Editor News Archives - ACS Axial | ACS Publications
Search
Close

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.

———————————

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

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

Dr. Vicki Wysocki

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

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

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

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

What initially attracted you to your field?

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you give people who want to pursue a career in science? If you had to start over again, what advice would you give yourself?

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

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

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

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

ACS Celebrates the International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2022

February 11 is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day created by the United Nations to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. Women and girls continue to make important contributions to chemistry, even as the COVID-19 pandemic of the past two years has proved to be measurably more disruptive for female scientists than their male counterparts.

Together with our many women editors, authors, reviewers, and readers, ACS Publications works to promote the full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. We salute the hard work of women and girls in the chemistry community, who contribute to the American Chemical Society’s mission “to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people.”

Chemistry of Materials Virtual Issue: Resilient Women and the Resiliency of Science

This Virtual Issue highlights a collection of papers published during the COVID-19 pandemic in Chemistry of Materials by women corresponding authors. In addition, the issue Editorial features a Q&A with nine recent authors in the journal about how they define resilience and the times in which they were resilient.

ACS Energy Letters Virtual Issue Series: Women Scientists at the Forefront of Energy Research

As part of ACS Energy Letters’ annual celebration of the contributions of women scientists, we bring you a four-part Virtual Issue series. From early career researchers to well- established senior scientists, the successful career paths they have taken to become leaders in the community have impacted energy research in a significant way. The contributions of female energy researchers who have published new advances from their laboratories in ACS Energy Letters are compiled along with their short inspirational stories. To inspire other scientists working in the field, we asked them to comment on their inspiration to engage in energy research, discuss an aha! moment in research, and/or provide advice to newcomers in the field. We hope that these personal reflections compiled in this virtual issue can motivate many young researchers to tackle challenges in clean energy.

Women Scientists at the Forefront of Energy Research: A Virtual Issue, Parts 1 & 2

Women Scientists at the Forefront of Energy Research: A Virtual Issue, Part 3

Women Scientists at the Forefront of Energy Research: A Virtual Issue, Part 4

Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry Virtual Issue: Women in Mass Spectrometry

We have assembled this virtual issue featuring talented women mass spectrometrists who publish in Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry as the corresponding author. The articles compiled are among the most highly cited that were published in the journal in the last 5 years, regardless of gender, and are representative of the best mass spectrometry science reported in Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.

ACS Omega Virtual Issue: Women at the Forefront of Chemistry

In this special collection, ACS Omega celebrates the contribution of women researchers who have published new advances from their groups in our journal. This Virtual Issue is guest-edited by ACS Omega’s Associate Editor, Prof. Luisa Torsi (University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy), a recipient of the IUPAC 2019 Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering award. The articles selected feature women at different stages of their career from around the world, in all areas of chemistry. We hope highlighting the work of these champions of chemistry will challenge stereotypes, advance progress towards full gender equality in the future, and encourage more women to pursue a career in STEM.

ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters Women in Medicinal Chemistry Special Issue

Journal of Medicinal Chemistry Women in Medicinal Chemistry Special Industry

Impactful Publications from Women in Materials, Interfaces, and Applications

ACS Applied Bio Materials
Osteogenic Potential of Additively Manufactured TiTa Alloys

Erin G. Brodie, Kye J. Robinson, Elizabeth Sigston, Andrey Molotnikov, and Jessica E. Frith

***

Biodegradable Breast Tissue Marker Clip

Moran Haim Zada, Zehava Gallimidi, Michal Schlesinger−Laufer, Abraham Nyska, and Abraham J. Domb

***

Catalyst-Free Mechanochemical Recycling of Biobased Epoxy with Cellulose Nanocrystals

Liang Yue, Kai Ke, Mehrad Amirkhosravi, Thomas G. Gray, and Ica Manas-Zloczower


ACS Applied Electronic Materials
Record-High Responsivity and Detectivity of a Flexible Deep-Ultraviolet Photodetector Based on Solid State-Assisted Synthesized hBN Nanosheets
Sushmitha Veeralingam, Lignesh Durai, Pinki Yadav, and Sushmee Badhulika
***
Nanospike Electrode Designs for Improved Electrical Performance in Nanoscale Organic Thin-Film Transistors
Calla M. McCulley, Xin Xu, Kelly Liang, Xiao Wang, Liang Wang, and Ananth Dodabalapur
***
Near-Unity Photoluminescence Quantum Yield in Blue-Emitting Cs3Cu2Br5–xIx (0 ≤ x ≤ 5)
Rachel Roccanova, Aymen Yangui, Hariharan Nhalil, Hongliang Shi, Mao-Hua Du, and Bayrammurad Saparov

ACS Applied Energy Materials
Reduced Graphene Oxide-NiO Photocathodes for p-Type Dye-Sensitized Solar Cellsv
Marco Zannotti, Elisabetta Benazzi, Lee A. Stevens, Marco Minicucci, Lawrence Bruce, Colin E. Snape, Elizabeth A. Gibson, and Rita Giovannetti
***
Understanding the Role of Interfaces for Water Management in Platinum Group Metal-Free Electrodes in Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells
Jiangjin Liu, Morteza Rezaei Talarposhti, Tristan Asset, Dinesh C. Sabarirajan, Dilworth Y. Parkinson, Plamen Atanassov, and Iryna V. Zenyuk
***
Operando X-ray Tomography Imaging of Solid-State Electrolyte Response to Li Evolution under Realistic Operating Conditions
Natalie Seitzman, Olivia F. Bird, Rory Andrykowski, Steve Robbins, Mowafak M. Al-Jassim, and Svitlana Pylypenko

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Cytotoxicity of Graphene Oxide and Graphene in Human Erythrocytes and Skin Fibroblasts
Ken-Hsuan Liao, Yu-Shen Lin, Christopher W. Macosko, and Christy L. Haynes
***
Decomposition of Organic Perovskite Precursors on MoO3: Role of Halogen and Surface Defects
Sofia Apergi, Christine Koch, Geert Brocks, Selina Olthof, and Shuxia Tao
***
Stretchable, Biocompatible, and Multifunctional Silk Fibroin-Based Hydrogels toward Wearable Strain/Pressure Sensors and Triboelectric Nanogenerators
Faliang He, Xingyan You, Hao Gong, Yun Yang, Tian Bai, Weiguo Wang, Wenxi Guo, Xiangyang Liu, and Meidan Ye

ACS Applied Nano Materials
Metal and Metal Oxide Nanoparticles to Enhance the Performance of Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)
Yuan Gao, Yingzhu Zhou, and Rona Chandrawati
***
Quantum Dots and Their Applications: What Lies Ahead?
Mônica A. Cotta
***
High-Index Core–Shell Ni–Pt Nanoparticles as Oxygen Reduction Electrocatalystsv
Gerard M. Leteba, David R. G. Mitchell, Pieter B. J. Levecque, Lebohang Macheli, Eric van Steen, and Candace I. Lang

ACS Applied Polymer Materials
Utilizing Reclaimed Petroleum Waste to Synthesize Water-Soluble Polysulfides for Selective Heavy Metal Binding and Detection


Logan Eder, Cameron B. Call, and Courtney L. Jenkins
***
Fundamentals and Applications of Polymer Brushes in Air
Guido C. Ritsema van Eck, Leonardo Chiappisi, and Sissi de Beer
***
Recent Trends in Advanced Polymer Materials in Agriculture Related Applications
Amrita Sikder, Amanda K. Pearce, Sam J. Parkinson, Richard Napier, and Rachel K. O’Reilly

ACS Central Science Editorials

In this Editorial, Achieving Gender Balance in the Chemistry Professoriate Is Not Rocket Science, Carolyn R. Bertozzi considers why it seems so hard to populate the ranks of chemistry department faculty with women.
Learn more about The Chemistry Women Mentorship Network (ChemWMN) in this piece from Brandi M. Cossairt, Jillian L. Dempsey, and Elizabeth R. Young.

OPR&D: Celebrating Women in Process Chemistry Special Issue

In recognition of a new age that embraces better gender balance and diversity in all its forms, this Special Issue of Organic Process Research & Development features a collection of papers published by women in process chemistry. Such innovative work encompasses a multitude of topics relevant for the safe, environmentally benign, and ultimately economical manufacturing of organic compounds that are required in larger amounts to help address the needs of society across the globe. Read a related Virtual Issue on Celebrating Women in Organic Chemistry

Bioconjugate Chemistry: Women in Bioconjugate Chemistry: Celebrating Women Scientists

In the spirit of celebrating women who are collaborating across disciplines, developing new understanding and new ideas, publishing groundbreaking research in our journal and in all the journals beyond ours, and not letting the trappings of other people’s expectations and assumptions define what is possible, Bioconjugate Chemistry is happy to present the “Women in Bioconjugate Chemistry: Celebrating Women Scientists” Virtual Issue.

Journal of Chemical Information Modeling : Advancing Women in Chemistry Call for Papers

Following the response to and impact of JCIMs May 2019 special issue on  Women in Computational Chemistry addressing the issue of gender disparity in science, JCIM is launching a new call for papers for a special issue on “Advancing Women in Chemistry.” This special issue aims to raise awareness for addressing and closing the gender gap in chemical sciences.

ACS Symposium Series eBook: Addressing Gender Bias in Science & Technology

A recent addition to the ACS Symposium Series, Addressing Gender Bias in Science & Technology walks readers through this important subject by using supporting data to define the challenges and then discussing ways to dismantle barriers and respond to gender biases. With solutions backed by research, this work will be useful for those working in all science and technology fields. Read more here.

A New ACS Guide Chapter: ACS Inclusivity Style Guide

The ACS Inclusivity Style Guide, a new open-access chapter added to the ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication, helps readers learn to communicate in ways that recognize and respect diversity in all its forms. The chapter includes recommended language on gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, disabilities and disorders, and more. It offers important context for each topic, including the background behind each recommendation and links to valuable resources. Because language is ever-evolving, the guide will be updated over time to reflect changes in language and to incorporate new topics. Read the chapter here.

Laura Gagliardi Named the New Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation

Professor Laura Gagliardi

ACS Publications is pleased to introduce Professor Laura Gagliardi as the new Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation (JCTC). Professor Gagliardi is the Richard and Kathy Leventhal Professor in the Department of Chemistry, the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, and the James Franck Institute at the University of Chicago.

Professor Gagliardi is a theoretical and computational chemist known for her contributions to the development of electronic structure methods and their use for understanding complex chemical systems. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry of the American Chemical Society. Professor Gagliardi served as an Associate Editor for JCTC from 2016 to 2020.

“The Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation has an opportunity to play a role in forming and promoting the next generation of theorists and computational chemical scientists, and as Editor-in-Chief, I will make such community-building a priority,” says Professor Gagliardi. “I plan to lead JCTC to a future that expands both the diversity of our authors and the scope of the journal’s focus, building upon the success of the journal to date in creating a world-class home for outstanding researchers.”

I had the pleasure of connecting with Professor Gagliardi in this recent interview. Learn more about her background in theoretical and computational chemistry, her vision for the journal, and more below. 

What does it mean to you to be the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation?

It is an honor and a responsibility at the same time. The Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation (JCTC) is the leading journal in the field; it publishes state-of-the-art papers in theory and computation, ranging from electronic structure theory to dynamics and classical simulation. I hope that I can make a difference in shaping the field by identifying new directions for JCTC to expand to keep up with emerging developments, and also helping the next generation of theorists to advance their science. I moreover think it is important to address the issue of diversity in all possible respects, especially in terms of geographic diversity and use of the journal to both reach out to and amplify the voices of the entire theory and computation community, always with the goal of promoting the excellence of the science.

What are you currently working on?

I am primarily an electronic structure theorist by education and practice. Nowadays, my group works to develop electronic structures methods, often combining them with dynamical simulations to address societal needs related to clean energy. We study catalysis for decarbonization, photochemical processes, gas separations, and quantum systems in general, including quantum information.

What excites you about your current research?

We are working on several exciting projects right now. We are developing quantum embedding fragmentation methods for strongly correlated extended systems and we are making these theories and codes “quantum ready”, which is to say ready to be implemented on quantum computers. Such methods will allow us and the community to study large systems, e.g., excited states of vacancies and defects in materials, and magnetic communication in multimetallic systems. We are also using machine learning and artificial intelligence to more rapidly advance these methodologies. On the application side, we are investigating porous frameworks, like metal-organic frameworks and covalent organic frameworks for their applications in catalysis and separations. A common feature of these projects is that we are trying to combine the most fundamental theories with very applied chemistry and materials science in a synergistic way.

What element has been most central to your scientific career, and why?

I did a Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry because I was interested in understanding chemical systems at the most fundamental level, and I worked on accurate configuration interaction methods that are usually applicable only to very small systems. Then, over time, I became interested in chemical systems with increasing complexity, but I’ve wanted always to explore them with advanced rigorous methods, like those developed in my Ph.D. This desire to continue achieving the highest levels of accuracy has pushed me out of my comfort zone so that along the way we’ve had to develop novel methodologies that would allow us to study systems like metal-organic frameworks, catalysis, magnetic materials, etc. Another key to my personal development has been my collaborations with experimentalists. Theorists can end up developing super-sophisticated methods that suffer from never being deployed on other than toy systems. By contrast, when one collaborates with experimentalists, one faces real and complex problems and one must make one’s methodologies more practical and useful.

I think what has also helped me is that I delight in novelty and am unashamed of ignorance. I enjoy starting new projects where I know very little at the beginning. I try to be humble and willing to learn from scratch and I cultivate patience. While this can certainly be frustrating early on, the ultimate satiation of curiosity is incredibly rewarding. 

What initially attracted you to chemistry?

I started being excited by chemistry in high school. I studied Latin, Greek, Math, and Physics. I loved them all. Chemistry combined the fascinating aspects of all of these disciplines. It had the rigor of Latin, the philosophical subtlety of Greek and Physics, the logic of math. And at the same time, it explains how the real world works. If one thinks about the major challenge of our planet, namely global climate change, it is clear that chemistry will play a fundamental role in mitigation strategies. Similarly, one can reflect on the acute challenge that began in 2020, namely COVID-19, and see that also in this case chemistry has played a key role in confronting the pandemic.

Where do you think your field will be in 10 years’ time?

What I think is fascinating is that in chemistry one can “make things” (like new molecules, new reactions, new materials, etc.) and “understand things” by analytical means. The two aspects are not, by any means, mutually exclusive. I belong to the category of those who want to “understand things” and guide how to “make them” on a computer. I am a theoretical and computational chemist. I think the role of theoretical and computational chemistry has always been important because we have the opportunity to explain phenomena and to make predictions that drive more impactful experiments when a self-sustained loop can be created. As access to “big data” and artificial intelligence proves ever more important to chemistry, I think the future of theoretical and computational chemistry will also critically involve data science and quantum information. These will permit theoretical/computational chemistry to progress at an accelerated pace to help solve societal challenges.

What do you wish people outside your field knew about the work you’re doing?

I tried to explain to my nephew once, when he was four or five years old, that water is made of a lot of invisible molecules and water is what we see with our eyes because of the properties of these little molecules and the way they interact. More recently, I told to my 80-year old parents that I study some “sponges”, metal-organic frameworks, that can adsorb water vapor and that this can deliver drinkable water under otherwise arid conditions. So, in general, I would like people to understand that we study phenomena at a very fundamental and microscopic level to explain the behavior of the commonly perceived reality around us.

It can be difficult for the general public to appreciate chemistry, and especially theoretical chemistry and computation, because it is a technical field, and moreover, some associate chemistry only with dangerous concepts like pollution, explosions, etc. I find it disappointing that most of the time when I say that I am a chemist, people tell me how difficult they found chemistry in their studies. I wish we did a better job at conveying the excitement and importance of the field to younger generations and fascinating them with chemistry and STEM in general at an earlier age. I appreciate enormously the efforts of educators in general and ACS in particular with respect to efforts to involve younger generations in STEM.

What advice would you give to young scientists today?

While perhaps somewhat trite, most scientists, given all the up-front commitment involved, can certainly be said to be following their passion. If one is able to find one’s real passion in one’s work, one will typically be successful and have the energy to make progress every day towards making a difference. As scientists, chemists, educators, we face the incredible challenge of saving our planet and leaving it in a better condition than we found it and we can contribute towards this mission in a meaningful way. We also have the responsibility to make science more inclusive because this will drive better outcomes and be better for our society. At the same time, I tell my students and postdocs that to make a difference, we need to strive for excellence and personal improvement in all that we do. We want to find the right answers for the right reasons. We have to be committed to integrity and follow ethical practices. We have to collaborate, support, and respect one another. That’s the scientific future I envision.

Learn More About the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation.

ACS Publications’ Newest Associate Editors: Q4 2021

When a journal adds a new associate editor, that change means more for readers than just a tweak to the masthead. New associate editors bring new experiences, new perspectives, and new ideas to their publications. Get to know some of ACS’s latest editors and learn what unique gifts they’ll be bringing to their respective journals.

Ashutosh Sharma, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

In the last 35 years, my primary focus has been on soft interfaces, colloids, and nanoscale entities and their myriad applications and tech development. These applications have at different times branched into self-organization in nanoscale films; nanofabrication and micro/nano-patterning; wetting, adhesion, and friction; electrospinning of functional materials for devices; carbon and polymeric nanocomposites for environmental remediation, energy storage, and health (theranostics, biosensors) and biomaterials.

When I started on my Ph.D. work back in 1984, the 2-D world of interfaces, such as its thermodynamics and mechanics, was an upcoming, exciting area in chemical engineering with many interesting potential applications. During this time, I initiated work on the pathophysiology of Dry Eye Syndromes in the framework of thin films (tear film) and wetting (cornea), which was a first. Basically, my interest all along has been in connecting different dots of knowledge that seemingly appear to be disjointed. This approach led to many opportunities along the way.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces is a rather unique, wide spectrum journal in that it covers many deep areas of science together with their important applications, which could aid in the development of real technologies and products. These aspects of ACS AMI fit rather well with my own research background and thinking. While reading a paper, I like to ask several questions: Is there good, reasoned, verifiable science in there? Is there an element of novelty in at least one of these components that I call 4 Ms of Science—mechanics (understanding) or materials or methods, or in the machine/device architecture? Is it a clearly superior application, even if not terribly novel? How profound or incremental are the contents? Is narrative clear and exciting for an average reader in that area? I do think that these elements bring value to any good journal in applied sciences. In particular, I hope to contribute to the editorial work in the areas of colloids, soft interfaces, and their applications and also bring the journal to the greater attention of Indian scientists as an excellent platform to publish their best works with applied flavors.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

An overarching challenge is a contextually meaningful, synergistic convergence of elements and functionalities in the new materials/interfaces that are engineered to provide solutions to a problem, which is actually a multidimensional problem, as most of the real ones are. For example, miniaturized low-cost autonomous sensor networks (smart pebbles) that seamlessly embed some computing at the edge, communication, machine learning, fault diagnosis, and auto-calibration, positional information, actuators for local actions, and a long-lasting power source that may harness vibrations, solar and other stuff such as surrounding fluids! There would have to be greater integration of the physical, digital, and biological for the new multifunctional materials. Nature-inspired materials and manufacturing is a major opportunity in which we have currently only barely scratched the surface. The most popular examples have been superwetting, smart adhesives, structural colors, fog harvesting, etc. However, interesting materials and manufacturing in nature are not passive, but embed information and the action elements, and most often perform functions by being connected to a larger system of communication and computing! On a lighter note, one could think of progressing from the advanced materials, functional materials, smart materials, etc to informational materials, intelligent materials, wise materials, and who knows, even conscious materials that will inspire a series of CONMAT conferences! Other challenges with functional interfaces are their durability and large-scale production.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

On the most fundamental level, inter-surface and inter-particle interactions are rather poorly understood and predicted, especially for the real physico-chemically heterogeneous interfaces in the aqueous media, including bio- and polymeric surfaces. Such interactions include for example the long-range van der Waals, electrostatic and electrodynamic, acid-base (hydrogen bonding) structural and entropic, specific, etc. Another complexity is summing of these interactions for poorly defined heterogeneous interfaces. A rational understanding and the design of interfaces for most applications demand developing such insights at multiple scales.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Self-Organized Wrinkling in Thin Polymer Films under Solvent–Nonsolvent Solutions: Patterning Strategy for Microfluidic Applications
ACS Appl. Polym. Mater. 2021, 3, 12, 6198–6206
DOI: 10.1021/acsapm.1c01044

Thin polymer coatings show a novel self-organized wrinkling instability on their surface when put under a mixture of a good solvent and a non-solvent. The solvent swells the film and the mixture diffusing to the polymer-substrate interface delaminates the film. Interestingly, along a polygonal network of lines where local detachments occur, thus forming buried micro-channels. The selective delamination-induced wrinkling is found to be a rather generic phenomenon that can be tuned in different polymer films of variable thickness by appropriate combinations of solvent–nonsolvent mixtures. The paper has some of the elements I like: discovering a new phenomenon, understanding its control to produce channels of the desired geometry, and potential applications, e.g., in micropatterning and microfluidics.

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

My other areas of interest are philosophy and art. Most of my sketches are made while listening to lectures and in meetings! Paradoxically, it mostly allows a better understanding of what the speaker is saying, owing to shutting down the unrelated internal dialogue. Apparently, the brain cannot fully focus on two streams of thoughts simultaneously!

For about seven years, until August 2021, I was a Secretary to the Government of India heading its Department of Science and Technology, which allowed greater appreciation of how science, technology, and innovation connect with different segments of society and how policies are an important instrument of meeting the challenges and leveraging the opportunities of the future through science and technology.
***

David Olson, ACS Chemical Neuroscience

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

Our lab studies a class of compounds that we call psychoplastogens, or small molecules capable of promoting neural plasticity. Such compounds have enormous potential for treating a wide variety of illnesses including depression, anxiety disorders, addiction, and neurodegenerative diseases.

We use a combination of synthetic chemistry, molecular neurobiology, and behavioral neuropharmacology to 1) understand the fundamental mechanisms underlying the effects of psychoplastogens on the nervous system, and 2) develop next-generation neurotherapeutics. I was initially attracted to the field of central nervous system drug discovery due to the enormous unmet medical need. There are a ton of people who need help, and current treatments are far from adequate.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope to continue to raise the profile of ACS Chemical Neuroscience as a premier journal for neuropharmacology research and central nervous system drug discovery.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

The identification of robust biomarkers that predict treatment efficacy is an issue that continues to plague the development of central nervous system therapeutics. Fortunately, progress in this area is being made.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

Most people now agree that many brain illnesses are a result of pathological neural circuits rather than chemical imbalances. A key challenge for the field going forward will be to find ways to selectively target disease-relevant circuits with brain penetrant small molecules. That type of precision will likely be necessary to both improve efficacy and reduce side effects.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

The Subjective Effects of Psychedelics May Not Be Necessary for Their Enduring Therapeutic Effects
ACS Pharmacol. Transl. Sci. 2021, 4, 2, 563–567
DOI: 10.1021/acsptsci.0c00192

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

In addition to developing new neurotherapeutics, I’m also very passionate about understanding how psychedelics produce their effects on brain structure and function. Psychedelics are some of the most powerful substances known to impact the brain, and I believe that understanding the basic science underlying their effects will lead to important advances in neuroscience.
***

Karmella Haynes, ACS Synthetic Biology

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My focus is the rational design of components of chromatin (proteins and scaffold RNAs that organize DNA in chromosomes) to control epigenetic gene regulation in human and mammalian cells. I studied basic epigenetic research as a Ph.D. student. After I entered synthetic biology as a postdoc (ca. 2006), I became excited about the idea of epigenetic engineering in eukaryotes, and mammalian synthetic biology in general.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope to apply my knowledge of advances and barriers in the area of mammalian synthetic biology to the process of sharing the latest findings with the public. I also hope that my connections with the growing mammalian synthetic biology community will encourage early career and historically marginalized scientists to consider ACS Synthetic Biology as a platform for elevating the visibility of their work.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

Translating biological design principles from viral and bacterial systems to mammalian cells is a major overarching challenge for mammalian synthetic biology. Mammalian cells have the remarkable ability to differentiate into a myriad of specialized states while remaining genetically identical. This poses a significant challenge for an orthogonal genetic circuit that is intended to function in a predictable manner.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

Solving the problem of unexpected epigenetic regulation of synthetic gene circuits will certainly help to advance mammalian synthetic biology. Also, a widely adopted, easy-to-use artificial chromosome that is stable in replicating mammalian cells would make cells much easier to engineer.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Design, Construction, and Validation of Histone-Binding Effectors in Vitro and in Cells
Biochemistry 2018, 57, 31, 4707–4716
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.8b00327
***

Daniel Nomura, Chemical Research in Toxicology

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My group is focused on reimagining druggability using chemoproteomic platforms to develop transformative medicines. One of the greatest challenges that we face in discovering new disease therapies is that most proteins are considered “undruggable,” in that most proteins do not possess known binding pockets or “ligandable hotspots” that small molecules can bind to modulate protein function. Our research group addresses this challenge by advancing and applying chemoproteomic platforms to discover and pharmacologically target unique and novel ligandable hotspots for disease therapy.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

One of the greatest challenges that we face in discovering new disease therapies is that most proteins are considered “undruggable,” in that most proteins do not possess known binding pockets or “ligandable hotspots” that small molecules can bind to modulate protein function. This challenge requires the development of approaches that not only enable ligand discovery against these undruggable targets but also the invention of new therapeutic modalities to therapeutically exploit these targets in a safe manner.
I hope to bring my expertise in chemical biology, drug discovery, and environmental toxicology, particularly as it relates to small-molecule interactions with macromolecules in our bodies.
***

Doris Braun, Crystal Growth & Design

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

The “Preformulation and Polymorphism group” at the University of Innsbruck in Austria focuses on scientific and applied problems related to solid-state properties of pharmaceuticals and other small organic molecules of high industrial relevance. We develop methods, strategies, and guidelines for the production and characterization of solid-state forms and drug products.

In particular, my research focuses on:

  1. The role of computational chemistry for pharmaceutical solid form screening and characterization: how to implement crystal structure prediction into solid form screening and characterization programs.
  2. Thermodynamic relations in solid forms: how to derive the thermodynamic stability, stability order, and stability ranges of and between different solid-state forms
  3. Hydrate, solvate, and co-crystal formation: prediction, characterization, and practical consequences.

The beauty of crystals under the microscope attracted me to the field of polymorphism.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

Materials properties and their applicability have always been the driving force in my research. I have university training in pharmacy, worked on projects focusing on basic research and applied industrial problems. As a scientist, I have taken the role of an experimentalist among world-leading theoretical chemists, and am now applying computational chemistry in an otherwise experimentally focused research group. I hope to play an integral part in maintaining the high standards of the journal, help to encourage (younger) researchers to publish high-quality papers, and promote out-of-the-box thinking of scientists working in the field.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

Over the last decade, there have been ground-breaking achievements in the field of crystal engineering/materials sciences. Computational chemistry can be used to predict feasible crystal structures. We are aiming at predicting the properties of materials. Experimental techniques have advanced immensely. High-resolution and in-situ data collections allow us to get insights into the structural behavior, transformations, and interrelations of solid forms. Thus, the challenges we have to overcome in our field are not always related to science but are often linked to the accessibility of the (newest) techniques, the time we can spend working on a compound, and the funding opportunities available.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

Despite the ground-breaking advances in the field and the efforts undertaken by scientists in academia and industry worldwide we are still not able to predict if a molecule will crystallize, let alone in what forms or especially under which conditions. The required breakthrough is probably understanding nucleation and growth in practically relevant systems. The ultimate goal is then to design and produce the assembly of new materials with targeted properties.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

The Eight Hydrates of Strychnine Sulfate
Cryst. Growth Des. 2020, 20, 9, 6069–6083
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.0c00777

In this study, we aimed at a comprehensive molecular-level understanding of a hydrate forming model compound. The fact that strychnine sulfate shows eight hydrate forms, but no stable and ordered anhydrous phase, highlights the importance of water as a stabilizing agent in solids. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that a series of complementary analytical techniques allowing precise adjustments of humidity and temperature conditions must be employed to reveal the solid-state behavior of complex hydrate systems.
***

Sanjit Konar, Crystal Growth & Design

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

The focus of my research team is multidirectional, with special emphasis on the thrust areas, namely responsive molecular crystals (mainly MOFs), molecular magnetism, and nanoscopic polyoxometalates. We aim to design and synthesize magnificent molecular materials whose physicochemical properties could be orchestrated using external stimuli such as light, temperature, pressure, etc, and can be used as molecular switches. In these studies, appropriate selection of the ligand field, along with a proper choice of the redox potential of the molecular components plays a vital role. Moreover, other parameters like the arrangement of the molecules in the crystal lattice, mainly driven by intermolecular interactions, often fine-tune the dynamic and reversibility of the properties. The other aspect of our work includes molecular magnetism. We design single-molecule/ion magnets, magnetic refrigerants, and cages and rationalize their properties experimentally and theoretically to make this field significant progress. In another area, we explore the fascinating electronic, catalytic, and magnetic properties of nanoscopic polyoxometalates(POMs) formed by the early transition metals. The intrinsic color of the transition metal complexes attracts me the most as it provides a clear hint about their structure and reactivity.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

My background is in transitional metal coordination chemistry, and my current research interest in molecular magnetism, metal-organic frameworks, and polyoxometalates may bring complementary expertise to the editorial board of this journal. I hope to contribute to the area of structure-property relationship in the transition metal-based crystalline compounds.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

The complexities associated with the structure of a small molecule in the crystal lattice considering the intermolecular interactions and its relationship with the properties might need to reach the next level of understanding for a more efficient design of the materials. Although significant efforts have been devoted in this direction, a faster progression could be achieved by the synergy between the design strategy of the molecules and an adequate understanding of the intermolecular interactions involved therein.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

Even for the simplest molecule, predicting the crystal structure may turn out to be wrong.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Magnetic Transition in Organic Radicals: The Crystal Engineering Aspects
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 10, 5473–5489
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.1c00731

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Two things need to be mentioned that help me evolve as a researcher: extensive undergraduate teaching and a scientist at home, my wife, also a chemistry professor.
***

Michael Ruggiero, Crystal Growth & Design

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

We are broadly interested in understanding how intermolecular forces shape the properties of condensed phase materials, which we typically achieve through the lens of low-frequency (terahertz) vibrational spectroscopies, supplemented by quantum mechanical simulations. The terahertz vibrational community is one of the most welcoming and collaborative communities I’ve come across, which is the primary reason why I have been in this community from my doctoral studies through my current independent career – basically, great friends, great science, and a whole bunch of fun is what kept me around!

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I have been impressed with the direction that Crystal Growth & Design has been moving in over the last several years, and I have been quite fortunate to have some of my more ambitious and interesting studies land in the journal. The organic growth of the CGD community, and their keen eye to expanding beyond the traditional crystallography community into related fields, are major driving forces for my desire to be involved. I am very much looking forward to helping to grow the community by acting as a bridge between CGD and the terahertz sciences.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

The terahertz sciences are rapidly evolving, as instrument costs are decreasing and the technique is easier-than-ever to access. However, with that evolution, there is an influx of new researchers that need to become acquainted with the nuances associated with low-frequency vibrational spectroscopy, which is sufficiently different to comparable methods (e.g., mid-IR vibrational spectroscopies). Thus, there is a need now, more than ever, for detailed studies that clearly highlight experimental methodologies and subsequent analysis techniques.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

One of the most interesting areas of the terahertz sciences, in my opinion, is the increasing finding that solid-state phenomena (reactions, phase transformations, and so on) seem to closely follow a terahertz vibrational normal mode. This has resulted in some interesting and ongoing investigations into driving solid-state reactivity with terahertz radiation, which is one of the ‘holy-grails’ of low-frequency vibrational spectroscopy, in my opinion!

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Advances in Low-Frequency Vibrational Spectroscopy and Applications in Crystal Engineering
Cryst. Growth Des. 2022, 22, 2, 939–953
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.1c00850

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I am an avid outdoorsman, and when not playing with lasers you can find me lurking around the Green Mountains of Vermont or the Adirondack Mountains of New York – hiking, camping, skiing, and everything in between – often with my wife and two dogs. I’m also a sucker for a good collaboration, and have a difficult time saying “no” to a fun and interesting problem from a fun and interesting person: basically, we’ll stick anything in our spectrometer, and happily head to the pub for beers after!
***

Shalini Singh, Crystal Growth & Design

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

I am a nanomaterial chemist. Currently, my research focus is on synthesizing ultra-thin inorganic nanocrystals composed of a few atomic layers by bottom-up approaches. Creating them atom-by-atom using molecular precursors provides vast opportunities to engineer their structure, dimensions, surface, and properties. By using different spectroscopic and microscopic techniques, we gain a proper understanding of the stoichiometry, crystal structure, morphology, electronic properties, and surface chemistry of synthesized nanomaterials. Further, depending on their electronic properties, we study their potential as electrode materials for batteries or electrocatalysts. Initially, my research career started from designing polymeric nanocomposites(as a research fellow in India). While I was searching for a Ph.D. position, I saw an advertisement for a position at University of Limerick. The description said that the candidate would be trained on transmission electron microscopes. For me, that was very fascinating. I wanted to take images of nanocrystals with atomic resolution. High-quality TEM images of nanocrystals still make my day. After my Ph.D., I moved to Belgium as a postdoc to study the relationship between the nanocrystal surface and their opto-electronic properties. With different expertise I gained during my research journey helped me to establish my research group at University of Limerick, Ireland on designing and tuning the structure and property of novel nanomaterials for technological applications.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

As a Topic Editor of Crystal Growth & Design, I will handle manuscripts in the metallic and semiconductor nanocrystals areas. Specifically, I would be handling manuscripts on insights into crystallization and structure-function relationship in nanocrystals synthesized via a bottom-up approach. I am very much looking forward to reading new studies in this area that will contribute to fundamental advances.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

New semiconductor and metallic nanocrystals with designer and tunable properties are emerging rapidly. However, there is a lack of fundamental understanding of underlying concepts on surface, structure, and crystallization in these different sets of new materials. These missing links often hamper the development of reproducible and scalable ways for the synthesizing, processing, and integration of these new materials in applications. Addressing these fundamental challenges will be important to create a platform technology for an easier lab-to-fab transition of novel nanomaterials.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Yes, I would love to highlight these two recent papers in ACS journals:

Ligand Adsorption Energy and the Postpurification Surface Chemistry of Colloidal Metal Chalcogenide Nanocrystals
Chem. Mater. 2021, 33, 8, 2796–2803
DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c04761

In this article, we demonstrated how the actual surface chemistry of ligand passivated colloidal nanocrystals is a combined result of intrinsic ligand-nanocrystals binding character and concrete work-up procedures.

Insights into Nucleation and Growth of Colloidal Quaternary Nanocrystals by Multimodal X-ray Analysis
ACS Nano 2021, 15, 4, 6439–6447
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c08617

In this article, we present a real-time investigation of the formation of colloidal copper zinc tin sulfide nanorods by in situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy and small-angle X-ray scattering. Using this x-ray combination, we unraveled the key nucleation and growth stages in quaternary nanocrystal synthesis.

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Besides research, I am a passionate teacher. I love teaching and creating a new innovative ways to teach organic chemistry to my students. I am also trained in different Indian folk dancing styles. If I were not a chemist, she would own and run my own dance studio.
***

John Munafo, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

Our lab aims to unlock the potential of food, fungi, and plant-based natural products to benefit agriculture and animal and human health. Through flavor chemistry, we aim to identify key aroma and taste active molecules in foods and beverages with the vision of developing “Healthy Foods with Great Flavor.” Through natural products chemistry, we aim to identify biologically active molecules with the vision of developing “Novel Natural Products for Health and Agriculture.” The overarching objectives of our integrated program are to guide the development of healthy foods with great flavor, to develop new specialty crops for farmers, and identify novel preventative and treatment options to combat global health afflictions such as diabetes, cancer, and emerging infectious diseases. What initially attracted me to these intriguing fields of research was the realization that nature contains a virtually limitless supply of bioactive molecules that are waiting to be discovered. Many of these molecules have the potential to benefit humans, animals, and the environment.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

Flavor science and natural products chemistry are two of my passions. I am particularly interested in studies that contribute to the fundamental aspects of these two disciplines, especially those with the potential to be further developed, in an applied fashion, to benefit people, food, and agriculture.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

Supplying the world with sustainable, affordable, safe, healthy, and delicious food.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

I find it fascinating that, through trial-and-era, nature has generated an enormous suite of time-tested bioactive molecules with the potential to benefit humans, animals, and the environment. This creates a huge opportunity to discover uses for these natural products to benefit society.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

This recently published manuscript details the aroma chemistry of a pleasantly unique smelling mushroom endemic to the Southern Appalachians.

Key Odorants from the Fragrant Bolete, Suillus punctipes
J. Agric. Food Chem. 2020, 68, 32, 8621–8628
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.0c03389

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I enjoy spending time with family and friends, exploring nature, reading, and gardening.
***

Geoffrey Coates, Journal of the American Chemical Society

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

The research focus of the Coates Group is the development of new catalysts for the synthesis of macromolecules and small molecules. Professor Coates’ research concentrates on developing new methods for reacting commodity feedstocks in unprecedented ways. His current research centers on the development of homogeneous catalysts for olefin polymerization, heterocycle carbonylation, epoxide homo- and copolymerization, the utilization of carbon dioxide in polymer synthesis, and new polymers for energy conversion and storage.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope to bring additional expertise in catalysis and polymer chemistry to the journal.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

Society depends on polymeric materials now more than at any other time in history, despite increasing concern that their synthesis and disposal are unsustainable. The development of new routes to polymers that have reduced environmental impact is one of the most important unsolved problems in the field of polymer chemistry.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Isotactic Poly(propylene oxide): A Photodegradable Polymer with Strain Hardening Properties
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 14, 6800–6806
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c01768
***

Christophe Coperet, Journal of the American Chemical Society

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

I study surface chemistry along with catalysis, nuclear magnetic resonance, X-Ray Absorption, metathesis, and CO2 hydrogenation. I study surface chemistry because of its unusual structure and reactivity. It requires me to try to bridge the gap between molecular and solid-state chemistry.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

A molecular view on heterogeneous catalysis and the ability to look at interfaces with the eye of a molecular chemist.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

The requirement for a broad range of expertise (from synthetic molecular chemistry to solid-state chemistry, including the use of advanced multiple spectroscopy techniques, as well as computational approaches) to embrace the complexity of surface chemistry. Also, data analysis is becoming complex and demanding due to the ever-increasing size of the data set, along with time- (Operando) and space-resolved spectroscopy.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

Finding a way to capture the dynamics of surface (active) sites under operating conditions, combining imaging and spectroscopy.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Nanoparticle O–H Bond Dissociation Free Energies from Equilibrium Measurements of Cerium Oxide Colloids
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 7, 2896–2907
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c12799

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I am a fan of literature, philosophy, music, and wine.
***

Carlos Nieto de Castro, Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My scientific activity covers the field of molecular thermophysics and fluid technology, ionic liquids, nanofluids, ionanofluids, and nanosystems, including new heat and storage fluids with industrial impact in the area of energy and the environment, and the use of ionic liquids as solvating and reaction media to synthesize and functionalize nanomaterials, for industrial and domestic applications. Attracted by thermodynamics and transport processes in chemical systems, namely in a liquid state. To solve new problems in chemical engineering and physical chemistry.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

My experience in science and technology, from doing, directing, and writing. Rigor in data acquisition and presentation for thermophysical properties of fluids (experiment and modeling). Ethics in publications. My strong belief in the capacity of science and technology, namely chemistry and chemical engineering, to transform the world.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

Nanomaterials characterization, new heat transfer, and storage fluids and materials, use of renewable energies, namely solar, in domestic and industrial applications. The lack of financing in physical chemistry/thermophysical research. The resistance of young people to think scientifically.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

Liquid state molecular theory. Structure of nanofluids and parent dispersions.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

It is not very recent but it was a fundamental paper for the use of ionic liquids as base fluids for nanofluids. The term IoNanofluids was created then and sprayed over in the literature:
Thermal Properties of Ionic Liquids and IoNanofluids of Imidazolium and Pyrrolidinium Liquids
J. Chem. Eng. Data 2010, 55, 2, 653–661
DOI: 10.1021/je900648p

Another one fundamental in the area:

Influence of Thermophysical Properties of Ionic Liquids in Chemical Process Design
J. Chem. Eng. Data 2009, 54, 9, 2569–2575
DOI: 10.1021/je900107t

The most recent one:

Thermophysical Properties of 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium tris(pentafluoroethyl)trifluorophosphate, [C4mim][(C2F5)3PF3], and of Its IoNanofluid with Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes
J. Chem. Eng. Data 2021, 66, 4, 1717–1729
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jced.0c01017

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I am one of the world’s most cited top scientists in chemical engineering/physical chemistry, in the top 2% for 2020 and 2021, according to Stanford University.
***

Nanshu Lu, Nano Letters

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My research focuses on thin-film mechanics and soft bio-integrated electronics. Representative works of my group include stretchability of metal thin films and serpentine ribbons, nano-bubbles and nano-tents formed by 2D materials, epidermal electronics, graphene e-tattoos (GETs), “cut-solder-paste” rapid prototyping of wireless e-tattoos, bio-electronics interface mechanics, and hybrid piezoresistive and piezocapacitive responses of pressure sensing e-skins. I enjoy both achieving the fundamental understanding of the mechanics of thin-film materials as well as making technical advancements enabled by those fundamental understandings.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope that my expertise in thin-film mechanics and soft devices can be an unconventional addition to Nano Letters because it is no longer just limited to chemistry or chemical engineering. Instead, we are trying to recognize that mechanics, materials, and electronics all contribute synergistically to future devices with hybrid nano and macro components.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

A major scientific challenge is the synthesis of intrinsically soft and stretchable high-performance electronic materials such as organic conductors and semiconductors, which can ultimately replace metal and silicon while still being tissue soft. A major technical challenge is the reliable and robust interfacing of the soft, nano components with rigid, macroscopic components like silicon chips or printed circuit boards.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

I envision that in the future, humans will be more like robots (i.e., digital, computational, connected to the internet, etc.) whereas robots will be more like humans (i.e., soft, human-mimetic actuation and sensation, artificial intelligence, etc.). To achieve this vision, we need better brain probes to decipher the human brain and better soft actuators to behave like artificial muscles.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

I was one of the iCANx/ACS Nano inaugural rising star lecturers in 2020. Therefore, I just submitted an invited perspective on soft capacitive pressure sensors to ACS Nano. I hope to share it when this perspective is published.

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I endeavor to break the barriers between disciplines and I need everyone’s help with that.
***

Liberato Manna, Nano Letters

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My main research focus is on colloidal nanocrystals. My group targets their synthesis, surface functionalization, modeling, the study of their physical properties, and their applications, mainly in energy-related fields.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope to bring my expertise in nanoscale materials science, both from a chemistry and physics perspective, and to cover a wide array of materials and properties.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

There are several challenges. I would mention perhaps only two. One is getting nanoscale materials that are stable and that have a level of environmental compatibility that makes them suitable for widespread applicability. A second important issue is related to the reproducibility of results from lab to lab, which will require more standardized procedures, sharing of raw data, and certification of performances on a broader scale than has been done so far.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

I am now working mainly in the field of halide perovskites. The most unsolved issue in this field is to find valid alternatives to lead-based compositions. This is still an open quest. Another important challenge in colloidal chemistry, in general, is being able to synthesize materials, in the form of high-quality colloidal nanocrystals, that in the bulk require high temperatures to be prepared with good crystallinity and/or in a desired phase/composition.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Sb-Doped Metal Halide Nanocrystals: A 0D versus 3D Comparison
ACS Energy Lett. 2021, 6, 6, 2283–2292
DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.1c00789

This recent work from our group stresses the importance of the extent of connectivity of the coordination polyhedra on one side, and or surface trap states on the other side, on regulating the optical properties of nanoscale metal halide crystals.

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Please don’t focus only on science, but cultivate other interests that enrich your life and make you a more complete person.
***

Elena Besley, Nano Letters

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

I am working in the field of theoretical and computational chemistry. I very much like the rigor of theoretical methods, which we use to interpret and predict the outcomes of experimental observations. Mathematics allows us to treat a physical problem with a high level of accuracy and precision, yet often leads us to general conclusions about the underlying mechanisms.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

Computational science is still at the very beginning of its growth as compared to experimental science, which already enjoyed four centuries of development and advancement. With Nano Letters, I hope to create a strong platform for computational science that can be used to explore nanoscale phenomena not always directly accessible to experiment in key scientific areas such as atmospheric science, materials science, molecular biology, colloidal chemistry, aerodynamics, and elementary particle physics, to name a few. I hope to highlight the highest quality development works by computational chemists, mathematical chemists, and physicists, chemical informaticians who underpin and explain new ground-breaking experimental results.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

The major challenge that faces us is to develop our abilities to pose and solve problems that combine insights from more than one discipline within the natural sciences with mathematical tools and computational skills. This provides a unique combination of applied and theoretical knowledge.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

We need to continue developing new computational methods that make challenging physical and chemical problems more tractable on modern computing platforms. We also need to change the future of computer simulations. For example, combining machine learning and data analysis with quantum computing is an exciting topic, which can completely change the future of computer simulations and the way we study physical systems at the nanoscale. There are also many unresolved problems in algorithm development, error control, and software productivity.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Triplet Excitation and Electroluminescence from a Supramolecular Monolayer Embedded in a Boron Nitride Tunnel Barrier
Nano Lett. 2020, 20, 1, 278–283
DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b03787

In this paper, we show that ordered monolayers of organic molecules stabilized by hydrogen bonding on the surface of exfoliated few-layer hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) flakes may be incorporated into van der Waals heterostructures with integral few-layer graphene contacts forming a molecular/two-dimensional hybrid tunneling diode. Electrons can tunnel through the hBN/molecular barrier under an applied voltage, and we show that tunneling electrons excite embedded molecules into singlet states in a two-step process via an intermediate triplet state through inelastic scattering and also observe direct emission from the triplet state. These heterostructures provide a solid-state device in which spin-triplet states, which cannot be generated by optical transitions, can be controllably excited and provide a new route to investigate the physics, chemistry, and quantum spin-based applications of triplet generation, emission, and molecular photon upconversion.
***

Chuan He Named Editor-In-Chief of ACS Chemical Biology

ACS Publications is pleased to announce Professor Chuan He’s appointment as Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of ACS Chemical Biology, replacing founding EIC Professor Laura L. Kiessling. He is the John T. Wilson distinguished service professor in the departments of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Chicago. His research group studies a broad range of topics in chemical biology, nucleic acid chemistry and biology, epigenetics, and genomics. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the American Chemical Society Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, and the ACS Chemical Biology Lectureship Award, among many other awards.

“Since its inception, ACS Chemical Biology has established itself as the main platform for chemical biologists to communicate their research and share scientific discoveries,” says He. “I envision the journal expanding its scope to encompass emerging research areas that are likely to blossom in the coming decade. I also look forward to building relationships with young chemical biologists through new initiatives, and I believe that the journal can play an active role in encouraging all chemical biologists to explore new areas of research.”

Learn More about Professor Chuan He and his vision for ACS Chemical Biology

What is your vision for ACS Chemical Biology as Editor-in-Chief?

Under the leadership of former Editor-in-Chief Professor Laura Kiessling, ACS Chemical Biology has become a platform that glues the chemical biology community and serves everyone. It is the first chemical biology journal run by academic chemical biologists. Its main goal is not to make a profit but to serve the research community of chemical biology. I will strengthen the journal’s role in serving everyone, especially to ensure that we can help young chemical biologists develop their careers. We also care about scientific impact and encourage researchers to submit the latest findings and cutting-edge research ideas to ACS Chemical Biology. I believe many of us are tired of the lengthy revision process after submission, so our editorial team will keep the process of publishing papers as short and streamlined as possible while maintaining high standards.

What are your expectations for submissions to ACS Chemical Biology?

I think there are generally three types of submissions: can be a development of a new method, a new scientific discovery, or the accumulation of data that is valuable to the research community. We welcome different types of submissions, including research resources type work. We plan to have a new mechanism for junior chemical biologists to summarize the scientific significance and breakthroughs of their research.

Can you tell us about your current research?

I started my independent lab working on bioinorganic chemistry, microbiology, and structural biology in the first 6-8 years. Over the past 13 years, my lab has focused more on RNA biology, epigenetics, and genomics. We study nucleic acid chemistry and biology and also use chemical principles to invent new genomics methods. Over the past decade, my lab has been more focused on answering biological questions, but we have recently embarked on several new research directions in chemical biology, and we hope to report results from these new directions in the future.

How did you determine this research direction? What is your advice for choosing a research direction?

For me, there are three criteria for choosing a research direction: first, whether it has great scientific significance; second, whether the pathway has notable in vivo functions or phenotypes; third, whether I can bring in unique ideas or invent methods to help address the challenges.

What advice would you give to young scientists for their career development?

I would suggest going beyond research areas you are familiar with. Have the courage to get into real biology and try to start a new research direction every 5 to 10 years. Consider attending biology conferences like Keystone meetings, and don’t just stay in your familiar field and attend only familiar meetings. As a chemical biologist, your success will be judged by your contribution to biology or the truly useful chemical biology approach you have developed.

Learn more about ACS Chemical Biology and read Professor Chuan He’s 2022 Editorial Statement.

Announcing the ACS Publications Diversity Data Report 2021

In June 2020, the Editors of ACS Publications journals wrote a joint editorial on addressing systemic racism in the chemistry community. That editorial made several commitments, including a pledge to gather and make public our “baseline statistics on diversity within our journals, encompassing our editors, advisors, reviewers, and authors.”

ACS Publications is now honoring that promise with a report of baseline data on the gender, racial, ethnic, and regional representation of our authors, reviewers, Editors, and Editorial Advisory Board members. This report supports our efforts to identify areas where representation improvements can be made by formulating targeted strategies to address bias in our journals.

A summary of the ACS Publications Diversity Data Report 2021 appears below.

Data Collection

The data for this report come from a recent survey of authors, reviewers, Editors, and Editorial Advisory Board members, as well as existing geographical data from these same groups.

Gender Representation

Men comprise the majority of every community reported on here, often by a ratio of 2:1 or more, compared with women, with nonbinary individuals comprising less than 1.5% of all communities.

Geographic Representation

Three regions are home to most people in the roles covered by this report. The majority of authors and reviewers reside in East Asia and the Pacific, followed by either the United States and Canada, or Europe and Central Asia. Most Editors and EAB members are based in the United States or Canada.

Racial and Ethnic Representation

Persons who self-identify as East Asian or White account for a majority of authors, reviewers, and editors. Respondents identifying as White comprise the greatest proportion of published authors, reviewers, and editorial positions, while those respondents who identify as East Asian represent the majority of submitting authors. No other group comprises more than 10% of any category.

Current Diversity Initiatives

ACS Publications has spent the past 18 months focusing on the specific diversity commitments made in June 2020, along with implementing several additional DEIR initiatives during this time. These programs stand atop continued efforts to diversify our Editorial Boards and a long history of diversity programs across the ACS.

In the Future

ACS Publications will use the data in this report to design and evaluate procedural and programmatic changes to address the systemic issues in peer review, editor selection, accessibility, and other factors affecting diversity in scientific publishing.

Read the Full Report.

ACS Publications’ Newest Associate Editors: Q3 2021

When a journal adds a new associate editor, that change means more for readers than just a tweak to the masthead. New associate editors bring new experiences, new perspectives, and new ideas to their publications. Get to know some of ACS’s latest editors and learn what unique gifts they’ll be bringing to their respective journals.

Iryna Zenyuk, ACS Applied Energy Materials

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My research is focused on using electrochemical techniques to enable the decarbonization of energy conversion and storage systems. Renewable energy technologies based on hydrogen are promising candidates to enable clean grid, transportation, and industrial sectors, as they have zero emissions and can use renewable and intermittent energy. I work on both polymer electrolyte fuel cells and electrolyzers, as well as Li-ion batteries. I did my Ph.D. at studying electric double layers at Pt- electrolyte interfaces with application to fuel cells. I wanted to do a Ph.D. in fuel cells as even back then, I understood the challenge of decarbonizing the energy sector and the need for novel, clean, cost-effective, energy-efficient solutions.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope that my expertise in fuel cells and electrolyzers can serve the journal well. ACS Applied Energy Materials is an ideal place for energy conversion and storage technology paper submissions, as it allows for some more applied approaches to be published, and this is, I believe, where we see a lot of innovation. I am excited to see more papers where the know-how/empirical approach is transformed into a science, for example, catalyst integration into actual devices, as only with rational design will we be able to advance the electrochemical technologies to market applications.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

The major challenges for broad hydrogen technologies (fuel cells and electrolyzers) deployment include high cost, durability challenges, and material challenges. The cost and material challenges are interlinked as, in many cases, the use of precious metals (platinum, iridium, etc.) results in high capital costs. Fundamental and applied science and engineering can address these challenges through novel catalysts and support design. The durability challenge again can be addressed either with a system-level solution (clipping voltage of the cell, for example) or with a materials design solution. I am looking forward to paper submissions to ACS Applied Energy Materials, where the authors will address cost, durability challenges through novel materials designs and their integration into actual devices.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

I think there are many interesting unsolved problems in my field. From the top of my head, I can list several. For example, shaped-controlled catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction demonstrated several times increased mass activities when measured in rotating disk electrodes, but this does not translate yet into performance within the actual device. A complex environment within the fuel cell somehow prevents these catalysts from reaching their full potential. In electrolyzer space, understanding the local environment within the iridium oxide catalyst layers for oxygen evolution reaction is still a challenge, as currently ionomer distribution, local morphology, IrOx oxidation state during operation, and two-phase flow within solution are all unknowns. By rationally designing catalyst layers for electrolyzers, we can dramatically reduce the device cost by reducing IrOx catalyst loading.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Measurement of Contact Angles at Carbon Fiber–Water–Air Triple-Phase Boundaries Inside Gas Diffusion Layers Using X-ray Computed Tomography
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2021, 13, 17, 20002–20013
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.1c00849

I like this paper because it uses a neat way to extract internal contact angles within the gas diffusion layers (GDLs) for fuel cell applications. This is something that has not been done previously in the fuel cell community, and it is much needed as the internal wettability of GDLs dictates water management.

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

In my previous life, I was a professional chess player, now retired but would be happy to be challenged to a chess game during our annual ACS meeting!

***

Joelle Pelletier, ACS Catalysis

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

Understanding how enzymes work, so we can modulate their activity. Enzymology; Biocatalysis; Enzyme kinetics; Computational simulations.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope to bring high-quality research on how enzymes/biocatalysts work and the harnessing of that knowledge to create new or improved methods of catalysis. Complex synthetic pathways that involve a variety of catalyst classes are exciting developments that we can promote. I will also strive for ACS Catalysis to include greater human diversity at all levels of the publication process, to publish the highest level of science with the greatest breadth of input and maximal outreach.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

1) Creating a body of knowledge that will inform methods of artificial intelligence to accelerate innovation in biological catalysis.
2) Bringing down barriers between subdisciplines of catalysis to increase the scope of discovery.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

The development of uniform metrics to assess the quality of data in enzyme catalysis. Contrary to most fields of chemistry, biochemical data does not conform to specified norms, nor is it easy to think of doing so for reasons that are inherent to the immense variety and complexity of biology. Nonetheless, high-quality comparables lie at the root of knowledge expansion. Efforts are underway in the international metrology community to propose metrics for reporting results of enzyme catalysis. I will work to ensure that ACS Catalysis stays abreast of these and supports their development.

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I look forward to meeting and discussing geeky science with all those who are passionate about biocatalysis.

***

Hee-Tae Jung, ACS Sensors

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

Molecular assembly – Nanomaterials and surface nano-patterning – CO2 conversion, HER and NRR catalysts – Gas sensors – Nanomaterials for climate change

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

A bridge between academia and industry in these fields, as well as making contributions to climate change issues.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

Developing new types of nanomaterials to overcome the hurdles of conventional electrochemical sensors and metal oxide-based sensors.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

I hope to bring the development of high-performance metal oxide gas sensors at low temperatures and the development of high-performance lung cancer and virus sensors from human breath analysis.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Etching Mechanism of Monoatomic Aluminum Layers during MXene Synthesis
Chem. Mater. 2021, 33, 16, 6346–6355
DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.1c01263

***

Andrew Marr, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My research focuses on catalysis for green and sustainable chemistry. This includes biocatalysis, organometallic catalysis, and artificial metalloenzymes. I also work quite a bit with ionic liquids. I learned about green and sustainable chemistry when I was doing postdoctoral research on hydrogenase models at the University of Nottingham (1998 – 2000). Martyn Poliakoff was expanding the green chemistry agenda in Nottingham, and the speaker program was amazing. My wife and I got to meet many of the pioneers of the field during that time, and we took some of them out for lunch or dinner. When we moved to Belfast, we were fortunate enough to learn about ionic liquids from Ken Seddon and join his QUILL research centerboard. Paul Kamer was also a good friend. He introduced me to artificial metalloenzymes.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I will help to maintain the excellent standards of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. This journal covers a fast-moving area. I hope to help the journal keep up with the best technological advances in sustainable chemistry and engineering.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

To transition all chemical and energy technologies to more sustainable alternatives. Solutions that serve all living things better than the existing paradigm. This is the biggest challenge facing humans and a core purpose of the journal.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

There are too many to count. One challenge that occupies us at the moment is the application of enzymes to energy technologies. The opportunity to grow components for electrochemical devices is fascinating.
***

Susan Latturner, Inorganic Chemistry

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My research focus is solid-state chemistry. I became interested in the field when I did an undergraduate research project at the University of Virginia, working on the intercalation chemistry of iron oxychloride. I enjoyed the synthesis and crystal growth of the host materials, as well as monitoring the structural modifications as organic guest species were added. However, my interest might have been inspired a decade earlier, as a 12-year-old, when I went to a New Year’s Eve party in Austria, and there was a person doing molybdomancy. (They hand you a slug of tin, you melt it over a flame and drop it in water, and they tell your fortune from the shape into which it freezes.) I don’t remember the divination, but I really liked the molten metal. It turns out that growing things out of molten metal was my future.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I’m looking forward to facilitating the publication of new work in materials chemistry and publicizing work that is of particular interest to the field.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

A major area of research is the development of materials to address energy needs in ways that mitigate the impact on the environment. It’s not clear if this will be best addressed by incremental improvements of existing compounds or by complete paradigm change. For instance, small changes in lithium-ion battery materials have led to greatly improved performance, but changing to a different platform may lead to even better properties and also eliminate the sourcing issues with lithium and cobalt. The discovery of new materials that can lead to dramatic improvement is difficult (as John Corbett said, it’s “difficult to predict the unimaginable”). But paradigm shifts can happen with a combination of exploratory synthesis, new synthetic techniques, and computational work to aid in materials discovery.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

A big problem in the synthesis of extended inorganic solids is the lack of understanding of reaction mechanisms. We lack the fine control of bond-making and bond-breaking that organic chemists have in their reactions. It is therefore difficult to tailor the structure and properties of our products. But this is becoming increasingly addressable with advances in characterization techniques which allow for in-situ measurements as reactions progress. Improved understanding of reaction intermediates may enable us to modify our syntheses to target the desired product.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Unexpected Hydride: Ce4B2C2H2.42, a Stuffed Variant of the Nd2BC Structure Type
Cryst. Growth Des. 2021, 21, 9, 5164–5171
DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.1c00521

We used neutron diffraction to detect interstitial hydrides that were inadvertently introduced during the flux growth of a Ce/B/C compound. We were looking for carbide interstitials, but the neutron diffraction data clearly showed they were hydrides. Given that information, we increased the yield by using a hydrocarbon (anthracene) as a reactant. (This is the extent of the organic chemistry we do.)
***

Yu Tang, Inorganic Chemistry

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My research interest is functional coordination compounds, mainly focusing on the design, synthesis, functional and stability control, and application of rare-earth functional complexes and materials. In recent years, we have carried out systematic researches on the key scientific issue of regulating the function and stability of luminescent materials based on the rare-earth complexes at the molecular level. And the rare-earth complexes based luminescent materials can be used in the construction of intelligent optical coding materials, two-photon biological probes, and the assembly of stable and highly efficient inorganic-organic hybrid perovskite solar cell devices. Those researches have enriched the research content of coordination chemistry and have significant meaning for the synthesis of new rare-earth luminescent materials and their high-value applications. It was the curiosity to explore the unknown world and the interest in coordination chemistry that initially attracted me to the field. In addition, what fascinates me with scientific research is the astonishment or awe, excitement or stimulation, motivation or impulse fed back to me by the experiment. I clearly remember that when I saw the crystal that I got after cultivating overnight was like a romantic ice flower, I fell in love with the creative and energetic chemical laboratory.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

Discover more excellent works with high quality and articles with high citation potential, and attracting scientists with high academic levels to join the editorial board team would be my greatest wish. Of course, I also want to qualitatively define the relationship between all authors, reviewers, and editors, a long-term strategic partnership to create a harmonious and friendly atmosphere for our future exchanges.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

For the past several decades, the application of rare earth luminescent materials has been the focus in high-tech fields, such as lighting, display, messaging, and so on. Rare earth complexes possess the functionally oriented molecular design property and excellent luminescent behavior, but these compounds are poorly stable for long-term use in devices. Even after encapsulation of the complexes in inert hosts, their stability remains questionable. I highly recommend that scientists in this field pay more attention to the development of more features and precise synthesis of ultra-stable rare earth complexes based on luminescent materials.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

The most interesting unsolved problem of rare earth luminescent materials is the transformation from academic research to engineering application. Achieving their industrial application is the true meaning of scientific research. I always imagine that rare earth luminescent materials will appear as a “superstar” to illuminate every corner of the global village. It’s meaningful but challenging.
***

Katharina Scherf, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My group and I develop new analytical strategies to study the complex interplay between structure, functionality, and bioactivity of food proteins in a multidisciplinary way. We analyze food proteins along the entire value chain from the plant to the food and beyond to understand digestibility, uptake, and potential immunoreactivity in the human body. These fundamental insights contribute to improved food security, food quality, and food safety. One of my main research interests is the analytical, immunological, and biochemical aspects of wheat-related disorders, including celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy. The most rewarding part of our research is that the results will help improve the quality of life for patients affected by wheat-related disorders.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

As an Associate Editor of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, I will be looking for high-quality submissions that advance the research field, for example, by introducing novel analytical methods into food science or by building bridges to other disciplines. My previous editorial activities will certainly be useful because I am already familiar with the entire process of handling manuscripts.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

Wheat is one of the pillars for nutrition security worldwide, but the prevalence of wheat-related disorders is increasing. There is an urgent need to understand why this is happening, and this can only be achieved through multidisciplinary collaborations.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

Current gaps in knowledge are that digestibility and uptake of food proteins in the human body remain underexplored. We know very little about how undigestible food-derived peptides are absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and excreted. If we had this fundamental understanding, it would open many new possibilities to promote human health and prevent the development of food-related disorders.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Among the papers from my group, I would like to highlight our work published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry:

Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Breeding from 1891 to 2010 Contributed to Increasing Yield and Glutenin Contents but Decreasing Protein and Gliadin Contents
J. Agric. Food Chem. 2020, 68, 13247-13256
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.0c02815

Changes in wheat protein composition due to breeding have been put forward as a potential reason for the increasing prevalence of wheat-related disorders. We studied agronomic characteristics, protein content, and gluten composition of 60 German winter wheat cultivars first registered between 1891 and 2010 grown in 3 years. Overall, the harvest year had a more significant effect on protein composition than the cultivar, and we found no evidence to support an increased immunostimulatory potential of modern winter wheat.
***

Mark S. Taylor, The Journal of Organic Chemistry

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My group’s research is aimed at discovering catalytic reactions of organic compounds and studying their mechanisms. We’re especially interested in learning how noncovalent or reversible covalent interactions can be used to influence selectivity in catalysis. As an undergrad, I was fascinated by the idea that the course of a chemical reaction can be controlled by changing the molecular structure of a catalyst. I had an opportunity to participate in catalysis research at an early stage, working with Keith Fagnou during his time as a Ph.D. student in Mark Lautens’ group at U of T.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to get a closer look at diverse types of new chemistry and to learn as much as I can from the authors, reviewers, and editorial team at JOC. Respect and civility in the peer review process are important to me. Hopefully, I can help to promote and sustain those values in my role as Associate Editor.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

We are facing a crisis of how to reduce the environmental impact of our activities while maintaining or improving the quality of life for individuals. Discoveries in organic chemistry can help to address this challenge by increasing efficiency in the discovery and production of medicines or materials and by identifying new types of chemical feedstocks.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

Developing site-selective transformations that function in complex settings is a problem that I find to be interesting and inspirational. Solutions to this problem offer new ways to modify the structures of biomolecules, conduct late-stage functionalizations of medicinal agents or secondary metabolites, and devise new chemical processes based on bio-derived compounds.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Synthesis of Ketodeoxysugars from Acylated Pyranosides Using Photoredox Catalysis and Hydrogen Atom Transfer
ACS Catal. 2021, 11, 17, 11171–11179
DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.1c03050

This is a paper that I co-authored with my students Julia, Nicholas, and Daniel in ACS Catalysis. Despite wiping out two chirality centers, this reaction provides access to useful precursors to rare sugars from abundant starting materials, and the mechanism of the transformation is interesting. If you read our paper, I’d also recommend having a look at “A unified strategy to access 2- and 4-deoxygenated sugars enabled by manganese-promoted 1,2-radical migration”, a related study from Alison Wendlandt’s group at MIT.

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Outside of work, I’m always looking for ways to stay active. I’ve been playing ultimate frisbee for around two decades and had the chance to compete at the World Masters Ultimate Club Championships in 2018. Recently, I have been enjoying running, (indoor) rock climbing, and cross-country skiing.
***

Mary Watson, The Journal of Organic Chemistry

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?
My research focuses on the development of transition metal-catalyzed reactions for organic synthesis. My group works on cross-couplings of sp3-hybridized electrophiles to deliver highly enantioenriched products with all-carbon quaternary stereocenters via stereospecific cross-couplings and to transform ubiquitous amino groups into a wide variety of new substituents. We are also developing enantioselective, copper-catalyzed alkynylations of cationic substrates. I was originally attracted to transition metal catalysis by the ability of transition metal catalysts to induce organic molecules to undergo transformations that are otherwise impossible. The ability of metal catalysts to control selectivity in these reactions also inspires me.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

First and foremost, I am bringing my love of organic chemistry to the journal. Organic chemistry provides amazing opportunities for creativity and problem solving, and there is so much left to learn and discover. I am also bringing a deep respect for the scientists in this field and look forward to seeing their contributions. Finally, I hope to support the authors in bringing a high level of rigor to their publications.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

Organic chemistry has evolved beautifully to encompass a great diversity of research from mechanistic analysis to synthesis of soft materials to chemical biology. However, there remains a lack of diversity among organic chemists, especially at the more senior levels. I am encouraged to see calls and recommendations for making our community more inclusive and diverse, but we have much work left to do. Our field also struggles with embracing a diversity of approaches. As organic chemists, we need options when confronting new synthetic challenges. Although it is tempting to want a single “best” strategy or solution for all contexts (and tempting to glom on to hot new research areas), we need a great diversity of solutions to chemical challenges because organic molecules themselves are diverse, ranging from simple starting materials to highly functionalized heterocycles to complex natural products. Finally, organic chemistry faces communication challenges. For example, much academic method development is directed towards gaining efficiency in the synthesis of potential pharmaceuticals, but historically there is limited communication between academic and industrial chemists. As a field, we also struggle with the sheer amount of results and data being communicated. How do we consume, digest, and most importantly utilize the vast amounts of information being reported to move to deeper fundamental understanding and greater rational design in organic reactivity?

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

As a field, we still have so much to learn in terms of controlling reactivity. When we design a new reaction, we can often correctly predict the metal, class of ligand, and the need for other reagents. When we design a total synthesis route, we can choose well-precedented methods for each step. But so much of what we do is still empirical. Reactions that look great “on paper” often fail or require tens to hundreds of optimization experiments to achieve high yield and selectivity. This need for empirically derived solutions belies a lack of fundamental understanding of how to funnel molecules along the desired energy surface. Although sometimes daunting, I believe this lack of understanding is a tremendous opportunity for organic chemists to continue pushing deeper into understanding how reactions work (and what doesn’t work), and I’m excited to see the continued development of new physical organic techniques, machine learning, and other approaches that will allow us to deepen our ability to understand chemical reactivity.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Earlier this year, my group reported conditions that enable unprecedented scope in stereospecific cross-couplings of benzylic carboxylates to set all-carbon quaternary stereocenters.

Overcoming the Naphthyl Requirement in Stereospecific Cross-Couplings to Form Quaternary Stereocenters
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 23, 8608–8613
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c03898

This advance depended on the use of a stilbene additive, and I am excited to understand how this additive enables reactivity.

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

One of the projects I’m passionate about is helping to organize the annual Empowering Women in Organic Chemistry conferences (https://ewochem.org). I am also the proud mom of twin daughters.
***

Magnus Palmblad, Journal of Proteome Research

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My main research focus is new algorithms and applications of computational proteomics, ranging from workflows for large-scale analyses to the identification of biological species from mass spectra. The focus keeps shifting as there are so many ideas to explore! I was first attracted to the field in high school, where our chemistry teacher had us play a computer game where one had to sequence a peptide using a choice of chemical reactions and analyses, each with a different price tag. The goal was to find the correct sequence while spending as little cash as possible. Mass spectrometry was one of those analyses – and the most expensive one if I remember correctly. This must have been around 1990. I then did a summer internship in 1992, right after high school, exploring crystallization methods for MALDI, and I was firmly hooked on mass spectrometry.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I will bring my personal experience of computational methods in proteomics as well as an overview of the field informed through my work on software registries and the two special issues on software tools in the Journal of Proteome Research.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

One of the major challenges, at least from a practical point of view, is closing the gap between the ‘best’ experiments and analyses published by experts and what can be achieved routinely by most users of the same instrument and software. This challenge is not unique to proteomics, but it is exacerbated by the complexity of the experiments and data analyses in our field.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

There are many exciting developments in massively parallel peptide sequencing that one day may challenge the dominance of mass spectrometry in the field. These new technologies also bring interesting computational problems that will need to be addressed. We should also make it easier to scale up data analyses so that anyone is able to contextualize their data or answer research questions by reusing data in public proteomics repositories, databases, and atlases. I am excited to see efforts now addressing the obstacles to making this a common practice.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Benjamin Neely and I wrote a perspective for the Journal of Proteome Research looking at the early work in molecular phylogenetics comparing patterns of tryptic peptides in the light of current proteomics technology. We found it enormously rewarding to follow the literature trail back in time – and forward again, following in the footsteps of past researchers. And it was great to have a partner-in-crime to help pull me out when I was going too far down a rabbit hole of a literature trail.

Rewinding the Molecular Clock: Looking at Pioneering Molecular Phylogenetics Experiments in the Light of Proteomics
J. Proteome Res. 2021, 20, 10, 4640–4645
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.1c00528

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I sometimes tweet about proteomics or mass spectrometry as @MagnusPalmblad.
***

Song Lin, Organic Letters

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My lab’s research focuses on advancing new reaction strategies to improve the efficiency and selectivity of organic synthesis. We explore fundamental principles of electrochemistry and radical chemistry to discover new organic reactions and uncover new mechanistic pathways. Electrochemistry has historically seen limited use in organic chemistry. However, it has a number of unique features that are not commonly encountered in traditional chemical synthesis, and the ability to harness such features for discovering new reactivity has always fascinated me.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I am excited to join a great editorial team with diverse professional backgrounds and hope to contribute to the journal’s success with my expertise in electrosynthesis, radical chemistry, and physical organic chemistry.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

Discovering fundamentally new reactivity and new bond disconnection strategies are always exciting but challenging at the same time. In addition, gaining a deep understanding of reaction mechanisms using traditional and new physical/analytical tools is critical to modern organic chemistry research. Furthermore, the marriage of organic synthesis with technology and data science will undoubtedly expand the horizon of our field and lead to exciting new discoveries. All challenges are also opportunities for our field to grow.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

Understanding and predicting reaction outcomes in complex systems.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Unlocking the Potential of High-Throughput Experimentation for Electrochemistry with a Standardized Microscale Reactor
ACS Cent. Sci. 2021, 7, 8, 1347–1355
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.1c00328

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

If I wasn’t a chemist, I would likely pursue a career in architecture. Building complex objects, from tiny molecules to magnificent skyscrapers, with both pleasing aesthetics and desirable functions, fascinates me.
***

Natalie Fey, Organometallics

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

The main focus of my work in my group is on the computational study of organometallic catalysts aimed at improving our understanding of the mechanism of catalytic reactions and developing approaches for the screening and optimization of novel catalysts. In practice, this means that we study catalytic cycles for a relatively small number of systems chosen carefully to sample chemical space. We also use calculations to assess ligand, substrate, and catalyst properties for a larger number of systems, combining the two approaches to build predictive models. We collaborate a lot with synthetic chemists to validate and improve our predictions. I like it when reactions change color, so transition metal complexes were a good fit for me. However, when I first became interested in pursuing research in organometallic chemistry, computational studies were still a bit of an adventure and considered quite a risky undertaking. I’ve always been interested in using computing to best effect to support chemistry, but I initially combined it with a substantial synthetic task in my Ph.D. However, I was a bit of a liability in the lab (let’s blame a heady mixture of being tall, clumsy, and quite easily distracted by computers), so everybody heaved a sigh of relief when I changed direction to focus on computational studies. My interest in synthesis has continued to inform our approach, though, and now we want to use computational approaches as a driver for scientific discovery, still with a particular interest in applying computational and structural chemistry to the large-scale prediction and design of organometallic catalysts, but we also support chemical synthesis across a range of areas, from organic to materials chemistry.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

There is a lot of excitement about using data-led approaches in chemistry, including in organometallic chemistry, at the moment. I hope to contribute some of my expertise in both computational chemistry and data analysis/model evaluation to the community, along with an appreciation of the value and robustness of molecular structures. Much of our understanding of chemistry ultimately relies on relating structures to properties, and computational studies are an important part of that.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

At the computational end, it’s often a dearth of experimental data which we can use to really challenge and validate predictions made, although there have been some exciting developments in what you might call physical organometallic chemistry recently. Any experimental insights into what the catalyst actually is, along with reliable kinetics/barriers and some idea about what happens to the catalyst before and after the reaction, can improve mechanistic studies. We also need to leverage what we already know more effectively too, and that’s where data capture, curation, and exploitation come into their own.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

The activation of difficult bonds, ideally with earth-abundant transition metals supported by cheap ligands, has got to be up there somewhere! More immediately, we still need to figure out how we record and exploit all of the data we can now collect and then decide how to leverage it to the best effect.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

Building a Toolbox for the Analysis and Prediction of Ligand and Catalyst Effects in Organometallic Catalysis
Acc. Chem. Res. 2021, 54, 4, 837–848
DOI: 10.1021/acs.accounts.0c00807

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

When I start to get a sense of despair about all of the challenges stacking up in our future (climate, health, biodiversity, and how to keep everybody clothed, fed, warm and sane), I tend to remind myself that science gives us a way of addressing quite a lot of them. So we need to get the best and brightest working on this and support them to make this a viable and rewarding task. Nobody said it would be easy!
***

Belén Martín-Matute, Organic Letters

What is your research focus? What initially attracted you to your field?

My research focuses on developing catalytic approaches for selective organic synthesis. We study different redox reactions and reactions where carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bonds are formed selectively. We work with homogeneous transition metal- and organo-catalysts, as well as with different heterogeneous catalysts, such as functionalized metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Understanding the mode of action of the catalysts is one of our main interests.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope that my background in developing a broad variety of catalysts of different nature will attract new articles to Organic Letters that tackle major selectivity challenges. These include methods that can be applied to the late-stage functionalization of complex molecules and methods that provide outstanding levels of selectivity when using base metals or main group catalysts.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

We cannot rely on fossil resources forever. And making chemicals from sustainable resources is very challenging. The arsenal of catalysts available today present serious limitations when, for example, used to create high-value organic compounds from highly oxygenated raw materials.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

Understanding the mode of action of heterogeneous catalysts is a major unsolved challenge. This includes understanding the role of the support/material that holds the catalytic species. These difficulties make that the use of heterogeneous catalysts in organic synthesis is still, to a large extent, based on trial/error approaches.

Do you have a recent paper in an ACS journal that you’d like to highlight?

We have developed a method for stereospecific 1,3-proton shifts based on the in-situ formation of ion pairs with induced noncovalent chirality:

Base-Catalyzed Stereospecific Isomerization of Electron-Deficient Allylic Alcohols and Ethers through Ion-Pairing
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 40, 13408–13414
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b08350

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I am the director of the Ph.D. education at our department, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to discuss different aspects of research education with highly motivated students. Outside work, I enjoy family time and keep very busy on the weekends with orienteering competitions and ice-hockey training with the boys. We also enjoy traveling to visit our big family abroad.
***

ACS Chemical Neuroscience Announces Professor Jacob Hooker as Editor-in-Chief

ACS Publications is pleased to announce that Professor Jacob M. Hooker has been appointed Editor-in-Chief of ACS Chemical Neuroscience, replacing outgoing EIC Professor Craig W. Lindsley. In light of Professor Hooker’s contributions as an Associate Editor of ACS Chemical Neuroscience since 2013, and his combination of research accomplishments and knowledge of the journal and its community, we’re thrilled that Professor Hooker will be guiding the journal into its next phase.

Professor Hooker had this to say about his appointment:

“I have had the privilege of working as an Associate Editor of ACS Chemical Neuroscience for seven years and have supported the journal as it moved from infancy to maturity. Our author and reader community is phenomenal and my role is to make sure that the journal not only serves that community but also enhances its impact on the study of the brain. Look for an expansion of our scope that matches our #IAmAChemicalNeuroscientist outreach efforts, especially to folks in clinical neuroscience and therapeutic evaluation. Please also share with us your thoughts on what makes the journal such a vital part of ACS Publications and what you would like to see as it continues to evolve. Finally, hang in there with COVID-19 and all the challenges it brings. We will be as flexible as possible always, but especially now, to help you communicate your science. “

Professor Hooker is currently Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and a Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport MGH Research Scholar, and holds associate or affiliate appointments at the Broad Institute, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He brings the perspective of industry researchers as well as an active consultant and advisor to the pharmaceutical industry in neurotherapeutics; he currently serves as a scientific advisory board member for, among others, Psy Therapeutics, Delix Therapeutics, and Fuzionaire Diagnostics. In 2017, Prof. Hooker co-founded Eikonizo Therapeutics which leverages molecular imaging to de-risk drug discovery in the pursuit of disease-modifying therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases.

Learn more about Professor Hooker in the below excerpt from the upcoming Neurochat:

What are the major challenges facing neuroscience today? How can these be tackled?

Technology advances for neuroscience have been extraordinary recently. Integration of data from single-cell sequencing, for example, with other approaches is in many cases leading to more questions than answers.  No area of neuroscience should really be considered solved. I see a lot of encampment in methods. Rather than encamping as scientists in methods, technology, cell-type, or overarching dogma, we need to be better able to connect the dots between very different types of experiments in neuroscience.

What advice would you give to young scientists today?

Do what excites you and follow your instincts. While it is hard, sometimes impossible, to avoid doing things that others tell you are important, you have to try to be deliberate and do what you want. Sure, be opportunistic in the right moments but do not lose sight of things that give you simple joy and that make work seem like play. If you do things that excite you, you will stay motivated and have a wonderful career.

What is something about yourself that people would be surprised to know?

Though it’s been a long time since, I have completed three Ironman triathlons and many marathons. I used to punish myself by not training much and doing these things “off the couch”.

Connect with Professor Jacob Hooker and ACS Chemical Neuroscience on Twitter @ACSChemNeurosci.