2016 School News continued from home page | School of Chemical Sciences

2016 School News

Kenneth Suslick photoKenneth Suslick has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for demonstrating a "prolific spirit of innovation." LAS News article.
Paul Kenis photoAn international research collaboration may have devised a simple way to recycle waste carbon dioxide into valuable fuel via graphene quantum dots acting as electrocatalysts. The findings by Paul Kenis and colleagues can be found in Nature Communications. ChBE News article.
Wilfred van der Donk photoWilfred van der Donk is the recipient of the 2017 Repligen Award in the Chemistry of Biological Processes in recognition of his contributions to the understanding of natural product biosynthesis. ACS Biological Chemistry Division Newsletter.
Prof. Yi Lu and Catherine Murphy photoYi Lu and Catherine Murphy have been named to the Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list for 2016. UIUC News Bureau article.
Chad Rienstra photoChad Rienstra is among six Illinois faculty members elected as 2016 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was selected for "distinguished contributions to the development of solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance for structural determination of large biomolecular assemblies relevant to human disease". UIUC News Bureau article.
Kai-Chieh Tsao and Hong Yang photoKai-Chieh Tsao and Hong Yang have invented a highly-efficient method for producing precision catalysts that can be used for cathode reaction in hydrogen fuel cells for automobiles. ChBE News article.
Alison Fout photoAlison Fout was named one of six Lincoln Excellence for Assistant Professors Scholars. She was chosen for her development of sustainable catalysts for use in industry and her exemplary and innovative teaching abilities. LAS News article.
Chad Rienstra photoChad Rienstra, Emad Tajkhorshid, and James Morrissey have been awarded a Director's Transformative Research Award from the NIH for their highly creative approach to the study of cell membrane lipids. MCB News article.
Chad Rienstra has been named a University Scholar for his breakthrough SSNMR spectroscopy research, his innovative teaching and his leadership roles on campus. UIUC News Bureau article.
Andrew Gerwith and graduate student Jason Varnell developed a method to isolate active catalyst nanoparticles from a mixture of iron-containing compounds, a finding that could help researchers refine the catalyst to make fuel cells more active.Andrew Gewirth and Jason Varnell devised a method to isolate active, stable nanoparticle catalysts containing iron that may be useful in perfecting fuel cells. UIUC News Bureau article.
Novel small-scale device on a benchtop has highly sophisticated optical diagnostics enabling investigators to see what is happening during the millionth of a second the charge is exploding, with unprecedented accuracy. 
CREDIT: Bassett/DlottWill Bassett and Dana Dlott have changed the study of explosive charges by recreating the conditions in miniature, subsequently measuring what occurs with great accuracy and providing new insights in the field of energetic materials. AIP Publishing article.
Ying Diao photoYing Diao was named one of the 2016 MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 for her innovative printing of plastic solar cells that have double the efficiency of previous ones. ChBE News article.
Illinois researchers found that one class of gene-editing proteins searches for its target by sliding along DNA like a zipline. Pictured, from left: professor Huimin Zhao, professor Charles Schroeder, graduate students Luke Cuculis and Zhanar Abil.Using advanced imaging techniques, Huimin Zhao, Charles Schroeder and colleagues have discovered the TALE genome-editing proteins that have a different DNA-binding search procedure than other proteins in this class. The novel mechanism has potential for use in biomedical applications. UIUC News Bureau article.
Prashant K. Jain, Jeffrey S. Moore, Catherine Jones Murphy and Ralph Nuzzo photos

Prashant K. Jain, Jeffrey S. Moore, Catherine Jones Murphy and Ralph G. Nuzzo are among the most highly cited researchers worldwide. Chemistry News article.
Andrew Gewirth and Nancy Sottos photoAndrew Gewirth, Nancy Sottos and students have perfected a test providing knowledge of the mechanical, electrical and chemical forces within lithium-ion batteries. UIUC News Bureau article.
M. Christina White and Thomas Osberger.M. Christina White and graduate student Thomas Osberger led research finding that two small-molecule iron catalysts can oxidize chiral amino acids and peptides to an array of unnatural forms, giving researchers more options for developing drug candidates. UIUC News Bureau article.
Joaquin Rodriguez-Lopez photoJoaquín Rodríguez-López was awarded a 2016-17 ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship to pursue his research in green technology. His grant title was "Achieving the Ultimate Performance of Fuel Cell Electrocatalysts via Programmable Electronic Control of Surface Reactivity". Toyota announcement.

He is also the recipient of the 2017 Royce W. Murray Young Investigator Award from the Society of Electroanalytical Chemistry (SEAC).

Charles Schroeder photoJeffrey Moore photoCharles Schroeder, Jeffrey Moore and others are collaborating to develop a new class of polymers that can be used as advanced materials for batteries, energy storage, and sophisticated lightweight electronics. ChBE News article.
Woese scholar and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering student Elijah Karvelis.ChBE undergraduate, Elijah Karvelis, was selected as a Woese Research Scholar and is working in the Harley lab looking at microfluidic devices in the study of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a particularly deadly form of brain cancer. ChBE News article.
Sean Ebihara, Somak Ghosh, and Antonio Woods photoChemistry undergraduate, Sean Ebihara, and two ECE collaborators won the international Shell Ideas360 competition for innovation. Their project was titled "Graphene Coated Condensers for a Greener Future." ECE News article.
Brendan Harley photoBrendan Harley has been selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s 22nd annual U.S. Frontiers of Engineering (USFOE) symposium. ChBE News article.
Book cover of Michael Farady's The Chemical History of a Candle by William Hammack and Don DeCosteWilliam Hammack and Don DeCoste have re-introduced the Michael Faraday Christmas lectures on the physical phenomena of the candle by producing a YouTube series and a companion book that further elucidate the original lectures. ChBE News article.
Mary-Dell Chilton photoAlumna, Mary-Dell Chilton (Hager, PhD '67), is a 2016 University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Awardee. She is being honored for being a pioneer in genetically modifying plants. U of I Alumni article.
Anish Shenoy photoAnish Shenoy, a graduate student in the Schroeder research group, won third place in the Langmuir Graduate Student Oral Presentation Awards Session at the 90th American Chemical Society’s Colloids and Surface Science Meeting. ChBE News article.
Yung-Tin Pan photoYang graduate student and Dow Chemical Company Fellow, Yung-Tin Pan, was awarded a Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the U of I Graduate College. ChBE News article.
Hyunjoon Kong photoHyunjoon Kong is the recipient of a 2016 Campus Distinguished Promotion Award. The award identifies scholars whose contributions and achievements within their respective fields are particularly excellent. ChBE News article.
University of Illinois chemistry professor Paul Hergenrother, right, and veterinary clinical medicine professor Timothy Fan tested an anti-cancer compound in pet dogs that is now being used in human clinical trials.  Photo by L. Brian StaufferClinical trials of an anti-cancer drug developed by Paul Hergenrother to potentially aid in the treatment of glioblastoma are expanding with the help of an anonymous investor. UIUC News Bureau article.
Huimin Zhao photoHuimin Zhao is the recipient of the 2016 Charles Thom Award from the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB). The award is given for "outstanding contributions of exceptional merit, reflecting an independence of thought and originality that adds appreciably to scientific knowledge". ChBE News article.
Ying Diao photoThe RSC Journal of Materials Chemistry has named Ying Diao an Emerging Investigator and as such she contributed to the themed issue, "Novel design strategies for new functional materials". ChBE News article.
Paul Hergenrother photoThe 2016 UCB-Ehrlich Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry was given to Paul Hergenrother for his outstanding contributions to chemical biology and anticancer drug discovery.
Reahman Afshar photoChBE sophomore Reahman Afshar was awarded a Chancellor’s Public Engagement Student Fellowship to travel to Ghana with a team to empower village women to set up a solar energy business. ChBE News article.
Ambika Bhagi photoAmbika Bhagi, a graduate student in the Lu group, has received a Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Award for postdoctoral studies at UCSF. The award supports women from developing countries in their pursuit of advanced STEM graduate studies.
thumbnail of Suzuki-Miyauri reactionAndy Thomas and Scott Denmark have observed and characterized the elusive intermediates in Suzuki-Miyauri cross-coupling. The new mechanistic insights have the potential to lead to improved ways to execute the Suzuki–Miyaura reaction. RSC Chemistry World article.
suslick-nose.jpgKenneth Suslick's optoelectronic "nose" may become an important tool for detecting the explosive compounds that terrorists wield. The detectors can be handheld devices or ones built in and connected to a wireless network. The Economist's article, C&EN article.
NSF logoTen chemistry graduate students (Chelsea Anorma (Chan), Cecilia Gentle (van der Veen), Summer Laffoon (Hull), Carolyn Levinn (Sarlah), Kimberly Lundberg (Gewirth), Kali Miller (Braun), Tabitha Miller (Fout), Elizabeth Neumann (Sweedler), Sarah Perlmutter (Hergenrother), Aaron Roth (Denmark)) and two chemistry undergraduates (Yujeong Lee (Silverman), Shannon Miller (White)) were awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Twelve chemistry students earned honorable mentions. Chemistry News article.
Chuck Wallbaum photoChuck Wallbaum, Director of the SCS Computer and Electronic Services is one of six 2015-16 Chancellor's Academic Professional Excellence Awardees. SCS article.

Daniel Bregante photoDaniel Bregante, a graduate student in the Flaherty research group, was awarded a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. ChBE News article.

Mai Ngo photoMai Ngo (Harley Group) is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Other ChBE students received NSF honorable mentions. ChBE News article.

Elijah Karvelis photoChBE sophmore Elijah Karvelis has been awarded the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for demonstrating leadership and academic promise. ChBE news article.
Image of sea slugsThe Sweedler group is developing analytical chemistry tools to uncover novel neurochemical pathways. They use sea slugs as a model to gain insights into how animal and human brains function. NSF Science Nation article.
Jeffrey Moore photoJeffrey Moore has been named interim director of the Beckman Institute, effective April 16. The Institute pursues interdisciplinary research in the physical sciences, computation, engineering, biology, behavior, cognition, and neuroscience. Beckman Institute Article.
Charles Schroeder, Christopher Rao and Anish Shenoy photoCharles Schroeder, Christopher Rao and Anish Shenoy have developed a method relying on fluid flow to manipulate and assemble multiple particles that uses an automated control algorithm. UIUC News Bureau article.
Chad Rienstra photoChad Rienstra and collaborators have identified the full chemical structure of the protein that form fibrils in the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease. UIUC News Bureau article.
Steamboat Willie imageKenneth Suslick's 'artificial nose' technology is being used to protect Walt Disney Studio's archival artwork that is on an international tour. The sensors detect pollutants, alerting conservators that measures need to be taken to protect the art. ACS press release, Smithsonian SmartNews.
Hyunjoon Kong photoHyunjoon Kong is the recipient of this year's College of Engineering Dean's Award for Excellence in Research. He creates innovative advanced biomaterial systems. ChBE News article.
Patricia Simpson photoPatricia Simpson, Director of the School of Chemical Sciences Academic Advising and Career Services office was honored by the College of Engineering with a Golden Shamrock award. ChBE News article.
Juan Perillo and Klaus Schulten photo in front of simulation imageKlaus Schulten, Juan Perilla and colleagues used experimental data and computer simulations to determine how a human protein that aids HIV infection binds to the HIV capsid. UIUC News Bureau article.
Joaguin Rodriguez-Lopez and Kami Hull photosJoaquín Rodríguez-López and Kami Hull have been named 2016 Sloan Research Fellows. This prestigious award is given to researchers at an early stage of their careers, who exhibit independent research accomplishments. Chemistry News.
Josh Vura-Weis and Kami Hull photosKami Hull and Josh Vura-Weis have both been selected to receive Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards from the National Science Foundation to support their research programs. Chemistry News article.
Dean Olson filling NMR instrument with heliumDean Olson, director of the SCS NMR Lab was featured in a C&EN article discussing the impact of helium shortages on the continued use of NMR instruments. He recently installed a helium capture system linked to the physics department liquefaction facility.
David W. Flaherty photoDavid Flaherty received a 2016 National Science Foundation CAREER Award for his research proposal, "Molecular Understanding and Catalyst Design for the Direct Synthesis of H2O2". ChBE News article.
Scott Silverman photoThe Silverman research group has identified synthetic DNA enzymes that cleave amide bonds, which are fundamental components of proteins. Chemistry News article, C&EN article.
Douglas Mitchell photoDouglas Mitchell received the 2016 National Fresenius Award. He was cited for his contributions toward the mechanistic understanding and reengineering of natural product biosynthesis. Chemistry News article.
Paul Hergenrother photoPaul Hergenrother is the recipient of the 2016 Innovation Transfer Award/University of Illinois. The award honors someone whose research has resulted in either a discovery or a work with the potential for significant societal impact. Chemistry News article
Instead of reacting together on the surface of the catalyst (the palladium cluster), the hydrogen atoms dissociate into their components—protons and electrons, according to Illinois researchers. The protons enter the surrounding solution of water and methanol, while the electrons flow through the palladium itself into oxygen molecules. Credit: American Chemical Society. Cover of Jan. 20, 2016 JACS David Flaherty and Neil Wilson have uncovered the mechanism for direct synthesis of H2O2 on palladium cluster catalysts, potentially allowing its replacement for the more toxic chlorine. ChBE News article.
Electronic implant photoJohn Rogers and collaborators have developed tiny implantable brain sensors that dissolve away when they are no longer needed. UIUC News Bureau article.
SCS News — 2015

School of Chemical Sciences
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