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2021 Emerging Investigators in Crystal Growth & Design

New ideas from fresh minds are the lifeblood of any scientific discipline, and where better to look for new ideas in solid state chemistry and physics than in the work of the emerging generation of leaders in the field? We have put together a collection of 28 exciting publications from the past two years by the emerging generation of research group leaders. Here you will find fascinating science ranging from terahertz spectroscopy, elastic crystals, eutectics, oleofoams, nanocrystals, nonlinear optics, MOF-HOFs, pillars, catalytic coordination polymers, semiconductor nucleation, thermochromism, pharmaceuticals, and a host of other delicious topics in solid state structure–function. In addition to the science itself, the diversity and personalities of the people who carry it out are an indication of the health of our field. We have taken the liberty of asking our authors a few fun facts about themselves, and what emerges is a rich snapshot of people reading, sporting, cooking, growing, parenting, communicating, and joking with passion and modest self-deprecation. This is very much the community that the journal has been trying to crystallize over the past 20 years. It is a particular pleasure to highlight the work of my colleagues Elena Simone, Doris Braun, and Kodi Beyeh who have recently joined the journal’s Board as two-year Topic Editors.

This virtual collection follows on from the very successful 2019 Emerging Investigators Virtual Issue, and it is striking to see how the 2019 authors have already become familiar and important members of the field. Looking forward, we are already inviting and receiving submissions for a Virtual Special Issue again highlighting Emerging Investigators that will be published in 2022, and I cordially invite you to take part or recommend a colleague at the beginning of their career.

The aim of Crystal Growth & Design (CG&D) is to stimulate cross-fertilization of knowledge among scientists and engineers working in the fields of crystal growth, crystal engineering, and the industrial application of crystalline materials. In this virtual collection, there are featured authors from nine countries, which exemplify this aim and reflect state-of-the-art progress in these fields. The scope of science and application in this virtual issue is truly representative of the inclusiveness and diversity which are hallmarks of CG&D. Our emerging authors are clearly the breaking wave of creative new science and application, and it is a privilege to be a part of their journey.

Professor Stephanie Lee

Professor Stephanie Lee

Professor Stephanie Lee, Associate Professor, New York University (United States), joined the Department of Chemistry at New York University as an associate professor in 2021 and is a member of the Molecular Design Institute. She received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 2007 and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and materials science from Princeton University in 2012. She was a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Molecular Design Institute at NYU from 2012 to 2014 before joining Stevens Institute of Technology as an assistant professor from 2014 to 2020. Her research group studies the crystal engineering of solution-processable semiconductors for emerging optoelectronic applications, including flexible displays and photovoltaics. Their strategies involve the use of solution rheology to monitor and control semiconducting polymer network formation, scaffold-directed crystallization of small molecules into vertical crystal arrays and nanoconfined crystallization to shift the thermodynamics and stability of metal-halide perovskites for high- performance solar cells. Lee is a recipient of the Stevens Early Career Award for Research Excellence and a 2019 NSF CAREER award.

Fun Facts:

  • She actually wanted to be a biomedical engineer when she was an undergrad, but she joined a drug delivery lab and almost fainted while observing a rat dissection. That was the end of her bio aspirations, and now she enjoys working with non-living crystals.
  • She was a competitive figure skater when she was younger, but it turns out she hated performing. She still loves winter sports and goes skiing on weekends when there is snow.
  • She had two kids as an assistant professor, born exactly 2 years and 2 days apart. The week of their birthdays has become a sugar-fueled blur of too many cakes and presents.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design

Directing Solution-Phase Nucleation To Form Organic Semiconductor Vertical Crystal Arrays
Kai Zong, Yichen Ma, Kamran Shayan, Jack Ly, Emily Renjilian, Chunhua Hu, Stefan Strauf, Alejandro Briseño, and Stephanie S. Lee*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2019, 19, 6, 3461–3468
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.9b00321

Professor Hua Lin

Professor Hua Lin

Professor Hua Lin, Professor, Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter (FJIRSM), Chinese Academy of Sciences (China) received his bachelor’s degree in inorganic chemistry from Fuzhou University in 2006. Then, he got his start in inorganic functional chalcogenides research in the laboratory of Professor Ling Chen at Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter (FJIRSM), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). In 2012, he received his Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry and became a full professor of FJIRSM in 2019. His current research interests have focused on the design, synthesis, characterizations, and structure–property relationships of thermoelectric (TE) materials and infrared nonlinear optical (IR NLO) crystals.

Fun Facts:

  • He likes walking on the riverside in the early morning. Fresh air and a quiet environment make him feel joyful and broaden his mind. Many of his research ideas were developed while he was walking.
  • His favorite structure is a 3D diamond-like framework because it can be used as a structural platform for overcoming the trade-off between strong second harmonic generation and high laser-induced damage threshold in infrared nonlinear optical materials.
  • In his opinion, scientific research must have the spirit of “playing mahjong”.

Highlighted Review Published in Crystal Growth & Design

Mixed-Anion Inorganic Compounds: A Favorable Candidate for Infrared Nonlinear Optical Materials
KaYan-Yan Li, Wen-Jing Wang, Hui Wang*, Hua Lin*, and Li-Ming Wu*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2019, 19, 7, 4172–4192
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.9b00358

Dr. Xin Zhang

Dr. Xin Zhang

Dr. Xin Zhang, Scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (United States) received his Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering from Texas Tech University (U.S.A.) in 2014. Currently, he is a staff scientist in the Physical Science Division at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL, U.S.A.). His research focuses on materials synthesis for energy storage, catalysis and environment, surface science, and crystal growth—particularly on exploring the nucleation, crystallization, particle aggregation, dissolution, ion/molecular adsorption, and phase transformation of nanocrystals in the gas phase and solutions including extreme environments such as high vacuum, high temperature, high pressure, strong acidic/caustic, and highly concentrated electrolyte solutions using advanced in situ and ex situ techniques. He has authored over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals including Science, PNAS, Nature Materials, Nature Protocols, Nature Communications, and JACS, with an h-index of 32. He has also edited two ACS books on Crystallization via Nonclassical Pathways (Volume 1 and 2) and authored several book chapters and over a dozen patents.

Fun Facts:

  • He enjoys rural life. He created an approximately 1,000 sq. ft. garden in his yard to plant various vegetables. He also has four fruit trees and three Chinese toon trees in his garden.
  • He enjoys cooking delicious foods for his family. Similar to the synthesis of materials, he believes in cooking exquisite foods by adjusting the formula, not just following the recipe.
  • He is obsessed with the size, morphology, and facet-controlled synthesis of “pure” nanocrystals without additives, as well as exploring their facet-dependent behaviors without contaminations.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design

Transformation of Gibbsite to Boehmite in Caustic Aqueous Solution at Hydrothermal Conditions
Xin Zhang*, Wenwen Cui, Jian Zhi Hu, Hsiu-Wen Wang, Micah P. Prange, Chuan Wan, Nicholas R. Jaegers, Meirong Zong, Hailin Zhang, Carolyn I. Pearce, Ping Li, Zheming Wang, Sue B. Clark, and Kevin M. Rosso*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2019, 19, 10, 5557–5567
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.9b00468

Professor Louise N. Dawe

Professor Louise N. Dawe

Professor Louise N. Dawe, Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada) obtained her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada) in 2008. She joined the Faculty of Science at Wilfrid Laurier University, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, in 2013, where she is currently an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She is Vice-Chair of the Canadian National Committee for Crystallography and the organizer of their national Chemical Crystallography Workshops. She is an elected member of the American Crystallographic Association’s Communication Committee and was program co-chair for the ACA’s 2015 annual meeting. She is also a member of the International Union for Crystallography Calendar Subcommittee and a co-editor for the IUCr’s journal, Acta Crystallographica Section C.

Fun Facts

  • She always feared deep water and never learned how to swim. The week after she defended her Ph.D. thesis, she started swimming lessons. Her reasoning was that if she can do a Ph.D., she can also overcome something scarier. Now she has a Ph.D., and she can swim!
  • She is a vegetarian, and she loves to cook for her friends and family.
  • When she was an undergraduate, she did not understand figures that represented displacement ellipsoids, and she would skip the crystallography experimental section and tables when reading papers. Now that she is a crystallographer, she works hard to help her students understand small-molecule crystal structures.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design

Crystal Packing of a Series of 1,2,3,4-Substituted Phenoxazine and Dibenzodioxin Heterocycles
Lana K. Hiscock, Kenneth E. Maly*, and Louise N. Dawe*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2019, 19, 12, 7298–7307
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.9b01184

Professor Hongping Wu

Professor Hongping Wu

Professor Hongping Wu, Professor, Tianjin University of Technology (China), received her Ph.D. in 2012 from Xinjiang University. In the same year, she started her independent career as an associate professor at Xinjiang Technical Institute of Physics & Chemistry of CAS (XTIPC, CAS). In 2017, she was promoted to a full professor at XTIPC. From 2018, she worked as a full professor at Tianjin University of Technology. Her current research interest focuses on the synthesis and crystal growth of new nonlinear optical materials.

Fun Facts:

  • She likes cooking as much as she likes chemistry. Also, she thinks that synthetic chemistry is cooking with the elements.
  • Her preferred leisure time activity is traveling, especially visiting a history museum.
  • If she were not a chemist, she would be a pianist because she has a pair of hands with long fingers.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design

Crystal Growth and Linear and Nonlinear Optical Properties of KIO3·Te(OH)6
Hongping Wu, Hongwei Yu, Weiguo Zhang, Jacqueline Cantwell, Kenneth R. Poeppelmeier, Shilie Pan*, and P. Shiv Halasyamani*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2017, 17, 8, 4405–4412
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.7b00704

Professor Ngong Kodiah Beyeh

Professor Ngong Kodiah Beyeh

Professor Ngong Kodiah Beyeh, Assistant Professor, Oakland University (United States), obtained his B.Sc. degree from the University of Buea, Cameroon. He then completed his M.Sc. (2004) and Ph.D. (2008) at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, with Professor Kari Rissanen. Upon graduation, he worked at the University of Jyväskylä as an Academy of Finland postdoctoral research fellow and then as a research associate at Aalto University, Finland, with Professor Robin Ras. He spent time as a guest researcher at the University of Bonn and Free University of Berlin, Germany, with Professor Christoph Schalley, and as a guest scholar at the University of Texas at Austin, USA, with Professor Eric Anslyn. He was a visiting scholar at the University of Windsor with Professor John Trant before joining Oakland University as an assistant professor in 2018. His research topics include structural, organic, supramolecular, and nanochemistry. The group focuses on utilizing noncovalent interactions such as hydrogen and halogen bonding in the design and synthesis of organic and biohybrid materials and their properties.

Fun Facts:

  • He is passionate about teaching, interacting with, and mentoring students.
  • He loves traveling and enjoying the beautiful sceneries in different countries and regions.
  • His preferred leisure time activities are playing soccer with friends and watching European soccer, especially the premier league, during the weekends.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design

Host–Guest Interactions of Sodiumsulfonatomethyleneresorcinarene and Quaternary Ammonium Halides: An Experimental–Computational Analysis of the Guest Inclusion Properties
Kwaku Twum, J. Mikko Rautiainen, Shilin Yu, Khai-Nghi Truong, Jordan Feder, Kari Rissanen, Rakesh Puttreddy*, and Ngong Kodiah Beyeh*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2020, 20, 4, 2367–2376
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.9b01540

Dr. Aijiz A. Dar

Dr. Aijiz A. Dar

Dr. Aijiz A. Dar, Assistant Professor, University of Kashmir (India), was born and brought up in Kashmir, a valley in the Himalayas. He received his master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Kashmir and was successful in UGC-NET/JRF, a national eligibility examination for doctoral study. In 2009, he joined the Department of Chemistry, IIT Bombay, to work with Professor Ramaswamy Murugavel to understand the mechanism of the formation of zeolitic materials. After completing a brief tenure as a research associate at IIT Bombay, he shifted to the University of Kashmir to work as an assistant professor in December 2015. With the help of a startup grant from UGC-New Delhi and an early career research award from SERB-DST-New Delhi, he started his independent research career in 2018. The major focus of his group is crystal engineering for the development of functional materials. He has visited Professor Desiraju’s group at IISc Bangalore as an INSA-Visiting Scientist 2018 and was also awarded an INSA-Visiting Scientist fellowship for 2021-2022. He is a grassroots science worker and does frequent outreach to schools and college students. He is a frequent reviewer for crystallographic journals of ACS, RSC, and Elsevier.

Fun Facts:

  • During his Ph.D. studies, each time he had a dream about crystals and his work, he successfully obtained the same crystals in the laboratory the next day.
  • Kashmir is the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas, abundant in pristine meadows and gushing streams. A long nap beside a rushing stream under the shadow of Himalayan cedars is the best experience of his life.
  • Being an introvert, he talks the most to himself. It works for him at both personal and professional levels.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design

Irreversible Thermochromism in Organic Salts of Sulfonated Anils
Aijaz A. Dar* and Arshid A. Genie
Cryst. Growth Des. 2020, 20, 6, 3888–3897
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c00188

Professor Daqiang Yuan

Professor Daqiang Yuan

Professor Daqiang Yuan, Professor, Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter (FJIRSM), Chinese Academy of Sciences (China), is a Professor at Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He received his M.Sc. degree from Beijing Normal University in 2002 and his Ph.D. degree from Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter, Chinese Academy of Sciences, under the supervision of Professor Maochun Hong in 2006. After finishing a four-year postdoctoral fellowship at Miami University and Texas A&M University with Professor Hong-Cai “Joe” Zhou, he joined Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter as a full professor in 2011. His main research interest is on the designed synthesis and applications of new porous materials, including metal-organic cages, porous organic cages, metal–organic frameworks, and covalent organic frameworks.

Fun Fact:

  • When he was in college, he originally wanted to do archaeological research. Therefore, he studied field archaeology, Oracle bone inscriptions, the ancient Chinese calendar, and other related topics, but he finally engaged in chemical research. He thinks discovering fascinating structures is as exciting as excavating historical relics.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design

Hydrogen-Bonded Framework Isomers Based on Zr-Metal Organic Cage: Connectivity, Stability, and Porosity
Mi Zhou, Guoliang Liu, Zhanfeng Ju, Kongzhao Su, Shunfu Du, Yanxi Tan, and Daqiang Yuan*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2020, 20, 6, 4127–4134
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c00407

Dr. Avijit Kumar Paul

Dr. Avijit Kumar Paul

Dr. Avijit Kumar Paul, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Technology (NIT), Kurukshetra (India), was born in Medinipur, West Bengal. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the University of Calcutta. He started his doctoral research in August 2005 at IISc-Bangalore in solid state chemistry, where he learned crystallography and related skills under the guidance of Professor Srinivasan Natarajan. After earning his doctoral degree from IISc, he moved to Max Planck Institute, Stuttgart, for his postdoctoral research work with Professor Martin Jansen in August 2011, and, later, he moved to the Max Planck Institute, Dresden, to work with Professor Claudia Felser. At both of the Max Planck Institutes, he worked on the synthesis of new oxide materials for spintronic applications. He started his independent career as an assistant professor at NIT Kurukshetra in December 2013. Presently, his field of research is the discovery of new solid materials that can show unusual structural coordination and electronic & physical properties. These new materials may be important for the fabrication of electronic devices, energy storage, gas storage, or as (photo-)catalysts in future applications. He has received the Best Faculty Award from his Institute and the INSPIRE Faculty Award from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

Fun Facts:

  • He believes every inorganic material is exciting if you investigate in the correct direction.
  • Sport is a top priority in his life, and he eagerly awaits calls from friends and colleagues to play football, cricket, table tennis, volleyball, badminton, or even swimming.
  • When he cooks at home, he only prepares vegetarian meals because his wife, who hails from the southern part of India, does not like non-vegetarian foods.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design

Transition Metal Ions Regulated Structural and Catalytic Behaviors of Coordination Polymers

Nikhil Kumar, Tanmay Rom, Virender Singh, and Avijit Kumar Paul*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2020, 20, 8, 5277–5288
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c00465

Professor Michael T. Ruggiero

Professor Michael T. Ruggiero

Professor Michael T. Ruggiero, Assistant Professor, University of Vermont (United States), received his B.Sc. degree in chemistry from SUNY College at Geneseo, and his M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Syracuse University, both in New York State. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge and began his current appointment at the University of Vermont in 2018. His research is focused on utilizing low-frequency (terahertz) vibrational spectroscopy to characterize advanced materials and selectively drive the material properties of molecular solids. His work is highly interdisciplinary, sitting at the intersection of chemistry, physics, pharmacy, materials science, and computer science, and as such, he is a heavy collaborator with groups from around the world. Professor Ruggiero is the recipient of a number of awards, most recently an NSF CAREER award, inclusion in the annual Forbes 30 under 30 list (2019), and a Young Scientist Award from the International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves (IRMMW-THz 2019).

Fun Facts:

  • He has two dogs, Cooper (weimaraner) and Julep (vizsla), who often join him for hiking, camping, and skiing around the Green Mountains (Vermont) and Adirondacks (New York).
  • Originally from outside of New York City, he never skied until he moved to Vermont, but now he can’t get enough of the slopes.
  • A craft beer lover, when he was working towards his Ph.D., he traded his chemistry knowledge for inside access to local breweries, making friends with many brewers along the way.

Highlighted Communication Published in Crystal Growth & Design

Terahertz Vibrational Motions Mediate Gas Uptake in Organic Clathrates
Wei Zhang, Zihui Song, Michael T. Ruggiero*, and Daniel M. Mittleman*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2020, 20, 9, 5638–5643
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c00797

Dr. Doris E. Braun

Dr. Doris E. Braun

Dr. Doris E. Braun, Privatdozent and Senior Scientist, University of Innsbruck, Austria, is from Dornbirn, Austria, and got her preliminary education there. She received her Diploma in Pharmacy (2004) and her Ph.D. in natural sciences (2008) from the University of Innsbruck for work on crystal polymorphism and structure–property relationships of drug compounds under the supervision of Professor Ulrich Griesser. Subsequently, Doris moved to the Department of Chemistry, University College London, UK, where she spent more than three years working with Professor Sally Price. At UCL, she was introduced to the world of computational chemistry and is now applying both experimental and computational approaches in her research. She returned to the University of Innsbruck after being selected as a Hertha-Firnberg (2012) and an Elise-Richter (2015) Research Fellow. Since 2019, she is a Privatdozent at the Institute of Pharmacy at the University of Innsbruck. Her research in Innsbruck focuses on the scientific and applied problems related to the solid-state properties of pharmaceuticals and other small organic molecules.

Fun Facts:

  • Water is her favorite molecule. The majority of the compounds she investigated form troublesome hydrates.
  • Photography is not only a hobby for her but also a part of her work. She spends hours capturing the beauty of crystal forms.
  • One of her preferred leisure time activities is traveling to and exploring new places.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design

The Eight Hydrates of Strychnine Sulfate
Doris E. Braun*, Thomas Gelbrich, Volker Kahlenberg, and Ulrich J. Griesser
Cryst. Growth Des. 2020, 20, 9, 6069–6083
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c00777

Dr. Dong-Dong Zhou

Dr. Dong-Dong Zhou

Dr. Dong-Dong Zhou, Associate Professor, Sun Yat-Sen University (China), received his B.Sc. degree (2011) from South China Agricultural University and his Ph.D. degree (2016) in inorganic chemistry from Sun Yat-Sen University under the supervision of Professor Jie-Peng Zhang. Then, he became an associate researcher in the Chen and Zhang Group at Sun Yat-Sen University. Since 2019, he has been an associate professor in the School of Chemistry at Sun Yat-Sen University. His current research interest focuses on the design and synthesis of porous coordination polymers or metal–organic frameworks, especially for their dynamic structural changes playing a role in the applications of adsorption, separation, catalysis, and more.

Fun Facts:

  • He became interested in crystal structures in high school after independently assembling structure models borrowed from his chemistry teacher.
  • If he were not a chemist, he would be a repairman because he loved to assemble and disassemble appliances when he was a child.
  • In his spare time, he enjoys kicking a shuttlecock with group members in a circle because the feeling of all people doing the same thing is good.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design

A Metal–Ligand Layer Compatible with Various Types of Pillars for New Porous Coordination Polymers
Yun Li, Zong-Wen Mo, Xue-Wen Zhang, Kai Zheng, Dong-Dong Zhou*, and Jie-Peng Zhang*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2020, 20, 10, 7021–7026
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c01078

Dr. Ajeet K. Srivastav

Dr. Ajeet K. Srivastav

Dr. Ajeet K. Srivastav, Assistant Professor, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT), Nagpur (India), graduated from NIT Rourkela in 2006 with a B.Tech. in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. Further, he moved to IIT Kanpur, where he was awarded the DAAD Fellowship to conduct his M.Tech. thesis work on Co and Co-Pt alloy nanowires at IFW Dresden (Germany) under the guidance of Professor Ludwig Schultz. Subsequently, he joined IIT Madras in 2008 for his doctoral research under the guidance of Professor B. S. Murty. His doctoral research contributed an analytical approach to predict nanograin instability and its growth behavior in thermodynamically stable nanocrystalline binary alloys. After defending his Ph.D. thesis, he joined VNIT Nagpur in June 2015 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. He is a recipient of the Early Career Research Award by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. His research group is currently active in understanding the growth and stability of metal/metal oxide nanostructures.

Fun Facts:

  • His group recently patented a novel graphene synthesis approach using waste battery electrodes.
  • He enjoys Indian classical music in his free time.
  • He likes to have fun and play with his two loving daughters and becomes the third kid once at home.

Highlighted Communication Published in Crystal Growth & Design

Understanding the Growth Mechanism of Hematite Nanoparticles: The Role of Maghemite as an Intermediate Phase
Suresh Bandi and Ajeet K. Srivastav*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 1, 16–22
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c01226

Professor Jian Lin

Professor Jian Lin

Professor Jian Lin, Associate Professor, University of Missouri, Columbia (United States), is the William R. Kimel Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and an adjunct professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Biomedical, Biological and Chemical Engineering; and Physics and Astronomy at University of Missouri, Columbia. He received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering and automation from Zhejiang University, China, in 2007. Then he received his M.S. degree in electrical engineering in 2010 and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 2011, both from the University of California at Riverside, followed by three-year postdoctoral training advised by Dr. James M. Tour at Rice University. His current research interests include artificial intelligence for materials development, processing and applications of smart polymeric materials, and 3D/4D printing.

Fun Facts:

  • Exploring unknowns and pursuing science outside of his comfort zone are fun for him.
  • He enjoys baking and cooking, just like doing science experiments.
  • He likes reading and doing math with his daughter.

Highlighted Communication Published in Crystal Growth & Design

Flexible Alkyl Tails Help Shape Matching and Close Packing in Self-Assembly of Supramolecular Structure
Ping Liao, Steven P. Kelley, Kanishka Sikligar, Heng Deng, Gary A. Baker, Jerry L. Atwood*, and Jian Lin*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 1, 40–44
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c01475

Dr. Sharmistha Pal

Dr. Sharmistha Pal

Dr. Sharmistha Pal, Lead, Polymorphs Screening, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (India) graduated in 1997 with a degree in pharmaceutical sciences from Jadavpur University, where she also completed her master’s degree in pharmaceutics in 1999. Subsequently, she worked under the guidance of (Late) Professor David J. W. Grant at the University of Minnesota in the area of polymorphism in pharmaceutical materials earning her Ph.D. in pharmaceutics. The doctoral studies were instrumental in developing her interest in the solid state of pharmaceuticals. Subsequently, she has worked in several pharmaceutical and CRO companies such as Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, and Syngene in not only developing solid forms of active pharmaceutical ingredients but also evaluating relationships between their solid state properties, process conditions, and performance in products. She currently leads the polymorph screening group in Dr. Reddy’s Lab in Hyderabad, India.

Fun Facts:

  • The counterintuitive effect of temperature on the aqueous solubility of calcium hydroxide was what first triggered her interest in chemistry, and she is still intrigued today by this unexpected effect.
  • The M&Ms of her life are Music & Math for fun.
  • She loves to solve Sudoku, Kakuro, Hitori, and Loop-the-Loop.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design

Mixing Effects on the Ternary Phase Diagram of Cocrystals and Gibbs Formation Energy Calculation
Sharmistha Pal*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 1, 249–259
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c01077

Dr. Tejender S. Thakur

Dr. Tejender S. Thakur

Dr. Tejender S. Thakur, Senior Scientist, CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (India), was born in Himachal Pradesh, a state in the northern part of India. He completed his B.Sc. and M.Sc. (Honors School) degrees in chemistry from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He did his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Hyderabad, Telangana, followed by ~3-year post-doctoral work in the Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India. He received an Eli Lilly Asia outstanding thesis award in 2009 for his Ph.D. work at the University of Hyderabad. His research group focuses on the study of pharmaceutical solids and their properties through crystal engineering and computational chemistry. His group is also interested in the experimental and theoretical quantum crystallography studies of intermolecular interactions.

Fun Facts:

  • He was fascinated by crystals and minerals and had initially joined a bachelor’s course in geology but later decided to pursue a B.Sc. in chemistry.
  • He likes reading Hindi poetry and short stories in his leisure time.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design:

Computational Screening of Multicomponent Solid Forms of 2-Aryl-Propionate Class of NSAID, Zaltoprofen, and Their Experimental Validation
Sibananda G. Dash and Tejender S. Thakur*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 1, 449–461
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c01278

Professor Arnout R.D. Voet

Professor Arnout R.D. Voet

Professor Arnout R.D. Voet, Assistant Professor, KU Leuven (Belgium), graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Leuven. In 2005, he obtained an IWT Ph.D. fellowship to work with Professor Z. Debyser. In 2011, he moved to Japan and joined the RIKEN Structural Bioinformatics team (Professor K. Zhang) as a postdoc to work on computer-aided drug and protein design. First, he was awarded a JSPS Foreign postdoc in 2012. From 2013, he also joined the YCU laboratory for protein design (Professor J. Tame), and in 2014 he was awarded a RIKEN SPDR fellowship to continue his research. Following several publications on protein design, he was awarded the RIKEN research incentive award and the CLST young researcher award. In 2016, he obtained a faculty position at the KU Leuven Department of Chemistry and initiated a laboratory for biomolecular modelling and design funded by an Odysseus fellowship. He recently got tenured and will be promoted to associate professor starting in 2022.

Fun Facts:

  • He combined his Ph.D. with a job as a travel guide during the summer seasons and ended up in the evening as an interim cocktail shaker in Katmandu as most local bartenders were gone for the Dashain festival.
  • He appeared in a Japanese newspaper as a manga figure explaining computer-aided protein design for a broad audience.
  • His research lab houses two fancy (oranda) goldfish: Sushi and Sashimi.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design:

Shape and Size Complementarity-Induced Formation of Supramolecular Protein Assemblies with Metal-Oxo Clusters
Laurens Vandebroek, Hiroki Noguchi, Kenichi Kamata, Jeremy R. H. Tame, Luc Van Meervelt, Tatjana N. Parac-Vogt, and Arnout R. D. Voet*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 2, 1307–1313
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c01571

Dr. Shalini Singh

Dr. Shalini Singh

Dr. Shalini Singh, Lecturer, University of Limerick (Ireland), graduated from DDU Gorakhpur University India with a master’s (Chemistry) degree in 2009. Then, she worked as a research fellow at CSMCRI, India, designing nanocomposite polymeric membranes. Following this, she moved to Ireland to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Limerick. In 2016, she received a Ph.D. degree for her work on designing multicomponent metal chalcogenide nanocrystals using methods of colloidal chemistry. She subsequently joined Ghent University, Belgium, to explore the surface chemistry of colloidal nanocrystals systems using the solution NMR technique as a toolbox. She was awarded the FWO (Research Foundation, Flanders, Belgium) postdoctoral grant in 2017 to work on designing novel semiconductors for photonic applications. In January 2020, she was appointed as a Lecturer at the Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Limerick. Her research interest is focused on the development of novel colloidal semiconductor and metallic nanocrystals for energy conversion and storage applications.

Fun Facts:

  • She loves dancing and is trained in different Indian folk dancing styles. She has performed on national TV before becoming a scientist. If she were not a chemist, she would own and run her own dance studio.
  • She learned to ride a bicycle at the age of 28 after many years of cyclophobia.
  • She dislikes cooking as much as she likes chemistry. Only a few experiments have been successful in her kitchen.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design:

Synthesis of Colloidal WSe2 Nanocrystals: Polymorphism Control by Precursor-Ligand Chemistry
Pengshang Zhou, Pieter Schiettecatte, Matthias Vandichel, Anastasia Rousaki, Peter Vandenabeele, Zeger Hens, and Shalini Singh*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 3, 1451–1460
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c01036

Dr. Elena Simone

Dr. Elena Simone

Dr. Elena Simone, Lecturer, University of Leeds (United Kingdom), graduated with an M.Sc. in chemical engineering from the University of Pisa (Italy) and then moved to the United Kingdom to pursue a Ph.D. at Loughborough University. In 2016, she completed her Ph.D. on the application of process analytical technologies (PAT) for the better understanding and control of polymorphic and impure crystallization processes. During her Ph.D. and postdoctoral studies at Loughborough University, she developed novel crystal engineering strategies to control the polymorphism, size, and shape of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical crystals. She received the 2017 Excellence Award in Crystallization presented by the European Federation of Chemical Engineering for her Ph.D. thesis. In 2016, she was appointed lecturer in the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds (UK), where she explored new areas of research, particularly soft matter, fat crystallization, and Pickering stabilization. Between 2019 and 2021, she collaborated closely with industry through both the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering industrial fellowships. In autumn 2021, she will join the Department of Applied Science and Technology at the Politecnico of Torino (Italy) as Associate Professor to start her recently awarded European Research Council Starting Grant, CryForm.

Fun Facts:

  • In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and eating, listening to music, and learning Mandarin (with little success, unfortunately!).
  • With her food crystal engineering group, she attended several science fairs and outreach events to explain the complexity of food materials such as chocolate and ice cream.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design:

The Effect of Crystallization Conditions on the Structural Properties of Oleofoams Made of Cocoa Butter Crystals and High Oleic Sunflower Oil
Lorenzo Metilli, Aris Lazidis, Mathew Francis, Stephanie Marty-Terrade, Joydeep Ray, and Elena Simone*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 3, 1562–1575
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c01361

Professor Li-Ming Yang

Professor Li-Ming Yang

Professor Li-Ming Yang, Professor, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China), obtained his Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Jilin University in 2008. After several years of postdoctoral and visiting research training at different institutes worldwide, he started his independent research career as a full professor and principal investigator in February 2016. His interests focus on 2D materials, porous materials, and electrocatalysis. Through high-throughput screening and artificial intelligence (machine learning), he reverse-designs novel materials with target properties and functionalities. Two novel 2D materials he predicted have been successfully prepared by experiments. He published more than 80 SCI papers in high-level journals, including J. Am. Chem. Soc., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., and Adv. Energy Mater., with total citations >2,200.

Fun Facts:

  • He likes reading diverse and sometimes completely irrelevant scientific literature widely and without a specific purpose, thereby immersing himself in enjoying the latest progress reports and seeking inspiration and intuition. Unexpectedly, this habit greatly benefits his research, innovation, and writing.
  • In his leisure time, he enjoys making delicious Chinese foods, which he views as similar to modulating chemical reactions with different reactants at different reaction conditions. Chemistry is the magic ingredient to make life better.
  • He teaches his 3-year-old daughter English with the Children’s English Enlightenment Picture Book, but he never thought he would learn so much at the same time.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design:

CO2 Adsorption Properties of a N,N-Diethylethylenediamine-Appended M2(dobpdc) Series of Materials and Their Detailed Microprocess
Xin Zheng, Hui Zhang, Li-Ming Yang*, and Eric Ganz
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 4, 2474–2480
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.1c00096

Dr. Soumyajit Ghosh

Dr. Soumyajit Ghosh

Dr. Soumyajit Ghosh, Assistant Professor, SRM University Chennai (India), has worked as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, SRM University Chennai, since October 2016. He completed his M.Sc. degree in Chemistry from IIT Delhi in 2006 and his Ph.D. in organic crystal engineering from IISER Kolkata in 2013 under the supervision of Professor C. Malla Reddy. His doctoral research focused on mechanical and other physicochemical properties of pharmaceutical cocrystals. After that, he pursued his postdoctoral career as a DST Young Scientist under Professor Gautam Desiraju, IISc Bangalore. Before joining SRM University, he worked as Assistant Manager, Mylan Laboratories Hyderabad. His current research interests are organic crystal engineering, structure–property correlation in molecular crystals, mechanically responsive molecular crystals, photosalient, and thermosalient crystals, pharmaceutical cocrystals, and their physicochemical properties.

Fun Facts:

  • He is from Kolkata, “City of Joy,” and the cultural capital of India.
  • Since his early days, he has been fascinated by chemistry and developing new molecules for diverse applications.
  • He loves teaching and interacting with bright students to motivate them to pursue a career in research.
  • He is a passionate watcher of Bollywood movies and loves travelling to beautiful places.

Highlighted Review Published in Crystal Growth & Design:

Elastic Molecular Crystals: From Serendipity to Design to Applications
Soumyajit Ghosh* and Manish Kumar Mishra*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 4, 2566–2580
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c01743

Dr. Sharmarke Mohamed

Dr. Sharmarke Mohamed

Dr. Sharmarke Mohamed, Assistant Professor, Khalifa University (United Arab Emirates), completed his M.Sc. (2007) and Ph.D. (2011) degrees with Professor Sarah (Sally) Price FRS and Professor Derek Tocher at University College London. During his time at UCL, he developed expertise in crystal growth, X-ray crystallography, and computational methods for crystal structure prediction. In 2011, he took up a position as a drug development chemist within the pharmaceutical industry, working in Sanofi’s fastest-growing generics business in Europe. His work led to the award of three patents for discoveries of new solid forms of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). During his time in industry, he also contributed to the current FDA guidance on what constitutes a “cocrystal” in the context of active pharmaceutical ingredients. In 2014, he was appointed to the faculty at Khalifa University (KU), where he has played a leading role in establishing the current undergraduate chemistry program. In 2019, Dr. Mohamed was elected to the board of the ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapter in the UAE, where he currently serves as the secretary and treasurer. In 2020, he helped establish the Emirates Crystallographic Society (ECS) and currently serves as its vice president, as well as UAE representative of the ECS in both the European Crystallographic Association (ECA) and IUCr. His research group is engaged in interdisciplinary research that encompasses green chemistry, materials modelling, and experimental crystallization research.

Fun Facts:

  • He speaks several languages as a result of the opportunities he has had to work with talented people in a number of countries.
  • He is passionate about community service and engaging the future generation of scientists, particularly undergraduate students.
  • He is equally comfortable being described as an experimentalist, theoretician, or crystallographer thanks to the enriching experience with the Price group.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design:

Crystal Engineering of Binary Organic Eutectics: Significant Improvement in the Physicochemical Properties of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons via the Computational and Mechanochemical Discovery of Composite Materials
Zeinab M. Saeed, Bhausaheb Dhokale, Abeer F. Shunnar, Wegood M. Awad, Hector H. Hernandez, Panče Naumov, and Sharmarke Mohamed*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 7, 4151–4161
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.1c00420

Dr. Matthew R. Ryder

Dr. Matthew R. Ryder

Dr. Matthew R. Ryder, Distinguished Staff Fellow, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (United States), is originally from the Shetland Islands in the North of Scotland. He received his undergraduate M.Chem. degree with first-class honors from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and his doctorate (D.Phil.) in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford. He was awarded a competitive EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship in 2017 to start his independent career at the University of Oxford before being recruited by the U.S. Department of Energy to work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where he became the youngest person ever to be offered the prestigious Clifford G. Shull Fellowship. He moved his research to ORNL in 2018, where he is focused on understanding materials at the molecular level using a hybrid approach of quantum mechanics in conjunction with neutron scattering and synchrotron techniques. His work aims to understand and design materials for target applications in carbon capture and clean energy. He has published 48 research papers and has been awarded numerous prizes and accolades.

Fun Facts:

  • He was an entrepreneur before his scientific career, owning his own business and even being an employer at 15 years old.
  • He enjoys watching sports, especially Newcastle United Football Club (NUFC), and playing video games such as Borderlands and World of Warcraft.
  • He is a passionate collector of many things ranging from small-batch Scotch whisky to trading cards and comics.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design:

Controlled Metal Oxide and Porous Carbon Templation Using Metal-Organic Frameworks
Gregory S. Day, Hannah F. Drake, Aida Contreras-Ramirez, Matthew R. Ryder*, Katharine Page, and Hong-Cai Zhou
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 8, 4249–4258
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c01596

Dr. Kim E. Jelfs

Dr. Kim E. Jelfs

Dr. Kim E. Jelfs, Reader, Imperial College London (United Kingdom), is a Reader and Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College. Her group specializes in the use of computer simulations to assist in the discovery of supramolecular materials, particularly porous materials and organic electronics. In terms of porous materials, her research focuses on porous molecular materials, polymer membranes, and amorphous metal–organic frameworks. Her research includes the development of open-source software to automate the assembly and testing of materials, with the application of artificial intelligence techniques, including an evolutionary algorithm and machine learning. Kim was awarded a 2018 Royal Society of Chemistry Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize and a 2019 Philip Leverhulme Prize in Chemistry, and she holds a European Research Council Starting Grant.

Fun Fact:

  • She enjoys travelling, running (slowly), and spending time with her daughter, who shares her name with a famous female scientist.

Highlighted Article Published in Crystal Growth & Design:

Computational Screening of Chiral Organic Semiconductors: Exploring Side-Group Functionalization and Assembly to Optimize Charge Transport
Julia A. Schmidt, Joseph A. Weatherby, Isaac J. Sugden, Alejandro Santana-Bonilla, Francesco Salerno, Matthew J. Fuchter, Erin R. Johnson, Jenny Nelson, and Kim E. Jelfs*
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.1c00473

Calling All Emerging Investigators

Thank you for reading about Emerging Investigators across Crystal Growth & Design. If you would like to be considered for the 2022 Virtual Special Issue with the same theme, please submit your work to CG&D by December 30, 2021. To be considered, you must be a research group leader with less than 10 years of independent research (although the timescale is flexible in cases of career breaks and personal circumstances).

As an important demographic of the field, CG&D focuses on content, initiatives, and resources to support Emerging Investigators.

  • Talking CG&D – Monthly Webinar Series: Crystal Growth & Design hosts monthly webinars focused on trending topics in the field led by emerging researchers and thought leaders in the field alike. You can view the full list of webinars and register here.
  • Quarterly Author Features: Learn about the interests and career paths of authors publishing work in topics that fall within the scope of Crystal Growth & Design to help you define your own interests or career path. Check out the first set of authors, who are experts in organic solid-state chemistry, and the second set of authors, who are experts in inorganic and coordination chemistry.

Stay tuned for the latest resources and information on emerging investigators in the field by registering for journal e-Alerts now.

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