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Dr. Bryan Dickinson wins the 2022 ACS Chemical Biology Young Investigator Award

The ACS Chemical Biology Young Investigator Award honors the contributions of an early-career individual who is doing outstanding work in chemical biology. The first winner of this annual award, Dr. Bryan Dickinson from The University of Chicago, will present the ACS Chemical Biology Young Investigator Lecture during the ACS Spring 2023 Meeting & Exposition March 26 – 30 in Indianapolis, IN.

The award is sponsored jointly by ACS Chemical Biology and the ACS Division of Biological Chemistry.

“The review committee was delighted to receive a large number of highly-competitive nominations for the inaugural ACS Chemical Biology Young Investigator award,” said Editor-in-Chief Chuan He. “Following detailed deliberations, we are excited to name Dr. Bryan Dickinson as the winner of the 2022 ACS Chemical Biology Young Investigator Award, for his unique and outstanding contributions to designing and applying both small-molecule-driven and bioengineering-based strategies that enable novel means to perturb, probe, or control, numerous important biological regulatory programs spanning from the lipid signaling to epitranscriptome and RNA targeting. Work from the Dickinson laboratory over the past 8 years pushes the boundaries of chemical biology. This laboratory further demonstrates that when studied with depth and breath, how chemical biologists can bring novel interdisciplinary solutions to address important problems in the life sciences.”

Read a Brief Interview With Dr. Bryan Dickinson

Dr. Bryan Dickinson

Dr. Bryan Dickinson

Can you give us a short overview of the research you are currently undertaking and/or the project you are most excited about?

The motivating principle of my group is that our ability as chemists to create functional molecules will lead to new breakthroughs in biology and biotechnology. We are molecule-type agnostic though, engaging in everything from synthetic organic chemistry to create small molecules, molecular evolution to reprogram molecules, and protein/RNA design to develop novel biotechnology platforms. We select problems that we think are important, both in basic biology and translational science, and then do what only chemists can do—think about molecular solutions to those problems, and then go in the lab and create, find, or engineer those molecules!

One subgroup I am very excited about right now is our subgroup developing technologies to harness evolution to engineer and optimize molecules with specific bioactivities. Evolution, nature’s design philosophy, is not only a powerful method for optimizing or redirecting existing molecular function but can also lead to the de novo discovery of novel mechanisms of activity of molecules. I believe this function-first approach to molecular design could be impactful in the ways we discover bioactive molecules, but critically, can also lead to new mechanisms of action.

Over the past seven years, though iterative platform technology development, in particular our group’s proximity-dependent split RNAP biosensing system, we have developed technologies that allow us to rapidly evolve selective molecular interfaces between proteins, to evolve “molecular glues” that drive biomolecular interactions, to evolve biocatalysts, and finally, to evolve selective inhibitors of target biomolecular interactions.

Now, we are using these systems to try to tackle complex biophysical “puzzles” with a disease-focus, such as how to selectively disrupt disease-driving pre-formed protein complexes or how to drive biomolecular interactions with molecular glues to rewire cell signaling. We believe that the throughout and library sizes enabled by our evolution-based systems will yield novel solutions to these puzzles and lay the foundation for new classes of therapeutics.

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

I suggest anyone entering the field of chemical biology really try to identify and follow their passions. There are so many problems facing society today—from seemingly intractable diseases to looming climate and energy disasters. Chemistry can provide some of the solutions to these challenges, and chemical biologists, with their exceptional abilities to build interdisciplinary teams, can help lead those efforts.

I always sought highly interdisciplinary training environments with a “problem-focused,” rather than “technique or model-focused,” approach to science. I would advise burgeoning chemical biologists to find groups to work with that align with your values and passions, who think creatively and interdisciplinarily, and who value team-based science with a mission-driven attitude. At least for me, this has been a fulfilling and energizing way for me to navigate my own career choices and led me to work with two of the best advisors I could possibly imagine for my Ph.D. and postdoc.

Relatedly, one of the things I am most proud of is a PI is my group culture. Our team tackles problems we think are important with bravery, creativity, and a sense of purpose. In short—find science to pursue that you really care about and the people to pursue it with that share your values and passions, and everything will flow beautifully from there!

What new directions in chemical biology do think will be most impactful in the next few years?

I am really interested in the ever-changing role of academic science in the broader biotech and drug discovery ecosystem. Academic science—both discovery and technology development—plays a critically important role in that ecosystem, and increasingly, serves as springboard for young entrepreneurs to build and test innovative ideas and then move them outside of academia to the “real world.”

There are so many exciting therapeutic modalities that emerged from academia that are poised to make major inroads in medicine in the next decade, from CRISPR technologies, to PROTACs and related bifunctional recruiter systems, to RNA-targeting technologies. While chemical biologists have and will continue to serve a critical role as “tool developers” to break down barriers in the study of biology, I think major impacts will be made in changing the paradigms of what a drug can look like and what can be targeted therapeutically.

Related to that goal, I think innovative training environments that help both support and foster diverse trainees to become successful in their futures, which within chemical biology, are increasingly translational and therefore outside of academia, will ensure chemical biology as a field continues to generate leaders in both academia and industry.

In short, there are so many patients in need with seemingly intractable medical problems, but also, so many exciting and innovative ideas out there, I think the next decade will really lead to a golden age of biotechnology, fueled in large part by chemical biology.

Explore Recent ACS Journal Articles by Dr. Bryan Dickinson

  1. Charting the Chemical Space of Acrylamide-Based Inhibitors of zDHHC20. ACS Med. Chem. Lett. 2022, 13, 10, 1648–1654
  2. A High-Throughput Fluorescent Turn-On Assay for Inhibitors of DHHC Family Proteins. ACS Chem. Biol. 2022, 17, 8, 2018–2023
  3. Development of Mild Chemical Catalysis Conditions for m1A-to-m6A Rearrangement on RNA. ACS Chem. Biol. 2022, 17, 6, 1334–1342
  4. Phage-Assisted Continuous Evolution and Selection of Enzymes for Chemical Synthesis. ACS Cent. Sci. 2021, 7, 9, 1581–1590
  5. A System for the Evolution of Protein–Protein Interaction Inducers. ACS Synth. Biol. 2021, 10, 8, 2096–2110
  6. Development of an Acrylamide-Based Inhibitor of Protein S-Acylation. ACS Chem. Biol. 2021, 16, 8, 1546–1556
  7. Small Molecule-Inducible RNA-Targeting Systems for Temporal Control of RNA Regulation. ACS Cent. Sci. 2020, 6, 11, 1987–1996
  8. A Phage-Assisted Continuous Selection Approach for Deep Mutational Scanning of Protein–Protein Interactions. ACS Chem. Biol. 2019, 14, 12, 2757–2767
  9. Activity-Based Sensing of S-Depalmitoylases: Chemical Technologies and Biological Discovery. Acc. Chem. Res. 2019, 52, 11, 3029–3038
  10. Development of a Split Esterase for Protein–Protein Interaction-Dependent Small-Molecule Activation. ACS Cent. Sci. 2019, 5, 11, 1768–1776

Update on ACS Publications’ Name Change Policy: Two Years Later

ACS Publications recognizes and respects that authors may change their names for many reasons during their academic careers including—but not limited to—gender identity, marriage, divorce, or religious conversion. As part of ACS Publications’ commitment to reducing barriers to inclusion, equity, and professional mobility, we implemented an inclusive name change policy in October 2020, offering a more inclusive and author-centric path to updating one’s name on prior publications. Over the last two years, we have updated approximately 400 published articles. In doing so, nearly 100 researchers have rightfully claimed ownership of their academic work under their lived names.

Though this policy benefits anyone who changes their name, we were originally motivated to update our policy in response to a call from the transgender scientific community. For many researchers, particularly those from the transgender community, name changes can be a sensitive issue. Submitting change requests can be taxing—emotionally and administratively—especially for researchers who have published in multiple journals or across publishers whose policies and procedures may vary.

To help address this burden, in 2021 ACS Publications announced a partnership with the U.S. National Laboratories as they implemented their name change policy. The partnership with all seventeen U.S. National Laboratories enables researchers to ask the National Laboratories to pursue name changes on their behalf directly with participating publishers. This streamlined process reduces the emotional toll often associated with name changes and the administrative burden involved in requesting name changes at multiple publishers or journals. Over the last year, we have been diligently working to honor this partnership. We have also been advancing other planned improvements to our policy and processes.

We’re pleased to share that we can now accept name change requests submitted by an approved institutional representative on behalf of an author. Through a revised request form, institutional representatives can submit all the necessary information for ACS to process the change. Authors must still update their ACS Paragon Plus profile and ORCiD, and they must be copied on the request and made available for questions if needed. More information for interested authors and institutional representatives can be found on our policy page and FAQs.

We continue to encourage authors to submit requests on their own behalf, if their institution does not have a name change policy or they do not want to involve an institutional representative. For authors, the revised form allows them to provide more relevant information from the start of the request and aims to minimize the burden on the author later in the process. ACS staff might still contact the author throughout the process as questions arise. 

Through efforts like ACS’ name change policy, ACS Publications is committed to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect (DEIR), identifying and dismantling barriers to success, and creating a welcoming and supportive environment so that all ACS contributors, members, employees, and volunteers can thrive. We continue to actively listen to the community on these issues and welcome your feedback on how we are doing. Please complete our Diversity Feedback form to share your comments.

Visit the ACS Publications Name Change Policy Page

Learn About Our Commitment to Advancing DEIR

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The 2022 Open Call for ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Editorial Advisory Board and Early Career Board Members

ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering is pleased to announce the open call for membership applications to its 2023 Early Career and Editorial Advisory Boards.  Board members of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering represent researchers at all stages of their careers and play a key role with input and advice to the Journal. Duties include guiding the Journal in the development of its diversity plan and expanding our editorial content.  The Early Career Board augments the Editorial Advisory Board and provides researchers a mechanism for Board membership that avoids competing with senior colleagues for membership opportunities. In addition to full participation in Board activities by Early Career Board members, the Journal’s editors and advisors actively mentor each Early Career Board member. The Journal continues to seek Editorial Advisory Board and Early Career Board members who will be actively involved in these activities.  The Editors invite all interested and eligible researchers to apply.

Two years ago, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering took the innovative step of announcing their first open call for membership; the response was very enthusiastic, and many more applicants were received than could be accepted.  We have created an open self-nominating process for Board membership.  Applications to be part of the Editorial Advisory Board and our Early Career Board are available below and are due by 27 November, 2022

Submit Your Application

Applicants should self-nominate and are encouraged, but are not required, to include up to two (2) letters of support.  The applicants’ responses to the open-ended questions (below) and their ability to represent the topical areas covered and geographic areas represented by the journal’s authors, reviewers, and readers will be assessed.  Board members should also drive the Journal into new areas of research and represent geographical regions that the journal aspires to publish more content from.  The application review committee will keep diversity and inclusiveness in mind as it seeks to fulfill these criteria.  The selected board members will be invited to join the Board immediately after selection in Fall 2022 and will serve terms ending in 2024.

Application

Please submit your applications by 27 November, 2022. Additional details are provided below. If you have questions, please send them to Award.ACSSustainable@acs.org. We hope that many of you will choose to apply.

Early Career Board Eligibility: Faculty members within 10 years or less of their initial academic appointment and industrial and other non-academic scientists within 10 years or less from their last professional training (terminal degree or postdoc).  If you have taken career breaks to accommodate personal circumstances such as caring responsibilities or health-related needs that affects your eligibility under the 10-year timeline described above, please email Award.ACSSustainable@acs.org to discuss extension of the eligibility period.

Editorial Advisory Board Eligibility: Researchers and those active in the development and delivery of Green Chemistry, Green Engineering and the sustainability of the chemical enterprise.

For both Boards: A concise statement of no more than 1,000 words addressing these open-ended questions:

  1. What do you consider to be the Journal’s strengths? What are its challenges and opportunities?
  2. Based on your perception of the strengths and challenges, what is your sense of new directions and topical areas for the ACS SCE Journal, consistent with its mission and scope?
  3. What would you contribute to movement in such directions?
  4. Noting the Journal is asking members of the Journal Editorial Boards to contribute to the development of journal front matter material, in which of these areas might you contribute? What abilities and perspectives do you bring to this effort?
  5. Noting that the Journal is asking board members to assist in developing a diversity plan, what abilities and perspectives do you bring to this effort?
  6. Is there any other unique perspective you bring that we should be aware of?

Submit Your Application by 27 November 

The 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Goes to Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, and K. Barry Sharpless

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022 was awarded to Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, and K. Barry Sharpless “for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry,” which involve simple, quick chemical reactions that can occur within living organisms without disrupting normal biological functions.

“We are absolutely delighted with these awards, which recognize the enormous impact of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry,” says ACS President Angela K. Wilson. “This type of chemistry links together chemical building blocks in a predictable way, almost like Lego®. Putting these building blocks together opens up a range of possibilities from drug development to materials to diagnostics.”

Bertozzi has a long-standing history with ACS. She has been a member for 32 years and is an ACS Fellow. She is also the founding and current Editor-in-Chief of ACS Central Science, the first fully open-access journal from ACS Publications. She has won numerous awards; notably, the Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry for 2023; the Arthur C. Cope Award in 2017; the ACS Award in Pure Chemistry in 2001; and an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 1999. She has published more than 150 articles ACS journals and provided thought-provoking commentary in many editorials, a collection of which we have shared below.

Meldal has been a member of ACS for 14 years. In 2009, he received the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry. Meldal has published over 40 articles in ACS journals.

Sharpless is no stranger to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He received the award in 2001 for his work on chirally catalyzed oxidation reactions. An ACS Fellow, Sharpless has been a member of the Society for 59 years and has published almost 150 articles in ACS journals. He also coined the term “click chemistry” at the 217th ACS National Meeting in 1999 in his abstract, “Click Chemistry: A Concept for Merging Process and Discovery Chemistry.” He has received many awards, including the Priestley Medal (sponsored by ACS) in 2019; the Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry in 1997; the Arthur C. Cope Award in 1992; an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 1986; and the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, in 1983.

All three winners have each published extensively in ACS Publications journals throughout the years. The following articles from each of the laureates, as well as a collection of additional papers associated with the winning research, will be made free-to-read for the remainder of 2022 in honor of their win.

Carolyn R. Bertozzi

A Strain-Promoted [3 + 2] Azide−alkyne Cycloaddition for Covalent Modification of Biomolecules in Living Systems
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126, 46, 15046–15047
DOI: 10.1021/ja044996f

Aminooxy-, Hydrazide-, and Thiosemicarbazide-Functionalized Saccharides: Versatile Reagents for Glycoconjugate Synthesis
J. Org. Chem. 1998, 63, 21, 7134–7135
DOI: 10.1021/jo981351n

A “Traceless” Staudinger Ligation for the Chemoselective Synthesis of Amide Bonds
Org. Lett. 2000, 2, 14, 2141–2143
DOI: 10.1021/ol006054v

A Fluorogenic Dye Activated by the Staudinger Ligation
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 16, 4708–4709
DOI: 10.1021/ja029013y

Chemoselective Approaches to Glycoprotein Assembly
Acc. Chem. Res. 2001, 34, 9, 727–736
DOI: 10.1021/ar9901570

Rapid Cu-Free Click Chemistry with Readily Synthesized Biarylazacyclooctynones
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 11, 3688–3690
DOI: 10.1021/ja100014q

Second-Generation Difluorinated Cyclooctynes for Copper-Free Click Chemistry
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 34, 11486–11493
DOI: 10.1021/ja803086r

A Comparative Study of Bioorthogonal Reactions with Azides
ACS Chem. Biol. 2006, 1, 10, 644–648
DOI: 10.1021/cb6003228

Morten Meldal

Peptidotriazoles on Solid Phase:  [1,2,3]-Triazoles by Regiospecific Copper(I)-Catalyzed 1,3-Dipolar Cycloadditions of Terminal Alkynes to Azides
J. Org. Chem. 2002, 67, 9, 3057–3064
DOI: 10.1021/jo011148j

K. Barry Sharpless

Copper(I)-Catalyzed Synthesis of Azoles. DFT Study Predicts Unprecedented Reactivity and Intermediates
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 1, 210–216
DOI: 10.1021/ja0471525 

Related ACS Publications Articles

Influence of strain on chemical reactivity. Relative reactivity of torsionally strained double bonds in 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions
Shea, K. J. and Kim, J. S. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1992, 114, 12, 4846–4855
DOI: 10.1021/ja00038a059

Heats of hydrogenation. IX. Cyclic acetylenes and some miscellaneous olefins
Turner, R. B. et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1973, 95, 3, 790–792.
DOI: 10.1021/ja00784a025

Staudinger Ligation: A Peptide from a Thioester and Azide
Nilsson, B. L. et al. Org. Lett. 2000, 2, 13, 1939–1941
DOI: 10.1021/ol0060174

A new amino protecting group removable by reduction. Chemistry of the dithiasuccinoyl (Dts) function
Barany, G. and Merrifield, R. B. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1977, 99, 22, 7363–7365
DOI: 10.1021/ja00464a050

Tetrazine Ligation: Fast Bioconjugation Based on Inverse-Electron-Demand Diels−Alder Reactivity
Blackman, M. et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 41, 13518–13519
DOI: 10.1021/ja8053805

Tetrazine-Based Cycloadditions: Application to Pretargeted Live Cell Imaging
Devaraj, N. K. et al. Bioconjugate Chem. 2008, 19, 12, 2297–2299
DOI: 10.1021/bc8004446

Learn More About the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners in C&EN.

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Further Reading

Articles: Carolyn R. Bertozzi

From Mechanism to Mouse: A Tale of Two Bioorthogonal Reactions
Acc. Chem. Res. 2011, 44, 9, 666–676
DOI: 10.1021/ar200148z

Cell Surface Engineering by a Modified Staudinger Reaction
https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.287.5460.2007

Copper-free click chemistry for dynamic in vivo imaging
https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.0707090104

Engineering Chemical Reactivity on Cell Surfaces Through Oligosaccharide Biosynthesis
https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.276.5315.1125

Copper-Free Click Chemistry in Living Animals
https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.0911116107

In Vivo Imaging of Membrane-Associated Glycans in Developing Zebrafish
https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.1155106

Articles: Morten Meldal

Peptidotriazoles: Copper(I)-Catalyzed 1,3-Dipolar Cycloadditions on Solid-Phase
Peptides: The Wave of the Future. American Peptide Symposia, vol 7. Springer, Dordrecht.
DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-0464-0_119

Computational Evolution of Threonine-Rich β-Hairpin Peptides Mimicking Specificity and Affinity of Antibodies
ACS Cent. Sci. 2019, 5, 2, 259–269
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.8b00614

Cu-Catalyzed Azide−Alkyne Cycloaddition
Chem. Rev. 2008, 108, 8, 2952–3015
DOI: 10.1021/cr0783479

Articles: K. Barry Sharpless

Sulfur [18F]Fluoride Exchange Click Chemistry Enabled Ultrafast LateStage Radiosynthesis
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 10, 3753–3763
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c09306

Sulfur(VI) Fluoride Exchange (SuFEx)-Enabled High-Throughput Medicinal Chemistry
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 25, 10899–10904
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b13652

SuFEx Click Chemistry Enabled Late-Stage Drug Functionalization
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 8, 2919–2925
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b12788

In Situ Click Chemistry:  Enzyme Inhibitors Made to Their Own Specifications
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126, 40, 12809–12818
DOI: 10.1021/ja046382g

Editorials: Carolyn R. Bertozzi

The Centrality of Chemistry (Inaugural ACS Central Science editorial)
ACS Cent. Sci. 2015, 1, 1, 1–2
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.5b00090

Achieving Gender Balance in the Chemistry Professoriate Is Not Rocket Science
ACS Cent. Sci. 2016, 2, 4, 181–182
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.6b00102

Ingredients for a Positive Safety Culture
ACS Cent. Sci. 2016, 2, 11, 764–766
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.6b00341

Postdoc Labor Love
ACS Cent. Sci. 2016, 2, 6, 359–360
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.6b00167

A Decade of Bioorthogonal Chemistry
Acc. Chem. Res. 2011, 44, 9, 651–653
DOI: 10.1021/ar200193f

Related Special Issues

Bioorthogonal Chemistry in Biology Special Issue

The 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Goes to Svante Pääbo

Svante Paabo, winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine

Credit: Frank Vinken/Max Planck Society

Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution,” which have unlocked new understandings of genetic relationships between modern humans and our ancient relatives.

Pääbo’s groundbreaking research has led to many novel discoveries about our evolutionary history and what makes us “uniquely human.” Notably, he and his colleagues successfully sequenced the entire Neanderthal genome, and he later discovered an entirely new hominin species, Denisova, by sequencing DNA from a well-preserved finger bone found in a Siberian cave.

These findings led Pääbo to help establish Paleogenomics, a novel field of science based on reconstructing and analyzing ancient DNA from extinct specimens. Pääbo’s discoveries have provided promising insights into how the gene flow from our ancient ancestors to modern-day humans influences physiological functions such as sleep cycles, immune responses to certain infections, and survival in high-altitude settings.

Pääbo has previously published work in Journal of Proteome Research, where he and his team analyzed differences in protein expression between humans and primates.

Read more about Svante Pääbo and his research in Chemical & Engineering News

Meet the Winners of the 2022 ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Lectureship Awards

The Editors of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering and the ACS Green Chemistry Institute are proud to celebrate the winners of the 2022 ACS Sustainable Chemistry Lectureship Awards:

  • Timothy Noël, Van’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Shu-Yuan Pan, National Taiwan University
  • Corinne Scown, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, USA

These annual awards recognize the research contributions of scientists, working in green chemistry, green engineering, and sustainability in the chemical enterprise, who have completed their academic training within the past 10 years. Lectureship award winners are selected for three regions: The Americas, Europe/Middle East/Africa, and Asia/Pacific.

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

Timothy Noël

Timothy Noël

Professor Timothy Noël of the Van’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, was “honored for his contributions to continuous flow chemistry, building tools that bridge chemistry and chemical engineering,” wrote ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Editor-in-Chief David T. Allen in his Editorial announcing this year’s award winners.

We asked Professor Noël to tell us more about himself. Here’s what he said:

How is your research specifically important to your region of the world versus on a global scale?

I believe that our research can be of added value to both academia and industry around the world. It is clear that continuous manufacturing principles will be increasingly implemented in the production of pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals, as it enables more efficient processes. It is our goal to help and make this transition possible.

What would you like government and/or industry representatives to understand about your research?

The merger of synthetic organic chemistry and chemical engineering allows us to push the boundaries of what is possible in synthesis. In addition, the use of flow chemistry enables a more facile transition between academic discovery of new synthetic methods and its subsequent use in the industrial production of chemicals.

Tell us about a research collaboration your group has undertaken.

We are proud of the fact that much of research is done in direct collaboration with people from industry. Such collaborations allow us to solve some real-life problems and the solutions can directly impact society.

What type of work can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?

We continue working on synthetic methods which exploit photons and electrons to drive reactions forward. The aim is to explore new chemical ground using reagents that are challenging to use in conventional round-bottom flasks. As an example, think about gaseous reagents which are often avoided due to the issues associated to handle those in batch. In addition, we always try to develop new reactor technologies which can increase the reaction efficiency of those transformations and enables their scale up.

Shu-Yuan Pan

Shu-Yuan Pan

Professor Shu-Yuan Pan of the National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, was “honored for his contributions to the development of innovative circular technologies for waste valorization as biochemicals, green materials, and reclaimed water,” wrote Professor Allen.

We asked Professor Pan to tell us more about himself. Here’s what he said:

How is your research specifically important to your region of the world versus on a global scale?

Our Green Technology Lab (GTLab) research provides a complete solution to the global industries and agricultural sectors with huge amounts of wastewater and/or solid waste. Our developed technologies aim to tackle wide-ranging challenges from industrial and agricultural cleaner production to sustainable community development.

For instance, we design “cascade separation” by integrating various separation mechanisms, such as chemical extraction, (ion-exchange) adsorption, electrokinetic migration, electrochemical reaction, and crystallization. This technology can be deployed for treating organic wastewater originating from local piggery industries, thereby ensuring a safe and clean watershed while achieving a circular bioeconomy. Moreover, we develop a high-efficient mineralization process utilizing industrial CO2 for upgrading the alkaline wastes to green construction materials. We found that a substantial amount of CO2 could be directly fixed and indirectly avoided by the mineralization processes. This would greatly impact global CO2 challenges and current solid waste management practices, especially in the US, China, India, and Korea.

What would you like government and/or industry representatives to understand about your research?

Our research provides a ground-breaking impact on the pathway to accelerate the realization of a circular economy in various sectors. Our developed technologies can reduce the anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems while avoiding extensive resource exploitation.

One of our current research focuses on developing energy-efficient processes for extracting valuable resources, including humic substances, organic acids, nutrients, and chemicals, from various types of wastes in agriculture, industry, and the domestic community. We design the processes based on the characteristics of target compounds from the thermodynamics perspective and evaluate the performance of processes from lab-scale validation to a large-scale demonstration. For example, we synthesize compound-oriented conductive materials to maximize the separation efficiency and the purity of products (e.g., organic acids and nutrients), which has a huge competence to the existing market product. Our demonstration could provide sufficient information to policymakers for identifying the best available circular technologies.

Tell us about a research collaboration your group has undertaken.

Our group has a close, long-term collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Ohio State University, University of Delaware, and the University of Seoul. The Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, and the National Taiwan University have continuously supported our research through the Einstein Project and the Higher Education SPROUT Project, respectively. Our team has recently established collaborative R&D programs with the University of Tsukuba, and several local industries in Taiwan to explore and implement the circular bioeconomy principles.

What type of work can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?

We keep dedicating ourselves to developing and implementing green circular technologies for waste valorization from the perspective of green chemistry principles. We design the fit-for-purpose and energy-efficient processes to recover value-added resources, produce clean water, and even produce bioenergy from wastes with affordable costs.

In particular, we design various processes and advanced functional materials to precisely recover valuable compounds from a complex waste matrix. This could provide opportunities to establish a new industry, so-called circular industries, to achieve the goal of responsible consumption and production while contributing to the net-zero emission target.

Corinne Scown

Corinne Scown

Dr. Corinne Scown of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, USA, was “honored for her contributions integrating emerging technology development with rigorous technoeconomic analysis and life-cycle assessment,” wrote Professor Allen.

We asked Dr. Scown to tell us more about herself. Here’s what she said:

How is your research specifically important to your region of the world versus on a global scale?

Much of my group’s work focuses on the United States, but I like to think that most of our findings transcend national boundaries. Analyses of the cost, greenhouse gas, and water impacts of an individual bioenergy facility can be easily translated to other countries with some basic adjustments to basic parameters like input costs and regional grid mixes. However, for research focused on global-scale implementation of a given decarbonization strategy, the limiting factor is data availability. I’m hopeful that the trend toward making research code open-source and sharing underlying datasets will make this less of an issue in the future.

What would you like government and/or industry representatives to understand about your research?

I’m fortunate enough to interact with folks in government (Federal and California State) and industry on a regular basis so it’s not uncommon that I get an opportunity to directly share my research with them. One takeaway from my work that is worth emphasizing is that it’s important to consider multiple economic and environmental impacts together before making a decision.

We did some work on organic waste management a few years ago, where we compared alternatives ranging from landfilling to composting to anaerobic digestion. From a climate standpoint, it was clear that landfilling was by far the most carbon-intensive option and composting was probably the cheapest way to avoid those emissions. However, we were completely surprised when we saw the estimates of ammonia emissions from composting nitrogen-rich food waste and the potential air quality and human health consequences.

In that particular case, there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding how ammonia may react with other species in the atmosphere to form harmful fine particulate matter, but it was a stark reminder of how we can develop blind spots when we only focus on a single metric, like greenhouse gas emissions.

Tell us about a research collaboration your group has undertaken.

One of the most interdisciplinary and fun collaborations has been a recent project with synthetic biologists, led by Jay Keasling, and material scientists include Brett Helms and Kristin Persson. We have been working together on polydiketoenamines (PDKs), which are polymers that can be depolymerized under mild conditions to recovery virgin-quality monomers and separate out fillers, dyes, and other additives that would otherwise degrade the quality with each recycle.

My group’s task was to take the chemistry being done in the lab and actually design and simulate how these PDKs would be synthesized and recycled in a hypothetical industrial facility. We quickly identified a few key inputs that were driving the costs and greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing the virgin PDK.

Incredibly, within a few months, Brett and his team were able to take that feedback and develop an alternative process that totally eliminated the biggest contributor. The costs and greenhouse gas footprint both dropped by more than half. It is so gratifying to see that sort of impact and I’m excited to see where that project goes in the future.

What type of work can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?

I am particularly excited about the potential for the bioeconomy to play a role in removing carbon from the atmosphere. There is a lot we don’t yet know about the best ways to do that, from a systems perspective, because some of the strategies are so nascent.

Technoeconomic analysis and life-cycle assessment, when paired with science and early-stage technology development, have much to offer because we can design systems that would be impactful and cost-effective and work backwards to identify where the technological or scientific gaps remain. There will always be low-hanging fruit; capturing CO2-rich gaseous streams from biorefineries and sequestering them underground seems like one of the more obvious places to start and we’ve done some preliminary work on that. Sequestering carbon in long-lived products like building materials is also interesting. In the future, we may tackle more complex and novel strategies related to the agriculture sector (for example, altering plant root exudates to sequester more carbon into the soil), and figure out what it would look like at scale and how much it is likely to cost per tonne of CO2 mitigated.

There is still so much to be worked out in terms of the practical implications of doing something like that at scale, as well as the measurement and verification needed to ensure that it’s having the intended effect. My team is working on a big collaborative report that tackles the challenge of a net carbon-negative bioeconomy for the United States. That said, I would absolutely love to start building models that simulate how we might be able to do this at a global scale in an equitable and just manner.

Meet the 2023 ACS Photonics Young Investigator Award Winner: Professor Igor Aharonovich

Professor Igor Aharonovich

ACS Photonics and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, are proud to announce Professor Igor Aharonovich, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), as the recipient of the 2023 ACS Photonics Young Investigator Award. This award honors the contributions of an early-career individual who is doing outstanding work in the research areas covered by ACS Photonics.

Professor Igor Aharonovich received his PhD in 2010 from the University of Melbourne and spent two years in Harvard as a postdoctoral researcher in the group of Prof Evelyn Hu. In 2013 Igor returned to Australia and joined the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) where he is currently a full Professor and the UTS node director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems.

Igor’s group is focusing on exploring single emitters in wide band gap semiconductors, such as diamond and more recently hexagonal boron nitride. His group is also interested in innovative approaches for nanofabrication of nanophotonics devices for quantum circuitry. But most importantly—Igor’s group has members from 11 different countries which forms a vibrant and a dynamic environment.

Igor received numerous international awards and recognitions including the 2017 Pawsey medal from the Australian Academy of Science, 2019 CN Yang Award—which honors young researchers with prominent research achievements in physics in the Asia Pacific region—and the 2020 Kavli foundation early career lectureship in materials science. He was also elected as a Fellow of Optica (class 2021).

Read a brief interview with the 2023 ACS Photonics Young Investigator Award Winner, Professor Igor Aharonovich

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

Our group studies defects in wide band gap materials as potential qubits for future quantum technologies. These defects are excellent single photons sources and can operate even at room temperature without a necessity in cryogenic facilities.

Over the last few years, we became fascinated with a particular material—hexagonal boron nitride. It’s a unique van der Waals crystal as it possesses very large bandgap of ~ 6 eV, and hence hosts a large variety of single photon sources, but the key benefit is the ability to exfoliate this material into atomically thin monolayers using scotch tape. We are now working towards integrating these atomically thin layers containing quantum emitters, into scalable on chip quantum components—such as waveguides or photonic crystal cavities, and to employ them in quantum sensing applications.

What inspired you to pursue your area of research?

The main inspiration is always the combination of simplicity and seeing the unknown. When you work with single photon sources you essentially use conventional photonics to directly measure quantum effects and seeing single atoms! This is cool. The add-on benefit is the ability to control and manipulate light at the nanoscale. Single photon sources are one of the most fundamental components for quantum optics and nanophotonics, and combining it with new materials such as hexagonal boron nitride seems very exciting!

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

Follow your curiosity and pursue your dream—perseverance is key! Ignore the hype and the noise, be creative and always look outside the box. Build a network around you, they will support and elevate you in tough times and will be with you to celebrate your achievements and success.

View a selection of articles from Professor Aharonovich.

Announcing the Launch of ACS Publications’ Data Availability Statement Pilot at The Journal of Organic Chemistry, Organic Letters, and ACS Organic & Inorganic Au

ACS Publications is excited to announce the launch of a Data Availability Statement pilot at The Journal of Organic Chemistry, Organic Letters, and ACS Organic & Inorganic Au effective September 15, 2022. These journals will now require each peer-reviewed article to feature a Data Availability Statement and will achieve Level 2 in the ACS Research Data Policy—which encourages authors to publicly share all the data underlying the results reported in the article, preferably via archiving in an appropriate publicly available repository.

As the value of data from scientific research increases, so does the need for higher levels of visibility into the data sources involved in concluding the scientific results. In addition to increasing trust in the research findings, having findable, readable, and reusable data boosts the impact of the research and the associated publications. In addition, data sharing and data citation align with growing funder mandates on reporting data.

“The amount of data in organic chemistry has grown exponentially over the past years. Therefore, access to these data is imperative to maintain high quality in offering increased validation of the research by organic chemists and other scientists”, says Géraldine Masson, Deputy Editor, ACS Organic & Inorganic Au. She also suggests when preparing a Data Availability Statement, it’s important that “the authors confirm that the data supporting the findings of this study are available within the article [and/or] its supplementary materials. Authors are also required to provide a Data Availability Statement describing the public availability of the data underlying the conclusions drawn in the research article and provide a means of access, where applicable, by linking to the data, preferably through the use of a persistent identifier such as a DOI or an Accession Number assigned by a data repository”.

Submitting Your Article to a Pilot Journal

Starting on September 15, 2022, authors of The Journal of Organic Chemistry, Organic Letters, and ACS Organic & Inorganic Au will now be required to include a Data Availability Statement for all peer-reviewed articles. As part of the pilot, authors will have a new custom question at submission asking when the Data Availability Statement will be provided (Figure 1).

Figure 1: New Custom Question in ACS Paragon Plus
Figure 1: New Custom Question in ACS Paragon Plus

This statement can be included during manuscript submission or during the revision process, but all articles must have a Data Availability Statement prior to acceptance. This statement should be selected from a prewritten set (Figure 2) or can be combined if multiple statements apply and customized as needed.

Figure 2: ACS Data Availability Statements
Figure 2: ACS Data Availability Statements

Data Availability Statements should include confirmation that the data underlying the publication exists and specify where the data can be found, all persistent identifiers (Accession Numbers, DOIs, or URLs), and any relevant information on licensing restrictions. As a result, “Data is available upon request” will no longer qualify as a Data Availability Statement. ACS also encourages the deposition of data in open repositories. Authors may refer to re3data.org and FAIRsharing.org for information on available repositories, their certification status, and services offered.

Within the published article, the Data Availability Statement will be a standalone piece of text presented in the Associated Content section (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Sample Data Availability Statement
Figure 3: Sample Data Availability Statement

Building and Supporting Trust in Research

These are the critical steps that The Journal of Organic Chemistry, Organic Letters, ACS Organic & Inorganic Au, and ACS Publications are taking to build on our commitment to embracing the future of open science and maintaining ACS Publications’ positioning as the “Most Trusted. Most Cited. Most Read.”

Read the full editorial on the ACS Data Availability Statement Pilot.

For more information, view the FAQ section on Data Availability Statements.

Meet the 2022 Analytical Chemistry Young Innovator Award Recipient: Dr. Radha Boya

Co-sponsored by Analytical Chemistry and The Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (CBMS), this annual award honors early-career researchers who demonstrate exceptional technical advancement and innovation in the field of microfluidics or nanofluidics. The winner receives an award plaque and an honorarium of US $2,500.

Meet the Recipient

Radha Boya, 2022 Analytical Chemistry Young Innovator Award Recipient

Radha Boya, FRSC, is a professor, Royal Society University Research fellow, and Kathleen Ollerenshaw fellow in the department of Physics & Astronomy, and National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

“I am deeply honored and very happy to receive this award. I believe this is a great time to be working on nanofluidics where many active researchers are in this field. I am extremely proud of my research group members, who are dedicated to solving some of the challenging problems in nano- and angstrom-scale fluidics,” says Dr. Boya.

About Dr. Radha Boya

After completing her Ph.D. in India and a brief post-doctoral stint in the United States, Dr. Boya secured a series of highly prestigious international research fellowships that enabled her to rapidly build her research profile in the United Kingdom (UK). During her Ph.D. at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in India, Dr. Boya first worked on nanofluidics with Prof. G U Kulkarni where she used nanochannels as templates to create nanopatterns of metal-organics and self-assembled metal nanoparticles. In her postdoctoral work with Prof. Chad Mirkin at Northwestern University in the USA, she mostly worked on nanofabrication with dip-pen nanolithography. Following her move to the University of Manchester in the UK working with Sir Andre Konstantin Geim, FRS, HonFRSC, HonFInstP, Dr. Boya has devised nanofabrication methods to make ultimately narrow fluidic channels with angstrom-scale dimensions, by effectively removing a single atomic plane from a bulk layered crystal.

Dr. Boya’s research team investigates the properties of gas, liquids and ions confined in molecular scale with Angstrom (Å) -size capillaries constructed out of 2D-materials. Over the past few years, her work has demonstrated an unprecedented control in making ultra-fine Å-scale capillaries repeatedly. Her research team works on developing Å-capillaries as a platform to experimentally probe intriguing molecular-scale phenomena. As an example, it was shown that water flows through graphene Å-capillaries at an incredibly fast rate ~1 metre/sec while hexagonal boron nitride Å-capillaries (isostructural with graphite) show two orders of magnitude higher water friction. Studying gas flows through the Å-capillaries, they revealed that atomically-flat walls provided by 2D-crystals allow fully-specular reflection of gas molecules, resulting in their ballistic transport and, accordingly, a frictionless gas flow which is enhanced over two orders of magnitude than that expected from theoretical Knudsen description.

With the angstrom-scale and nanofluidic channels that Dr. Boya’s research group works on, interesting fundamental studies can be performed, and insights can be drawn into technological applications can be drawn. Ionic and molecular sieving is of huge importance in applications including desalination, water filtration, dialysis, chemical separation, sensing, and bioanalytics technologies. With the capillaries almost the size of common salt ions (6 to 9 Å), upon flowing salt water through capillaries, Dr. Boya, along with colleagues, showed that the salt ions reconfigured their hydration shell, becoming “squashed.” Without any functional groups on the surface, the nanochannels have to be at least half the size of the ion to sterically exclude the ions. In another collaborative study, they demonstrated voltage-gating of Å-capillaries by a new electro-hydrodynamic effect under coupled hydrostatic pressure and electric force. The Å-fluidic channels are an excellent platform to offer new routes to actively control molecular and ion transport and design elementary building blocks for artificial ionic machinery.

I caught up with Dr. Boya recently to learn more about her research and what’s next for her and her research group. Read highlights from our conversation below.

What advice would you give to upcoming researchers in the field?

Think broadly! Boundaries between the disciplines fade away in nanofluidics research, which has far-reaching applications in various fields like membranes, diagnostics, and smart ionic devices to name a few. Over the last decade, there have been several advances in nanofabrication and characterization tools that make it feasible to study fluidic phenomena at the molecular level. Now is a great time to be working in the field of nanofluidics, which is steadily moving towards angstrom-fluidics, so if you are looking to step into this research field go for it.

How will your work benefit society?

Membrane-based applications with nanoscale channels, such as osmotic power generation, desalination, and molecular separation would benefit from understanding the mechanisms of sieving, ways to decrease fluidic friction, and increasing the overall efficiency of the process. However, mechanisms that allow fast flows are not fully understood yet. Our work on angstrom-capillaries that are only few atoms thick, opens an avenue to investigate fundamental sieving mechanisms behind important applications such as filtration, separation of ions, molecules and gases, desalination, and fuel gas separation from refinery off-gases.

What’s next in your research?

We are working on methods to upscale the fabrication of nano- and angstrom-channels, combining diverse materials and a variety of fabrication methods. We will explore sieving with the nanochannels beyond simple size selection, e.g., what governs the selectivity between same-charge ions with similar hydrated diameters, such as that observed in sodium or calcium ion channels? Another interesting direction using nanochannels we will investigate is to mimic neuromorphic memory using electrolytes in 2D nanochannels. Collaborations with colleagues and across universities are going to be key in these near-future projects.

The Analytical Chemistry Lectureship Award 2022 recipient will present at the 26th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences (µTAS 2022).

Learn more about last year’s winner.

 

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