Graduate Student Choongik Kim Wins Prestigious Materials Research Society Award
21 December 2008 - Choongik Kim, a graduate student of Professor Tobin Marks, won a prestigious graduate student award given by the Materials Research Society. Graduate students from all over the world competed and it is based on an award nomination, letters of recommendation from international experts, a poster presentation, and an oral presentation. The award was presented in Boston at the MRS meeting in November.
MRS Graduate Student Awards are intended to honor and encourage graduate students whose academic achievements and current materials research display a high level of excellence and distinction. MRS seeks to recognize students of exceptional ability who show promise for significant future achievement in materials research. Congratulations Choongik!
Chad Mirkin Receives Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest
12 December 2008 - The Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society has announced that Professor Chad Mirkin was awarded its most prestigious honor, the Esselen Award for Chemistry in the public interest, The award annually recognizes a chemist whose scientific and technical work has contributed to the public well-being, and has thereby communicated positive values of the chemical profession.
The Award was established in 1987 to honor the memory of Gustavus John Esselen, a distinguished member of the Northeastern Section. The first awardees were F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario J. Molina, who subsequently received the Nobel Prize.
The award ceremony will be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the April meeting of the Northeastern Section. Congratulations Chad!
George Schatz Awarded 2008 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize
9 December 2008 - Professor George Schatz has been awarded the 2008 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for his accomplishment in theoretical molecular nanotechnology. The annual Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology is sponsored by the Foresight Institute to encourage and accelerate the development of molecular nanotechnology. The award is named in honor of Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman.
Graduate Student Antoinette Nibbs Selected as Malkin Scholar
6 December 2008 - Congratulations to Antoinette Nibbs, third year graduate student in Professor Karl Scheidt's laboratory, who has been named a Northwestern University Malkin Scholar for 2009. The Scholar’s program is made possible through a generous gift from the Malkin Family to the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Scholars are selected by a committee for their exceptional promise and the potential of their research to make cancer-relevant discoveries.
Mark Ratner on Larry Dumas
21 November 2008 - Mark Ratner, who was awarded the inaugural Lawrence B. Dumas Distinguished Professorship comments on just how much we will miss our beloved colleague, Larry Dumas...
Larry Dumas was a great contributor to science, to this university, to our department, and to many of us individually. When he first came to Northwestern, he collaborated with several members of the department in biochemical research. But it was in his roles as Dean of the college and Provost that he made his greatest contributions.
As Dean, Larry supported chemistry’s ambitions with respect to improving its teaching efforts and maintaining its research edge. His plans for the college featured our department.
As Provost, Larry was a transformative presence. He gave a talk to our lunch crowd asking us “to challenge the administration.” We did so, coming up with a very ambitious plan to grow the faculty, the graduate students, the research presence, and the teaching program. Larry and Henry bought into this, and the transformation began.
Coupled with the Silverman success, these commitments from the administration (and some hard work by all of us) got us to the point that we’re at today.
Larry liked discussions – and sometimes even arguments – but his clear aim was to make Northwestern a better place, for itself, for its members, and for the society that it serves. He succeeded in doing that, while bringing personal rectitude, a wonderful sense of humor, and a “yes, we can,” even before Obama.
Larry’s work came from two wonderful partnerships, the professional one with Henry and the personal one with his remarkably wonderful wife Sally. She always brought charm, insight, and perspective into everything that they did.
We will miss him terribly, and will always remain grateful for his personal warmth and his major contributions.
Former Provost Lawrence B. Dumas Dies at Age 67
19 November 2008 - Former Northwestern University Provost Lawrence B. Dumas died Nov. 17, 2008. Mr. Dumas served as Northwestern University Provost from January 1996 to 2007. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday (Nov. 21) at Alice Millar Chapel on the Evanston campus. A reception will follow in the Guild Lounge. In recognition of his significant contributions to Northwestern, the University established the Lawrence B. Dumas Distinguished University Professorship which was awarded to Professor Mark Ratner of Chemistry this past year.
Former Provost Lawrence B. Dumas Dies at Age 67
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Former Northwestern University Provost Lawrence B. Dumas died Nov. 17, 2008 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital Hospice.
Mr. Dumas, 67, died after battling a brain tumor for the last year. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday (Nov. 21) at Alice Millar Chapel on the Evanston campus. A reception will follow in the Guild Lounge.
“Larry was an extraordinary man in many ways, and no more so than in his distinguished service to Northwestern,” said Northwestern President Henry S. Bienen. “He provided unparalleled leadership and thoughtful guidance to the entire university. He looms large in the history of Northwestern.”
Mr. Dumas served as Northwestern University Provost from January 1996 to 2007. In September 2007 he stepped down to begin a leave of absence before returning to active professional life in the department of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology. In recognition of his significant contributions to Northwestern, the University established the Lawrence B. Dumas Distinguished University Professorship,which was awarded to Professor Mark Ratner of Chemistry this past year.
He was named Provost after serving as dean of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences from 1988 to 1996. A member of the Northwestern faculty since 1970, Mr. Dumas was named an associate professor in 1975 and professor of biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology in 1980. He was one of the founding members of the department of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology and was chair from 1985 to 1988.
As Provost, Mr. Dumas worked with faculty members, administrators and trustees to develop a strategic plan to guide the University as it moved toward the “highest order of excellence” envisioned by its founders. This initiative had the support of deans of the various schools and an ad hoc faculty group, which identified key issues affecting the University’s future. Those efforts resulted in a document entitled “The Highest Order of Excellence,” a statement of fundamental goals, priorities and strategies for Northwestern University. The vision expressed in the document built on the recommendations of earlier task force reports on the undergraduate experience, and on graduate education, and outlined an agenda for focusing on four key priorities: (1) Invest in the faculty; (2) Intensify undergraduate learning; (3) Redesign graduate education and strengthen professional education; and (4) Build the infrastructure for teaching, learning and research in the 21st Century. Mr. Dumas worked with a steering committee to oversee the implementation of these plans.
Mr. Dumas also spearheaded planning that resulted in significant new tuition revenues available for initiatives in undergraduate education. He fostered analysis and planning that led to a decision to phase out the Dental School. With the Senior Vice President for Business and Finance and the Associate Vice President for Budget, Mr. Dumas made significant changes in the budget decision-making process of the University.
Mr. Dumas focused his research on molecular studies of chromosomal replication, and his laboratory made significant contributions to the identification and isolation of proteins that catalyze the replication process. His research was funded by the American Cancer Society, National Science Foundation and the U.S. Public Health Service.
Mr. Dumas received the John Boezi Award for Outstanding Molecular Biology Research from Michigan State University (1987) and the U.S. Public Service Career Development Award (1974-79). He was the recipient of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award 1979-80.
Mr. Dumas was a member of the American Society of Biological Chemists, American Society for Microbiology and American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a past member of the medical advisory board of the Leukemia Research Foundation, and he has served on the recombinant DNA safety committee at Abbott Laboratories.
Mr. Dumas received a bachelor’s degree with high honors in biochemistry from the Michigan State University Honors College in 1963, a master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1965, and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Wisconsin in 1968. He was the recipient of a U.S. Public Health Service pre-doctoral fellowship (1964-67) at Wisconsin and a postdoctoral fellowship (1968-70) at the California Institute of Technology.
Mr. Dumas, a resident of Evanston, is survived by his wife, Sally, and two children, Robert Dumas and Aimee Dumas Long, and three grandchildren, Meredith, Natalie and Jackson.
In lieu of flowers, gifts should be made to the Lawrence B. Dumas Distinguished University Professorship, c/o Sarah Pearson, Northwestern University Office of Alumni Relations and Development, 2020 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL 60208; or to the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute, Feinberg School of Medicine, c/o Terri Dillon, 750 N. Lake Shore Dr., 9th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611.
New $11 Million Center to Speed Drug Discovery
29 October 2008 - Scientists from Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago have received a $9.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish the Chicago Tri-Institutional Center for Chemical Methods and Library Development.
"We have a really talented group of organic chemists in the Chicago area," said Karl Scheidt, the Irving M. Klotz Research Professor in Chemistry at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern and a co-principal investigator. "Now we will have all the key players at the same table, working together to solve big biomedical problems. We expect to generate new molecules that never would have been created separately."
The Chicago Biomedical Consortium, which is funded by The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, has awarded a $2 million Lever grant to support the core infrastructure of the center and to make its resources available to the entire Chicago scientific community. The grant was essential in securing the NIH support.
Scheidt, whose research includes the synthesis and investigation of bioactive molecules, will collaborate with investigators at the two other institutions to develop new ways of building state-of-the-art chemical libraries that will help identify new compounds for future drug development and basic biomedical research.
The new center joins a consortium of four other NIH-funded Chemical Methods and Library Development centers across the country established to address the national shortage of small molecule development capabilities.
The center's work will focus on the rapid synthesis of organic molecules for use as small molecule probes and potential new "hits" for therapeutic development. These compounds will be collected into libraries, where they can be used in high-throughput biological screening endeavors across the country. The center's innovative approach is to invent new types of molecules on which industry has not traditionally focused its attention.
"The rapid production of new types of small molecules of interest will enable basic research to impact human health more quickly," said Scheidt. "The increased efficiency should ultimately accelerate translational 'bench-to-bedside research.'"
Scheidt and his research group are developing innovative strategies for cancer treatment and prevention based on anticancer compounds isolated from nature. They are using tailor-made small molecules to disrupt tumor cell movement -- an approach that could lead to new ways to prevent cancer's spreading throughout the body.
With the right personnel and equipment in place, scientists using the new center's facilities will be able to synthesize new compounds 10 to 50 times as fast, says Scheidt. Improving the efficiency will allow researchers to spend more time probing what the small molecules may be good for, such as slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease or inhibiting the spread of cancer from a primary tumor. Then they can chemically tweak the molecules to add certain attributes and improve the effectiveness.
"Northwestern will have a new resource for the high-throughput chemical synthesis of desired molecules, located in the Richard and Barbara Silverman Hall for Molecular Therapeutics and Diagnostics," said Scheidt. The facility, which will be affiliated with Northwestern's Chemistry of Life Processes Institute and Center for Drug Discovery and Chemical Biology, will be open to all Chicago-area academic scientists.
Many existing drugs share similar molecular structures. Future advances in drug discovery and basic biomedical research depend on the ability to more efficiently synthesize new compounds with significantly different molecular structures.
"In order to develop new drugs, you need to start with new compounds," said Sergey Kozmin, center director, principal investigator and associate professor in chemistry at the University of Chicago.
The chemical libraries that the Chicago Tri-Institutional Center produces will be readily available to many biology labs across the nation. The center also will broadly test for potential use against neurodegenerative disorders, infectious diseases and other therapeutic targets.
The other co-investigators working with Scheidt and Kozmin are Hisashi Yamamoto, the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor in Chemistry; Viresh Rawal, professor in chemistry; Milan Mrksich, professor in chemistry; and Stephen Kron, associate professor in molecular genetics and cell biology, from the University of Chicago; and Vladimir Gevorgyan, professor of chemistry; and Jie Liang, professor of bioengineering, from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"Each of these groups has expertise in different areas of organic chemistry," said Kozmin. "The idea is to combine this intellectual effort in order to produce these new molecules much more efficiently than anything that has been done before."
"The NIH and CBC awards begin a new chapter in an increasingly rich history of discovery arising from chemical synthesis efforts at Northwestern," said Scheidt. "We are excited to explore the potential of new compounds resulting from this tri-institutional effort and anticipate the center will be a driving force behind new biomedical discoveries throughout the Chicago area and the nation."
Karl Scheidt named an American Cancer Society Research Scholar
23 October 2008 - Professor Karl Scheidt has been named a 2009 American Cancer Society Research Scholar. This three-year award from the American Cancer Society involves a highly competitive and nation-wide selection process to support cutting edge cancer research. The grant will fuel his successful collaborative projects with Dr. Ray Bergan investigating new compounds to disrupt cancer cell metastasis. This research is also supported by the Lurie Cancer Center, the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute and the Center for Drug Discovery and Chemical Biology. Congratulations Karl!
Mark Ratner Co-Director of New Initiative for Sustainability and Energy
21 October 2008 - Northwestern University has launched the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) to support research, teaching and outreach in these critical areas, Northwestern President Henry S. Bienen announced today (Oct. 21). Chemistry Professor Mark Ratner is one of the Co-directors of ISEN.
President Bienen said the initiative will seek solutions to some of society's most pressing problems by consolidating and building on Northwestern's existing strengths as well as fostering new efforts in energy and sustainability.
ISEN is unusual among universities in that it focuses on both energy and sustainability. Another strength is the collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, ISEN's primary research partner outside the University. The two institutions will be developing an integrated research platform in energy and sustainability. (For more information, see the ISEN web page.)
Most of the world's energy needs currently are met by burning fossil fuels, a finite resource. Carbon dioxide released by these fuels changes and harms the environment. As global energy needs increase, responsible approaches to solving the energy problem are vital and must address sustainability.
"ISEN is an umbrella organization designed to create, advance and communicate new science, technology and policy," said Mark Ratner, Lawrence B. Dumas Distinguished University Professor and one of ISEN's co-directors. "Our most important goal is to integrate the University's efforts in energy, sustainability and outreach. Northwestern is particularly strong in solar energy, transportation, nanotechnology, materials and sustainability. We will take advantage of these areas, while growing others."
At its core, ISEN will promote and financially support fundamental scientific research, teaching and outreach across the University, leading to an understanding of sustainable energy supply, demand and use. The initiative will expand an already solid base of research at Northwestern: during the last academic year, the University was awarded approximately $37 million for sponsored research in energy and sustainability.
David Dunand, James N. and Margie M. Krebs Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, is ISEN's other co-director. Both he and Ratner have an energy component to their research. Dunand focuses on developing lighter and stronger materials for energy-efficient transportation and heat-resistant materials for improved power generation. Ratner, a pioneer in molecular electronics and professor of chemistry, is interested in using nanoscience to attack the energy problems facing the United States and the world.
Julio Ottino, dean of the McCormick School, and Tobin Marks, Vladimir N. Ipatieff Research Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and professor of materials science and engineering in McCormick, initiated the planning nearly three years ago that resulted in ISEN.
"ISEN is centered on the two major strengths that universities can contribute: research and teaching," said Jay Walsh, vice president for research at Northwestern and a member of Argonne's board of governors. "Northwestern's strong culture of interdisciplinarity across our schools gives ISEN a breadth of vision that few research universities can match."
As part of its charge to support research and teaching, ISEN supports new and existing research by providing startup funds for pilot or seed research projects, and matching funds for post-doctoral, graduate and undergraduate fellowships and for major equipment purchases and maintenance. ISEN also organizes major conferences at Northwestern with top experts on the topics of energy and sustainability and the associated policy and economics.
New courses will be developed for students across the University, from the physical sciences, engineering and social sciences to business, communication and law. Four new undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on global issues related to energy and sustainability will be offered starting in the spring quarter. In the longer term, ISEN plans to establish an energy and sustainability minor at the undergraduate level across several schools and to create a master's degree program in energy and sustainability studies.
The initiative also plans to offer a summer program, including internships, at Northwestern for students from K-12 through the post-graduate level.
"ISEN is not limited to scientists and engineers alone," said Dunand. "We will draw on the intellectual and programmatic capabilities of all of Northwestern's schools and centers to provide a new integrated direction for the University, focusing on the many challenges surrounding sustainability and energy."
"Sustainability is about more than energy," added Ratner. "It also includes fostering sustainable technologies that address global issues such as water, land, air, materials, food and waste."
The research partnership with Argonne National Laboratory will encourage the promotion of other energy activities, including the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center, the Center for Energy Efficient Transportation and the Institute for Sustainable Practices. Many other Northwestern centers, including those focused on nanoscience and technology, catalysis and transportation, will be involved with ISEN.
ISEN also develops and maintains strong relationships with domestic and international corporations, foundations, government agencies, international organizations and other educational institutions.
"There has been a groundswell of enthusiasm from students, faculty and alumni," said Ratner. "Through ISEN, we hope to transform the area of energy and sustainability from a challenge to an accomplishment for all the people of the planet."
For more information, contact Bridget Calendo, ISEN's director of operations and outreach, at (847) 467-0863 or email@example.com or go to www.ISEN.northwestern.edu.
Eric Phillips Receives a 2008-2009 American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry Fellowship sponsored by Organic Reactions
9 October 2008 - Congratulations to Eric Phillips, a fourth year graduate student in Professor Karl Scheidt's laboratory, who has been named an ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Fellow. This award is given annually to 13 outstanding young scientists in the area of organic chemistry and provides support for an entire year as well as funds to travel to the 2009 National Organic Symposium at the University of Utah. Great job, Eric!
Tobin Marks Named Honorary Fellow of the Chemical Research Society of India
8 October 2008 - Tobin Marks, chemistry, materials science and engineering, has been elected an Honorary Fellow of the Chemical Research Society of India. Typically three Fellows from all over the world are elected annually, and recent Fellows have included three Nobel Laureates, three US National Medal of Science winners, and three winners of the Israeli Wolf Prize. The induction ceremony will take place at the annual meeting of the Chemical Research Society of India in February 2009. The Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI) was established in the early part of 1999 as part of the 50th anniversary of India's independence.
Marks, who joined Northwestern in 1970, is a leader in the development and understanding of single-site olefin polymerization catalysis (now a multibillion dollar industry) as well as in the study of new materials having remarkable electrical, mechanical, interfacial and photonic properties.
During his career, Marks has received numerous awards, including some of the most prestigious national and international awards in the fields of inorganic, catalytic, materials and organometallic chemistry. Recent honors include the U.S. National Medal of Science, the American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal, the Cotton Medal from the Texas Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the John C. Bailar Medal from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Centenary and Sir Edward Frankland Prizes of the British Royal Society of Chemistry and the Karl Ziegler Prize of the German Chemical Society. He recently received Spain's prestigious 2008 Prince of Asturias Prize for Scientific Research for his landmark work in the "creation of revolutionary new materials for the benefit of mankind."
SonBinh Nguyen and Northwestern Chemistry Student Affiliate Chapter selected for Commendation
2 October 2008 - The American Chemical Society (ACS) Student Affiliates chapter at Northwestern University has been selected to receive a Commendable award for its activities conducted through the 2007-08 academic year. Professor SonBinh Nguyen, faculty advisor of the chapter, won special commendation for the President of the ACS, Bruce E. Bursten. List of the award winning chapters will be published in Chemical and Engineering News and in Chemistry, the Student Affiliates magazine. The award winning chapters will also be honored at the 237th ACS National Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah on Sunday March 22, 2008.
Karl Scheidt Receives the GlaxoSmithKline Scholar Award
1 October 2008 - Congratulations to Professor Karl Scheidt who has been named a 2008/2009 GlaxoSmithKline Scholar! This award is given annually to three outstanding young scientists in the area of organic chemistry and includes an unrestricted research grant. A recent symposium at the GSK research site in North Carolina featured all three new GSK Scholars.
Teri Odom NIH Director's Pioneer Awardee
22 September 2008 - Teri W. Odom, associate professor of chemistry and Dow Chemical Company Research Professor in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, has received the 2008 NIH Director's Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health. Odom, who is one of only 16 awardees and the only one from the Midwest, will receive $2.5 million in direct costs over five years. This will support her work to create metallic nanomaterials to improve the ability to study subcellular structures in three dimensions.
The Pioneer Award, now in its fifth year, recognizes exceptional researchers and thinkers from multiple disciplines who have highly innovative ideas and approaches to contemporary challenges in biomedical and behavioral research. "Nothing is more important to me than stimulating and sustaining deep innovation, especially for early career investigators and despite challenging budgetary times," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "These highly creative researchers are tackling important scientific challenges with bold ideas and inventive technologies that promise to break through barriers and radically shift our understanding." Applicants underwent a rigorous nomination and selection process to establish which among them appeared to hold the greatest potential for addressing critical scientific questions that would greatly impact biomedical science and health care. Nominees were expected to demonstrate commitment to accepting considerable risk in addressing critically important scientific questions relevant to the mission of the National Institutes of Health.
Odom's research focuses on controlling materials at the 100-nanometer scale and investigating their size- and shape-dependent properties. Specifically, she has developed nanoscale patterning tools that can generate new types of noble metal (plasmonic) structures that can manipulate light at the nanoscale. In addition, Odom has pioneered a new area called chemical nanofabrication, which combines chemistry and fabrication to assemble functional nanomaterials. For example, Odom has recently developed an innovative and inexpensive way of making nanomaterials on a large scale, which has resulted in novel forms of advanced materials that show exceptional and unexpected optical properties. The new fabrication technique, known as soft interference lithography, offers many significant advantages over existing methods, including the ability to scale-up the manufacturing process to produce devices in large quantities.
In addition to her research, Odom is active in educational and public outreach. She will deliver a talk, "The Colorful Nanoworld," Nov. 8 as part of the upcoming Chicago Humanities Festival. Odom has developed research-based, hands-on laboratory courses in nanoscale science and technology for Northwestern undergraduate and graduate students. These labs also are being disseminated internationally through printed publications and the Internet. Odom has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2008 National Fresenius Award from Phi Lambda Upsilon and the American Chemical Society; the Rohm and Haas New Faculty Award; an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship; a DuPont Young Investigator Grant; a National Science Foundation CAREER Award; a David and Lucille Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering; a Dow Teacher-Scholar Award; and the ExxonMobil Solid State Chemistry Faculty Fellowship. Odom received her Ph.D. in chemical physics from Harvard University in 2001. She then was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow with George M. Whitesides at Harvard before joining the Northwestern faculty in 2002.
Chad A. Mirkin, George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, professor of medicine and professor of materials science and engineering, received the Pioneer Award in 2004, its inaugural year. For more information on the NIH Director's Pioneer Award Program, including the National Institutes of Health press release and awardee information, click here.
Son Binh Nguyen Designated Lifetime National Associate of the National Research Council of the National Academies
22 September 2008 - In recognition of his extraordinary service to the National Research Council in its role as advisor to the nation in matters of science, engineering and health, Professor Son Binh Nguyen has been designated as a lifetime National Associate of the National Research Council of the National Academies.
Upcoming MRSEC Seminars
13 August 2008 - The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center has upcoming events in the fall -- August 13, August 28 and September 25.
- Wednesday, August 13, 10:00AM
Cook Hall room 2058
2220 Campus Drive, Evanston IL
MRSEC Seminar: Physicochemical Mechanics in Asymmetric Nanomembranes More information
James K. Ferri , Department of Chemical Engineering, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania and Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, Golm/Potsdam, Germany
- Thursday, August 28, 9:00AM - 6:00PM
Pancoe–ENH Life Sciences Pavilion
2200 Campus Drive Evanston, IL
MRSEC Annual Meeting Full Schedule
- Thursday, September 25, 2:00PM
Technological Institute Room K140
2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston IL
MRSEC Seminar: Inorganic nanotubes and fullerene-like structures: science and applications More information
Reshef Tenne, Department of Materials and Interfaces Weizmann Institute, Rehovot 76100, Israel
Teri Odom Receives 2008 National Fresenius Award
13 August 2008 - Congratulations to Professor Teri Odom who has been named the 2008 recipient of the National Fresenius Award of Phi Lambda Upsilon. The award is given jointly by PLU and The American Chemical Society to one chemical scientist per year who has achieved national recognition for her/his scientific accomplishments. Phi Lambda Upsilon, in keeping with its stated objectives towards the promotion of high scholarship and original investigation in all branches of pure and applied chemistry, has established a national award for outstanding chemists early in their professional careers. This award, established in 1965, was named the "National Fresenius Award" in recognition of Carl Remigius Fresenius, one of the eminent chemists after whom Phi Lambda Upsilon was named.
This award is presented annually to an outstanding young scientist who has attained national recognition in the areas of research, teaching and/or administration. The first award was presented at the National ACS Meeting in April, 1965. This award continues and extends the traditions of the Society in recognizing and honoring excellence in Chemistry. Past recipients of the Fresenius Award at Northwestern University include: Joe Lambert, Tobin Marks, Rick Van Duyne, George Schatz, Joe Hupp and Chad Mirkin.
Emily Weiss awarded Dreyfus New Faculty Award
13 August 2008 - Congratulations to Emily Weiss, who has been named a winner of the Dreyfus New Faculty Award. The award carries a $50,000 grant for research. Emily is one of nine recipients nationally.
O'Halloran and Woodruff Team Awarded Keck Foundation Grant
31 July 2008 - Northwestern University has received a three-year, $1.6 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to support reproductive science research focused on understanding the chemical and biological signaling events surrounding fertilization and early embryonic development.
The egg and sperm unite at the time of fertilization and create a new cell called the zygote. This single cell then divides many times, ultimately forming a new individual. How do the egg and sperm mature, and what is the underlying mechanism that controls cellular division and differentiation?
An interdisciplinary team of researchers at Northwestern believes that inorganic molecules -- zinc, calcium, iron and others -- may lie at the heart of this matter. The team's goal is to determine what critical roles these molecules, particularly zinc, play in signal processing. Based on preliminary studies, the team hypothesizes that fluxes in zinc ions mediate the first definitive signal in embryonic development.
Cells communicate by sending signals through networks of small molecules, but little is known about these networks in fertilization and early embryonic development. A better understanding of the role of inorganic molecules in signaling could help with fertility issues as well as shed light on the role of metal metabolism dysfunction in many diseases, including diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
The project is being led by Thomas O'Halloran, Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor in Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and Teresa K. Woodruff, Thomas J. Watkins Memorial Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine. O'Halloran is an expert in how cells use essential metal nutrients such as zinc, copper and iron at the molecular level, and Woodruff's specialty is in ovarian biology and reproductive science.
"This research is focused on an unexplored area of egg and sperm biology, namely, the relationship of physiologically relevant metals to the events surrounding fertilization," said Woodruff. "The involvement of inorganic molecules in this process has not been examined, and the development of imaging technologies that are predicted to bring a new level of sensitivity and detection capability to this critical time in biology is exciting."
The team will use the Keck Foundation grant to purchase a custom-built scanning transmission electron microscope with multiple detectors for quantitative images of the inorganic elements in the mouse germ cells. No existing microscope can do this. Furthermore, the movement and flux of these ions will be tracked in live cells using confocal microscopy. New fluorescent "nanosensors" will be developed specifically for these studies.
The work lies at the interface of reproductive science, chemistry, biophysics and imaging technology. Also on the research team are Vinayak P. Dravid, professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern and director of the University's NUANCE Center (Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center), and Jonathan Silverstein, M.D., associate professor of surgery and radiology at the University of Chicago Medical Center and associate director of the university's Computation Institute.
Dravid's expertise lies in advanced microscopy and analytical techniques; he will coordinate construction of the electron microscope and develop methods to use the equipment. Silverstein specializes in the application of computers and other technology to the analysis of vast biomedical databases; he will develop software to interpret the data collected using the microscope and will create 3-D images of the eggs showing amounts and distribution of the inorganic molecules.
The origin of the idea, that zinc in particular may play an important role in these signaling pathways, came from the research of graduate student Alison Kim, who is working with O'Halloran and Woodruff. She discovered that zinc was not uniformly distributed in eggs as they matured, which was unexpected.
"That got us all thinking," said O'Halloran. "Could zinc be a signal in the fertilization process? The evidence was strong enough for us to pursue. We first want to test whether there is a zinc signal pathway and then build a model of how zinc acts in the egg. This is very exciting because zinc's primary role in the body is typically thought to involve catalysis, not signaling."
The research project, titled "The Inorganic Signature of Life: Signaling Pathways in the Mammalian Oocyte," has received additional funding from Northwestern University and the Chicago Biomedical Consortium.
Based in Los Angeles, the W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W.M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company. The Foundation's grant making is focused primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical research, science and engineering. The Foundation also maintains a program to support undergraduate science and humanities education and a Southern California Grant Program that provides support in the areas of health care, civic and community services, education and the arts, with a special emphasis on children and youth.
Chad Mirkin Recipient of 2008 Biomedical Engineering Distinguished Achievement Award
22 July 2008 - Chad Mirkin was selected as the recipient of the 2008 Biomedical Engineering Society's Distinguished Achievement Award. The award will be presented at the October 3rd BMES meeting in St. Louis. Congratulations Chad!
Chicago Tribune article features NU Lecturers Hatch and Northrup
19 July 2008 - The Chicago Tribune features Northwestern Chemistry Lecturers Shelby Hatch and Fred Northrup and the intensive summer school chemistry classes they teach. Click on the title for the story...
Intensive NU summer classes 'more than a full-time job': Students cram a year's worth of chemistry courses into 9 weeks
By Jodi S. Cohen | Chicago Tribune reporter
12:43 AM CDT, July 19, 2008
At Northwestern University this summer, one course description comes with a warning: "It is recommended that students not register concurrently for other courses."
Not that there would be time to anyway.
About 50 students are spending 207 hours over nine weeks in a windowless lecture hall and basement laboratory to complete three introductory chemistry courses. They will cover what is typically taught in a year.
"It's insane," Nasrin Meftah said. "It's like really cold water—you eventually get used to it, but it's still not pleasant," Saralyn Leffel said.
Even the chemistry professor who runs the lab didn't mince words when asked to describe the back-to-back-to-back classes on general chemistry, inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry. Each runs for three weeks.
"I wouldn't do it," professor Shelby Hatch said.
Some students are undergraduates at NU or other schools, while others are career-changers who need the science credits for medical school. All of them—minus the 15 or so who dropped out in the first few weeks—decided that sacrificing their summer was better than taking a year to complete what can be tedious lectures on such topics as the movement of electrons.
Other sciences offered
Intensive courses at NU and elsewhere are more typically reserved for the study of a foreign language, not the sciences. NU also offers them in biology and physics.
In chemistry, students sit through lectures from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday to Friday, and are in the laboratory from 1 to 5 p.m. twice a week.
During each three-week class, there are two midterms, a final, three quizzes and six lab reports. Students said they typically are reading the textbook, doing homework problems or completing lab work until at least midnight every day.
"I don't know if they factored in time to sleep," said Leffel, 23, who has a bachelor's degree in theater but is trying to complete requirements for medical school.
On a recent perfect Chicago summer day, when it was 75 degrees and cloudless, professor Fred Northrup began the day's lecture with a disclaimer: "There is a lot more to quantum mechanics than what we are going to discuss here." As the day droned on, Northrup acknowledged that he saw "a lot of puzzled faces."
One was Kathleen Morrison, 45, a University of Chicago anthropology professor on a fellowship to study an area outside of her expertise. After three weeks in class, she wondered whether such an intense course load was the ideal way to learn.
"In some ways, it's good because you are completely immersed in the subject," she said. "But the pace of this course is really brutal, so I'm not sure it's really the best."
John Kucsera, a University of Texas education researcher who has studied intensive courses, said learning outcomes are comparable in traditional and shorter classes.
Different learning style
Northwestern sophomore Paul Kim, who is immersed in chemistry this summer after dropping Chemistry 101 last fall, said the format matches his learning style.
"This is the perfect class for me because I am a procrastinator," said Kim, 18. "I work on everything at the last minute, and everything in this class is last minute."
The classes aren't cheap—$9,000 for the three—for undergraduates. Students in the School for Continuing Studies pay $1,250 per course.
In addition to cost, there is little time to get a job.
"I guess this summer I'm spending money instead of earning it," said Kari Rayner, 19, an NU sophomore.
Northrup said his grading curve is more generous during the summer.
"What I say when we start is that we will survive this course together," Northrup said. "It has to be rough for the students. I tell them when they come in that it is more than a full-time job."
Sir Fraser Stoddart Receives Davy Medal from Royal Society
10 July 2008 - Sir Fraser Stoddart, Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, has received the 2008 Davy Medal from the Royal Society, the national academy of science of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
Fraser is being honored for his contributions in molecular nanotechnology. The citation states: "Your work bridges the gap between chemistry and the scientific and engineering challenges of nanoelectromechanical systems."
The Davy Medal, which has been awarded annually since 1877, recognizes an outstandingly important recent discovery in any branch of chemistry. Stoddart joins a roster of acclaimed chemists that includes Linus Pauling, Pierre and Madame Curie, Henri le Chatelier and John A. Pople, who finished his career at Northwestern.
Stoddart is a pioneer in the fields of chemistry and nanoscience. By introducing an additional type of bond (the mechanical bond) into chemical synthesis, Stoddart became one of the few chemists to have opened up a new field of chemistry during the past 25 years.
He was appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a Knight Bachelor in her 2007 New Year's Honours List for his services to chemistry and molecular nanotechnology. Stoddart, who was elected an Honorary Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh in May, has been recognized with numerous other awards, including the American Chemical Society's Arthur C. Cope Award (2008), the Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry (2007), the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (2007), the King Faisal International Prize in Science (2007) and the Nagoya Gold Medal in Organic Chemistry (2004).
Stoddart is ranked by the Institute for Scientific Information for the period of the past decade as the second-most cited chemist in the world. He is a fellow of the Science Division of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006), the German Academy of Natural Sciences (1999) and the Royal Society (1994). Stoddart serves on the international advisory boards of numerous journals, including the Journal of Organic Chemistry, Angewandte Chemie and Chemistry - A European Journal. Stoddart has published more than 800 scientific papers and trained more than 300 graduate and postdoctoral students.
(VIDEO: View Stoddart speaking at a nanotechnology town hall meeting about his background, his research and his "15 seconds worth of contact" with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Northwestern's YouTube site.)
Rick Silverman Elected to ASG Faculty Honor Roll
8 July 2008 - Professor Rick Silverman was elected to Northwestern's Associated Student Government (ASG) Faculty Honor Roll for 2008. Every year students vote to honor their favorite professors and the top vote getters are named on the ASG Faculty Honor Roll. Congratulations Rick!
Karl Scheidt Named Irving M. Klotz Research Professor
1 July 2008 - The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that Karl Scheidt has been awarded the Irving M.Klotz Research Professorship. The Klotz Professorship is intended to recognize the outstanding promise of a faculty member in the chemical and biological sciences and to stimulate continuing accomplishments in teaching and reasearch. Congratulations Karl!
Fred Northrup and Owen Priest Named Distinguished Senior Lecturers
30 June 2008 - The Chemistry Department is pleased to announce the promotion of both Fred Northrup and Owen Priest to the rank of Distinguished Senior Lecturers. A well-deserved honor to both! Congratulations Fred and Owen!
Teri Odom Named Dow Research Professor
29 June 2008 - The Chemistry Department is pleased to announce that Teri Odom has been named Dow Research Professor. Congratulations Teri!
Tobin Marks Receives Spanish Award for Creating Revolutionary Materials
5 June 2008 - Tobin J. Marks, Vladimir N. Ipatieff Research Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University, has received Spain’s prestigious 2008 Prince of Asturias Prize for Scientific Research for his landmark work in the “creation of revolutionary new materials for the benefit of mankind.”
Marks, a world leader in the field of chemical catalysis who has developed processes for numerous types of recyclable, environmentally friendly plastics, is one of three American and two Japanese scientists to receive the award, the first time it has focused on the fields of materials science and materials chemistry.
About granting the award to the five scientists for their work, the Prince of Asturias Foundation said: “As groundbreakers in the field of nanotechnology worldwide, these scientists have created new, revolutionary materials and transcendental techniques for fighting diseases, such as those related to the brain and cancer, and for producing artificial tissues and organs. Their work also stands out for its contribution to the protection of the environment and energy saving via the use of new sources of clean energy that may be produced at a low cost.”
“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” said Marks, “because it honors research that I have derived so much intellectual pleasure in carrying out as well as my present and past co-workers who made it happen, my collaborating colleagues who have taught me so much, and my family members who have been so patient.”
The Prince of Asturias Prize for Scientific Research is bestowed upon “individuals, work groups or institutions whose discoveries or research represent a significant contribution to the progress of humanity in the fields of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, Earth and space sciences, as well as their related technical aspects and technologies.”
Eight Prince of Asturias prizes, established in 1981, are awarded each year covering categories such as arts, scientific research, sports, letters and humanities. The awards include a cash prize of 50,000 euros ($78,000) and a sculpture by Spanish artist Joan Miró representing and symbolizing the awards. They are named for Prince Felipe, heir to the Spanish crown, and are presented each fall in Oviedo, capital of the northern region of Asturias.
Marks, who joined Northwestern in 1970, is a leader in the development and understanding of single-site olefin polymerization catalysis (now a multibillion dollar industry) as well as in the study of new materials having remarkable electrical, mechanical, interfacial and photonic properties.
He designed a co-catalyst that led to what is now a standard process for producing better polyolefins, including polyethylene and polypropylene. Found in everything from sandwich wrap to long underwear, these versatile and inexpensive plastics are lighter in weight and more recyclable than previous plastics.
Marks has developed a prototype of third-generation photovoltaic solar cells, composed of flexible, efficient, low-cost, organic materials, as well as new materials for sensors and light modulators enabling high-speed optical data transmission and processing. His other achievements include high-performance transistors and light-emitting diodes based on organic materials (OLEDs), which lead to energy savings and are being incorporated in electronic devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), laptop computers and cellular phones, as well as being the basis of what is known as electronic paper.
Marks also has led major advances in the areas of transparent conducting oxides, the organometallic chemistry of lanthanides and actinides, chemical vapor deposition for thin films of interest to the electronics industry, models for metal ion environments in proteins, and catalytically important metal-boron hydride complexes.
During his career, Marks has received numerous awards, including some of the most prestigious national and international awards in the fields of inorganic, catalytic, materials and organometallic chemistry. Recent honors include the U.S. National Medal of Science, the American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal, the Cotton Medal from the Texas Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the John C. Bailar Medal from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Centenary and Sir Edward Frankland Prizes of the British Royal Society of Chemistry and the Karl Ziegler Prize of the German Chemical Society.
Marks also is the recipient of American Chemical Society Awards in Polymeric Materials (1983), Organometallic Chemistry (1989), Materials Chemistry (1994), Inorganic Chemistry (2001) and Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry (2008), and the ACS Chicago Section’s 2001 Josiah Willard Gibbs Medal, regarded by many as the highest award given to chemists next to the Nobel Prize.
He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993, and to the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences, in 2005, and as a Fellow of the British Royal Society of Chemistry in 2005.
Marks has authored 902 articles in peer-reviewed journals, edited six books and holds 87 U.S. patents. He has served on numerous governmental and industrial advisory panels and is co-author of several major policy documents.
Tobin Marks Selected as Worlwide Scientific Leader and Honored with 2008 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research
4 June 2008 - Professor Tobin Marks was selected for the prestigious 2008 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research as published today in Oviedo. Marks was named one of the five scientists who are worldwide leaders in the creation of new materials for the benefit of mankind . In addition to Professor Marks, the other scientists winning the award are: physicist, Sumio Iijima; engineers, Shuji Nakamura and Robert Langer; and chemist, George M. Whitesides.
3 June 2008 - Northwestern University’s Chad A. Mirkin, one of the world’s leaders in the research and application of nanotechnology, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Defense as an inaugural fellow in the department’s new National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellows (NSSEFF) Program.
Mirkin, George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, professor of medicine and of materials science and engineering, is one of six distinguished university faculty scientists and engineers forming the program’s first class.
Mirkin also received, in 2004, the Director’s Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an honor on par with the NSSEFF Program, monetarily and in prestige. He is the only person to receive both awards.
The NSSEFF program provides grants to top-tier researchers from U.S. universities to conduct long-term, unclassified, basic research that is of strategic importance to the Department of Defense.
Mirkin, director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern, will receive up to $3 million of direct research support for up to five years for his research project, “Functional One-Dimensional Structures Based on On-Wire Lithography.”
On-Wire Lithography, a process for fabricating and structuring nanowires, was invented by Mirkin and allows individuals to construct nanostructures that are useful in many important fields, ranging from medical diagnostics to highly miniaturized electronics and computational devices.
Applicants underwent a rigorous nomination and selection process to establish which among them appeared to hold the greatest potential for addressing important basic research areas that underpin future Department of Defense technology development, such as in sensors, surveillance and information security.
Nearly 150 academic institutions submitted more than 500 nomination letters, followed by more than 350 technical white papers. After a rigorous technical review, 20 semifinalists were invited to submit full proposals outlining their research plans. Each of the semifinalists participated in a scientific interview before a distinguished panel of experts.
Mirkin is world-renowned for his invention and development of biological and chemical diagnostic systems based upon nanomaterials. In addition, he is the inventor and chief developer of Dip-Pen Nanolithography, a groundbreaking nanoscale fabrication and analytical tool, and is the founder of Nanosphere and NanoInk, two Chicago-based companies.
Mirkin has been recognized with more than 50 numerous national and international awards for his advances. These include, in addition to the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, the Inorganic Nanoscience Award from the American Chemical Society (ACS); the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences; the ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award; Discover 2000 Innovation of the Year Award; the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology; and the Leo Hendrick Baekeland Award.
He is the author or coauthor of more than 320 refereed publications and 330 patents (80 issued). Mirkin serves or has served on the editorial advisory board of more than 20 chemistry journals and is founding editor of the international journal of nanotechnology, Small.
Thomas Meade and Barry Coddens Honored with NU Alumni Association Teaching Awards
2 June 2008 - Professor Thomas Meade will be presented the 2008 Excellence in Teaching Award from the Northwestern University Alumni Association this fall. Senior Lecturer Barry Coddens will be honored with The 2008 Arts & Science Alumni Teaching Award. Congratulations Tom and Barry!
Karl Scheidt Awarded Tenure
29 May 2008 - Congratulations to Karl Scheidt who was awarded tenure and will be promoted to Associate Professor effective September 1, 2008! Karl joined the Northwestern Chemistry faculty in 2002 and has been the recipient of many awards and fellowships since his arrival, including the NSF CAREER Award and the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship. Karl received his Ph.D. at Indiana University and did a NIH post-doc with David A. Evans at Harvard University.
George Schatz named Recipient of VerSteeg Distinguished Research Fellowship for Excellence in Research
28 May 2008 - George C. Schatz has been named the third recipient of the Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship, Northwestern University’s first endowed award for excellence in research by a faculty member.
Schatz, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry, is a preeminent researcher in theoretical and computational chemistry who has contributed to a wide range of interdisciplinary topics that connect chemistry with physics, biology and engineering.
Initiated when the Ver Steegs established and endowed the prize, the Ver Steeg award provides the recipient with a research grant of $30,000. The award is designed “to support the research of a tenured Northwestern faculty member whose research and scholarship are so outstanding as to enhance the reputation of Northwestern, nationally and internationally.”
Schatz has been honored with membership in two of the nation’s most prestigious academies -- the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2005.
Schatz conducts research in two general areas: nanotechnology and chemical dynamics.
In the nanotechnology area he has developed electrodynamics theories for describing the optical properties of metal nanoparticles of use in chemical and biological sensing, and he has modeled the statistical mechanics of thin film deposition, DNA structures, the fracture of nanomaterials, and molecular self-assembly. Much of the optical property work is concerned with classical electrodynamics, where he has developed new methods for describing light scattering, absorption and nonlinear optical processes, and he has also developed electronic structure theory methods for describing the interaction of light with molecules and nanoparticles.
His studies of chemical dynamics have included molecular dynamics studies of polymer erosion mechanisms important in low earth orbit satellites, of DNA melting, and of reactions important in combustion and atmospheric chemistry. Schatz has actively worked on the development of quantum theories of chemical reaction dynamics, especially tunneling and electronically nonadiabatic processes.
A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society, Schatz has been the recipient of a Max Planck Research Award, the Fresenius Award, the Bourke medal of the Royal Society, and fellowships from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In 2001 he was elected to the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences.
Schatz is co-author of three books and author of more than 500 publications. His research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Institute of Health, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Defense Research Advanced Projects Agency.
The award was established by the late Clarence Ver Steeg, a faculty member in the department of history from 1950 until 1992 and dean of The Graduate School from 1975 to 1986, and his wife, Dorothy.
A broad academic field is identified by the Provost each year as the area from which nominations are solicited from school deans.
The first two recipients of the award were J. Larry Jameson, Irving S. Cutter Professor of Medicine and dean of the Feinberg School of Medicine, and Barbara Newman, professor of English, religion and classics and John Evans Professor of the Latin Language and Literature
Chad Mirkin Awarded 2009 Pittsburgh Analytical Chemistry Award
16 May 2008 - Professor Chad Mirkin has been selected by the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh to receive the 2009 Pittsburgh Analytical Chemistry Award. The award will be presented during an award symposium at the Pittcon. Pittcon 2009 will be in Chicago (McCormick Place), March 8-13. The award symposium is typically on Tuesday, followed by an award reception on Tuesday evening. More details will follow when the schedule for Pittcon is published.
Monica Olvera de la Cruz Receives 2007 Cozzarelli Prize
12 May 2008 - The editors of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) have awarded a paper by Monica Olvera de la Cruz and Graziano Vernizzi from Northwestern University’s department of materials science and engineering the prestigious 2007 Cozzarelli Prize. Olvera de la Cruz, senior author of the paper, is professor of materials science and engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and director of the Materials Research Center; Vernizzi, lead author of the paper and a member of Olvera de la Cruz’s research group, is a research assistant professor.
The journal’s editors selected six outstanding papers that reflect the highest standards of scientific excellence and originality from 3,600 research articles published by PNAS in 2007. The honored papers represent the six broadly defined classes under which the National Academy of Sciences, publisher of PNAS, is organized.
In the paper, titled “Faceting ionic shells into icosahedra via electrostatics,” the researchers report discovering a new mechanism by which charged molecules -- some molecules of life among them -- organize themselves into closed shapes. Their work illuminates the age-old question of how molecules that in a fundamental sense are unable to distinguish any one direction from any other, like a sphere or featureless ball, can organize themselves into structures that are more complex and reflect the existence of special directions, like dice with numbered sides. Biomolecular assemblies exploit such directions for performing essential functions in living organisms. The Northwestern research, which was supported by the National Science Foundation, may open a new frontier of learning how to design functional nanostructures using a kind of molecular engineering that exploits how different charged molecules arrange themselves.
The award was established in 2005 as the PNAS Paper of the Year Prize and renamed the Cozzarelli Prize in 2007 to honor late PNAS Editor-in-Chief Nicholas R. Cozzarelli. The annual award acknowledges papers published in PNAS during the previous year that reflect exceptional contributions to the scientific disciplines represented by the National Academy of Sciences.
Welcome 2008 Industrial Associates!
6 May 2008 - The 2008 Northwestern Chemistry Industrial Associates Meeting will be held May 8-9, 2008 on the Evanston campus. The keynote speaker at this year's meeting is Dr. John Piwinski, Group Vice President of Schering Plough who will talk on "Making Better Medicines with Chemistry." We welcome representatives from Abbott Diagnostics, Abbott Global Pharmaceutical Research, Air Products, Asylum Research, Dow, DuPont, Ford, INESCO, ITW Technology, Nalco, Rohm and Haas, Sabol Consulting, Schering Plough, Schlumberger, Shell, Unilever and USG. This year's meeting is a joint meeting with the McCormick School of Engineering Chemical and Biological Engineering Department featuring a lecture by Professor Bartosz Grzybowski " Applied Aspects of Self-Assembly" at the Friday, May 8th "Mornings at McCormick" in the Cohen Commons on the 4th floor of the Technological Institute. The focus of this year's meeting is on giving our students the opportunity to learn more about industry and have a first hand chance to interact with top-notch industrial scientists on an informal basis. There will be a poster session on Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Tech Lobby where graduate students and post-doctoral fellows will present their research. On Friday, there will be a panel session at 11:30 a.m. in Ryan Hall 4003 where students will be able to ask industry representatives any questions they have regarding industrial careers in chemistry.
Any interested faculty, staff, post-doctoral associates or graduate students are welcome to attend. Please contact Dr.Teri Collins, Director of Academic Operations at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 847-467-3946 for more information.
21 April 2008 - The Departments of Chemistry and Physics will host a Argonne Symposium entitled Energy: the Challenge for the 21st Century" on Friday May 2, 2008 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.in the Ryan Auditorium of the Tech Building. World renowned speakers include: Steven Chu, Nobel Prize Winner from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Phillip J. Finck, Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear Science and Technology, Idaho National Laboratory; Stephen P. Long, Director Energy Biosciences Institute, University of Illinois; William F. Banholzer, Chief Technology Officer, Dow Chemical Company; and Michel Gratzel, Director, Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces, Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne. There will be a public reception in the Tech Lobby following the symposium.
Organized under the auspices of the Heilborn Lectures for 2007 - 2008
Friday May 2, 2008
8:30 am - 5:00 pm Ryan Auditorium, Technological Institute, 2145 Sheridan Rd Evanston, IL
|Chair, Kamal K. Seth, Department of Physics and Astronomy|
9:00 - 10:00
|Steve Chu, Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory|
|"The World's Energy Problem and What We Can DO About It"|
10:00 - 10:45
|Phillip J. Finck, Assoc. Laboratory Director for Nuclear Science and Technology,Idaho National Laboratory|
|"Nuclear Energy in the U.S.: Meeting the Challenges of the 21 st Century"|
10:45 - 11:15
11:15 - 12:00
|Stephen P. Long, Director Energy Biosciences Institute, Univ. of Illinois|
|"Plentiful Biofuels from Crops with Benefit to the Environment and Without Conflict to Food Supply is within Our Grasp"|
12:00 - 1:30
|Chair, Tobin J. Marks, Department of Chemistry|
1:30 - 2:15
|William F. Banholzer, Chief Technology Officer, Dow Chemical Company|
|"Changes in the Energy Market and Their Impact on the Chemical Industry"|
2:15 - 3:00
|Michael Grätzel, Director, Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces,Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne|
|"Power from the Sun; the Advent of Mesoscopic Solar Cells"|
3:00 - 3:30
|PANEL DISCUSSION, Moderators: Deans Julio M. Ottino and Sunil Chopra|
3:30 - 5:00
|Panel Discussion with audience participation|
5:00 - 6:00
|Public Reception in the Lobby of the Technological Institute|
Integrated Molecular Structure Education and Research Center officially open for business
15 April 2008 - The Integrated Molecular Structure Education and Research Center (IMSERC) has replaced the former Analytical Services Laboratory (ASL) and is now open for business. The name change reflects a change in operational scope and budgeting of the center. This will allow the lab to put state-of-the-art characterization techniques in the hands of both research groups and undergraduate students at Northwestern University and in the Chicago area. Design is underway for a new 10,000 sq ft laboratory, teaching and office area set to open in 2011. In addition, an endowment has been created to enable the addition of three full time staff members and reduce user fees to levels competitive with peer institutions. This endowment will cover approximately 80% of all operational expenses and will increase over time to ensure that fees will remain at the current levels indefinitely. For more information on the IMSERC and new staff position, please see the links below.
- Integrated Molecular Structure Education and Research Center
- C&E News Article on NU Infrastructure Improvement
- Senior Scientist, Mass Spectrometry
- Senior Scientist, Nuclear Magnetic Spectroscopy
- Senior X-Ray Scientist
Chad Mirkin Awarded 2008 ACS Inorganic Nanoscience Award
2 April 2008 - Chad Mirkin was awarded the 2008 American Chemical Society Inorganic Nanoscience Award because he has demonstrated sustained excellence in the area of inorganic nanoscience. It will be presented at the Fall 2008 ACS meeting in Philadelphia. Congratulations Chad!
Rick Van Duyne Recipient of Prestigious Ellis R. Lippincott Award
2 April 2008 - Rick Van Duyne was awarded the 2008 Ellis R. Lippincott Award of the American Optical Society (OSA).This award was established in 1975 by OSA, the Coblentz Society and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy to honor the unique contributions of Ellis R. Lippincott to the field of vibrational spectroscopy. It was awarded to Professor Van Duyne because he has made significant contributions to vibrational spectroscopy as judged by his or her influence on other scientists. Because innovation was a hallmark of Lippincott's work, this quality must also be demonstrated by candidates for the award. The award is presented at the national meeting of one of the sponsoring societies.
Founded in 1916, the Optical Society of America was organized to increase and diffuse the knowledge of optics, pure and applied; to promote the common interests of investigators of optical problems, of designers and of users of optical apparatus of all kinds; and to encourage cooperation among them. The purposes of the Society are scientific, technical and educational.
Wasielewski Awarded 2008 Porter Medal
31 March 2008 - Professor Michael Wasielewski has made outstanding contributions to the understanding of photochemical processes in chemistry, biology and materials science. In doing so he has combined original synthesis and time resolved optical and EPR measurements to elucidate and control excited state processes. These studies have been a significant contribution to the current understanding of non-adiabatic electron transfer and subsequent work from Professor Wasielewski has shown how this thorough mechanistic understanding can be applied to the development of molecular computational elements and devices. In this award Professor Wasielewski is recognized for not only the depth of his many contributions, but also the breadth, rigor and originality of his work.
On the Porter Medal:
The Porter Medal, named for the late George Porter FRS, Nobel Laureate, is awarded biennually to the scientist who in the opinion of the judges, has contributed most to the science of photochemistry with particular emphasis on more physical aspects, reflecting George Porter’s own interests. For more information, click here.
Finding a Needle in a Nuclear Waste Haystack
6 March 2008 - Nuclear power has advantages, but, if this method of making power is to be viable long term, discovering new solutions to radioactive waste disposal and other problems are critical. Otherwise nuclear power is unlikely to become mainstream. A team of Northwestern chemists led by Professor Mercouri Kanatzidis and Manolis Manos, a postdoctoral fellow, is the first to focus on metal sulfide materials as a possible source for nuclear waste remediation methods. For the full story click here.
DNA is Blueprint, Contractor and Construction Worker for New Structures
1 February 2008 - DNA is the blueprint of all life, giving instruction and function to organisms ranging from simple one-celled bacteria to complex human beings. Now Northwestern University researchers report they have used DNA as the blueprint, contractor and construction worker to build a three-dimensional structure out of gold, a lifeless material.
Using just one kind of nanoparticle (gold) the researchers built two common but very different crystalline structures by merely changing one thing -- the strands of synthesized DNA attached to the tiny gold spheres. A different DNA sequence in the strand resulted in the formation of a different crystal.
The technique, to be published Jan. 31 as the cover story in the journal Nature and reflecting more than a decade of work, is a major and fundamental step toward building functional “designer” materials using programmable self-assembly. This “bottom-up” approach will allow scientists to take inorganic materials and build structures with specific properties for a given application, such as therapeutics, biodiagnostics, optics, electronics or catalysis.
Most gems, such as diamonds, rubies and sapphires, are crystalline inorganic materials. Within each crystal structure, the atoms have precise locations, which give each material its unique properties. Diamond’s renowned hardness and refractive properties are due to its structure -- the precise location of its carbon atoms.
In the Northwestern study, gold nanoparticles take the place of atoms. The novel part of the work is that the researchers use DNA to drive the assembly of the crystal. Changing the DNA strand’s sequence of As, Ts, Gs and Cs changes the blueprint, and thus the shape, of the crystalline structure. The two crystals reported in Nature, both made of gold, have different properties because the particles are arranged differently.
“We are now closer to the dream of learning, as nanoscientists, how to break everything down into fundamental building blocks, which for us are nanoparticles, and reassembling them into whatever structure we want that gives us the properties needed for certain applications,” said Chad A. Mirkin, one of the paper’s senior authors and George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, professor of medicine and professor of materials science and engineering. In addition to Mirkin, George C. Schatz, Morrison Professor of Chemistry, directed the work.
By changing the type of DNA on the surface of the particles, the Northwestern team can get the particles to arrange differently in space. The structures that finally form are the ones that maximize DNA hybridization. DNA is the stabilizing force, the glue that holds the structure together. “These structures are a new form of matter,” said Mirkin, “that would be difficult, if not impossible, to make any other way.”
He likens the process to building a house. Starting with basic materials such as bricks, wood, siding, stone and shingles, a construction team can build many different types of houses out of the same building blocks. In the Northwestern work, the DNA controls where the building blocks (the gold nanoparticles) are positioned in the final crystal structure, arranging the particles in a functional way. The DNA does all the heavy lifting so the researchers don’t have to.
Mirkin, Schatz and their team just used one building block, gold spheres, but as the method is further developed, a multitude of building blocks of different sizes can be used -- with different composition (gold, silver and fluorescent particles, for example) and different shapes (spheres, rods, cubes and triangles). Controlling the distance between the nanoparticles is also key to the structure’s function.
“Once you get good at this you can build anything you want,” said Mirkin, director of Northwestern’s International Institute for Nanotechnology.
“The rules that govern self-assembly are not known, however,” said Schatz, “and determining how to combine nanoparticles into interesting structures is one of the big challenges of the field.”
The Northwestern researchers started with gold nanoparticles (15 nanometers in diameter) and attached double-stranded DNA to each particle with one of the strands significantly longer than the other. The single-stranded portion of this DNA serves as the “linker DNA,” which seeks out a complementary single strand of DNA attached to another gold nanoparticle. The binding of the two single strands of linker DNA to each other completes the double helix, tightly binding the particles to each other.
Each gold nanoparticle has multiple strands of DNA attached to its surface so the nanoparticle is binding in many directions, resulting in a three-dimensional structure -- a crystal. One sequence of linker DNA, programmed by the researchers, results in one type of crystal structure while a different sequence of linker DNA results in a different structure.
“We even found a case where the same linker could give different structures, depending on the temperatures at which the particles were mixed,” said Schatz.
Using the extremely brilliant X-rays produced by the Advanced Photon Source synchrotron at Argonne National Laboratory in combination with computational simulations, the research team imaged the crystals to determine the exact location of the particles throughout the structure. The final crystals have approximately 1 million nanoparticles.
“It took scientists decades of work to learn how to synthesize DNA,” said Mirkin. “Now we’ve learned how to use the synthesized form outside the body to arrange lifeless matter into things that are useful, which is really quite spectacular.”
The Nature paper is titled “DNA-programmable nanoparticle crystallization.” In addition to Mirkin and Schatz, other authors are Sung Yong Park, a former postdoctoral fellow in Schatz’s lab and now at the University of Rochester (lead author); graduate student Abigail K. R. Lytton-Jean, Northwestern University; Byeongdu Lee, Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory; and Steven Weigand, Northwestern’s DND-CAT Synchrotron Research Center at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source.
The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research and National Institutes of Health.
Molecule Synthesis Could Make Better Anti-Cancer Drugs
1 February 2008 - In early 2007, Northwestern University chemist Karl Scheidt’s interest was piqued when marine chemist Amy Wright reported in the Journal of Natural Products that a new natural compound derived from an uncommon deep-sea sponge was extremely effective at inhibiting cancer cell growth.
As a synthetic chemist fascinated by natural products and their potential in medicine, Scheidt knew what he had to do: Make that molecule.
After six months of intense effort, Scheidt, graduate student Daniel Custar and postdoctoral fellow Thomas Zabawa successfully built the molecular structure reported in the paper. That’s when they discovered something strange and unexpected when they compared the spectra, or unique molecular fingerprints, of their structure and that of the natural compound: The spectra did not match, which meant that the structures did not match. Something was wrong.
This story and how the Northwestern team solved the mystery and determined the real structure of neopeltolide, the natural compound derived from the marine sponge, is reported in a paper published in the Jan. 23 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). Knowing neopeltolide’s structure will help researchers learn how the new compound works, which could lead to new, more-effective anti-cancer drugs.
“The reported biological activity of this new natural compound was fantastic -- two to three orders of magnitude more potent for some cancer cells than Taxol®, a common chemotherapy drug,” said Scheidt, assistant professor of chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. (Taxol® also has its origins in nature, having been extracted from the Pacific yew tree.) “Synthetic chemists are inspired by such structures. Because of the potential benefits to human health, these are the compounds you want to go after.”
Marine sponges can’t move and escape predators, and they don’t have claws, teeth or quills, so they have developed a different kind of defense mechanism: chemical protection. The sponge and/or bacteria hosted by the sponge produce poisonous compounds to ward off enemies. This chemical factory makes sponges rich sources of interesting natural products, many with cell-killing abilities.
After discovering the spectrum of their first built molecule did not match the natural compound’s spectrum, Scheidt and his team faced two possibilities -- either they had done something wrong while building the molecule or the structure was reported incorrectly.
The researchers double checked their methods, found they were “spot on” and concluded the structure was reported incorrectly. Which meant the right structure still needed to be determined. Custar and Zabawa decided to set up a cot in the lab’s computer room to cut down on their commute to the lab and set to work.
Again, using simple starting materials and complex chemical synthesis, the team built a new molecule, just slightly different from the first one. This time they perturbed just two carbon atoms, making them “down” instead of “up,” in chemist speak. The researchers compared the spectrum of this new structure with that of the natural compound, and this time the spectra matched perfectly. These results are those published in the JACS article.
To construct the compound, Scheidt, Custar and Zabawa used an efficient, convergent synthesis, a bit akin to how a car is put together on an assembly line -- with major parts, like the engine, built separately and then put together in the final piece. “Our approach brings three equal fragments together to form the whole, which is better than building in a linear sequence,” said Scheidt. “We pushed the envelope of what can be done with organic chemistry to do it.”
Unbeknownst to the Northwestern researchers, a group led by James S. Panek, an organic chemist at Boston University, was working on the neopeltolide structure at the same time as Scheidt and his team. In their work, Panek’s group also discovered the original published structure to be incorrect and determined the correct structure, using steps different from Scheidt’s to get there. Panek’s results were published a few weeks after the time Scheidt submitted his paper to JACS.
“The synthetic chemists have done an amazing job in such a short time,” said Wright, who works at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. Wright isolated neopeltolide from a sponge she collected near Jamaica in 1993; she and her team reported its biological activity and structure in the 2007 article that inspired Scheidt’s work.
“I was impressed with the molecular modeling work that Karl’s group did to propose a variety of structures,” said Wright. “The beauty is that we can find a compound in nature, and synthetic chemists can then build the structure in the lab. That structure and related compounds can then be tested for drug discovery.”
“Nature is the biggest pharmacy around,” said Scheidt. “Sixty to seventy percent of pharmaceuticals are inspired by natural products. We learn from nature, but we want to improve on nature, too.”
Neopeltolide stops cell division in an unusual place, and this activity is different from that of other commonly known and utilized chemotherapies. “We know there is something different going on with this new molecule, and we want to start figuring out if this behavior is the beginning of a new way to treat cancer,” said Scheidt.
In addition to the original structure, Scheidt and his team currently have six or seven other synthetic compounds to test. The researchers want to see if they can make a smaller, simpler molecule that is just as effective against cancer cells but also more selective, leaving healthy cells alone. A few small chemical tweaks may be all that is needed.
With the new compound’s correct structure in hand, the real journey can begin, says Scheidt. He plans to work with Wright and Professor Craig Crews, a molecular biologist at Yale University, to screen the tweaked molecules against different cancer cell lines and to discover how they work so new pathways for treating cancer can be identified.
The JACS paper, titled “Total Synthesis and Structural Revision of the Marine Macrolide Neopeltolide,” was first published Dec. 28, 2007, online and can be found here.
The Northwestern research was supported by the Sloan Foundation, Abbott Laboratories, Amgen, AstraZeneca, 3M, GlaxoSmithKline and Boehringer-Ingelheim.
Dow Chemical Company Awards Northwestern 2008 Methane Challenge Research Grant
25 January 2008 - Northwestern University was one of two awardees of the Dow Chemical 2008 Methane Challenge Grant. Northwestern team members led by Professor Tobin Marks included Professors Peter Stair, Linda Broadbelt, Justin Notestein, Harold Kung, and Mayfair Kung.
Dow Chemical Company Awards Northwestern 2008 Methane Challenge Research Grant
Dow Press Release 1/24/08
The Dow Chemical Company today announced that Cardiff University and Northwestern University have been awarded research grants which together total over $6.4 million as part of the 2007 Dow Methane Challenge. The challenge was initiated by Dow in March 2007 to identify collaborators and approaches in the area of methane conversion to chemicals. The awards to the teams led by Cardiff and Northwestern mark the culmination of the selection process.
Approximately 100 proposals from around the world were received in response to Dow’s open solicitation, representing top universities, institutes, and companies. The focus of the challenge was the conversion of methane, the major component of natural gas, to chemical feedstocks. Methane is particularly attractive as a raw material because of the presence of large reserves of natural gas in many parts of the world, but the technology for the conversion of these reserves to chemicals and liquid fuels remains elusive. Dow’s goal is to develop technologies to take natural gas and produce the intermediates that form the foundation of today’s chemical industry.
The Methane Challenge seeks to discover revolutionary chemical processes. Mastery of methane chemistry would provide a completely new foundation for production of chemicals and liquid fuels, bringing an alternative to petroleum in these applications and enabling the use of plentiful, though often remote, natural gas that today is uneconomical to transport to market. It could also reduce the flaring of gas associated with petroleum production and might even provide a means to upgrade landfill gas.
Methane has resisted the attempts of chemists over the last century to directly react and selectively form other chemicals. Recognizing the need for creative approaches, Dow Chemical took the unusual step of undertaking an open solicitation in an attempt to leave no stone unturned in the quest for innovative concepts. By bringing together its chemists and chemical engineers with the teams led by Cardiff and Northwestern, Dow hopes to develop world-changing technologies.
The Alternative Feedstock Program in Dow’s Hydrocarbon and Energy (H&E) Business addresses providing advantaged raw materials for chemical production through a portfolio of opportunities addressing near, intermediate and long-term options. The Methane Challenge is a component of the program and is an example of long-term, innovative discovery research. Other parts of the program address more immediate feedstock issues, such as Dow’s recently announced sugarcane-to-polyethylene project in Brazil and research on clean chemical production from coal.
Mauro Gregorio, H&E Alternative Feedstocks global business director, stresses that “the Alternative Feedstock Program is all about innovation and creating possibilities for growth and differentiation. Methane activation holds the promise of bringing an advantaged feedstock position to Dow by reducing capital intensity, allowing growth in multiple geographies and improving Dow’s cost position.”
The open solicitation for the Methane Challenge was “an opportunity to extend the Dow lab bench and find people with whom we might not routinely have contact,” said Charles Kresge, Dow R&D vice president for Basic Plastics & Chemicals/Hydrocarbons & Energy/Licensing. “Methane conversion is one of the most challenging areas in catalysis and we hoped the Methane Challenge would attract the highest caliber of research. Clearly it did, and we are excited by the chance to collaborate with these truly world-class teams.”
Proposals were evaluated and the ten finalists were asked to submit detailed, confidential proposals. Consultants hired to judge the proposals selected the teams led by Cardiff and Northwestern. While Cardiff and Northwestern are the homes of the team leaders, both teams have sought expertise outside their university communities and are multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary teams.
“Success in this project has the potential to change the way we manufacture chemical intermediates in a revolutionary way,” says Graham Hutchings, leader of the Cardiff team. “The direct oxidation of methane to methanol and other useful products represents the most important remaining grand challenge in catalysis.” “It is remarkable that a molecule as simple and abundant as methane should present such an obstacle to conventional catalytic methodologies,” adds Tobin Marks, Northwestern team leader. “Clearly, unconventional, science-based approaches will be required to produce catalysts with the necessary activity and selectivity.”
For more information on the individual members of the winning teams, their qualifications and expertise, or for descriptions of the winning proposals and the innovative ways in which they are proposing to convert methane gas, visit Dow's website at www.dowmethane.com.
Regan Thomson Receives 2008 Thieme Award
24 January 2008 - Professor Regan Thomson has been chosen by the editorial board members of Synthesis, Synlett and Synfacts as a recipient of the 2008 Thieme Chemistry Journals Award. This award was established in 1999 with the aim to encourage young scientists, and is granted to prospective chemists who have been recognized as high-potential researchers in the field of synthetic organic chemistry.
Professor Joe Hupp Named 2007 winner of I-APS Award
21 January 2008 - Professor Joe Hupp was named the 2007 winner of the I-APS Award by the Inter-American Photochemistry Society. The award was presented on January 5, 2008 at the Society's international meeting in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida. The award is given for "outstanding contributions to the advancement of the photochemical and photophysical sciences" and recognizes scientific achievements during the past ten years. Joe is the fourth Northwestern chemist to be honored by the Society in this fashion. Previous NU winners are Professors Brad Moore, Mike Wasielewski and Fred Lewis.
Excellence in Graduate Research Seminar: Alex Spokoyny
May 24, 2013 • 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Organic Seminar: Brandon Ashfeld
May 30, 2013 • 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM