazy at first glance but eventually become understandable. I appreciate the “clean” works, namely those with sufficient convincing evidence to support the key conclusions or claims without any irrelevant results.

What are the characteristics of the scientific papers you would like to read?

I prefer to read papers reporting a smart idea on an important topic of the field, better on a controversial theme under debate. It is not necessarily comprehensive, but with smooth story flow and clear-cut results or evidence.

What are the characteristics of the scientific seminars you would love to attend?

First, an interesting topic, either of current interests or a classical one. It should start with some basic concepts or well-known questions. It is important to clarify the key idea behind the story in the beginning, especially why the study is performed and what is your own “trick”. Well-organized storytelling should grasp the audience. The take-home message is robust and straightforward.

How ACS Publications is Celebrating Open Access Week 2020

Celebrate Open Access Week 2020 by visiting the ACS Open Science Resource Center, where you’ll find resources on open access and on this year’s theme, “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion.” As Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect are core values of ACS, we encourage you to share resources on the topic with your colleagues.

ACS Publications encourages the greater chemistry community to show your support for making research freely available and engage in conversations around building equity and inclusion in our profession.

How can I participate in Open Access Week 2020?

  • Visit the ACS Open Access Week page and access articles on all things open access.
  • Get acquainted with open access research. Use an advanced search filter on the ACS Publications website to search for open access research across all ACS Publications’ chemistry journals.
  • Challenge yourself! Take the ACS Open Access Quiz – and you can win a $100 Amazon gift certificate.
  • Register for a webinar to get up to speed on open access. ACS is offering a free new webinar, “How to Publish Open Access with Support from Your Institution,” on November 18th.
    • Speaker Dr. Lynn Kamerlin of Uppsala University will offer her perspectives as a researcher publishing open access with her institution’s support.
    • Sybille Geisenheyner of ACS will provide an overview of Read + Publish Agreements and answer important questions about their future role in academic publishing.
    • The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session where researchers can interact with the speakers.
  • Watch a video on how ACS is supporting open science:

How is ACS supporting open access?

  • To date, ACS has partnered with hundreds of institutions in over 17 countries worldwide to establish Read + Publish Agreements. These agreements help speed the transition to open access publishing among the global research community by giving authors the easiest process to publish open access in any of ACS Publication’s 65 premiere journals.
  • ACS has published 3,000 articles this year its transformative Read + Publish Agreements. These innovative agreements help to speed the transition to open access publishing among the global research community by giving authors the easiest process to publish open access in any of ACS Publications’s more than 65 premiere journals.
  • Since January, there have been nearly 16 million downloads of ACS open access articles.
  • ACS Publications is launching ten new open access journals. In 2020, we launched JACS Au, and in 2021, we will launch the new ACS Au collection of open access journals.
  • Downloads of articles in ACS Central Science, one of ACS’s fully open access journals, nearly doubled since last year, reaching almost 1.7 million downloads so far in 2020.
  • Articles in ACS Omega, another of ACS’s fully open access journals, were accessed nearly 3 million times so far in 2020.

Open Access Week (#OpenAccessWeek2020) is just another reminder of the importance of the open science movement to the research community. Visit the new ACS Open Science Resource Center, where you can quickly search to determine whether their institution has signed a Read + Publish Agreement enabling streamlined open access publication. Additionally, researchers can easily find step-by-step instructions and other resources on how to publish open access.

Get to Know ACS Nano‘s Molly Stevens

Molly Stevens is Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine and the Research Director for Biomedical Material Sciences in the Department of Materials, Department of Bioengineering and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London.

In 2004, Professor Stevens was included in the TR100 list of the top innovators under 35 who are transforming technology — and the world — with their work. In 2010, The Times of London named her one of the top 10 scientists under 40. She also received the Polymer International-IUPAC award for creativity in polymer science, the Rosenhain Medal, and the Norman Heatley Prize for Interdisciplinary Research from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Her interdisciplinary work is highly cited, and she is included in Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list in the cross-field category. In 2016, Stevens was recognized by the Society for Biomaterials with the Clemson Award for Basic Research, and she received the Rosalind Franklin Medal from the Institute of Physics in 2018.

Professor Stevens is an Associate Editor of ACS Nano and has served on the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science. She is a Fellow of 7 U.K. Societies, including the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2019, she was elected a Foreign Member of the National Academy of Engineering (USA). In 2020, she was elected Fellow of The Royal Society.

The Stevens Group is a large and extremely multidisciplinary research group of students, postdocs, and research fellows. They use innovative bioengineering approaches to pursue their vision of solving key problems in regenerative medicine and biosensing. Their research spans drug delivery, bioactive materials, tissue engineering, biosensing, materials characterization, soft robotics, and the interface between living and non-living matter, and is underpinned by collaborations with data scientists and molecular dynamics experts. This work is inherently interdisciplinary, so the group is made up of a diverse cast of materials scientists, engineers, chemists, biologists, physicists, and surgeons. The group’s work has a host of applications across diseases ranging from cancer to global health applications.

In this interview, I talk to Professor Molly Stevens about her early career, how she came to focus on regenerative medicine, and the importance of democratizing access to healthcare technologies.

What are some discoveries early in your career that has led to your current research in regenerative medicine?

During my Ph.D. I worked on very fundamental biophysics research about single molecules. We were some of the first to measure the forces which hold small proteins together. Although these types of scientific measurements are important for our understanding of biology, for my postdoc, I wanted to take a step towards some real-life applications and tackle important research challenges in developing materials that can heal the body. I did this work in Professor Bob Langer’s lab at MIT and afterward started my own research group at Imperial College London.

My research interests have widened from biomaterials into a plethora of new bioengineering solutions to help heal the body and detect diseases and work on innovative ways to characterize and study biomaterials. Members of my team still work on my initial area of interest – the fundamental biophysical mechanisms – so now we enjoy the best of both worlds; fundamental research across length scales and bioengineering approaches to regenerative medicine at the human scale. I think the symbiosis of fundamental research and engineering applications is very motivating and super exciting.

Can you please tell me more about your work with stem cells? What were your initial thoughts when you began using them in your research?

Some of my earliest research centered around stem cells and their use in tissue engineering. Tissue engineering – or engineering materials to encourage new biological tissue growth – is traditionally carried out in the laboratory. The patient’s stem cells are grown artificially into tissue in the laboratory and then implanted where needed. But, together with collaborators in the Langer lab, we thought, ‘why not use the body’s own capacity for growth and regeneration to make a laboratory inside the body itself?’ We proved that concept using bone tissue and have been innovating with stem cells ever since.

Fast forward to today, and we have engineered materials to guide stem cells for bone, cardiac tissue, cartilage, and even neural tissue, to not only differentiate into the cells of these tissues but also engineer their tissue structure, creating gradients and textures which mimic those found in the body. We are working on translating this research into the clinical setting and changing the lives of patients.

When I started working with stem cells, I was just fascinated by the complexity of even a single cell. We still have so much to discover about how cells can interact with engineered materials – this field still holds so much potential.

Can you please tell us about peptide-functionalized nanoparticles for enzyme biosensing? What are some of its applications that the general public may be familiar with?

Nanoparticles are roughly a million times smaller than a full-stop. We use small gold clusters as biosensing systems, which are programmed with peptides to detect diseases such as cancer and HIV in the body. It works like this; gold clusters are functionalized with peptides to create a relatively large ‘complex’, and these are injected into the body. In healthy people, these complexes are too large to be broken down by the kidneys and pass through into the urine. Diseases such as cancer and HIV produce distinct enzymes, whose job is to break down proteins. By matching the proteins on the complex with those targeted by disease enzymes, complexes injected into diseased patients get broken down by the enzymes into smaller components. Once this happens, the gold clusters are then small enough to pass through the kidneys and into the urine. A simple test can produce a color change reaction of the urine to turn it blue in patients with the targeted disease markers. This work is in the pre-clinical research stage in collaboration with the Bhatia group at MIT.

Interestingly, gold nanoparticles aren’t new. They have been used since Antiquity for their abilities to generate interesting colors dependent on their size; the Romans used gold nanoparticles to make color-changing glass, for example, in the Lycurgus Cup, which can now be seen in The British Museum. Medicinal use of this so-called ‘colloidal gold’ began in the Middle Ages, and we are using it in advanced diagnostics today. However, we have taken it one step further by adding platinum as a nanocatalyst to make the system many times more sensitive to disease. By applying these onto a paper-based lateral flow assay – similar to a home pregnancy test – we can produce cheap, reliable, and sensitive methods of detecting disease at the very early stages, with applications from cancer to infectious disease.

What is a problem that you solved during your most recent project? What does this solution mean for your research?

Many of the tissues and materials we study are at the nanoscale, and we are constantly pushing at the very limits of what current characterization technologies can achieve. For example, what happens when you want to study both the chemical and the physical characteristics of a single nanoparticle? Those would normally need different analysis techniques which would use different sample preparation; the data would often be based on bulk populations, not single particles. We’ve found that sometimes existing characterization technologies can’t give us the data we need, so we built our own instruments and developed our own analysis techniques.

One really exciting example of this is our SPARTA® technology – it stands for Single Particle Automated Raman Trapping Analysis. It’s an instrument that uses a laser to trap single nanoparticles, and that same laser can be used for Raman spectroscopy. Our single instrument can decode information such as chemical composition, particle size, and surface chemical reactions in real-time for individual particles. This system’s real power is that this can all be done in an automated way, with high throughput and the methods are non-destructive and label-free.

SPARTA® is really useful for our study of nanoparticles for drug delivery and nanodiagnostics. But we recognize that it could also be used for research in a broad range of fields, from gene therapy to the analysis of ocean nanoplastics. We’re currently working to translate our developmental research into a commercial product, which we anticipate will be taken up by all sorts of researchers in academia and industry. It’s exciting to think that our lab’s work could help further many other areas.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

I’m really keen to see the democratization of access to healthcare technologies. This is something that has motivated and driven me for a really long time. I’ve traveled and spent extended time in developing countries and seen the pressing need for and the potential impact that bioengineered technologies could have. In particular, I believe mobile smartphone technology is an enormous opportunity to help us empower people, connect them around the world, and help with early detection of disease.

Because our diagnostic tests’ outcomes are shown in visual color changes, we are working on using the camera from a smartphone to gather data at the population level. Our app is able to interpret the results from the diagnostic test and register the patient’s geo-location. These data can be used during and after epidemics of infectious diseases such as Ebola to effectively track, trace, and treat an outbreak. We’ve been working on this closely with teams in Uganda and South Africa.

Our diagnostic technology is only one piece of the puzzle; we also have exciting ongoing work to develop low-cost regenerative medicine implants with partners in a number of developing countries. It’s crucial for us to work with people locally who have the knowledge and resources to set up the infrastructure for this. Another challenge is the evolving regulations and how we handle patient privacy on these platforms. Now is a very exciting time because it’s all evolving in front of us.

Have you received any good advice that stuck with you? How has it helped you within your career?

I’ve been fortunate to have had so many mentors and supporters over my career. Their best advice has been to focus on really important problems as well as nurture a fantastic team.

What advice would you give people who want to pursue a career in science? If you had to start over again, what advice would you give yourself?

Finding an area of science that you really believe in is incredibly important, as well as building a brilliant team to help you get there. I am thankful every single day for how wonderful my team and collaborators are. If I was starting over, I would remind myself that every setback is just an opportunity to learn. This is what I tell my trainees, and I also truly believe it.