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Open Call for Nominations: 2023 Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research Influential Researcher Awards – Asia and Pacific

For six years, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research has been recognizing and publishing the contributions of early-career investigators from around the world through its annual Class of Influential Researchers.

In 2023, these awards will focus on researchers in the Asia and Pacific regions, with future years focusing on other parts of the world. We invite nominations (including self-nominations) of researchers in the Asia and Pacific region within the first ten (10) years of their independent career, who are doing exceptional research within chemical engineering and applied chemistry.

NOMINATION DEADLINE

  • February 1, 2023

ELIGIBILITY

  • Researchers based at affiliated institutions located in Asia or the Pacific, and within the first ten (10) years of their independent career (2013-, independence defined as after postdoc appointments or last educational training).
  • This award must be based on research done during the nominee’s independent career and cannot be based on research completed as part of their graduate education or post-doctoral training.
  • Nominees must not have been recognized in previous Classes of Influential Researchers (2022, 20212020201920182017).
  • We encourage nominations of researchers from industrial, government, and university labs.

REQUIRED

  • Completed nomination form detailing name, position, institution, country, preferred topical section, year candidate’s independent career began, etc.
  • A brief statement (3,500 characters or about 500 words maximum) describing research contributions made during the nominee’s independent career
  • List of up to 5 contributions to research (publications, patents, reports, etc.) during their independent career, each with a 50-word maximum description of significance or impact. (Do not upload the actual articles – just the 50-word statements)
  • Website URL to professional website, CV, Google Scholar profile, or LinkedIn (Note: If no link available, insert “n/a” and email a short CV – two pages maximum – to eic@iecr.acs.org)

Submit Your Nomination

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

We anticipate selecting up to six (6) award recipients within each of the eight (8) topical sections covered by I&EC Research. These areas are:

  • Applied Chemistry
  • Bioengineering (broadly defined)
  • Kinetics, Catalysis, and Reaction Engineering
  • Materials and Interfaces
  • Process Systems Engineering
  • Separations
  • Thermodynamics, Transport, and Fluid Mechanics
  • General Research

The selection committee will include I&EC Research editors and editorial advisory board members.

Each 2023 winner will be invited to submit an article to I&EC Research due by June 1, 2023, along with their photograph and bio sketch. If their article is accepted, each winner will receive an award plaque and be publicized by ACS Publications as a member of the 2023 Class of Influential Researchers. These articles will be collected in a virtual special issue of I&EC Research highlighting the researchers and their work.

To submit your nomination, click here or fill out the form below:

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

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.

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.

 

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.

Announcing the winner of the 2022 ACS Central Science Disruptors and Innovators Prize

Photo courtesy of Gabriella Bocchetti

The American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications Division and ACS Central Science are proud to announce the winner of the ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize, Clare Grey, D.Phil., FRS, of Cambridge University. Since 2019, the ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize has recognized individuals who, through their innovative research, are advancing the central science of chemistry.

Professor Grey is awarded the Prize for her extensive and disruptive research in pioneering applications of solid state nuclear magnetic resonance to materials of relevance to energy and the environment.

“I’m honored and excited to have won this award – a wonderful recognition of not just me, but also the students and post-docs who have worked with me in both the US and the UK to make this happen,” says Grey. “It is also great to see my fundamental science being appreciated in this way.” 

Prof. Grey is the Geoffrey Moorhouse-Gibson professor of chemistry at Cambridge University and a fellow of Pembroke College Cambridge and holds a Royal Society professorship. She received a BA and D.Phil. in chemistry from Oxford University. She was the founding director of the Northeastern Chemical Energy Storage Center, a US Department of Energy, Energy Frontier Research Center, a Center she started while a Professor at Stony Brook University. She is currently the director of the EPSRC Centre for Advanced Materials for Integrated Energy Systems and an Expert Panel member of the Faraday Institution. Grey is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Richard R. Ernst Prize in Magnetic Resonance, the Royal Society Hughes Award, and the Körber Award for her contributions to the optimization of batteries using NMR spectroscopy, and she is a foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her current research interests include the use of solid-state NMR and diffraction-based methods to determine structure-function relationships in materials for energy storage (batteries and supercapacitors) and conversion (fuel cells). She is a cofounder of the company Nyobolt, which seeks to develop batteries for fast charge applications. 

Disruptors and Innovators Prize 2022

“It is my tremendous honor to present the 2022 ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Award to Prof. Clare Grey, in recognition of her pioneering work in fundamental studies of rechargeable battery materials using solid state NMR methodology,” says Carolyn Bertozzi, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of ACS Central Science. “Prof. Grey is an inspiration to the scientific community and her work perfectly embodies the power of chemistry as the central science.”

Prof. Grey will accept the prize at an upcoming virtual symposium, during which she will present a Disruptors Lecture. More details can be found on the ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize website.

Visit the site now

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Selected publications

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Single-Source Deposition of Mixed-Metal Oxide Films Containing Zirconium and 3d Transition Metals for (Photo)electrocatalytic Water Oxidation

Victor Riesgo-Gonzalez, Subhajit Bhattacharjee, Xinsheng Dong, David S. Hall, Virgil Andrei, Andrew D. Bond, Clare P. Grey, Erwin Reisner, and Dominic S. Wright

 

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Electrolyte Reactivity at the Charged Ni-Rich Cathode Interface and Degradation in Li-Ion Batteries

Wesley M. Dose, Israel Temprano, Jennifer P. Allen, Erik Björklund, Christopher A. O’Keefe, Weiqun Li, B. Layla Mehdi, Robert S. Weatherup, Michael F. L. De Volder, and Clare P. Grey

 

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Cycle-Induced Interfacial Degradation and Transition-Metal Cross-Over in LiNi0.8Mn0.1Co0.1O2–Graphite Cells

Erik Björklund, Chao Xu, Wesley M. Dose, Christopher G. Sole, Pardeep K. Thakur, Tien-Lin Lee, Michael F. L. De Volder, Clare P. Grey, and Robert S. Weatherup

 

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New Magnetic Resonance and Computational Methods to Study Crossover Reactions in Li-Air and Redox Flow Batteries Using TEMPO

Evelyna Wang, Evan Wenbo Zhao, and Clare P. Grey

 

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Exploring the Role of Cluster Formation in UiO Family Hf Metal–Organic Frameworks with in Situ X-ray Pair Distribution Function Analysis

Francesca C. N. Firth, Michael W. Gaultois, Yue Wu, Joshua M. Stratford, Dean S. Keeble, Clare P. Grey, and Matthew J. Cliffe

 

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Improved Description of Organic Matter in Shales by Enhanced Solid Fraction Detection with Low-Field 1H NMR Relaxometry

Panattoni, A. A. Colbourne, E. J. Fordham, J. Mitchell, C. P. Grey, and P. C. M. M. Magusin

 

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Density Functional Theory-Based Bond Pathway Decompositions of Hyperfine Shifts: Equipping Solid-State NMR to Characterize Atomic Environments in Paramagnetic Materials

Derek S. Middlemiss, Andrew J. Ilott, Raphaële J. Clément, Fiona C. Strobridge, and Clare P. Grey

Get to Know ES&T Award Winner Menachem Elimelech

Professor Menachem Elimelech was recently named one of the winners of the Outstanding Achievements in Environmental Science & Technology Award from Environmental Science & Technology. Professor Elimelech is the Sterling Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University, where his research focuses on membrane-based processes for energy-efficient desalination and wastewater reuse. He also researches sustainable production of water and energy generation with engineered osmosis, environmental applications and implications of nanomaterials, and water and sanitation in developing countries.

Read on to learn more about Professor Elimelech and his work.

What does this award mean to you?

I am grateful that ACS and the editors have recognized the importance of our work on membrane-based technologies for desalination, water reuse, and brine management. Credit goes to my current and former graduate students and postdocs for their contributions.

What have been some of the key influences that have shaped how your career has developed?

The realization about two decades ago that water scarcity is a serious global problem and that climate change exacerbates water scarcity has inspired me to work on membrane technologies as a means to augment water supply by utilizing non-conventional water sources such as seawater and wastewaters. I believe that seawater and brackish water desalination and wastewater reuse, when used appropriately, can be sustainable methods for augmenting water supply in water-scarce regions.

What do you consider some of the most important highlights from your career so far?

This is a tough question to answer. I am proud of the many graduate students and postdocs that I mentored who are now quite successful in their careers. I am also proud of the environmental engineering program at Yale University, which I founded over two decades ago. The program has graduated outstanding individuals who are working relentlessly to solve our environmental challenges. I am also happy that our papers help to set the research agenda in membrane-based desalination and water purification and steered the membrane community to relevant research topics that have a direct impact on industry and humanity.

Describe your current area of research (or areas of interest).

My current research is in the general area of membrane-based technologies at the water-energy nexus. Specifically, we are working on membrane-based processes for energy-efficient desalination and wastewater reuse, advanced materials for next-generation environmental separation and water decontamination technologies, and fundamental mechanisms of selective ion separations in membrane systems. In recent years, we have also worked on the development of technologies for the management of brines from inland desalination plants and industrial wastewaters, such as those produced in the oil and gas industry. Specifically, we proposed the use of ultrahigh-pressure reverse osmosis (UHPRO) as a technology to displace energy-intensive thermal evaporators that are commonly used for brine management. More recently, we have developed a new membrane-based technology for concentrating brines, referred to as low salt rejection reverse osmosis (LSRRO).

What motivates you to be a researcher in this field of environmental science & technology?

I always wanted to work on topics related to water, maybe because I grew up in southern Israel, a semi-arid region that receives less than five inches of rain annually. Water is our most precious resource, and I am excited to work on technologies to ensure adequate and safe water globally.

What are the major challenges in this area, and what type of work can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?

Considering the accelerated adverse impacts of climate change on water resources, one of the major challenges will be to augment freshwater supply using unconventional water sources. Industrial wastewaters represent a major source of unconventional water that can be reused to extract fresh water and minimize discharge to the environment. For the reuse of industrial wastewaters, there is a need to develop energy-efficient membrane-based technologies that can achieve high water recovery and produce fresh water at a low cost. There is also a need to investigate the potential of resource recovery from the concentrated brines generated during the reuse of these industrial wastewaters.

What is your advice for young investigators?

I would encourage young researchers to find the right balance to work on fundamental research but also on relevant research that may help humanity. This may be challenging because our university tenure system and prestigious journals are biased toward “hot” topics rather than applied and relevant research. I also encourage young investigators to focus their research on one or two thrusts initially and make an impact before expanding their research later in their careers. Lastly, researchers should enjoy their research and mentoring and inspire their students to be inquisitive and happy in what they are doing. A happy and inspiring work environment will lead to creative research.