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White Teeth Without the Toothbrush

This article is based on a recent paper published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, “Fast Cross-Linked Hydrogel as a Green Light-Activated Photocatalyst for Localized Biofilm Disruption and Brush-Free Tooth Whitening.”

Read the full paper here

It’s not just a cliché that the first thing people notice about you is your smile: a 2010 survey found nearly half of us choose a great smile as a person’s most attractive feature.1 Furthermore, aspects of oral hygiene such as bad breath (89%) and yellow teeth (79%) took the lead for major turn-offs.1 Is there a chemistry solution for this very human problem?  

Globally, around 3.5 billion people suffer from oral diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease,2 many of which can be prevented through good oral hygiene. But traditional toothpastes remove only surface stains, and bleaching treatments can harm enamel. New research published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces reports on a novel hydrogel treatment that can break apart cavity-forming biofilms and whiten teeth without damage.

Current whitening treatments combine hydrogen peroxide gels with blue light, producing a chemical reaction that removes stains but also generates reactive oxygen species that can break down enamel and potentially damage exposed skin and eyes. Researchers at Nanchang University in China wanted to find a material that could instead be activated by a safer green light to both whiten teeth and prevent cavities.

The research team designed an injectable sodium alginate hydrogel membrane doped with bismuth oxychloride and cubic cuprous oxide nanoparticles to simultaneously achieve local tooth whitening and biofilm removal through a photodynamic dental therapy process.3 This was tested ex vivo on teeth stained with coffee, tea, blueberry juice, and soy sauce. Following treatment with the hydrogel and green light, teeth got brighter over time with no damage to the enamel. Additionally, the treatment killed 94% of bacteria in biofilms.

To demonstrate efficacy in vivo, the team used the new method on mice whose mouths were inoculated with cavity-forming bacteria, and they found that the new method prevented both moderate and deep cavities forming on tooth surfaces. The researchers report that their safe, brush-free treatment both effectively prevents cavities and whitens teeth, demonstrating a promising strategy for oral health care in the future.3 

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

References

  1. Philips Sonicare Survey. Oral Care Love Affair: Americans Open up About Their Oral Health. 6 December 2010.
  2. World Health Organization. Oral Health Fact Sheet. 15 March 2022.
  3. Li Q, et al. Fast Cross-Linked Hydrogel as a Green Light-Activated Photocatalyst for Localized Biofilm Disruption and Brush-Free Tooth Whitening. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2022;14(25):28427–28438.

Further reading on this topic

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A safe and effective way to whiten teeth
American Chemical Society. Press Release. 18 July 2018

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Photothermal-Enhanced Fenton-like Catalytic Activity of Oxygen-Deficient Nanotitania for Efficient and Safe Tooth Whitening
Xingyu Hu, Li Xie, Zhaoyu Xu, Suru Liu, Xinzhi Tan, Ruojing Qian, Ruitao Zhang, Mingyan Jiang, Wenjia Xie, and Weidong Tian
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.1c06774

Mini Virtual Issues from Macromolecules

Macromolecules has been creating a series of Mini Virtual Issues on Twitter which highlight articles with a similar theme. Here we have collected them all in one place so readers won’t miss out!

Semi-Conducting Polymers

Semi-conducting polymers are useful in many emerging applications, and the fundamentals of their synthesis, charge conduction, and organization are important to established for future applications in sensors, solar cells, and organic electronics as exemplified in these three recent Macromolecules papers.

Usefulness of Polar and Bulky Phosphonate Chain-End Solubilizing Groups in Polymeric Semiconductors
So-Huei Kang, Doyoung Lee, Wonbin Choi, Joon Hak Oh, and Changduk Yang
DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c02628

High-Performance Unipolar n-Type Conjugated Polymers Enabled by Highly Electron-Deficient Building Blocks Containing F and CN Groups
Chan Zhang, Wen Liang Tan, Zhongwei Liu, Qiao He, Yanru Li, Jianeng Ma, Anthony S. R. Chesman, Yang Han, Christopher R. McNeill, Martin Heeney, and Zhuping Fei
DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.2c00870

Effect of Isomerization of Linking Units on the Photovoltaic Performance of PSMA-Type Polymer Acceptors in All-Polymer Solar Cells
Liuyang Zhou, Lei Meng, Jinyuan Zhang, Shucheng Qin, Jing Guo, Xiaojun Li, Xinxin Xia, Xinhui Lu, and Yongfang Li
DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.2c00515

Polyelectrolytes

Polyelectrolytes are a class of polymers with charges along the backbone of the chain and are used in many applications that range from hydrogels to surface modifiers to drug delivery. Four recent papers in Macromolecules highlight new innovative experiment and theoretical work on polyelectrolytes.

Adsorption of Charge Sequence-Specific Polydisperse Polyelectrolytes
Vaidyanathan Sethuraman, David Zheng, David C. Morse, and Kevin D. Dorfman
DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c02623

Effect of Ethanol and Urea as Solvent Additives on PSS–PDADMA Polyelectrolyte Complexation
Mohammad Khavani, Piotr Batys, Suvesh M. Lalwani, Chikaodinaka I. Eneh, Anna Leino, Jodie L. Lutkenhaus, and Maria Sammalkorpi
DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c02533

Extraordinarily High Dielectric Breakdown Strength of Multilayer Polyelectrolyte Thin Films
Ethan T. Iverson, Hsu-Cheng Chiang, Thomas J. Kolibaba, Kendra Schmieg, and Jaime C. Grunlan
DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.2c00259

The pH-Dependent Swelling of Weak Polyelectrolyte Hydrogels Modeled at Different Levels of Resolution
Jonas Landsgesell, David Beyer, Pascal Hebbeker, Peter Košovan, and Christian Holm
DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c02489

Block Polymers

Block polymers are fascinating materials useful for numerous advanced technologies that include energy storage and nanotemplating. Three articles recently published in Macromolecules highlight the wonderful and interesting self-assembly behavior of these hybrid polymers.

Enhanced Electrochemical Properties of Block Copolymer Electrolytes with Blended End-Functionalized Homopolymers
Jihoon Kim, Kyeong-Jun Jeong, Kyoungwook Kim, Chang Yun Son, and Moon Jeong Park
DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c02461

Long-Range Ordered Lamellar Formation with Lower Molecular Weight PS-PMMA Block Copolymers: Significant Effects of Discrete Oligopeptides at the Junction
Tomoka Yoshimura, Tomofumi Morishita, Yoshihiro Agata, Kodai Nagashima, Kevin Wylie, Yuta Nabae, Teruaki Hayakawa, and Makoto Ouchi
DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c02569

Universality and Specificity in the Self-Assembly of Cylinder-Forming Block Copolymers under Cylindrical Confinement
Junying Yang, Qingshu Dong, Meijiao Liu, and Weihua Li
DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c02504

Rheological Analysis

The rheological behavior of polymers is critically important to understanding underlying phenomena associated with chain dynamics in a variety of macromolecular materials. In back-to-back Macromolecules Perspectives, the importance of rheological analysis, underlying theory, and associated simulations are highlighted in the realm of reversible networks and extensional flow.

Advances and New Opportunities in the Rheology of Physically and Chemically Reversible Polymers
Shilong Wu and Quan Chen
DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c01605

When Polymer Chains Are Highly Aligned: A Perspective on Extensional Rheology
Qian Huang
DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.1c02262

Call for Papers: Virtual Special Issue on The Future of Agriculture and Food: Sustainable Approaches to Achieve Zero Hunger

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, ACS Agricultural Science & Technology, and ACS Food Science & Technology are preparing to publish a joint virtual special issue on “The Future of agriculture and food: sustainable approaches to achieve zero hunger”.

As a global community of researchers, we strive to achieve one of the most critical U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, “Zero Hunger”. Hunger and undernourishment are problems affecting many millions around the world and the problem is now increasing after decades of progress.

ACS has recently launched the Sustainable Futures Initiative. This virtual special issue is designed to raise awareness of the role of agriculture and food in achieving sustainable development goals. It will also support the Sustainable Futures Initiative by highlighting the need for rapid innovation and the development of sustainable production methods.

This joint virtual special issue will be comprised of invited papers and proposed papers from a diverse group of institutions with both senior and junior level scientists. Manuscripts should address advances in food or agricultural research which contribute to more robust, plentiful, nutritional, palatable and sustainable food systems. Original research, review papers and opinion-style viewpoint articles will be considered.

Submission Instructions

Interested authors should send a manuscript proposal including a title, short abstract and manuscript type by email to the Editors at hofmann-office@jafc.acs.org stating whether they intend to submit their manuscript to Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, ACS Agricultural Science & Technology, or ACS Food Science & Technology.

Authors will be sent a link to submit their manuscript directly to the virtual special issue. Any submissions made through ACS Paragon Plus outside of the direct submission link may not be included in the joint virtual special issue.

Manuscripts must adhere to the guidelines available on the journal’s Information for Authors page.

All invited and contributed manuscripts will be screened for suitability upon submission and undergo the standard peer-review procedure of the journal. The final submission deadline for inclusion in the virtual special issue is January 31, 2023.

Open Access

ACS journals offer diverse open-access publishing options. Please see ACSOpenScience.org for more information.

Editors

Thomas F. Hofmann, Technische Universität München, and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, ACS Agricultural Science & Technology, and ACS Food Science & Technology

Email: jafc@jafc.acs.org

Laura McConnell, Bayer Crop Science, and Deputy Editor, ACS Agricultural Science & Technology
Email: lmcconnell@agscitech.acs.org

Coralia Osorio Roa, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and Deputy Editor, ACS Food Science & Technology
Email: Cosorio@foodscitech.acs.org

 

ChemRxiv celebrates its fifth anniversary

This August, ChemRxiv celebrates its fifth anniversary. Launched in 2017, ChemRxiv has helped thousands of authors post more than 14,000 unique preprints across all fields of chemistry. These preprints have been viewed and downloaded nearly 38 million times. Additionally, many of these preprints have been peer-reviewed and published in top journals such as the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie, Chemical Science, Nature, Science, and more!

As part of our celebration, we published an editorial that reflects on the past five years and takes a look at what is next for ChemRxiv. We also interviewed the author of a recent preprint to learn more about their experience posting preprints and how ChemRxiv fits into their publishing goals.

This interview with Dr. Feihu Li of Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology relates to the preprint “Arsenic(V) Immobilization in Fly Ash and Lead-Zinc Mine Tailing-based Geopolymer: Performance and Mechanism Insight,” posted on February 4, 2022 and later published in the journal Chemosphere. The other authors on this preprint are Alseny Bah, Jie Jin, and Andrea O. Ramos, all from Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology.

Why did you decide to submit this recent preprint?

Compared to peer review and formal publication, which usually takes more than a few months, the preprint service allows for faster sharing of our lab’s research progress with national and international peers in about a week.

Did you have any prior experience with preprints?

Yes. I am used to submitting our manuscripts to the ChemRxiv preprint service prior to formal submission to a journal.

Can you give us a brief summary of the research shared in your preprint?

In this paper, we have developed a geopolymer by using fly ash and lead-zinc mine tailing as raw materials. The geopolymer not only can stabilize exogenous arsenic contaminants in the long term, but also has a strong compressive strength. Therefore, it can be used as a greener and low-carbon building material to substitute some conventional building materials with a high carbon footprint.

What feedback have you received about your preprint (or past preprints)?

No feedback has been received on this preprint yet. However, I note that a previously submitted ChemRxiv preprint was cited many times by international peers in formally published papers.

If you are attending the ACS Fall Meeting in Chicago, there will be a brief presentation from the ChemRxiv team from 1:00 to 1:30 PM CDT on Monday, August 22 in the ACS Theater in the exhibit hall of the McCormick Place Convention Center. We would be happy to answer your questions and learn about your experience with preprints.

Vicki Wysocki Named the New Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry

Dr. Vicki Wysocki

ACS Publications is pleased to introduce Dr. Vicki H. Wysocki as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (JASMS). Dr. Wysocki is the Ohio Eminent Scholar of Protein Engineering, Director of the Campus Chemical Instrument Center, and Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Ohio State University.

Dr. Wysocki received her B.S. in Chemistry at Western Kentucky University in 1982 and her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Purdue University in 1987. After doing postdoctoral work at Purdue and at the Naval Research Laboratory, she joined Virginia Commonwealth University as an Assistant Professor in 1990. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1994. Dr. Wysocki joined the University of Arizona in 1996 and was promoted to Professor in 2000. She also served as Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Arizona. Vicki joined OSU in August 2012 as an Ohio Eminent Scholar.

She is the author of over 250 publications. She served as Vice President of Programs, President, and Past President of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (2014-2020) and as an Associate Editor for Analytical Chemistry (2015-2022).

I had the pleasure of connecting with Dr. Wysocki in this recent interview. Learn more about her background in mass spectrometry, proteomics and metabolomics, her vision for the journal, and more below.

What initially attracted you to your field?

I had a great undergraduate organic chemistry instructor, Dr. Norman Holy, who held some special evening sessions on mass spectrometry for those in the class who wanted to learn this optional, supplemental information. That sparked my interest in mass spectrometry and when I moved to Purdue for graduate studies, I was able to join the group of R. Graham Cooks, who was (and continues to be) a wonderful creative champion for mass spectrometry. Graham was also a great mentor. He presented new ideas to the group regularly and if we thought a few of them were a little “off the wall” he told us that if he had 100 ideas a day and a few of them stuck, he would be ahead of those who had no or few new ideas. Mass spectrometry has continued to morph and grow throughout the years and continues to be a major area of innovative research.

Why did you want to be Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry?

JASMS is the society journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, an amazing scientific society. Members are committed to the society and the society runs through the efforts of incredible volunteers, supported by an exceptional scientific association management team. Members of our society “line up“ to volunteer to help make this an extraordinarily strong society. The percentage of members attending the annual conference is very high and many people can’t imagine missing a single year. It is an honor to help continue moving the society journal forward. I am also a huge supporter of our publishing partnership with ACS Publications. This arrangement is providing a level of publishing support that the journal has not had previously.

What are you most excited about as you begin work with the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry?

I believe that JASMS is the pre-eminent journal of mass spectrometry. I hope we can increase the number of submissions to the journal, partially by breaking down some submission barriers that may exist. There are some outdated opinions that JASMS doesn’t publish certain types of manuscripts, so we are revising our scope statement to make the scope clearer. I’d also like to ensure that different subtopics/sub-communities of the society feel welcome to publish in what is their society journal. I also want to encourage authors to submit to an archive service such as ChemRxiv prior to submitting to the journal – ACS is looking into ways to make this easier. The journal has always had a goal of making mass spectrometry research broadly accessible and submitting manuscripts through ChemRxiv is one way to achieve that goal.

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?

A career in science can be very rewarding. If you love discovery and you love working collaboratively with others, scientific research is a way to contribute to the world while also keeping yourself engaged in stimulating mental activity. Not every minute is fun, but the rewards far outweigh the chores. Each person has to choose those aspects of the scientific process that meet their individual needs and goals. I absolutely could not do the research and teaching that I do without exceptionally strong staff members who help with everything from ordering supplies to arranging travel to preparing reports, etc. Those committed staff are contributing to scientific progress with their outstanding administrative skills. Working with students, postdocs, staff scientists, and collaborators allows many different types of expertise/ideas/viewpoints/technologies to be incorporated into a scientific investigation. Bringing all of that together into a completed manuscript is a joy.

If I were starting over, I would tell myself to trust my strengths. I spent too much time when I was younger with some “imposter syndrome” issues, wondering if people would figure out that maybe I really didn’t know as much as my peers. Over time, I learned that I might not know as much about some topic X as another person, but they probably didn’t know as much as I knew about topic Y. It took me longer than it should have to understand that my contributions were valuable and that I did not have to be an expert in all the components of collaborative effort.

Explore Dr. Wysocki’s recent work in the journal today.

Learn more about the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.

Call for Papers: Physical Chemistry of Quantum Information Science

The Journal of Physical Chemistry A will publish a Virtual Special Issue on “Physical Chemistry of Quantum Information Science” led by Guest Editors Artur Izmaylov (University of Toronto), Tanya Zelevinsky (Columbia University), and Prineha Narang (UCLA).

Together they encourage researchers to submit their new and unpublished work by February 28, 2023.

Research areas of particular interest include:

  • Theoretical and computational quantum information science with molecular systems
  • Experimental quantum information architectures with molecular systems
  • Cold and ultracold chemistry
  • Quantum algorithms for quantum chemistry, molecular dynamics, and statistical mechanics
  • Open quantum systems implemented with molecules
  • Quantum optics with molecules
  • Cavity control of molecular qubits
  • Correlated molecular quantum matter
  • Entanglement measures for molecular qubits
  • New spectroscopies of molecular qubits
  • Predictions of molecular quantum devices, including quantum embedding

In conceiving this Virtual Special Issue, the Guest Editors were inspired by some recent exciting innovations and discoveries, including:

  • The control of molecular quantum states has gained a lot of ground since the rapid advances in ultracold molecular gas creation in the past decade as well as the development of advanced molecular beam techniques. This permits detailed studies of collisions and chemical reactions in the fully quantum regime, including detection of product state distributions and intermediate complexes.
  • Diatomic and even larger molecules are now sufficiently well controlled to provide a viable platform for implementing quantum information protocols. The experimental platforms include individual control of molecules in optical tweezers and many-body interactions in various optical lattice geometries.
  • Quantum computing is a promising area of algorithm development for improving the accuracy of classical computations for challenging chemical problems that deal with strongly correlated systems. This includes developments for chemical problems assuming the use of both near-term and future fault-tolerant quantum devices.
  • Chemical approaches present distinct advantages for quantum information science by advancing the use of precisely controlled molecules as quantum bits (qubits). Theoretical and experimental approaches to elucidate and design robust molecular assemblies of novel chiral synthetic molecules, optimized for long spin-coherence times are of interest.

Submission Instructions

The review process for all submissions for this Virtual Special Issue will be handled by The Journal of Physical Chemistry A/B/C Senior Editor Anastassia Alexandrova.

To ensure an unbiased peer review process, the Journal asks that you do not indicate within your manuscript that the submission is intended for the Virtual Special Issue. If you do, your manuscript will be returned for correction. Instead, when you submit your manuscript, please indicate this on your cover letter and note what part and section you feel will be the best fit. You can find a complete list of sections and other important information for authors in The Journal of Physical Chemistry A Author Guidelines.

As with all submissions to The Journal of Physical Chemistry A/B/C, your manuscript should represent a rigorous scientific report of original research, as it will be peer reviewed as a regular article. Manuscripts are expected to provide new physical insight and/or present new theoretical or computational methods of broad interest.

Contribute to this Virtual Special Issue

If you are unsure if your research is within the Virtual Special Issue’s scope or have other questions about submitting a manuscript to this Virtual Special Issue, please email The Journal of Physical Chemistry A’s Deputy Editor T. Daniel Crawford’s office at crawford-office@jpc.acs.org.

Meet the Winners of the 2022 Portoghese Lectureship Awards

The Editors of Journal of Medicinal Chemistry (JMC), ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters (MCL), and the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry (MEDI) are pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Philip S. Portoghese Journal of Medicinal Chemistry/ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters/Division of Medicinal Chemistry Joint Lectureship Awards:

  • Young Investigator: Michael Bollong, The Scripps Research Institute, USA
  • Senior Medicinal Chemist: Kip Guy, University of Kentucky, USA

These annual awards are named in honor of Professor Phil Portoghese who served as Editor-in-Chief of JMC from 1972 to 2011 and are presented at ACS Fall. The Young Investigator Award is given to a researcher who has displayed impact and/or promise of impact to the field of medicinal chemistry. The Senior Medicinal Chemist Award is given to an established scientist whose work has had a profound impact on the field and practice of medicinal chemistry.

If you’re attending ACS Fall 2022 in Chicago, you’re invited to come see the winners speak at the award symposium, which will be hosted by MEDI on Sunday, August 21, 2 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. in room W182 of the McCormick Place Convention Center.

Read on to learn more about the winners.

Michael Bollong

Dr. Michael Bollong

Michael J. Bollong is the Early Career Endowed Roon Chair for Cardiovascular Research and an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

We asked Dr. Bollong to tell us more about himself. The answers he gave are below.

What inspired you to pursue your area of research?

It was the fantastic science being done here at Scripps Research, which made want to become a scientist and which established my laboratory’s initial research trajectory. As an undergraduate, I had the unique opportunity to work in the laboratory of Pete Schultz. At the time, we were identifying small molecules that could aid in the reprogramming of fibroblasts into induced pluripotent stem cells. Seeing that a cell’s fate can be fundamentally changed by a drug like small molecule was a watershed moment for me, one that ultimately catalyzed my career-long interest in developing small molecules for regenerative medicine.

Describe a key turning point in your research.

While I have always had interest in manipulating the fate of cells with drug like small molecules, it was during my experience as the inaugural Scripps Fellow that changed how my laboratory thinks about developing drugs for regenerative medicine. During this period, my group and I were able to explore a key question: Can we identify chemical matter that promotes regenerative organ repair via induced proliferation? The profound physiological effects these molecules were inducing lead us to focus on this paradigm almost exclusively in the laboratory.

If you weren’t a medicinal chemist, what would you be?

Getting to explore the unknown is what I value most about being a scientist. If I couldn’t explore cells using chemistry, I imagine I would satisfy this desire for discovery in the ‘macro world’ by being an archeologist or deep-sea explorer.

R. Kip Guy

Dr. R. Kip GuyR. Kip Guy is the Dean of the College of Pharmacy and a professor in the Pharmaceutical Science Department at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

We asked Dr. Guy to tell us more about himself. The answers he gave are below.

What inspired you to pursue your area of research?

Dr. Guy shared this video from 2018 where he answered this question.

Describe a key turning point in your research.

A key turning point in my research was a collaboration with Joe DeRisi’s lab at UCSF where we developed methods for studying the effects of drugs on living co-cultures of malaria. We originally did that to study mechanism, but the methods were eventually adapted to both lead identification and lead optimization.

This approach allowed us to develop and optimize potent, selective, and bioavailable compounds without understanding their mechanism. It became the foundation for the candidate we have in Phase 2 for the treatment of malaria and paved the road for similar developments in a wide range of diseases.

If you weren’t a medicinal chemist, what would you be?

If I weren’t a medicinal chemist, I think I would be an architect/builder or a cabinet maker. I enjoy the interplay of design, engineering, and working with my hands that comes with all three of those jobs; and they play well to my skills of three-dimensional visualization.

 

ACS Materials Spotlight to disseminate advances in materials science

ACS Materials Spotlight is a series of hybrid scientific events initiated by the ACS Publications. Materials are and will continue to play a substantial role in sustainable development, mitigating climate change, addressing human health needs, and meeting our infrastructure and security needs. ACS Publications is pleased to introduce ACS Materials Spotlight as a platform to share knowledge, facilitate dialogue between researchers, promote recent advances in materials research, and evolve the research areas and trends. ACS materials portfolio will collaborate with top research institutions to host the academic events. The most elite materials scientists will spotlight the latest groundbreaking and emerging research and in new ways to bring the community together.

The ACS Materials Spotlight: Smart Molecules focuses on molecules exhibiting curious and desirable response to any environmental stimuli, which will be hosted by Dalian University of Technology on August 12th, 2022. Please visit the Webinar page to learn more details https://connect.acspubs.org/ACSMaterialsSpotlight.

The first event ACS Materials Spotlight: Energy Chemistry and Materials hosted by Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) was held on July 16th, 2022. Professors Bruce Dunn (University of California), Dongyuan Zhao (Fudan University), Patrice Simon (Université Paul Sabatier), Edman Tsang (University of Oxford), Liqiang Mai (WUT), Tao Wang (WUT), Qiang Zhang (Tsinghua University), Guangjin Hou (Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences), Fuzhi Huang (WUT) delivered scientific talks during the event and garnered 62k online and on-site participants.

Virtual Collections across ACS journals were created to inspire future research in various areas of materials:

  • John Goodenough at 100

https://pubs.acs.org/page/cmatex/vi/john-goodenough-100

  • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at Jilin University: A Virtual Issue

https://pubs.acs.org/page/ancac3/vi/jlu

  • Materials Innovation for Global Water Sustainability

https://pubs.acs.org/page/amlcef/vi/global-water-sustainability

  • Recent Advances in Hydrogels

https://pubs.acs.org/page/cmatex/vi/advances-hydrogels

  • Sustainable Polymers

https://pubs.acs.org/page/jacsat/vi/sustainable-polymers

Discover more ACS journals in Materials Portfolio by visiting ACS Publications website at https://pubs.acs.org/.

Meet the Winners of the 2022 ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Awards

The Editors of ACS Infectious Diseases and the ACS Division of Biological Chemistry (BIOL) are pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Awards:

  • Tania Lupoli, New York University, USA
  • Laura Sanchez, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
  • John Whitney McMaster University, Canada

This annual award is presented to outstanding young investigators in the field of infectious diseases at ACS Fall. If you’re attending ACS Fall 2022 in Chicago, you’re invited to come see the winners speak at the award symposium, which will be hosted by BIOL on Sunday, August 21, 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Marriott Marquis Chicago, Glessner House C.

Read on to learn more about each of the three winners.

Tania Lupoli

Dr. Tania Lupoli

Tania Lupoli is an assistant professor of chemistry at New York University in New York City.

“Dr. Lupoli was selected because of her impressive research program applying chemical biology tools to study infectious diseases,” says ACS Infectious Diseases Editor-in-Chief Courtney C. Aldrich. “Specifically, the committee was impressed by her research to understand the role of bacterial chaperones in combating immune stress from the host and her recent publication on overcoming rifamycin resistance in mycobacteria.”

We asked Dr. Lupoli to tell us more about herself. The answers she gave are below.

What inspired you to pursue your area of research?

I became interested in chemical biology research during my undergraduate years in the lab of Bobby Arora, which inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. During graduate school, my project was a collaboration between Dan Kahne (Department of Chemistry) and Suzanne Walker (Department of Microbiology and Immunology), and so I often attended microbiology research seminars. At this time, I became excited about the diversity of microbes in nature and the many unknowns that still existed about antibiotics’ modes of action. Through various projects, I saw that chemical tools offered unique lenses to look at problems in microbiology, and this realization drove the research problems that I later pursued.

Describe a key turning point in your research.

One key eureka moment in the lab occurred during my Ph.D. work. I used an old stock of antibiotic in a bacterial protein activity assay and found that we could detect a new biochemical function for this protein that was typically inhibited by the active antibiotic. It was a classic example of a mistake that led to a discovery, and it was a great moment that led to a new direction in my research.

If you weren’t a medicinal chemist, what would you be?

I would be a restaurant food critic (for The New Yorker)!

Laura Sanchez

Dr. Laura Sanchez

Laura Sanchez is an associate professor, chemistry and biochemistry, at University of California, Santa Cruz.

“Dr. Sanchez was chosen based on her outstanding research program applying cutting-edge mass spectrometry techniques, including imaging mass spectrometry, to study pathogens in vitro and in host tissues,” says ACS Infectious Diseases Editor-in-Chief Courtney C. Aldrich. “Her work to understand how bacteria use small-molecules to colonize the host as well as her research program to understand biofilm formation were deemed highly impactful by the review committee.”

We asked Dr. Sanchez to tell us more about herself. The answers she gave are below.

What inspired you to pursue your area of research?

I was trained as a natural product chemist and was always fascinated by the chemical arsenal that microbes are capable of producing. During my postdoctoral research I was excited to learn how to apply imaging mass spectrometry to be able to visualize the spatial distributions natural produce occupy on agar, and now in my own lab we are very excited to extend this information to host microbe interfaces and complex microbial communities.

Describe a key turning point in your research.

For me a key turning point early on was realizing that spatially driven metabolomics was an important factor in finding meaning in the wealth of data that can be obtained from a metabolomics experiment, especially when there are multiple microbial species, or a microbe and host being examined. The timing of production and area a given specialized metabolite occupies is very specific and while it can be challenging to adapt the biological system to be compatible for an imaging mass spectrometry experiment, it provides an amazing picture for chemical microbiologist to interpret.

The technological advances of the instrumentation itself has been fantastic to watch as well within the last decade even, with added dimensionality such as ion mobility and tandem mass spectrometry to definitively identify these metabolites directly from the tissues or microbes.

If you weren’t a medicinal chemists, what would you be?

If I didn’t have a career as a chemist, I always thought I would probably end up as a baker. This might not be surprising since my Ph.D. advisor, Roger Linington, told me natural product chemists like baking and sudoku. My lab enjoys my kitchen chemistry products 😉

John Whitney

Dr. John Whitney

John Whitney is the Canada Research Chair in Molecular Microbiology and the Burroughs Wellcome Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

“Dr. Whitney was selected for his pioneering work on bacterial secretion systems (type VI and VII) in gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, says ACS Infectious Diseases Editor-in-Chief Courtney C. Aldrich. “Exploitation of these systems may provide a novel method to develop new antibiotics.”

We asked Dr. Whitney to tell us more about himself. The answers he gave are below.

What inspired you to pursue your area of research?

Lipid membranes play an essential role in all cellular life, yet their existence also adds a layer of complexity for several biological processes, including the secretion of proteins from the cytoplasm into the extracellular environment. When I learned that pathogenic bacteria possess numerous multi-subunit macromolecular machines that facilitate protein secretion (typically of protein toxins), I became fascinated with this area of research and have pursued it ever since.

Describe a key turning point in your research.

One area of interest in our lab is the discovery and characterization of secreted proteins with antibacterial activity. These antibacterial toxins often possess modes of action that represent novel mechanisms of inhibiting bacterial growth. One particularly memorable discovery was a toxin produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa that specifically depletes ADP and ATP in competitor cells via the pyrophosphorylation of these essential nucleotides.

If you weren’t a biological chemist, what would you be?

As my graduate students can attest to, I can be overly attentive to detail when it comes to scrutinizing experimental data. I suspect that this trait would be useful in non-scientific vocations such as accounting. So, while it may not have the same eureka moments as academic science, I think that becoming a chartered accountant might have been my most realistic career option if science didn’t work out.

Dr. Patrick Sexton wins the 2022 Gordon Hammes Lectureship Award

Patrick Sexton

The Gordon Hammes Lectureship Award recognizes and honors an individual whose scientific contributions have had a major impact on research across all of biological chemistry. The winner of this year’s award, Monash University’s Dr. Patrick Sexton, will present the Gordon Hammes Lecture during the ACS Spring 2023 Meeting & Exposition March 26 – 30 in Indianapolis, IN.

Since 2017, this award has been announced alongside the Gordon Hammes Scholar Award. Both awards are sponsored jointly by Biochemistry and the ACS Division of Biological Chemistry.

“Sexton’s work has great impact on our understanding of ligand-GPCR interactions, how these interactions induce receptor activation, and how receptor dynamics contribute to the sophisticated and multi-layered chemistry that characterizes GPCRs. He is a terrific choice for the Hammes Lectureship Award,” said Biochemistry Editor-in-Chief Alanna Schepartz.

Read a brief interview with Gordon Hammes Lectureship Award Winner, Dr. Patrick Sexton

What do you consider to be the most important advances in biochemistry in the past five years?

One of the standouts would be the speed with which we have seen the development of diverse and highly efficacious vaccines for Covid. This has been a great example of the implementation of high-throughput structural biology, particularly cryo-EM, to inform vaccine design and the value of rapid open access publishing to address a critical public health question. It also saw the emergence of mRNA vaccines as mainstream medicines, and this is likely to be transformative for future vaccine development. Beyond this has been the advent of impressive computational approaches to protein structure prediction and the accessibility of these tools to the research community. From a researcher studying membrane proteins, the continued evolution of cryo-EM coupled with ongoing developments in protein expression, and purification/reconstitution, along with biochemical tools and approaches to attain high-resolution structural information on membrane proteins in multiple biochemically and pharmacologically important states has been one of the tremendous advances over the last 5 years. This has provided near atomic level detail on numerous hitherto intractable proteins/protein states. Moreover, we are increasingly seeing integrated techniques for studying the conformational dynamics of membrane proteins that are critically important to understanding how they function and how they are modulated by different classes of drugs. Finally, for linkage of structure to function, the ongoing development of new tools that enable the study of complex biochemical systems in live cells, including proximity proteomics, and numerous biophysical methods such as FRET and BRET that are being applied in increasingly high-throughput ways to enable time- and spatially-resolved understanding of cellular events such as receptor signalling, trafficking and regulation has also been an important advance.

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

My laboratory, co-led by myself and Denise Wootten, studies G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), the largest family of cell surface membrane proteins, with a particular focus on a subfamily of these receptors that bind to physiologically important peptide hormones. The laboratory has research that spans structure elucidation through biochemical and pharmacology assays of receptor function, to animal models of disease, which we use to understand the chemical biology and pharmacology of allosteric ligands and biased agonists, and the integration of this insight with high-resolution structure and dynamics to understand peptide and small molecule drug action. We were among the first to apply single particle cryo-EM to determine high-resolution structures of GPCRs, particularly for active-state structures that were extremely challenging by x-ray crystallography, including the development of modified G proteins to improve stabilisation of GPCR-G protein complexes that can be applied to multiple G protein subtypes. We have applied these methods to study both peptide and small molecule drug binding to GPCRs and to gain insight into the mechanism of activation for class B peptide hormone GPCRs. Of course, GPCRs are conformationally dynamic proteins and we have been using recent advances in analysis of cryo-EM data to directly visualise conformational ensembles that are captured during vitrification. This has been critical to gain insight into the mechanistic basis for distinct ligand pharmacology that may not be revealed in high-resolution consensus cryo-EM maps. Increasingly, we are using integrated approaches to probe dynamics of GPCR function, such as the combination of cryo-EM and HDX-MS, often supported by molecular dynamics simulations, to broaden temporal and/or spatial resolution that is going to be key to linking molecular changes in proteins to observed function in biochemical, biophysical and pharmacological assays.

What advice would you give to students who aspire to be where you are now?

The first piece of advice is to be excited by what you do. We are very privileged as our work enables us to be the first to discover aspects of how proteins/cells/integrated systems function. Whether these are small insights or those that change the way we need to think they are all important in evolving our fields. It is important to not lose sight of this. If you can’t be excited by your science, it is probably not the best career choice.

The second would be to foster and build collaborations and partnerships. I have been very fortunate to work with some amazing scientists and there is great benefit in bringing together people with different backgrounds, ideas and expertise. This is important for all of our science, but long-term partnerships built on trust and shared vision have been the backbone of my career.