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

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

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

This Special Issue in Environmental Science & Technology is seeking novel contributions on oxidation processes in water treatment with an emphasis on micropollutant abatement and byproduct formation.

Relevant Topics:

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

Guest Editors

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


Author Instructions:

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

The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2023.

Submit your manuscript

Submit your manuscript

ACS Malaysia Chapter Virtual Earth Day Talk 2022

In conjunction with Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW), we’re back again to jointly organized a Virtual Earth Day Talk ACS Malaysia Chapter on 21 April 2022. ACS celebrates CCEW in the week of April 17–23, 2022 with the theme, “The Buzz About Bugs: Insect Chemistry.”

This time, our talk relates with the Earth Day 2022 theme on ‘Invest on our planet’. The 2.5 hours event featured three prominent speakers that shared their valuable insights into environment-related topics, publications, research collaborations, and a special talk on insect chemistry!

Dr Mohd Firdaus

Dr Mohd Firdaus, the Chair of ACS Malaysia Chapter, opened the event by sharing the purpose of Earth Day with the audience, and why we need to ‘Invest in Our Planet’ starting from now.

“It has always been a pleasure to collaborate with ACS Publications, especially for an important event like the Earth Day 2022. This collaboration allows us to reach out to audience not normally associated with the Chapter event. This will in turn allow us a wider reach, in the mission of spreading words about the importance of investing in our planet! I look forward to working with ACS Publications again in 2023.”

– Dr Mohd Firdaus Abdul Wahab, Chair, ACS Malaysia Chapter

Prof Ruey-an Dong

We invited our first speaker of the day, Prof Ruey-an Dong. He is the Chair Professor at the Institute of Analytical and Environmental Sciences, National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), Taiwan. He presented on the topic on Nanotechnology for Environmental Applications. Additionally, he talked about his experience as not only an ACS Journal author, but also a Reviewer and an Editor.

Dr Zaki Zainudin

Next up, we had an Industry speaker, Ir. Dr Zaki Zainudin, who is a Water Quality & Modeling Specialist. He shared about his industrial expertise on the Water Quality and Pollution Control matters in Malaysia, and the related bridging policies and research, which resonated well with the audience.

Dr Wan Fatma

Finally, for our third speaker, we invited Assoc. Prof. Dr Wan Fatma Zuharah, from the Medical Entomology Laboratory, Vector Control Research Unit at Universiti Sains Malaysia. She spoke about the Applications of Insect Chemicals to Agriculture, and the conservation and public health.

After a fruitful session of Q&A session with all the speaker, we presented the winners for the ACS Student Chapter 3-Min Video Competition with the theme “Invest in our Planet”. The competition was opened to the 12 ACS International Student Chapters from Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia.

Check them out here

We concluded the event with an Earth Day Trivia quiz with interesting facts on environmental related issues like deforestation and microplastics.

Hope to see you at the next event!


“I was honored to be one of the participants and appreciated every moment. The whole experience was priceless. Plastic pollution is a severe and long-standing issue. Malaysia seriously has a massive problem with plastic waste. We often see empty plastic cups, plastic straws, plastic lids, empty water bottles on the roadsides, seashores, and dumpsites. Plastic waste is composed of major toxic pollutants and has the potential to cause great harm to the environment in the form of air, water, and land pollution. Surprisingly, most people are aware of the harmful effects of plastic use on the environment and human health. They are well-versed in the idea that plastic is non-biodegradable and will not decompose completely. This leads us to create a video related to the awareness of Plastic Waste Pollution and the ways to solve it.”

– Chew Ho Kin, ACS USM International Student Chapter

“This was a great opportunity to get to know other ACS Student Chapters as well as introducing our relatively new student chapter. I find the topic nanotechnology in environmental applications very fascinating. As a student, I think I can start to apply it at home with my family by practicing the correct way of composting and investing in renewable energy”.

-Jehan Yusof, ACS IIUM Kuantan International Student Chapter.

ACS article PDFs now include recommended articles

ACS Publications has introduced an enhancement to the PDF version of ACS journal articles that will assist with your browsing and research discovery. We now feature recommended articles at the end of journal article PDFs that will provide you a link to related research. This serves as a complement to the recommended article list that has appeared on the HTML version of our research articles.

The recommended articles will be located at the end of the PDF as shown here. Read on to find out more:

How many recommended articles will be on a PDF?
Each article can have four recommendations, where space allows. 

How are the article recommendations generated?
Article recommendations are powered by AI, based on a combination of content analysis and viewing patterns. These recommendations will change over time, based on changing viewing patterns of that article and any related ones.

Which journal article PDFs have this enhancement?
ACS journal research articles, rapid communications, and review articles published from December 2021 to the present are eligible for recommendations.  Recommendations will be placed only if there is space on the last page of the PDF. 

Where can I see this feature?
Check out this research article and you will see a list of recommended articles at the end of the PDF.

Feed a Planet by Monitoring Plant Health

We need to increase agricultural crop yields because of the combination of a growing human population and climate-change-induced realities such as plant disease, warmer temperatures, and drought. This has led to a burgeoning demand for precision agricultural technologies that monitor soil, water, pathogens, and plant health—and provide actionable data in real or near-real time. Techniques that can be used in the field and provide timely feedback are highly sought after.

Wearable electrode sensors

One solution involves the use of “wearable” health sensors that adhere to a plant’s leaf. They monitor leaf health and microenvironmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and water content loss. Materials such as stacked ZnIn2S4 nanosheets have been explored, along with a stretchable metal, carbon nanotube matrix, and silicon.1,2

But getting devices to stick well to leaves is difficult—and designing a functional wearable device that can also be commercially scaled and reproduced is a tall order.

New research published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces shows that the right materials and technologies may help lower these barriers. Work by Barbosa et al.3 shows that nickel-based films can be used in combination with well-known microfabrication processes to make wearable electrode sensors that monitor water content loss of leaves. Water content is a key indicator of plant health and provides information about how stressed or healthy a plant is. The researchers also show that an alternative material, pyrolyzed paper, can be used to reliably measure lost water content.


Read the full article online

Read the press release around this article.

Emerging tech for plant health monitoring
Other emerging technologies to monitor plant health include point-of-use techniques such as synthetic biology phytosensors that provide data on plant pathogens, toxins, and nutrients. Fluorescence and hyperspectral imaging techniques can also monitor chlorophyll, photosynthetic activity, leaf stress, pollution, and pathogens. And researchers are exploring devices that can be integrated into plants, such as microneedle electrodes and organic electrochemical transistor-based sensors, for the continual monitoring of plant health.4,5

Nanosensors based on near-infrared fluorescent single-walled carbon nanotubes have also been designed to interface with plant leaves and report on hydrogen peroxide, another key indicator of plant stress.6 Multispectral sensors are also being used on unmanned aerial vehicles to remotely detect leaf stress based on the idea that when leaves are not water stressed, they scatter comparatively more light than dehydrated leaves, based on how light moves from hydrated cell walls into external air space.7,8


  1. Lu, Y.; Xu, K.; Zhang, L.; Deguichi, M.; Shishido, H.; Arie, T.; Pan, R.; Hayashi, A.; Shen, L.; Akita, S.; Takei, K. Multimodal Plant Healthcare Flexible Sensor System. ACS Nano. 2020, 14, 10966–10975. 
  2. Zhao, Y; Gao, S.; Zhu, J; Li, J.; Xu, K.; Cheng, H; Huang, X. Multifunctional Stretchable Sensors for Continuous Monitoring of Long-Term Leaf Physiology and Microclimate. ACS Omega. 2019, 4, 9522–9530.
  3. Barbosa, J. A.; Freitas, V. M. S.; Vidotta, L. H. B.; Schleder, G. R.; de Oliveira, R. A. G.; da Rocha, J. F.; Kubota, L. T.; Vieira, L. C. S.; Tolentino, H. C. N.; Neckel, I. T.; Gobbi, A. L; Santhiago, M.; Lima, R. S. Biocompatible Wearable Electrodes on Leaves toward the On-Site Monitoring of Water Loss from Plants. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces. 2022.
  4. Roper, J. M.; Garcia J. F.; Tsutsui, H. Emerging Technologies for Monitoring Plant Health in Vivo. ACS Omega. 2021, 6, 5101–5107.
  5. Feng, Y-X.; Chen, X.; Li, Y-W.; Zhao, H-M.; Xiang, L.; Li, H.; Cai, Q-Y.; Feng, N-X.; Mo, C-H.; Wong, M-H.
    A Visual Leaf Zymography Technique for the In Situ Examination of Plant Enzyme Activity under the Stress of Environmental Pollution
    J. Agric. Food Chem. 2020, 68, 14015–14024.
  6. Wu, H.; Nißler, R.; Morris, V.; Herrmann, N.; Hu, P; Jeon, S-J.; Kruss, S.; Giraldo. J. P. Monitoring Plant Health with Near-Infrared Fluorescent H2O2 Nanosensors. Nano Lett. 2020, 20, 2432–2442.
  7. Stiteler, W.; Newcombe, A. Use of multispectral sensors and unmanned aerial vehicles for agricultural applications. In SciMeetings, Proceedings of the ACS Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting, Aug 17, 2020.
  8. Gausman, H. W.; Burke, J. J.; Quisenberry, J. E. Use of Leaf Optical Properties in Plant Stress Research. In Bioregulators: Chemistry and Uses; Ory, R. L.; Rittig, F. R., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series 257; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 1984, pp 215–233.

Accounts of Chemical Research welcomes proposals for the upcoming Special Issue: “Electrosynthesis of Inorganic Materials”

Electrosynthesis of inorganic substances has been instrumental in the growth and evolution of modern society. Electrodeposition is inarguably now the dominant synthetic strategy for critically important metals like aluminum and device components such as copper interconnects.

This Special Issue will explore new strategies and concepts in the electrochemical synthesis of inorganic materials.

To be considered for inclusion in this exciting Special Issue, please prepare a proposal of your full manuscript. A proposal is a one- or two-page document which includes a short description of the focused topic and a list of references to your work that would form the foundation of the final manuscript. Proposals must be submitted by Wednesday, June 15, 2022.

Full information about Accounts of Chemical Research Proposals and how to submit is available here.

The newest Associate and Topic Editors for ACS Publications

Learn about the newest Associate Editors across the ACS Publications journal portfolio. When new associate editors come on board with ACS Publications, they bring new experience, expertise and knowledge to the journal and the community, which ultimately contributes greatly to the success of the journal. Get to know our most recently appointed Associate Editors in the post below:


Jackie StewartJackie Stewart, Journal of Chemical Education

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

I conduct basic and applied educational psychology research to improve chemistry learning and instruction. I use quantitative and qualitative techniques to investigate chemistry learning at the cognitive, course, and institutional levels. My current research is investigating the role of emotions on learning from feedback and (separately) equity in first-year science courses. I was drawn to chemistry education research first to address issues I noticed in my own classes, then to improve learning more broadly in my department, and then to contribute to systemic changes to make chemistry learning environments more inclusive and equitable. When I started graduate school there were no chemistry education graduate programs in Canada so I studied educational psychology. There are now a handful of programs training the next generation of chemistry education researchers in Canada which is exciting to see.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

People come to chemistry education research (CER) in various ways, through specialized graduate degree programs, other related education fields, or by transitioning or combining CER with their chemistry research. I hope to continue the Journal of Chemical Education’s role in welcoming new people to CER by facilitating reviews that help researchers improve their manuscripts and their abilities as researchers. Teaching is both a science and an art, and I hope to help the Journal continue to provide the best possible research for educators to make evidence-based decisions about curriculum and pedagogy. This nicely complements the JCE articles that provide creative ideas for educators to incorporate into their teaching practice in an artful way.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

Chemistry education research that aims to make chemistry more diverse, equitable, and inclusive is helping to address the major challenge of systems pushing qualified people out at many levels. From a social justice perspective, equitable chemistry education will make chemistry careers available to everyone. From an economic perspective, preventing an exodus of scientists from the chemistry field will result in a robust workforce. Promising research is identifying inclusive practices that will help correct long-standing inequities.

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

I think one of the most important challenges in chemistry education at the moment is how to weave findings from cognitive science and education research into undergraduate chemistry course designs. Courses exist in a complex system and instructors need to consider the diversity of students’ incoming knowledge and motivation, as well as the educational context, students’ workload, and social dynamics.

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

I am really proud of a paper I recently published with an undergraduate collaborator in the Journal of Chemical Education special issue on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect in Chemistry Education Research and Practice (https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c00498). We documented the experiences of gender-diverse chemistry students. Listening to their stories helped me become a better ally and advocate for inclusive teaching practices that help foster students’ sense of belonging in chemistry. Their stories are moving and powerful, demonstrate their strong desire to learn chemistry, and shed light on some challenges people might not realize are present for many students, such as the need to hide their identities and struggles with course group work. The article has led to important discussions within and beyond my own department.

Listening to Nonbinary Chemistry Students: Nonacademic Roadblocks to Success
Bec Chan and Jaclyn J. Stewart
J. Chem. Educ. 2022, 99, 1, 409–416
Publication Date: November 11, 2021
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c00498

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

I have taught organic chemistry to over 5,500 students and feel grateful to be a part of so many students’ journeys. It is an honour to play a small role in helping others achieve their goals. I am Canadian and live on the West coast of British Columbia with my husband, two young sons, and golden retriever.

Jeremy Baskin

Jeremy Baskin, ACS Chemical Biology

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

My research interests are focused on the chemical biology and cell biology of lipids and membranes. I have enamored with chemical biology ever since my days as a student working on bioorthogonal chemistry for protein labeling and glycan imaging, and I became fascinated with membrane trafficking and lipids during my postdoctoral studies. The complex metabolic web and dynamic nature of lipids is a great playground for chemical biologists to work in to develop precision tools for studying these biological molecules. psychology. There are now a handful of programs training the next generation of chemistry education researchers in Canada which is exciting to see.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope to help ACS Chemical Biology serve as a major hub for the chemical biology community, publishing the most interesting, innovative, and impactful science in chemical biology, broadly defined, and serving as a resource containing commentaries, reviews, and perspectives on the important issues facing our field today.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

I think that chemical biology as a whole is facing head-on the challenge of applying tools for making impactful biological discoveries, which is part of a natural evolution of the field as it matures and draws in researchers from more scientifically diverse backgrounds.

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

In the lipid world, understanding how cells control the synthesis, transport, and degradation of these dynamic hydrophobic molecules that have to navigate an aqueous world is one of the most important unsolved problem.

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

“I’m super excited about our recent paper developing a photoaffinity labeling strategy to dig into the interactome and biology of ethanol-derived phospholipids that are formed in vivo following alcohol consumption. These are long-lived lipids used clinically as biomarkers, but no one knows how they may perturb our physiology. Our chemical probes could be a promising avenue to uncovering some of the mechanisms underlying their pathophysiological effects.

A Chemoproteomics Approach to Profile Phospholipase D-Derived Phosphatidyl Alcohol Interactions
Weizhi Yu, Zhi Lin, Christina M. Woo, and Jeremy M. Baskin
ACS Chem. Biol. 2021
Publication Date: December 15, 2021
DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.1c00584


Candace Tsai

Candace Tsai, ACS Chemical Health and Safety

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

Exposure assessment and health and safety in occupational and environmental settings.

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

More visibility of this journal to a broad range of health and safety communities.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

Uncertain risks and not well known new hazards which require advanced studies and investigations to assist the communities and users understanding a better approach in protecting them. For example, the nanomaterials and nano-containg products are still not well understood regarding the impacts to human, and the environment.

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

The drive to push “actions” to happen.

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

Yes, the cloth masks containing nanosilver particles published in 2021.

Cloth Face Masks Containing Silver: Evaluating the Status
Melissa S. Blevens, Homero F. Pastrana, Hannah C. Mazzotta, and Candace Su-Jung Tsai*
ACS Chem. Health Saf. 2021, 28, 3, 171–182
Publication Date:April 16, 2021
DOI: 10.1021/acs.chas.1c00005

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

I am a scientist and professor who is passionate in promoting a healthier environment for living and working through educating next generation and scientific journeys.


Melissa Grunlan

Melissa Grunlan, ACS Macro Letters

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

My work is focused on the development of synthetic polymeric biomaterials for implanted medical devices and for regenerative engineering. Innovations in polymer research have infinite potential to advance medicine in terms of device development and improvement.”

What do you hope to bring to your journal?

I hope to promote ACS Macro Letters as the go-to journal to publish cutting-edge work in areas of polymeric biomaterials research.

What are the major challenges facing your field today?

Marrying fundamental and translational concepts in polymeric biomaterial research requires broadening perspectives and collaborations – but presents a huge opportunity!

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

Polymeric biomaterials that can advance regenerative engineering of various types of tissues would have far-reaching impact in medicine.

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

Yes, the cloth masks containing nanosilver particles published in 2021.

Spatially Controlled Templated Hydrogels for Orthopedic Interfacial Tissue Regeneration
Michael T. Frassica, Connor J. Demott, Esteban M. Ramirez, and Melissa A. Grunlan
CS Macro Lett. 2020, 9, 12, 1740–1744
Publication Date: November 16, 2020
DOI: 10.1021/acsmacrolett.0c00712

Open Access for everyone – no matter your institution

Recently published in ACS Omega, Organosolv Lignin Improved Thermoplastic Elastomeric Behavior of Polyethylene/Polyisoprene Blend (Ghosh, A: ACS Omega 2022, 7, 10, 8483–8492. DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.1c06062) marks the first publication from a primarily undergraduate institution under an ACS Read + Publish Agreement.

Primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) are defined by the National Science Foundation as accredited colleges and universities that award 20 or fewer Ph.D / D.Sci. degrees in NSF-supported fields during two consecutive academic years. As of 2016, there were more than 1,200 PUIs in the United States, employing in excess of 1,000,000 research and teaching staff. While PUIs have a primary focus on instruction, the staff of US-based PUIs nevertheless publish thousands of articles per year.

Read + Publish Agreements offer institutions and consortia full access to ACS content, as well as covering much or all of the publication charges for their researchers in ACS journals. While thousands of researchers in over 400 institutions worldwide are covered by ACS Read + Publish Agreements, Troy University is the first PUI to benefit from this offer.

“Dr Ghosh’s article is just one example of the high-quality research that Troy University, and other PUIs like us, produce,” said Dr Christopher Shaffer, Dean of Library Services at Troy University. “The option of an ACS Read + Publish Agreement, which provided both full access to ACS journals as well as the ability to publish in immediate open access, represents tremendous value. We can ensure that our faculty and students have access to the literature while also reaching the widest possible audience with our research.”

“ACS is committed to open access, and part of that commitment is to provide every chemical researcher the opportunity to publish in ACS journals,” said Sybille Geisenheyner, Director of Open Access Licensing and Strategy for ACS Publications. “Read + Publish Agreements have traditionally been struck with institutions that publish many articles each year, or with consortium groups representing institutions with lower publishing output but who still require broad access to the most trusted chemical literature. However, ACS’ flexible approach allows institutions of all sizes to publish their work in open access with support from their institution. We hope that Troy University is the first of many non research-focused universities to explore the benefits of an ACS Read + Publish Agreement.”

More information on ACS Read + Publish Agreements is available on the ACS Open Science website.

Meet Organometallics’ 2022 Distinguished Author Award Recipient

Cosponsored by the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry, the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry, and Organometallics, the Distinguished Author Award recognizes authors of exceptional articles published in Organometallics in the previous two calendar years that emphasize the importance of organometallic chemistry and have made a profound impact on the field.

Meet the Recipient

Dr. Josep Cornellá of the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung is recognized for a creative research program applying in-depth mechanistic studies to problems in coordination chemistry and catalysis for sustainable organic syntheses.

Josep Cornella

Dr. Josep Cornella (Pep) graduated in chemistry in 2008 from the University of Barcelona and carried out M.Sc. studies in the Department of Organic Chemistry. After completing his master’s thesis, he moved to the United Kingdom to pursue doctoral studies in the group of Prof. Igor Larrosa (Queen Mary University of London). After obtaining his Ph.D. in 2012, he moved to Catalunya, where he joined the group of Prof. Ruben Martin (ICIQ) as a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow. There, he developed novel transformations involving Ni-catalyzed C–O bond activation and carbon dioxide insertion into organic molecules. In 2015, Dr. Cornellá obtained a Beatriu de Pinós Fellowship to carry out further postdoctoral studies in the group of Prof. Phil S. Baran at Scripps Research. During this time at Scripps, he worked on the discovery and implementation of new transformations based on the concept of “redox-active esters” as readily available partners for Ni- and Fe-catalyzed C–C bond forming reactions.

In spring 2017, he was appointed as a Max Planck Group Leader in the Department of Organometallic Chemistry at MPI Kohlenforschung. In summer of the same year, he obtained a Max Planck Research Group Leader (MPRGL) position, to create and lead the Sustainable Catalysis Laboratory. He has been the recipient of an ERC Starting Grant in 2019 and international prizes such as the Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award 2020, 2020 – Dozentenpreis des Fonds, C&EN Talented 12 Class 2020, Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Preis 2021, Novartis Early Career Award 2021 and Kyoto Rising Star Lectureship (MSD Life Science Foundation – Japan).

Learn more about Dr. Cornellá in this interview.

What does it mean to you to be the recipient of this award?

It is very humbling to receive such an honor, and we certainly take it with great responsibility. It represents an important recognition to many students, research associates and collaborators that have contributed invaluably to this research. Hence, this prize is also theirs.

What prompted you to study this field of chemistry?

Pure curiosity. Curiosity to study fringe areas of chemistry. And Bismuth is certainly one of these rather forgotten elements, located at the edge of the periodic table.

What are some of the important applications that you are working on that will benefit society?

Our overreaching goal is to provide practical and sustainable strategies for organic synthesis. To do so, our research program covers an ample spectra spanning from the discovery of fundamental aspects in catalysis to the design of simple reagents for synthesis. Whereas direct applications of fundamental research can be difficult to devise and predict, the other end of the spectrum allows our group to directly interact with pharma and agrochemical companies in order to provide more sustainable and practical processes for the synthesis of highly coveted organic molecules.

Tell us about your research philosophy.

In addition to providing sustainable alternatives to synthesis, I am interested in fundamental questions in unchartered territories. For example, can bismuth behave like palladium in a catalytic redox cycle? Or like iron? Can laughing gas (N2O) be used as O-atom source for synthesis generating solely N2? is it possible to make an air-stable Ni(0)-olefin complex? These were simple questions that we asked when we opened the doors of our laboratory. And indeed, they did not have a straightforward answer. To tackle such questions, I surround myself with great people with different backgrounds, to provide as many view points on the same problem. My coworkers are extremely talented and I learn every day from them. Going together after problems of this magnitude is really exciting and motivating.

What’s next in your research?

What comes next is always the most exciting. Because I do not know. And the unknown and unexpected is the most exciting thing of this job.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

I would like to thank the nominators and the selection committee for bestowing this prize upon us. It is a great privilege to be part of such a long list of phenomenal and truly outstanding scientists.

Explore Dr. Josep Cornellá’s recently published articles in ACS Publications Journals.

The Organometallics Distinguished Authors Award 2022 recipient will present at the ACS Fall National Meeting in Chicago in August 2022 during a symposium in their honor.

Learn more about last year’s recipient.

Meet the 2022 ACS Synthetic Biology Young Innovator Award Recipient

ACS Synthetic Biologyand The American Institute of Chemical Engineers present the 2022 ACS Synthetic Biology Young Innovator Award, which recognizes an outstanding early career investigator conducting research in any area of synthetic biology.

Meet the Recipient

This year’s recipient is Dr. Neha P. Kamat at Northwestern University. Professor Kamat is being recognized for her creative research program focusing on self-assembled materials and responsive systems, her commitment to mentorship, and her leadership in diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives.

Dr. Neha P. Kamat is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. She obtained her B.S. in Bioengineering from Rice University in 2008. She then went on to earn her Ph.D. in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 with Professor Daniel Hammer. Dr. Kamat then joined the laboratory of Professor Jack Szostak at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was a NASA postdoctoral fellow.

The Kamat Lab’s interests lie in constructing minimal systems, or artificial cells, as a tool to understand and recreate certain cellular behaviors. The group uses emerging engineering methods in material science, biophysics, and synthetic biology to construct in vitro models of cellular membranes that can couple membrane biophysical processes to chemical and genetic processes, yielding new cellular mimetic biomaterials, capable of complex sensing, signaling, and responsive behaviors. In particular, the lab is interested in understanding the role of the bilayer membrane in mechanical force sensing and designing biosensors for environmental analytes. Dr. Kamat currently holds a Young Investigator Award from the Air Force Research Office and an NSF CAREER Award.

Learn more about Professor Kamat in this interview.

What does this award mean to you?

I’m extremely honored to receive this award, especially because the previous awardees are scientists I really admire. I also feel like I can officially call myself a synthetic biologist now. I come from a background in bioengineering primarily focused on biomaterials development. When I was a graduate student, I was aware of the exciting work that was being called synthetic biology.  At the time, the field primarily involved engineering living cells. I knew it was an area I wanted to move into because there were techniques and approaches that I would be able to draw from in order to design biomaterials that “think” and “make decisions.” I think we and many others in the field have been able to start doing just that. Along these lines, I’ve been excited to see synthetic biology expand into and draw from many other disciplines, including materials science, electronics, computer science, among more. More and more people are calling themselves synthetic biologists, which is great for our field.

What are you working on now?

The work in my lab centers around the cell membrane. We typically build membranes from their component parts like lipids and proteins and then use these systems to recreate and then learn more about a biological process or to build new classes of materials and devices. For example, a biological process we are interested in understanding is membrane protein folding and function. We’d like to understand how changes in the lipid composition of a cell membrane impact how a protein folds and then functions. We also use membranes as a starting material to build artificial cell-like systems. Our goal here is to draw from the decision-making and biosensing capabilities in biological systems to design non-living particles that can perform many similar, if not better, functions as living cells. A primary focus for our group in the development of artificial cells is to build new kinds of biosensors that can move through water-rich environments like groundwater or the vasculature, and detect and report molecules of interest

How would you describe your research to someone outside your field of research?

The membrane is a beautiful structure that defines the boundary of our smallest unit of life, the cell.  This is a structure that we think was floating around on its own on a primitive earth and that everything else we associate with life— the RNA, DNA, and peptides—came after. The membrane, in essence, likely seeded life by creating an environment where biochemical processes could be protected and concentrated. Yet we still know so little about this structure relative to RNA, DNA, and many proteins. The goal of my research is to take a closer look at lipid membranes and understand how the physical properties of these structures (how they stretch, bend, curve) affect the activity of embedded proteins. Then, we take the membrane as a starting material scaffold, and we add biological components (the DNA, RNA) that enable logic and decision-making capabilities and we design cell-like systems. Our hope on this side of things is to design a new and better class of materials that bridge advances in materials science with the functions only available in biology.

What do you think is the biggest challenge currently in your area of research?

We haven’t fully figured out how to tap into the power of membrane proteins in cell-free systems. Membrane proteins do so much in living cells- they are the primary responders to environmental signals, and they transport molecules, glycosylate proteins and lipids, they signal to other more soluble proteins, and have many more functions. How can we couple these activities effectively to cell-free systems? And then how do we multiplex their responses so we can integrate information from many different proteins?

Have there been any highlights in your career to date that you are especially proud of?

I have and continue to feel the greatest sense of achievement and pride when my students are recognized, whether it’s the publication of their first, first-author paper, receiving an award or fellowship, or hearing positive feedback from one of their committee members. Watching them develop into creative, thoughtful scientists and getting to be a part of that process has been unbelievably rewarding.

The first couple of papers from our group will also be something I will always remember. Just the sheer amount of work that goes into those – buying equipment and setting up a lab, recruiting and directly training your first few graduate students, working together to plan and perform experiments, and finally, writing up a manuscript. I’d add that seeing a particular idea or hypothesis come to fruition has also been exciting. My first Ph.D. student is wrapping up a study that we had started pursuing as a lab when she started and it’s exhilarating and gratifying to see how our hypothesis turned out to be right and also all the various ways we were quite wrong.

What would your advice be to someone just starting out in the field?

If you are new to a field, start with a project that allows you to bring your expertise in some way to that new space. This approach has often allowed me to bring something new to the table that I know about while learning about something entirely new. For example, one of the first projects we did in my lab was introducing synthetic, polymer-containing membranes into a cell-free reaction. And then be open to the weird results that mean something interesting is happening. We often think engineering is about building something and optimizing it, but there’s lots of room for discovery and fundamental science and in fact, the latter is critical to building truly innovative systems.

Finally, you can most often find a way to do the kind of research you want to do in a variety of places, but it’s most fun to do it in communities and environments where you feel welcome. I’ve been able to move into a more biophysics space as well as cell-free space because of the people around me. It’s one of the reasons I thought Northwestern was a great place for me to start my career. But I hadn’t considered the other parts of the job. I lucked into a supportive, collaborative environment and didn’t fully appreciate how important those components are until I was experiencing them. If I was at a different institution, I’m certain my research would have taken on a different flavor and that’s ok too. You can thrive when you have support around you so go where there are good people to work with, where the field or community seems open to new approaches and ideas, and you, and be open to the new avenues that this new community will introduce.

Explore Professor Kamat’s recently published articles in ACS Publications Journals. 

The ACS Synthetic Biology Young Innovator Award 2022 recipient will present during the 2022 Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution & Design (SEED) Meeting. Learn more about last year’s winner.  

Meet the Recipients of the 2022 Advances in Measurement Science Lectureship Awards

ACS Sensors, Analytical Chemistry, Journal of Proteome Research, and the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Advances in Measurement Science Lectureship Awards. This annual award recognizes individuals from three major geographic regions (the Americas; Europe, The Middle East, and Africa; and Asia-Pacific) who have made a recent and major impact in the field. The awards will be presented at the ACS Measurement Science Symposium in October, where recipients will receive an award plaque and a $1,500 honorarium. Learn about last year’s winners here.

Meet the 2022 Recipients

Below are three brief interviews with the winners regarding their research and their thoughts on the latest in measurement science.

Representing the Americas: Professor Jill Venton, University of Virginia

Tell us about yourself

I am an analytical chemist and neuroscientist. I graduated from the University of Delaware (B.S.) and University of North Carolina (Ph.D.) and then post-doced at Michigan. I am a Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Virginia. I’m a second-generation chemistry professor, as my father taught chemistry at a small college. I always wanted to be like my dad and be a chemist. My first job at 16 was in a chemistry lab doing analytical chemistry work on insect attractants at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center for the USDA in Maryland. Thus, chemistry has always been in my blood and I wanted to be a chemistry professor from an early age.

What does this award mean to you?

This award is special because it validates that the work we are doing in the Venton group is at the forefront of analytical chemistry. I am proud of the work of my graduate students and postdocs and think through this lectureship, I will get to showcase our work about developing new electrochemical sensors for challenging neurochemical analyses.

What are you working on now?

My research is focused on developing sensors for measuring neurotransmitters in the brain. In sensor development, we are making new 3D printed electrochemical sensors to make electrodes with submicron features. We also specialize in applications in the brain, such as measuring rapid adenosine transients in the brain during stroke in rats. My lab is currently implanting electrodes into awake fruit flies and measuring neurotransmitters during behaviors such as feeding.

How would you describe your career so far?

Blessed! I’ve been able to live my dream career, doing both teaching and research, now in a leadership role. I love the excitement of doing science and being able to share that with my students and research group.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Your biggest asset is the people who work for you and the hardest part of being a professor is managing people in the lab! Both are true! I would be nothing without the hardworking students, postdocs, and research scientists who work in my lab but I need to strive to provide each one with the individual mentoring they need to succeed.

What do you wish someone had told you when you were starting out as a chemist?

Don’t be afraid of failure-just have fun. Science is inherently risky, but also very exciting so aim to have fun doing it and don’t play it too safe.

Representing Europe, The Middle East, and Africa: Professor Thomas Rizzo, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Tell us about yourself

I received a B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After my Ph.D., I worked as a research associate in the James Franck Institute of the University of Chicago for three years before accepting a position at the University of Rochester. In 1994 I accepted a full professorship with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). I’ve held a number of positions at the EPFL, including Director of the Institute of Physical Chemistry, Head of the Department of Chemistry, and Dean of the School of Basic Sciences.

What does this award mean to you?

This award means a lot to me because I don’t originally come from the analytical chemistry community, having been educated as a physical chemist. It also says a lot about the mass spectrometry community, that they are open to new ideas and people rather than being closed and cliquish.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on combining vibrational spectroscopy with ion mobility and mass spectrometry in a single user-friendly instrument. Laser spectroscopy of ions in mass spectrometers has been around for a long time, but it has never been implemented in a commercial instrument. I believe that now is finally the time to do so and that it will make a significant impact in bioanalytical science.

How would you describe your career so far?

I have always been motivated by scientific curiosity and had the luxury to simply pursue it and get paid for it. Although I have other interests outside of science, I consider my job also a hobby because I truly enjoy it. I should also say that I find teaching students to be one of the most rewarding parts of my job.

Looking back on my career, if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing – particularly my decision to move to Switzerland.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

It is not enough to simply do good science – you have to learn also to communicate it. Learning to speak and write well are important parts of a scientific career.

What do you wish someone had told you when you were starting out as a chemist?

Take more math at university.

Representing Asia-Pacific: Professor Huangxian Ju, Nanjing University

Tell us about yourself

I am a professor of analytical chemistry at Nanjing University and the director of State Key Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Life Science (since its foundation in 2011). I received B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Nanjing University in 1986, 1989 and 1992, and became a lecturer, associate professor and professor at Nanjing University in 1992, 1993 and 1999, respectively. I worked at Montreal University (Canada) as a postdoctoral researcher from 1996-1997, won the National Funds for Distinguished Young Scholars in 2003, and was selected as a Changjiang Professor by Education Ministry of China and a National Key Talent in the New Century by China government in 2007, a chief scientist of 973 Program by Ministry of Science and Technology of China in 2009, and Fellows of the International Society of Electrochemistry and the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2015. My research interests focus on analytical biochemistry, nanobiosensing and bioimaging.

What does this award mean to you?

This award means an opportunity to show my research achievements and that my contributions have been recognized by colleagues in measurement science.

What are you working on now?

I am aiming to develop accurate or quantitative detection methods for important life molecules via novel signal amplification and labelling strategies, including in vitro, in vivo, in situ and POCT, and theranostic systems of cancer via molecular recognition and imaging analysis.

How would you describe your career so far?

I have worked in the field of Measurement Science for 36 years. I was the first one to develop the chemically modified microelectrode for the determination of protein in 1994. I introduced nanotechnology to the biosensing field in 1997, which led to a new concept of signal amplification and the development of nanobiosensing, and thus was recognized as one of the pioneers in nanobiosensing. In 2004, I proposed the first electrochemiluminescence (ECL) biosensor based on the intrinsic ECL emission of quantum dots, which brought a new field in ECL biosensing application of quantum dots and set off a research hotspot of ECL biosensing with inorganic nanoparticles. These works promoted the development of electrochemical and chemiluminescent immunosensing and DNA detection methodology. In recent years, I presented a concept of mass spectrometric (MS) biosensing (2020) based on the first quantitative MALDI-TOF-MS detection method (2014) and a MALDI-TOF/MS imaging technique for quantitation of caspase activities (2016), and developed several local reconstruction strategies for fixed-point labeling of protein-specific glycosyl groups, a variety of methods for in-situ detection of glycans and subtype screening of gangliosides on the cell surface, and a hierarchical coding strategy for glycoform imaging. I designed a DNA dual lock-and-key strategy for cell-subtype-specific siRNA delivery and two upconversion nanoprobes for NIR modulated siRNA delivery and imaging analysis. To enhance therapeutic efficiency, I proposed a DNA-azobenzene nanopump for controllable intracellular drug release, a NIR-switched microRNA amplifier for precise therapy of early-stage cancers, and a DNA nanomachine via computation across cancer cell membrane for precise therapy of solid tumor.

So far I have published 785 papers, 6 English books, 6 Chinese books, and 20 chapters with >37500 citations in SCIE journals.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice I ever received is that scientific research should be in a persistent way, never to abandon, and never give up.

What do you wish someone had told you when you were starting out as a chemist?

This profession as a chemist experiences all kinds of hardships, but it is full of fun and a sense of achievement.

Congratulations to the Winners!

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