2014 School News

The Gruebele research group has developed a way to watch how unfolded proteins move through a cell using a fluorescent microscope and three-dimensional diffusion modeling. UIUC News Bureau article.

The local student chapter of SACNAS received the SACNAS Outstanding Partnerships /Collaborations/Networks Award at their national meeting in Los Angeles, California. Chemistry article.


Chemistry alumnus Peter Senter, PhD '81, and Chemical engineering alumnus William F. Banholzer, PhD '83, received LAS Alumni Achievement Awards during the Homecoming 2014 weekend.

Peter Senter is a leading researcher at Seattle Genetics who develops novel cancer-fighting drugs.
Senter LAS Alumni Profile.

Banholzer, former chief technical officer for Dow Chemical, is now a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Banholzer LAS Alumni Profile.

In a study reported in Nature, the van der Donk and Nair groups discovered unexpected chemistry during the biosynthesis of the food preservative nisin. UIUC News Bureau article.

Paul Hergenrother was named a 2014 University Scholar for his research in the molecular basis of disease, especially for his ongoing studies on increasing the survival rates in several deadly cancer types. UIUC News Bureau article.

Graduate students James Christensen (Dlott), Brad Nakamura (Hergenrother), and Ian Robertson (Moore) were awarded prestigious NDSEG Fellowships. Chemistry article.

Scott Denmark is the recipient of the 2014 Harry and Carol Mosher Award in recognition of his outstanding research and for his service to the American Chemical Society. Chemistry article.

Deborah Leckband was elected a Biomedical Engineering Society Fellow. She was recognized for her studies in how mechanical and biochemical signals are transduced across cell membranes and for her research into the fundamental molecular forces and their roles in a range of applications in biotechnology. Chemistry article.

Prashant Jain is one of seven to receive the 2014 Beckman Young Investigator Award. This award helps in continuing his work on nanoscale imaging of catalysts in action. Chemistry article.

Alison Fout was awarded a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant for her research proposal on the development of cobalt(I) catalysts featuring strong-field ligands for C-X formation. Chemistry article.

In a study reported in ACS Chemical Biology, the Mitchell research group reports having developed a new technique to quickly uncover novel, medically relevant products produced by bacteria.

Sharon Hammes-Schiffer and So Hirata have the rare honor of being elected members of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science (IAQMS) Chemistry article.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has named Jeffrey S. Moore an HHMI Professor. He is one among 40 other scientists given this honor in the last 12 years. UIUC News Bureau article.

Wilfred van der Donk is the winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry's 2014 Bioorganic Chemistry Award. He was cited for his creative work on the chemistry, biosynthesis and mechanistic enzymology of the cyclic peptide and phosphonate classes of antibiotics.

Thomas Rauchfuss is the winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry's 2014 Nyholm Prize for Inorganic Chemistry. He was cited for his career-long insightful contributions to the understanding of iron-based hydrogenase enzymes and his creative exploration of the organometallic chemistry of sulfur.

Mitchell group member, Kyle Dunbar is the recipient of the ACS 2014 Knowles Award. This graduate student award was based on his research abstract, publication record and recommendations. He will make a presentation at this year's Bioorganic Gordon Research Conference.

Hyunjoon Kong, Cartney Smith, Steven Zimmerman and collaborators are using a combination of nanoparticles, a weak molecular "fastener" and gadolinium to improve MRI results. ChBE article.

The Martin Burke research group developed a simple system to synthesize a large class of medically important molecules using only 12 different chemical “building blocks.” UIUC News Bureau article, video.

Two Illinois chemistry professors were the recipients of awards at the March ACS National Meeting. Scott Denmark received the Frederic Stanley Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry, "For his creative applications of organosilicon compounds in organic synthesis and his fundamental investigations of mechanism, structure, and reactivity of organosilicon compounds." Jonathan Sweedler was awarded the ACS Award in Analytical Chemistry, "For his research that emphasizes analytical neurochemistry, involves the development of small-volume methods to probe individual neurons, and uses these techniques to discover novel neurochemical pathways."

The ACS presented two Illinois chemical engineering alumni with national awards. William F. Banholzer (Masel) received the 2014 Earle B. Barnes Award and Joan F. Brennecke (Eckert) received the 2014 E. V. Murphree Award. ChBE News article.

Jeffrey Moore and collaborators have made further advances in their research by developing regenerating materials as a mechanism for self-repair. The journal Science recently published their work. UIUC News Bureau article, BBC News Hour article.

The Deborah Leckband research group has found that cell-to-cell force sensing converts mechanical information into biochemical signals that alter cell function. Their research can be found in April 15 issue of the Journal of Cell Science. ChBE News article.

Wilfred van der Donk and John Rogers have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Rogers was recognized for pioneering flexible, stretchable electronics and van der Donk was recognized for discovering and designing new anti-inflammatory agents and antibiotics. UIUC News Bureau article.

Eric Oldfield and colleagues are developing analogs of a multi-target antibiotic that may be very effective against pathogens such as malarial parasites and tuberculosis yet less toxic to humans. UIUC News Bureau article.

Indiana University Associate Professor and Illinois chemistry alumna, Sara Skrabalak (PhD, Suslick, 2007) received the 2014 ACS Award in Pure Chemistry. Her research involves the creation of multi-functional materials useful in catalysis, biotechnology, energy, and environmental remediation.

In collaboration, the Martin Burke and Chad Rienstra research groups have determined the mechanism by which amphotericin acts as a fungicide. Additionally, the Burke group has developed a derivative that could be less toxic to people. UIUC News Bureau article.

A continuous self-healing system for fiber-composite materials has been developed by Jeffrey Moore and fellow researchers. Their work was published in Advanced Materials. Beckman Institute article.

Patricia Blair received a 2014 ACS Women Chemists Committee/Eli Lilly Travel Grant. She is a graduate student in the Douglas Mitchell research group. She investigates the mechanism of action of plantazolicin against Bacillus anthracis.

Prashant Jain is one of 23 chemists nationally awarded a prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. He was recognized for his work with nano-optics and molecular imaging. UIUC News Bureau article.

Zaida Luthey-Schulten and Taekjip Ha collaborated to determine how ribosomal RNA interacts with proteins for ribosome assembly. Their study was published in Nature. UIUC News Bureau article.

Jianjun Cheng and colleagues are developing self-healing plastics using readily available components. They modify the molecular bonding so that re-bonding is easier. Their research may be found in the journal Nature Communications. UIUC News Bureau article, video.

Thomas J. Hanratty recently published the book "Physics of Gas-Liquid Flows". The book summarizes progress in the understanding of multiphase flows and contributes to the establishment of the discipline as a new branch of fluid dynamics. ChBE article.

Charles Schroeder was named a Beckman Fellow in the Center for Advanced Study for the 2014-15 year. ChBE article.

Huimin Zhao will receive the 2014 Gaden Award for a paper that he and his colleagues wrote, "Cloning and characterization of a panel of constitutive promoters for applications in pathway engineering in Saccharomyces cerevisiae". ChBE article.