BU Chemistry is pleased to announce a three-year renewal of funding for our NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program. This summer program, hosted by the Chemistry Department, provides students from primarily undergraduate institutions with opportunities to work in advanced research laboratories. Of the 33 students who participated in the program over the past three years, 91% came from underrepresented minority groups, better than 60% were women, and almost 45% came from community colleges. Many of them co-authored peer-reviewed publications, presented their findings at conferences, and/or decided to attend graduate school, including BU. Another measure of the program’s success is its ever-expanding pool of applicants, with over 600 applications received for the summer 2018 program alone.
Chemistry would like to give special recognition to the efforts of Professors Linda Doerrer, Principal Investigator (PI), and ,John Snyder, co-PI, and Chemistry Departments Proposal Development Administrator Daniel Hauck, whose hard work and commitment to the program made this renewal possible.
Due to a change in the National Science Foundation’s funding periods, the Chemistry Department will not be hosting REU students for the Summer of 2019. The program will be active again in the Summer 2020. For more information, including the application process, visit the BU Chemistry REU.
We are proud to announce that Professor Malika Jeffries-EL has been named one of the 2018 ACS Fellows. The purpose of the ACS Fellows Program is to recognize and honor members of the American Chemical Society for their outstanding achievements in and contributions to the science and the profession and for their equally exemplary service to the Society. The ACS Fellows Program uniquely recognizes a different standard of achievement and service. Specifically, the Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACSF) designation is awarded to a member who, in some capacity, has made exceptional contributions to the science or profession and has provided excellent volunteer service to the ACS community.
Dr. Malika Jeffries-EL and her research group focuses her research interests on the development of organic semiconductors–materials that combine the processing properties of polymers with the electronic properties of semiconductors. Prior to joining the Department of Chemistry in 2016 she was as Associate Professor at Iowa State University, most recently serving as a Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor at MIT. She has been honored twice previously by the ACS with an ACS Women Chemist Committee Rising Star award in 2012 and a Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences in 2015.
Dr. Jeffries-EL has consistently been an active member of ACS having served on the editorial advisory boards for Macromolecules and Chemical and Engineering News. She has served in several activities within the American Chemical Society including the advisory board for the Women Chemist of Color Program, executive member of the Division of Organic Chemistry, Program co-chair for the Polymer division, member of the Society Committee on Education and councilor for the Ames local section. She is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Materials Chemistry C, a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Professor Malika Jeffries-EL will be celebrated as an ACS Fellow during the 256th National ACS Meeting and Exposition's induction ceremony on Monday, August 20, 2018, at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, Grand Ballroom, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Professor Karen Allen's work with Dr. Barbara Imperiali of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and their research groups work on the 2.7-Å-resolution crystal structure of a phosphoglycosyl transferase called PglC were featured in C&EN Structural Biology on May 23rd, 2018.
As Co-PI on a National Institute of Health grant, Dr. Allen and Dr. Imperiali's work on PglC has allowed them to uncover the enzyme’s unique mechanism, which permits hydrophilic and hydrophobic molecules to interact without ever having to leave their natural environments.
On September 22, 2017, the Division of Materials Science & Engineering hosted the first Schlumberger Annual Materials Science Lecture. The featured speaker, Dr. Hongjie Dai, Stanford University, presented a lecture on Carbon Based Nanosciences.
Dr. Hongjie Dai has made fundamental contributions to nanosciences especially to novel carbon-based nanomaterials. Dr. Dai developed widely adopted chemical vapor deposition for carbon nanotubes; invented the first electrical nanosensors using nanotube transistors; pushed nanotube transistors to the ballistic limit; pioneered nano-carbon biological applications for novel imaging and therapy; and invented new electrocatalysts and the aluminum-ion battery.
Professor David Bishop, Head of the Division of Materials Science & Engineering gave a brief welcome to everyone.
Professor Lawrence Ziegler, organizer and faculty host of the lecture, and Associate Head of the Division of Materials Science & Engineering and Chair of the Chemistry Department introduced the speakers.
Dr. Meng Qu, Senior Research Scientist at Schlumberger-Doll Research gave an introductory talk on how her team develops materials for oil and gas applications such as plug and abandonment (P&A) and drill bit. She discussed how her team focuses on understanding the fundamental science of each material, and applies this knowledge to guide material design and development.
Dr. Hongjie Dai, Professor at Stanford University, first briefly reviewed his earlier work on carbon nanomaterials including carbon nanotubes and graphene nanoribbons, and fluorescence and fluorescence imaging in the previously unexplored 1000-1700 nmNIR-II window to benefit from greatly suppressed photon scattering at long wavelengths.
The second part of the talk focused on Dr. Dai’s work on advancing new types of electrocatalysts for renewable catalyst applications and the development of novel batteries. He talked about achieving record setting performance of electrocatalysts for water splitting including HER and OER. He showed how his lab has developed a novel Ni/NiO heterostructured hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) catalyst and a NiFe layered double hydroxide (NiFe LDH) oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalyst to enable water splitting using a record low voltage of < 1.5 volt, making it possible to make an electrolyzer for hydrogen and oxygen gas generation running on a single AAA alkaline battery cell.
The talk was followed by a wine & cheese reception in the Photonics 9th floor atrium.
Read more about Dr. Dai’s research here.
Masha Kamenetska, who holds joint academic appointments of Assistant Professor in Chemistry and Physics and is a member of Boston University’s Materials Science & Engineering Division, was recently awarded the Patricia Mclellan Leavitt Research Fund. This award is designed “to support research of one or more non-tenured junior faculty members, or graduate students, in chemistry or biology at the College of Arts and Sciences. Preference shall be given to female faculty who demonstrate a commitment to encouraging women to study science, or to female graduate students.”
Dr. Kamenetska will use these funds to support her research on the mechanism of gene regulation by nucleosomes. Nucleosomes are the basic unit of chromatin which package DNA inside the nucleus by winding 147 base-pairs around a core of eight histone proteins. They also regulate gene expression by impeding access to the genetic code by transcription machinery. Using single molecule nanomanipulation and spectroscopy techniques, Dr. Kamenetska can probe molecular level structure of biological complexes such as nucleosomes to understand their function. With this award Dr. Kamenetska plans to fund graduate and undergraduate students to develop an optical tweezer instrument which measures force-dependent unwinding of individual nucleosome particles while tracking their position along the DNA. In addition to supporting her lab at this critical early point in her career, this award will also benefit the undergraduate women who will work on this projects during the summer and fall.
Her unique research focus at the nexus of biology, chemistry and physics, and her commitment to encouraging women to participate in science, make her an ideal recipient for this junior faculty award. Congratulations Dr. Kamenetska!
On April 30th, 2018 Dr. Eric Jacobsen, Sheldon Emery Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, presented The 2018 Lambert Lecture, speaking on New Modes of Anion-Binding Catalysis.
His work is focused on low molecular weight, chiral organic molecules possessing distinct hydrogen-bond donor motifs, which have been shown to catalyze an array of C–C and C–heteroatom bond-forming reactions with high enantioselectivity and broad substrate scope. In particular, dual hydrogen bond donors such as ureas, thioureas, squaramides, and guanidinium ions have been studied in detail in the context of electrophile activation. These catalysts operate by either of two, fundamentally different modes of electrophile activation: 1) direct hydrogen bonding to a neutral electrophile, and 2) anion binding to generate chiral ion pair. We have applied the latter reactivity concept to several classes of cationic electrophiles that have presented long-standing challenges to asymmetric catalysis.
In this lecture, Professor Jacobsen described his detailed kinetic and mechanistic studies of catalytic anion-abstraction processes. He discussed how these investigations have revealed unexpected cooperative mechanisms, and new strategies for the design of highly efficient catalysts for a wide range of nucleophilic substitution reactions including enantioselective SN1 pathways and stereospecific glycosylation reactions.
The Lambert Lecture is supported by an endowment established by alumnus Benjamin Lambert, who earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Boston University (CAS ’55). After graduating from law school, he went on to pursue a distinguished career as a patent attorney with such major pharmaceutical companies as Merck and Johnson & Johnson. Each year, the Lambert Lecture addresses different topics in chemistry, the field of Lambert’s undergraduate and graduate studies, and features some of the most distinguished and creative scientists working in the field today.
We are happy to announce that Assistant Professor Aaron Beeler was recently awarded a $975,000 grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) titled “High-Throughput Chemistry Platform (HTCP) for Reaction Screening.” The funding, which will last a year, will help Professor Beeler and his Co-PI’s, Professors Scott Schaus and John Porco of Chemistry and Professor Eric Kolaczyk of Mathematics, develop a proof-of-concept High-Throughput Chemistry Platform (HTCP) capable of interrogating unexplored chemical “reaction space”. The platform will be used to significantly expand the scope and knowledge around known reactions and to discover unknown transformations through reaction discovery.
Congratulations to Dr. Beeler for this exciting Award!
We are happy to announce that Assistant Professor Arturo Vegas was recently awarded a $255,000 grant from Combined Therapeutics. This nontraditional corporate funding, which will last for 2 Years, will help Professor Vegas as he aims to reduce the immunogenicity and alter the tissue tropism of viral-based therapies.
Congratulations to Dr. Vegas for this exciting Award!
It with great pleasure that we announce Professor John Porco has just been selected by the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean Ann Cudd to be our Samour Family Professor of Chemistry for the 2018 - 2023 term. This endowed Chaired position in the Boston University Chemistry Department was first established in 2003 by Carlos M. Samour, a scientist and entrepreneur who earned his doctorate in organic chemistry from Boston University in 1950. Dr. Samour, was a research chemist and Director for the Kendall Company before founding MacroChem Corporation in 1981, a publicly held medical products company where he served as chairman and scientific director. He was a member of the CAS Dean’s Advisory Council and the GRS Academy of Distinguished Alumni. Professor James Panek was named the first Samour Professor and held that title for the past 15 years.
As per the charter, the Samour Family Professor is “a scholar whose work will advance the stature of the profession and the Department of Chemistry at Boston University.” Professor Porco's impressive research accomplishments and ongoing scientific efforts to develop synthetic methodologies for efficient chemical synthesis of bio-active molecules, exploit parallel synthesis techniques to create complex chemical libraries and his leadership of collaborative team efforts to realize the medicinal translational impact of these synthetic strategies for improved human health outcomes demonstrate that his work embody all these qualities. His work, whose impact was also recognized by his receipt of the ACS Arthur C. Cope award in 2009, has resulted in more than 200 publications, over 10,000 citations, and has attracted ~$27M in funding since coming to BU.
Congratulations to Prof. Porco!
Job Opening: Chemical Instrumentation Center Seeks Proteomics Mass Spectrometry Instrumentation Specialist.
The Proteomics Mass Spectrometry Instrumentation Specialist in the Chemical Instrumentation Center reports to the Center Director, and works closely with the Center Director and other Instrumentation Specialists, as well as research and instructional faculty and students. The Specialist will hold a Ph.D. in chemistry, biochemistry or related fields, with strong expertise in Proteomics Mass Spectrometry, Chromatography and associated optical characterization techniques, and will focus specifically on mass spectrometry and optical spectroscopy related instructional and research activities. S/He brings one to three years of experience in an instrument lab that provides user training, instrument maintenance, and other support services to a user community, and will apply that experience to meet the research and instructional needs of the Chemistry Department and other CIC users.
For more information and/or to apply, please go the job posting.