2015 School News

Steven Zimmerman was recently honored with the 2015 Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award for Leadership in Diversity. Chemistry News article.

Yi Lu and co-workers made mutations in amino acids in the protein azurin to widen its redox potential, making improved redox enzymes a possibility. Their research was published in the Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. C&EN article.

The Oldfield and Gennis research groups have found that some drugs already in use may have antibacterial properties that bacteria have difficulty developing resistance to. UIUC News Bureau article.

Yi Lu, Richard Masel, Catherine Murphy, and John Rogers are on the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list for 2015. UIUC News Bureau article.

Klaus Schulten and collaborators used computational modeling and experimental data to resolve how bacteria process receptor information and respond. UIUC News Bureau article.

Andrew Ferguson and colleagues computationally tested 16.8 million candidate vaccines to identify formulations making the hepatitis C virus susceptible to attack by host T-cells. Their paper was published in the journal Physical Biology. ChBE News article.

Ralph Nuzzo and Hong Yang were chosen as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This year's fellows were honored for their "scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications". UIUC News Bureau article.

Kenneth Suslick is a 2015 Camille and Henry Dreyfus Senior Scientist Award Winner. This award provides support for undergraduate research under his mentorship.

Theodore and Audrey Brown received the 2015 LAS Dean's Quadrangle Award for their lasting commitment to chemistry and LAS undergraduates through their funding of endowments providing scholarships. Chemistry News article.

Darsh Wasan (ChBE BS '60) was the recipient of a 2015 LAS Alumni Achievement Award. His research has led to diverse results including increased oil recovery from rock, methods for cleaning semiconductor surfaces and improved food safety. ChBE News article.

Graduate students Long Luu and Lien Nguyen with Prof. Steven Zimmerman have developed small-sized drug compounds that target multiple pathways to treat myotonic dystrophy type 1. UIUC News Bureau article.

Graduate students Long Luu and Lien Nguyen with Prof. Steven Zimmerman have developed small-sized drug compounds that target multiple pathways to treat myotonic dystrophy type 1. UIUC News Bureau article.

The White group has developed an effective manganese-based catalyst, soon to be in commercial production, that is both highly reactive and highly selective. UIUC News Bureau article, C&EN article.

Brendan Harley and Bruce Hannon are collaborating on a project to design a stem cell manufacturing platform to selectively expand donor hematopoietic stem cells. They were awarded a NSF grant to support their research. ChBE News article.

Joseph Courtney and Chad Rienstra have developed COMPASS, a process to quickly and reliably find a protein's structure using measurements, computer modeling and image recognition software. UIUC News Bureau article.

Alison Fout is one of four early-career female scientists to be a recipient of the first round of Marion Milligan Mason Awards for Women in the Sciences. The award will help fund her nitrite reduction research.

The University of Illinois chapter of SACNAS is being recognized with the 2015 Graduate Chapter of the Year award for their activities in introducing STEM to the community.

The Illinois chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers is the recipient of the Outstanding Student Chapter Award for 2015. This is the 4th time they have received this award. ChBE News article.

Jonathan Sweedler and colleagues have received more than $2 million over three years from the NIH to develop an analytical platform that can lead to new insights in neuroscience and create diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities in treating neurological diseases. Beckman Institute article.

M. Christina White is a recipient of the 2016 Mukaiyama Award presented by the Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry of Japan. She is cited for cracking the code for selective C-H reactivity and other catalytic research.

5 Million Gift Honors Theodore Brown and Arnold Beckman. The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation gift establishes a postdoctoral fellowship and an annual lecture in their name. Nature article about interdisciplinary research, Prof. Brown and the Beckman Institute


Wilfred van der Donk and colleagues are able to use genome mining to identify organisms of interest for in-depth analyses and natural product development. UIUC News Bureau article.

Alumnus, John Georges (ChemEng BS '51), was inducted into the College of Engineering Hall of Fame on Sept. 18. He was honored for his corporate leadership in guiding International Paper Company to become a world leader in forest and paper products. ChBE News article.

Catherine Murphy is the University of Illinois scientist associated with the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. It will be receiving $20 million of renewable funding over the next 5 years. Chemistry News article.

Jonathan Tietz (Mitchell group) is one of a handful of students chosen nationally as a 2015 Graduate Fellow by the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry. He will participate this this division's Gordon Conference.

Douglas Mitchell has been named as one of this year's Dreyfus Teacher-Scholars in acknowledgment of his work in discovery and elucidation of pathogen-specific antibiotics.

Charles Schroeder, Huimin Zhao, and colleagues used advanced imaging techniques to observe how one set of genome-editing proteins finds its specific targets. This could help to design better gene therapies to treat disease. UIUC News Bureau article.

Martin Burke and collaborators developed and tested targeted effective antifungal drug derivatives of amphotericin B that are less toxic yet evade resistance. UIUC News Bureau article.

Hyunjoon Kong and colleagues applied principles of glacier moraine geology to their attempts to recreate a microvascular system for the possible treatment of vascular disease. Their work was published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials. ChBE News article.

Luis Real Hernandez, a junior chemistry major, has received a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for demonstrating leadership and academic promise in science or engineering.

Yi Lu is the recipient of the 2015 RSC Applied Inorganic Chemistry Award for his original research on the catalytic activity of DNA in the presence of metal ions, and the development of a new class of sensors.

The Suslick and Murphy research groups used ultrasonic spray pyrolysis to make bio-inert silicone microspheres that potentially can be employed as extended-release drug vessels and also in imaging applications. UIUC News Bureau article.

Prashant Jain to receive the 2015 Journal of Physical Chemistry C Lectureship Award in recognition for advancing the science of inorganic nanostructures by application of spectroscopy, microscopy, and theory.

Four scientists (Catherine Murphy, Steve Granick, Taekjip Ha, and John Rogers) associated with the School of Chemical Sciences have been honored by their election to the National Academy of Sciences. UIUC News Bureau article.

Thomas Allen (Makri group) has been awarded a 2015-16 Blue Waters Graduate Fellowship. As well as financial support he will have access to the powerful Blue Waters petascale computing system. He will do research in the simulation and analysis of proton transfer reactions in the condensed phase.

Jerrod Henderson was honored with a 2014-2015 Campus Award for Excellence in Public Engagement. He was recognized for his efforts to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who pursue STEM careers. ChBE News article.

Kenneth Suslick, Dana Dlott and colleagues used an "ultrasonic hammer" to provide insight into how explosives work and how to control them. UIUC News Bureau article.

The Burke group has developed a molecule-making machine having the potential to speed up new drug development. Their work is featured on the cover of the March 13 issue of Science. UIUC News Bureau article.

Douglas Mitchell is the recipient of the 2015 Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry. He is cited for his outstanding work in enzyme chemistry where the presence of enzyme action is unequivocally demonstrated.

Hong Yang and colleagues recently published a paper in Nano Letters on their development of new techniques using in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to quantitatively study nucleation and growth kinetics of heterogeneous nanostructures. ChBE News article.

Kenneth Suslick received the 2015 Innovation Transfer Award. The award recognizes local innovation and entrepreneurial excellence.

University of Illinois hosted more than 200 students February 28 and March 1 for an American Institute of Chemical Engineers' regional student conference. ChBE News article.

BBC News highlighted the building of minuscule 3D scaffolds that are being made using ingenious methods by the Rogers group. The scaffolds could be used as a "functional interface" with a growing tissue of cells. BBC Science & Environment article

The PAC-1 drug discovered by Paul Hergenrother is now in human clinical trials. The drug selectively destroys cancer cells, while sparing healthy cells. If trials go well it may become a treatment for brain cancer as it passes the blood-brain barrier. UIUC News Bureau article.


Alison Fout was one of 23 selected as a 2015 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Chemistry. She focuses on addressing environmental, biological and energy problems by designing transition metal complexes and catalysts to understand the activation and transformation of greenhouse gases into novel compounds. UIUC News Bureau article.

Prashant K. Jain was awarded a 2015 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award in recognition of his work on atomic scale understanding of solid-state catalysts and reactive adsorbents.

Ryan Bailey is the recipient of the 2015 Pittcon Achievement Award. He is being recognized for his outstanding achievements in the fields of analytical chemistry and/or applied spectroscopy.

Deborah Leckband and collaborators have designed a new fluorescent protein that allows them to observe the dynamics of protein interactions in living cells. SCS article.

A multi-disciplinary group with John Katzenellebogen as a lead investigator has developed compounds that show potential in treating a variety of disorders linked to estrogen signaling. UIUC News Bureau article.

Miriam Ross, sophomore at University Laboratory High School, Urbana, has been recognized with a Celebrating High School Innovators Award for her research on DNA catalysts with Prof. Silverman.