June 2022 - ACS Axial | ACS Publications

Special Issue: “Oxidative Water Treatment: The Track Ahead” – Environmental Science & Technology welcoming submissions

Microbiological and chemical water quality are critical to human and environmental health. To this end, chemical oxidants have been employed for inactivation of pathogenic microorganisms and the abatement of inorganic and organic micropollutants in water and wastewater treatment.

Unfortunately, the reactions of oxidants with water matrix components, such as the dissolved organic matter (DOM) and halide ions, can result in the production of potentially toxic byproducts.  Oxidants also can affect water quality by increasing the biodegradability of organic matter.

In honor of Urs von Gunten as the recipient of the 2022 ACS Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology Award, this Special Issue in Environmental Science & Technology is seeking novel contributions on oxidation processes in water treatment with an emphasis on micropollutant abatement and byproduct formation.

Relevant Topics:

  1. Studies on the use of (advanced) oxidation processes in water and wastewater 
  2. Kinetic and mechanistic studies of oxidant fate, disinfection and disinfection byproduct formation
  3. Computational studies on oxidation reactions in water and wastewater treatment systems
  4. Investigations of byproducts formed from oxidation of water matrix components
  5. Analysis and fate of transformation products formed from oxidative treatment of micropollutants
  6. (Eco)toxicological assessment of transformation products, oxidation and disinfection byproducts

Guest Editors

  • Professor David Sedlak, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • Professor Yunho Lee, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), Gwangju, South Korea
  • Professor Urs von Gunten, Eawag – Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland


Author Instructions:

To submit your manuscript, please visit the Environmental Science & Technology website. Please follow the normal procedures for manuscript submission and when in the ACS Paragon Plus submission site, select the Special Issue of “Oxidative Water Treatment: The Track Ahead.” All manuscripts will undergo rigorous peer review. For additional submission instructions, please see the Environmental Science & Technology Author Guidelines.

The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2023.

Submit your manuscript

Submit your manuscript

Blockchain: A Solution for Information Overload in the Fight Against COVID-19

GISAID, a public-private partnership database, collects genome sequences related to influenza and most recently COVID-19.1 As of June 1, 2022, more than 11 million genome sequences have been submitted to It by more than 200 countries, proving that the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has become a worldwide effort.

Having all this information freely available has allowed for the production of innovative vaccines and viral drugs, but could all this information be too much? Pietro Cozzini and Federica Agosta, professors at the University of Parma, think it might be. “While it is a great idea to collect all the data related to COVID-19 in a unique repository, the problem is that with such huge amounts of data, we are not able to check its quality,” says Cozzini.


Federica Agosta Molecular Modelling Lab, Food & Drug Department, University of Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze, 17/A, 43124 Parma, Italy


Pietro Cozzini Molecular Modelling Lab, Food & Drug Department, University of Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze, 17/A, 43124 Parma, Italy

The key to fighting viral infections is identifying their DNA and using it to outsmart new variants. The mRNA vaccines that have become essential in the fight against COVID-19 can be easily modified. When the DNA for a new variant is identified, the mRNA can be re-engineered to respond to it. “The problem is that the quality of data is not the same from all nations,” says Cozzini. For example, not all the sequences uploaded for the same virus are the same length, some range in size from under 100 amino acids to more than 50,000. This has led to issues down the line in identifying mutations.

Cozzini and Agosta suggest that Blockchain might be a solution to this problem.2 Blockchain, an electronic database of information that is transparent and unchangeable, uses a set of rules that allow a computer to check data quality. Most frequently associated with financial databases, Blockchain has also found utility in the pharmaceutical3 and agricultural fields,4 tracking food and chemicals through the supply chain.

Blockchain screens for data quality based on a set of parameters, and if the data pass, they become permanently available for viewing. So how is this different from the GISAID database as it is currently used? The answer is in the rules that would be set and that must be adhered to add to the database. All national health organizations would have to input their data in the same way and in the same format. “If the data isn’t the same, then it is difficult to do a decent analysis of the distribution of the variants,” says Agosta. Currently, Cozzini and Agosta are working with scientists from health organizations around the world to help draft the rules that would create a COVID-19 Blockchain.

Blockchain technology is here to stay and its adoption across industries, from the pharmaceutical industry and agriculture to artwork and video games, means constant improvement. In the fight to stay ahead of COVID-19 mutations, Blockchain may soon be one more weapon in the arsenal.


(1) GISAID – Initiative. https://www.gisaid.org/ (accessed 2022-06-02).

(2) Cozzini, P.; Agosta, F.; Dolcetti, G.; Righi, G. How a Blockchain Approach Can Improve Data Reliability in the COVID-19 Pandemic. ACS Med. Chem. Lett. 2022, 13 (4), 517–519. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.2c00077.

(3) How to Use Blockchain in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Intellectsoft Blog, 2021.

(4) Bank, M.S.; Duarte, C.M.; Sonne, C. Intergovernmental Panel on Blue Foods in Support of Sustainable Development and Nutritional Security. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2022, 56 (9), 5302–5305. 

Cancer-Sniffing Worms

The Spring 2022 National American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting held in San Diego, California, was a hybrid meeting that featured a wide range of science topics. The offerings showcased the vast diversity of the chemical sciences and the increasingly integrated nature of the projects. 

Most people would not be surprised that dogs can be trained to sniff out cancer, but few would consider that a microscopic nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, might be used as an early detection method for lung cancer. Researchers at the Myongji University in Korea have shown that C. elegans does seem to prefer the smell of lung cancer cells. When placed on a microfluidic chip the size of a microscope slide, with lung cancer cells on one side and healthy cells on the other, the microscopic worms move toward the cancerous cells. Shin Sik Choi’s group hypothesizes that the flowery smell of the cancer cells is similar to the worm’s favorite food. They have also used urine samples from healthy people and those with lung cancer; again, the C. elegans migrated toward the urine from cancer patients. Just like using dogs, C. elegans provides a noninvasive way of detecting cancer at the earliest stages, when it is more treatable—but with an organism much easier to maintain than dogs. Researchers plan to test the usefulness of analyzing urine, saliva, and breath in these microfluidic devices containing C. elegans in clinical trials designed to detect early-stage lung and other cancers.

News briefing from the meeting:



Related American Chemical Society publications on this topic:

Japan harnesses creepy-crawlies
Katsumori Matsuoka

Exploring Living Multicellular Organisms, Organs, and Tissues Using Microfluidic Systems
Venkataragavalu Sivagnanam and Martin A. M. Gijs

Effect of Cannabidiol on the Neural Glyoxalase Pathway Function and Longevity of Several C. elegans Strains Including a C. elegans Alzheimer’s Disease Model
Joel Frandsen and Prabagaran Narayanasamy


Protecting eggs (and heads): A new use for hydrogel?

This article is based on this recent paper published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, “How a Gel Can Protect an Egg: A Flexible Hydrogel with Embedded Starch Particles Shields Fragile Objects Against Impact”.

Read the full paper here

Hydrogels are networks of polymer chains that are swollen in water. In recent years, research has focused on making hydrogels that are flexible and bendable. Could this pave the way for an inexpensive, biodegradable packaging material? New research published by ACS explores the possibilities.

Food waste and excess, unsustainable packaging are major environmental issues, and there is a move towards creating novel solutions that could overcome them. In the department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Maryland, Ganesh and colleagues have contributed to the field of hydrogels by creating gels via either physical or chemical cross-linking, and with the addition of various particulates. A hydrogel is a three-dimensional polymer network that can absorb and retain water. Collagen and gelatin are examples of hydrogels found in nature, and they are already used in many medical settings, but new research is focussed on creating hydrogels with more diverse applications.

The aim of this study was to develop a flexible gel that could be wrapped around brittle or fragile objects to protect against impact. Their report published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces explains that none of the bare gels were protective, and the addition of nanoparticles such as iron oxide or silica made no difference. However, the addition of starch granules to a gelatin hydrogel enhanced the protective abilities – with a 25% reduction in peak impact force compared to the same gel without the starch.1 In the study, fragile items such as eggs and blueberries stayed intact when wrapped in a gel infused with starch, even when landing on a hard surface, or if something was dropped on them from above. Overall, gels made with 10% gelatin and 10–20% starch were ideal in terms of their flexibility and impact absorption.

Alongside this impact reduction, the coefficient of restitution – the ratio of the final to initial relative speed between two objects after they collide – was also lowered by the presence of starch. In practical terms, this means that a ball would bounce less on a starch-bearing gel than on a bare gel or a hard surface.

This research may prove instrumental in designing protective coatings for fragile objects –particularly when looking for inexpensive, biodegradable alternatives to traditional bubble wrap and packaging peanuts. There may also be future applications across diverse sectors such as sports and defense, where protecting eggs from impact could be scaled up to protecting heads.

Watch the video around this research created by the ACS Science Communications team:

Read the full press release on acs.org

Read the original article from ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

Further reading on this topic

Article icon

Increased Hydrogel Swelling Induced by Absorption of Small Molecules
Changwoo Nam, Tawanda J. Zimudzi, Geoffrey M. Geise, and Michael A. Hickner
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.6b02069

Article icon

Super Tough, Ultrastretchable Hydrogel with Multistimuli Responsiveness
Meng-Meng Song, Ya-Min Wang, Bing Wang, Xiang-Yong Liang, Zhi-Yi Chang, Bang-Jing Li, and Sheng Zhang

Article icon

Impact of Elastin-like Protein Temperature Transition on PEG-ELP Hybrid Hydrogel Properties
Edi Meco and Kyle J. Lampe
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.9b00113

Introducing Dr. Elena Galoppini, Deputy Editor of ACS Applied Optical Materials

Elena Galoppini graduated with a Laurea in Chimica (MSc) from the Università di Pisa, Italy, in 1989 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1994, with Professor Philip E. Eaton. Following a two-year Postdoctoral Associate appointment at the University of Texas Austin with Professor Marye Anne Fox, in 1996 she began her independent research career at Rutgers University-Newark, where she is currently Distinguished Professor.

Dr. Elena Galoppini

At Rutgers, Prof. Galoppini has served as the Graduate Program Coordinator of the Department of Chemistry from 2016-2019, and over the years she has been Visiting Professor at several institutions including the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm in Sweden and the University of Padova in Italy. In 2019 she was the recipient of a Rutgers Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research.

Prof. Galoppini has served on the Advisory Editorial Board of Langmuir from 2007-2010 and is the author of 100 peer-reviewed articles in fundamental and applied research areas, with a primary focus on synthesis of functional bridging units for binding organic chromophores to inorganic semiconductors.

I recently spoke with Dr. Galoppini to learn more about her plans for ACS Applied Optical Materials.

Welcome to the ACS Publications Team, Dr. Galoppini, and congratulations on your new role as the Founding Deputy Editor of ACS Applied Optical Materials. Can you tell us a bit about what drew you to accepting a leadership position with this new journal?

Thank you. Firstly, I want to say that I am honored to be entrusted with this responsibility, and that I am absolutely excited to be the Founding Deputy Editor of ACS Applied Optical Materials, one of the two new journals added in 2022 to the ACS Applied Materials portfolio.

I was drawn to accepting this position because it is an opportunity to contribute in a creative way to the field of optical materials, and in a manner that is entirely new to me. After many years in academic research, the editorial role is a new direction and poses a fresh challenge.  In fact, I feel the same energy and sense of possibilities as when I was a new Assistant Professor, and entered my empty laboratory space for the first time. 

What are you most excited about as the journal opens for submissions?

It is exciting to be part of a perfectly timed initiative by ACS that meets the growing interest in optical materials. In the past five years, publications in this area have sharply increased. ACS Applied Optical Materials, with a focus on applications, will complement other ACS publications that are covering more fundamental aspects of the interactions between light and matter.  

Second, the journal is part of the ACS Applied Materials portfolio, a family of journals encompassing the areas of interfaces, energy, nanoscience, biomaterials, polymers and electronics, and that this year has been expanded to include engineering and optical materials. There is great collegiality between this group of Deputy Editors, and for this reason I anticipate excellent opportunities for future collaborations on Special Issues, Editorials, and other initiatives that are interdisciplinary and cross-cutting the areas of interest among the ACS Applied Materials journals.  

What kind of research reports are of particular interest to you? Are there specific challenges you hope articles in this journal can seek to address?

The field of optical materials is broad, and we welcome high quality, interdisciplinary manuscripts reporting research on emerging applications, and that provide mechanistic insight on optical devices functions.  From a personal perspective, I find fascinating the role of interfaces and how they can influence and control the properties and functions of optical materials and devices.  

A specific challenge that I hope the journal can address will be to identify emerging areas of interest in the multifaceted discipline of optical materials, and then highlight them in the journal.  To this end, it will be essential the input of the Associate Editors and of the Advisory Editorial Board members.  Since they come from different scientific backgrounds, offer complementary expertise, and represent different geographical regions, they will be able to address this challenge from a variety of perspectives.

Do you have any advice for authors seeking to publish their papers with you?

My first suggestion to an author is to look at the journal scope and, as issues will be published following the launch, read the articles and become familiar with the type of research published in ACS Applied Optical Materials. This will ensure that the work that you seek to publish in ACS Applied Optical Materials fits within the scope of the journal.

Secondly, I recommend making a clear connection to how the research presented in your manuscript can advance applications, demonstrate new functions, or be integrated in a device. ACS Applied Optical Materials, as the rest of the ACS Applied Materials portfolio, focuses on high quality research of an applied nature. It is not necessary to directly demonstrate an application, but you should emphasize this connection and put your work in this kind of context.

What opportunities in your field excite you the most?

One of the most exciting opportunities has been collaborating with colleagues who come from completely different scientific backgrounds from mine, and are outside my field. I am at core an organic chemist, and the most rewarding collaborations have been with physicists, physical chemists, and theoreticians.  Everybody learns something new, and together we expand and develop new ideas in a manner that would never have been possible.

What do you think are the non-scientific challenges facing your field?

In my experience, science is generally poorly communicated to the public, and conveying the positive impact of chemistry on society is an enduring challenge.  For instance, undergraduate students taking their first organic chemistry course tend to consider it an obstacle, and anticipate chemistry to be a dry and abstract subject. Fortunately, in academia we have the opportunity to change this perception. We can help students realize that chemistry studies stimulate new ways of thinking, illustrate how chemistry can benefit society, and involve undergraduates in research.

A second challenge is that pursuing a research active academic career has become more complex and stressful.  Applying for funding has turned into an increasingly time consuming and bureaucratic process, and faculty can become overwhelmed with other tasks that have little to do with science. This trend may discourage some talented graduate students and postdocs from pursuing an academic career. 

Apart from materials chemistry, what are you passionate about?

My enthusiasm for working with graduate, undergraduate students and postdocs, and mentoring them in a research setting has never diminished. Seeing young researchers grow scientifically and personally over the years, and then start their own independent career is one of the greatest satisfactions of working in academia.  In my opinion, this one of the greatest contributions a scientist can make. Not to mention that working with young people keeps you young … well, at least young at heart!

About the Journal

ACS Applied Optical Materials is an international and interdisciplinary forum to publish original experimental and theoretical, including simulation and modeling, research in optical materials, complementing the ACS Applied Materials portfolio. With a focus on innovative applications, ACS Applied Optical Materials also complements and expands the scope of existing ACS publications that focus on fundamental aspects of the interaction between light and matter in materials science including ACS Photonics, Macromolecules, The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, ACS Nano and Nano Letters.

Visit the journal website to learn more about the scope, to view the author guidelines or to submit your manuscript. Sign up to receive journal e-alerts to receive the first Issue straight to your inbox.

View selected publications from Dr. Galoppini



2022 ACS Macro Letters, Biomacromolecules, Macromolecules Young Investigator Award Winners

The ACS journals ACS Macro Letters, Biomacromolecules, and Macromolecules in partnership with the Division of Polymer Chemistry are proud to announce the selection of Changle Chen of the University of Science and Technology of China and Rebekka Klausen of Johns Hopkins University as the winners of the 2022 ACS Macro Letters/Biomacromolecules/Macromolecules Young Investigator Award.

Professors Chen and Klausen will be honored during an award symposium at the ACS Fall National Meeting, August 21 – 25, 2022.

2022 ACS Macro Letters/Biomacromolecules/Macromolecules Young Investigator Award Winners


Changle Chen, University of Science and Technology of China

Professor Chen was selected for this award to honor his pioneering contributions in the field of olefin polymerization including development of new catalyst systems, design of new polymerization modulation strategies, and the synthesis and property studies of special polyolefins and polar functionalized polyolefins materials, with the “polar monomer problem” as the central theme.

Can you give us a short overview of the research you are currently undertaking?

“The introduction of a small amount of polar functional groups into polyolefins could excise great control over important material properties. As the most direct and economic strategy, the copolymerization of olefin with polar functionalized monomers represents one of the biggest challenges in this field. With the “polar monomer problem” as the central theme, the research works from my group focus on the development of new catalyst systems, design of new polymerization modulation strategies, and the synthesis and property studies of specialty polyolefins and polar functionalized polyolefins materials.”

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone just entering the field?

“My advice for someone just entering the field is to find the subject that you are passionate about. That way, you will enjoy what you do every day for the rest of your career. You should also be bold enough to come out of your comfort zone and to explore challenging new research areas.”

Is there anyone who has been a great role model, mentor, or inspiration to you?

“My Ph.D. mentor, Prof. Richard Jordan at the University of Chicago, provided me with rigorous Ph.D. training, which really shaped me as a good synthetic chemist. My postdoctoral adviser, Prof. Tobin Marks at Northwestern University, inspired me to think outside the box and to explore new areas.”

Some of Professor Chen’s latest research:

Systematic Investigations of Ligand Steric Effects on α-Diimine Palladium Catalyzed Olefin Polymerization and Copolymerization

DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.6b02104

Aluminum Tralen Complex Meditated Reversible-Deactivation Radical Polymerization of Vinyl Acetate

DOI: 10.1021/acsmacrolett.0c00455

Direct Synthesis of Polar Functionalized Polyethylene Thermoplastic Elastomer

DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.0c00083

Rebekka Klausen, Johns Hopkins University


Prof. Rebekka Klausen was selected for this award in recognition of her transformative achievements in the synthesis of polymers inaccessible from traditional feedstocks on two parallel tracks: silicon-inspired conjugated polymers and boron-functionalized polyolefins.

Can you give us a short overview of the research you are currently undertaking?

“I’m motivated by open-ended, curiosity-driven questions. Right now, something I’m thinking about a lot is tacticity in inorganic polymers like the organosilicon and organoboron polymers we’ve described in the last few years (Macromolecules 2018, 51, 6859). For main group organometallic compounds, the fundamental principles of stereoselective synthesis can be very different than for organic small molecules. This means that we may need new synthetic solutions for macromolecules. And if we can achieve that synthetic control, what would tacticity mean for the bulk properties of inorganic polymers?”

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone just entering the field?

“As important as it is to have a network of senior mentors, I think it’s also really important to have a strong peer network. My peers in the field have been so important for bouncing ideas back and forth, sharing draft manuscripts and proposals, and mutual support of all kinds. Those peer relationships have sometimes deepened into friendships, collaborations, or both!”

Is there anyone who has been a great role model, mentor, or inspiration to you?

“My children inspire me a lot. They’re expressive and enthusiastic about the things they like. A lot about the world is new to them, but they approach it with curiosity. And if something doesn’t work the first time, they try again a different way. Those traits of authenticity, fearlessness, and resilience are values I aspire to as a scientist.”


Some of Professor Klausen’s latest research:

An Organoborane Vinyl Monomer with Styrene-like Radical Reactivity: Reactivity Ratios and Role of Aromaticity

DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.8b01368

Syndioselective Polymerization of a BN Aromatic Vinyl Monomer

DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.8b01707

Organoborane Strategy for Polymers Bearing Lactone, Ester, and Alcohol Functionality

DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.9b02201

Call for Papers: Forum on Recent Advances in Biomaterials Research in the East Asia Pacific Region

In early 2023, ACS Applied Bio Materials (CiteScore 4.9 in 2021) will publish a Special Issue showcasing recent research advances from teams in the East Asia Pacific Region. Do you have a research report to include? Submit your manuscript by Dec 31st, 2022.

ACS Applied Bio Materials began publication in 2018 with strong representation of researchers in  the East Asia Pacific region: approximately 50% of our total number of articles published. By 2021, articles from this region increased to approximately 53%, demonstrating the volume and quality of research in the field of applied biomaterials.

The Editors of ACS Applied Bio Materials invite you and your team to join them in celebrating the vast and vibrant biomaterials research conducted in the East Asia Pacific region by taking part in this Special Issue.

The editor committee of this Forum:

Prof. Jong Seung Kim, Associate Editor of ACS Applied Bio Materials

Prof. Chaoyong Yang, Associate Editor of ACS Applied Bio Materials

Prof. Hao Yan, Associate Editor of ACS Applied Bio Materials

Prof. Shu Wang, Deputy Editor of ACS Applied Bio Materials

Prof. Kirk Schanze, Editor-in-Chief of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

Geographical coverage will include teams with at least one author based at universities and research institutions in the following countries/regions:

  • Australia
  • China
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

To join this Special Issue (Forum), please indicate that your manuscript is intended for the forum “Recent Advances in Biomaterials Research in the East Asia Pacific Region” in the cover letter of the submission to ACS Applied Bio Materials.

Areas of particular topical interest include:

  • DNA/RNA delivery materials;
  • Photodynamic/ photothermal therapy materials;
  • Antiviral/Antimicrobial materials & surfaces;
  • Biomaterials for tissue engineering applications.

Manuscripts submitted for consideration for this Special Issue will undergo the same rigorous peer review process expected from ACS journals. Authors whose manuscripts are accepted for publication can expect to be informed within 10 weeks of their submission date.

Other submissions in research areas within the scope of ACS Applied Bio Materials are also welcome. For details of our manuscript types and requirements, please consult the Author Guidelines.

If you have questions about the scope and/or about publishing in ACS Applied Bio Materials, please contact the managing editor Dr. Chengmei Zhong (c_zhong@acs.org).

Library Life: Interview with Carnegie Mellon University Librarian Neelam Bharti

Neelam Bharti is Senior Librarian, Science and Engineering and Associate Dean for Liaison Services at Carnegie Mellon University.

Tell me about your current role:

I am the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Librarian at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Pittsburgh, and have an additional responsibility to serve as Associate Dean for Liaison Services. I oversee the liaison services and mentor library faculty. In addition, I work with other colleagues to help the CMU faculty members, students, and staff on our Pittsburgh and international campuses (CMU-Qatar, CMU-Australia, and CMU-South Africa). I teach graduate-level seminars and guest lectures in many undergraduate and graduate-level classes to provide students with context-specific information that they may need to do their coursework and independent research. I also manage our open access agreements with publishers and provide open access and copyright consultations.

Neelam Bharti

I am responsible for developing chemical sciences and engineering collections at CMU with other engineering librarians, planning improvements and enhancements to the library services, and providing reference assistance to anyone having difficulty finding chemistry and engineering-related information. In addition, I work closely with the Office of Vice President of Research and coordinate a campus-wide RCR training program, and serve as a consultant on research ethics questions. Finally, I serve on university and library-wide committees and task forces, as my expertise is required.

What is your background?

I came from an interior village in India, where it wasn’t easy for girls to attend school. I always wanted to read and learn about the world, but there was no library in my school or village. My first library interaction was in high school. I still remember that sight of seeing so many books altogether for the first time that opened a whole new world for me. I chose to study science and soon realized it was a daily struggle to study science as a girl, but that experience motivated me to work harder. I was awarded a Junior Research Fellowship and later a Senior Research Fellowship from the Government of India while finishing my Ph.D. in chemistry. 

I became the first person from my village to complete a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in science. As a postdoctoral scientist, I was invited to join Dr. Bergeron’s drug development group on an NIH-sponsored grant to develop iron chelators at the University of Florida. During my postdoc studies, libraries were my primary place of learning before lab bench work. While interacting with the librarians, I realized how awesome they were; they were intrepid explorers and information wizards who never shied away from embarking on a journey pursuing a question with unknown answers. 

Although I had a passion for research, personal health issues made it difficult to engage in benchwork. So, I started to look for opportunities where I could still be involved in research and use my subject background and research experience to help others. I joined Marston Science Library as a Chemical Sciences and Engineering Librarian at the University of Florida. Five years later, I joined CMU as the senior librarian in Science and Engineering and now serve in an additional role as Associate Dean for Liaison Services.

How do you help address challenges faced by your institution’s students and faculty?

CMU is a technology-focused research university, so the faculty and students turn to me when they have information resources or related questions. I help with the questions I can quickly answer, but for others where I’m not sure, I actively seek out guidance from my colleagues and professional peers. I regularly consult the graduate and undergraduate students on how to find information and use it for class and research work. 

One of the most challenging courses is the BXA course, where students work at the interface of science/engineering and art/design on unique projects; I consult with students in those courses and collaborate with other library experts when needed. In addition, I help by getting involved in teaching various emerging topics workshops such as 3D modeling and printing, Open Access, and Copyright.

What are some trends that you are observing in the library world right now?

As the teaching and learning technologies evolve, libraries are also changing. Libraries and librarians are being creative and diversifying their services. When I joined the library in 2013, my responsibilities included providing reference services, collection development and management, and teaching how to search for chemical information. In the past nine years, it evolved into providing more interdisciplinary research, open access, research ethics and data management, and citation management consultations. As the scholarly landscape changes, universities are finding creative ways to support scholarly communication by signing Read and Publish and Transformative agreements, supporting open access publications, and actively exploring and promoting the inclusion of open source resources such as the Open Science Framework and openly available educational and research resources. At our institution, we especially focus on emerging trends such as open access, sustainable global development goals, and diversity, equity and inclusion initiative to provide timely services and lead the pathways.

What areas of interest are you focused on right now?

I have more than one area of focus at this point. As a liaison, I focus on staying informed of emerging resources and changes to the major databases and search tools in chemical sciences and engineering disciplines. We frequently communicate with vendors providing feedback on tools and resources and suggestions that could be helpful in future development, including emerging areas like text and data mining. As an engineering librarian, I work closely with students to provide artificial intelligence and machine learning tools.

Research impact measurement is another area of interest for me. Every year, we hear from students and faculty looking for ways to increase the impact of research in supporting tenure packets, immigration visa applications, and grant applications. We subscribe to several research metrics tools, but it does not help until we know what these tools can do for us and how to use them for our benefit. My goal is to enhance our user’s knowledge and skills of these tools and teach them strategies to use those tools effectively.

In recent years I got engaged in scholarly publication and spent a lot of time on open access, copyright, and responsible conduct of research. I coordinate the CMU OA agreements with publishers and focus on improving the author’s workflow and providing feedback to the publishers to improve the process, increasing awareness, and promoting open access publications among our researchers.

You are involved with the ACS’s Chemical Information (CINF) division. What is that like?

I attended my first CINF meeting in 2015 and have enjoyed being a part of CINF since then. I have met some great chemical information professionals and learn something new every time we meet. CINF members have been great and helped me grow as a chemistry librarian; I found some great mentors there. I read journal articles and used a lot of data in my research life but didn’t appreciate its complexity until I joined CINF and learned how complex data curation is. 

As a result, I joined the CINF career committee and served as a committee chair. The career committee works to increase awareness among members of the American Chemical Society, the profession, and the public on careers available in scientific information fields and provide information on career pathways and professional advancement opportunities in scientific information fields. CINF is like a Chemical information family bringing expertise from a broad background where people are eager to help. 

An essential question: Who is your favorite scientist?

I am fortunate enough to work with some great scientists; one of my mentors is Prof. Raymond Bergeron at the University of Florida. But I would give the credit for my scientific curiosities to Dr. Asima Chatterjee. Dr. Chatterjee was an organic chemist, and she was the first woman to receive a Doctorate of Sciences from an Indian university. She pioneered modern medicinal chemistry in India and worked on phytochemicals. Her research included vinca alkaloids and was involved in developing anti-epileptic and anti-malarial drugs. She was my inspiration going into my Ph.D. program, where I studied plant-based medicine and phytochemicals for anti-amoebic treatment.   

What is a fun fact about Carnegie Mellon University? 

Carnegie Mellon University is a happening place; our motto is “My heart is in the work.” CMU is home to a fascinating intersection of innovations in science, technology and the performing arts. One of the first independent research institutes focusing on chemical and industrial research, Mellon Institute, is a part of CMU. For the past century, Mellon Institute has been a place of invention of many products we use today, including the first gas mask and many others. Home of the chemistry library (Mellon Institute Library), the institute became a National Historic Chemical Landmark for its contribution in promoting applied research for industry and educating scientific researchers for the benefit of society.

CMU is at the technology forefront and leads the higher education institute in Tony and Emmy awards recipients. CMU alumni are leading the way by winning 52 Tony awards and 142 Emmy awards. CMU is also a popular location for filmmakers. Many movies, such as Batman: The Dark Knight Rises and Dogma, were filmed in or around Mellon Institute.

Applications of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics in Water Environments

ACS ES&T Water welcomes submissions for the upcoming Special Issue “Applications of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics in Water Environments”

The past few years have witnessed the transformative impact of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data analytics in a wide range of applications, such as speech and image recognition, consumer behavior prediction, and self-driving cars. These applications are primarily driven by the tremendous growth in data collection and storage capabilities as well as in computing power.

These powerful tools have also been increasingly applied in the environmental field to assess contaminant toxicity and environmental risks, evaluate the health of water and wastewater infrastructure, examine the fate and transformation of contaminants in different environments, optimize treatment technologies, identify and characterize pollution sources, model water/wastewater treatment processes, predict contaminant activity in treatment systems and the environment, and perform life cycle analysis, to name a few.

This Special Issue Call for Papers from ACS ES&T Water seeks rigorous research articles, reviews, and perspectives on the current progress, research, opportunities and challenges in applying AI/ML and data analytics to solving environmental problems related to water, and to identify research priorities our community should focus on in the near future.

Examples of topics to be covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Big data-informed water/wastewater infrastructure management
  • Characterize sources of pollution and model emissions of various contaminants in different water-involved environments
  • Data mining from various environmental and biological “omics” data to improve data interpretation and facilitate new discoveries
  • Develop quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs) for biotic/abiotic reactivity, adsorption, uptake, treatment, and toxicity of organic and inorganic compounds
  • Model and predict contaminant levels and conduct risk assessment in natural and engineered water systems
  • Monitor and predict nutrients and contaminants levels in different environmental compartments
  • Predict and optimize treatment efficiencies in various treatment and remediation processes, such as in drinking water, wastewater, and groundwater treatment and site remediation

Submit your manuscript for inclusion

Submit your manuscript for inclusion now

Guest Editors

Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson, Head of the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, North Carolina State University, USA

Carla Ng, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, USA

Xu Wang, Harbin Institute of Technology, Shenzhen, China. Editorial Advisory Board of ACS ES&T Water

Associate and Topic Editors

Ching-Hua Huang, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

Huichun (Judy) Zhang, Case Western Reserve University, USA

Author Instructions:

To submit your manuscript, please visit the ACS ES&T Water website. Please follow the normal procedures for manuscript submission and when in the ACS Paragon Plus submission site, select the special issue of “Applications of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics in Water Environments.” All manuscripts will undergo rigorous peer review. For additional submission instructions, please see the ACS ES&T Water Author Guidelines.

The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2023.

Submit your manuscript now

Low-Cost Water Filters with Built-in Lead Indicator

The Spring 2022 National American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting held in San Diego, California, was a hybrid meeting that featured a wide range of science topics. The offerings showcased the vast diversity of the chemical sciences and the increasingly integrated nature of the projects. This piece focusses on the a filtration device that can detect lead in drinking water. 

Inspired by media coverage of the water contamination in Michigan, high school teacher Rebecca Bushway challenged her Advanced Topics in Chemistry class to design and develop a filtration device that would indicate when water was contaminated with lead. Using the displacement reaction between calcium phosphate and lead ions to trap the lead and another reaction between potassium iodide and lead ions as a color indicator, her class designed and developed a 3D-printed water filter that attaches to most water faucets.

In the first reaction, the lead replaces the calcium to form a highly insoluble solid, and when the filter can no longer absorb lead, the semipermeable membrane containing the potassium iodide turns bright yellow. Her team 3D printed the water filter and incorporated physics, engineering, marketing, art, and social justice in this highly interdisciplinary project. According to Bushway, “The device costs less than a $1 to make,” but the experience of helping someone with science is priceless.

News briefing from the meeting


Video media briefing:

Related articles on this topic from ACS Publications

Assembling and Using a Simple, Low-Cost, Vacuum Filtration Apparatus That Operates without Electricity or Running Water
Fengxiu Zhang, Yiwei Hu, Yaling Jia, Yonghua Lu, and Guangxian Zhang
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.5b00997

A Portable, Low-Cost, LED Fluorimeter for Middle School, High School, and Undergraduate Chemistry Labs
Benjamin T. Wigton, Balwant S. Chohan, Cole McDonald, Matt Johnson, Doug Schunk, Rod Kreuter, and Dan Sykes
DOI: 10.1021/ed200090r

An Environmentally Friendly, Cost-Effective Determination of Lead in Environmental Samples Using Anodic Stripping Voltammetry
Michael J. Goldcamp, Melinda N. Underwood, Joshua L. Cloud, Sean Harshman, and Kevin Ashley
DOI: 10.1021/ed085p976

Low-Cost 3D-Printed Polarimeter
Paweł Bernard and James D. Mendez
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.9b01083