Anne McCoy to join faculty

McCoy 2015 editWe are delighted to announce that Anne McCoy will be joining the Department as Professor of Chemistry for the 2015-16 academic year. Prof. McCoy is moving to the University of Washington from Ohio State University, where she has been on the faculty since 1994. Prof. McCoy is a leader in the area theoretical spectroscopy and dynamics. Her research focuses on the development of theoretical and computational approaches for understanding spectral signatures of large amplitude motions. She is particularly interested in molecules that are of atmospheric and astrochemical interest, and other species that exhibit large amplitude excursions from the minimum energy geometry even at low-levels of excitation.

Prof. McCoy is deputy editor of the Journal of Physical Chemistry A, and she previously served as senior editor of the Journal of Physical Chemistry. She is a member of the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Professional Training, which she chaired from 2012-2014. Prof. McCoy’s many honors include Ohio State University’s Distinguished Scholar Award and Arts & Sciences Distinguished Faculty Award, several named lectureships, and election as a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

For more information about Prof. McCoy and her research, please visit her faculty page or contact her directly via email.

Alshakim Nelson to join faculty

Alshakim NelsonWe are delighted to announce that Dr. Alshakim Nelson will be joining the Department as Assistant Professor of Chemistry for the 2015-16 academic year. Dr. Nelson completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry at Pomona College in 1999. He received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of California at Los Angeles in 2004, where he studied carbohydrate-containing polymers and macrocycles with Professor J. Fraser Stoddart. He was then an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology working for Professor Robert Grubbs on olefin metathesis catalysts for the formation of supramolecular ensembles. Dr. Nelson joined IBM Almaden Research Center as a Research Staff Member in 2005, where he focused on synthesizing building blocks that enable large area nanomanufacturing via self-assembly. His research interests also include silicon-based polymers for lithographic applications, magnetic nanoparticles, directed self-assembly of nanoparticles, and hydrogen bonding block copolymers. Dr. Nelson has over 40 publications and 11 issued patents, and in 2011 he was designated as an IBM Master Inventor. In 2012, he became manager of the Nanomaterials Group, which includes the Synthetic Development Lab.

Dr. Nelson will begin his research program at the University of Washington in September 2015. His research will focus on the synthesis, characterization, and patterning of polymeric and supramolecular materials for the bio-interface.

For more information about Dr. Nelson and his research, please contact him directly via email.

Ashleigh Theberge to join faculty

Ashleigh Theberge PhotoWe are delighted to announce that Dr. Ashleigh Theberge will be joining the Department as Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Theberge completed her undergraduate studies in chemistry at Williams College, performing research with Professors Thomas Smith, Dieter Bingemann, Lois Banta, and Heather Stoll. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry with Professor Wilhelm Huck at the University of Cambridge in the field of droplet-based microfluidics. While pursuing her Ph.D., she was a visiting researcher at the Université de Strasbourg with Professor Andrew Griffiths, where she developed microfluidic methods for drug synthesis and screening. She completed her NIH postdoctoral fellowship with Professors David Beebe, William Ricke, and Wade Bushman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying molecular mechanisms of prostate cancer using microscale culture and analysis platforms. She is presently an NIH K Award Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Theberge will launch her research program at the University of Washington in January 2016. Her research centers on the development and use of microfluidic technologies to understand the chemical signaling processes underlying disease, with a particular interest in steroid hormones in prostate disease and testis development and oxylipins involved in the immune response. She will develop new methods for microscale cell culture, small molecule isolation, and metabolomics.

For more information about Dr. Theberge and her research, please visit her faculty page or contact her directly via email.

Seven Chemistry graduate students awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

GRFP_logo smallCongratulations to the seven graduate students in the Department of Chemistry who were awarded 2015 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, and to the nine graduate students who received honorable mentions. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship recipients:
Zuzana Culakova (Goldberg research group)
Tyler Chozinski (Vaughan research group)
Emily Dieter (Maly research group)
Rachel Eaton (Bush research group)
Marco Howard (Vaughan research group)
Johanna Schwartz (Boydston research group)
Karena Smoll (Goldberg research groups)

Honorable Mentions:
Maike Blakely (Kovacs research group)
Caitlin Cornell (Keller research group)
Andy Dang (Turecek research group)
Lauren Gagnon (Vaughan research group)
Michael De Siena (Gamelin research group)
Michael Enright (Cossairt research group)
Troy Kilburn (Gamelin research group)
Francis (Ray) Lin (Jen research group)
Chloe Lombard (Maly research group)

Congratulations!

For more information, please see the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program website and the full listing of NSF GRFP Awards and Honorable Mentions.

Dan Fu to join faculty

FuWe are delighted to announce that Dr. Dan Fu will be joining the Department as Assistant Professor of Chemistry for the 2015-16 academic year. Dr. Fu completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry at Peking University. He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry with Professor Warren Warren at Princeton University, where he developed novel nonlinear absorption microscopy for visualizing non-fluorescent biomolecules and applied it to early melanoma diagnosis. Dr. Fu briefly conducted postdoctoral work on quantitative phase microscopy with the late Professor Michael Feld at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before moving to his current postdoctoral position at Harvard University with Professor X. Sunney Xie. While at Harvard, Dr. Fu has focused on the development of multiplex and hyperspectral stimulated Raman scattering microscopy, which he has applied to the study of biological problems such as lipid metabolism, drug transport, and cell growth.

Dr. Fu will launch his research program at the University of Washington in the summer of 2015. He will focus on the development of novel quantitative optical spectroscopy and imaging techniques to study the spatial-temporal dynamics of biomolecules in living biological cells and organisms, with an overarching goal of using analytical and physical chemistry approaches to explore the cellular mechanisms of complex diseases, develop early disease diagnosis tools, and establish effective drug screening processes.

For more information about Dr. Fu and his research, please visit his faculty page or contact him directly via email.

Stefan Stoll named a 2015 Cottrell Scholar

Stoll_headshot_150pxAssistant Professor Stefan Stoll has received a 2015 Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA). The Cottrell Scholar Award provides $75,000 in funding to support innovative teaching and research. The RSCA granted fifteen awards this year to early career scientists in the fields of chemistry, physics, and astronomy at institutions across the United States, recognizing the recipients as outstanding teacher-scholars with innovative research programs and academic leadership skills.

Stoll uses an experimental biophysical approach to pursue a deeper understanding of the molecular structure and dynamics of proteins and protein complexes that underlie the mechanisms of all chemical processes in life. He is developing highly sensitive and accurate methods to measure the flexibility of protein shapes using double electron-electron resonance (DEER) spectroscopy, a pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) technique that measures nanometer-scale distances between spin labels attached to proteins, allowing the determination of conformational distributions and flexibility in a manner unattainable by other methods. With DEER, it is possible to distinguish rigid proteins from flexible ones, and to quantify and visualize the flexibility, though Stoll is also working to significantly increase the sensitivity of the DEER technique to improve its use as a measurement tool.

As an educator, Stoll is interested in enhancing student engagement and increasing learning outcomes through the use of digital media. He is working to design and produce an extensive series of brief lecture videos and a set of tutorial videos, which will be integrated into his physical chemistry courses, as well as an online open-access textbook for undergraduates in physical chemistry.

Please visit the Research Corporation website for more information about the Cottrell Scholars program and the 2015 award recipients.

For more information about Professor Stoll and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.

Three Chemistry graduate students honored as inaugural PNNL Graduate Fellows

PNNL logo squareCongratulations to Chemistry graduate students Jose Araujo (Gamelin research group), Rachel Eaton (Bush research group), and Michael Enright (Cossairt research group), who have been named as the first-ever PNNL Graduate Fellows. The awardees will be supported by research assistantships funded by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for Spring Quarter 2015.

The PNNL Graduate Fellowship Program provides recipients with valuable research experiences complementary to their graduate education at the University of Washington. This program was recently established by the Department of Chemistry and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory with the goal of generating new opportunities for collaboration, accelerating progress in research areas of mutual interest, and strengthening existing ties between the Department and PNNL. Our institutional ties were also recently expanded through the addition of PNNL scientists Dr. Thom Dunning and Dr. James De Yoreo to the Chemistry faculty; each holds an appointment as Affiliate Professor of Chemistry with graduate faculty status, which allows them to supervise graduate students at the University of Washington.

Please see the Graduate Program website for more information about the awardees: Jose Araujo, Rachel Eaton, and Michael Enright.

Stefan Stoll wins NSF CAREER Award

Stoll_headshot_150pxAssistant Professor Stefan Stoll has received a CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development) Award from the National Science Foundation. The CAREER Program is a Foundation-wide program that “offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”

Stoll uses an experimental biophysical approach to pursue a deeper understanding of the molecular structure and dynamics of protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions that underlie the mechanisms of all chemical processes in life. His NSF CAREER Award research proposal, “CAREER: Elucidating conformational landscapes in proteins using high-sensitivity pulse EPR spectroscopy,” will use high-sensitivity double electron-electron resonance (DEER) spectroscopy—a pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) technique that measures nanometer-scale distances between spin labels attached to proteins, allowing the determination of conformational distributions and flexibility in a manner unattainable by other methods—to quantitatively elucidate the conformational distributions in a model protein and in an ion channel.

Stoll’s project will advance understanding of the dynamics of protein host and ligand interactions and the regulation thereof on a molecular level. The foundational knowledge gained through this work is a key prerequisite to the rational design of new drugs and therapies, and the experimental insights will inform ongoing efforts to develop models of protein-protein interactions. The innovative EPR spectroscopic techniques being developed by Stoll are transformational, and will open up a broad range of new possibilities for probing molecular structure and dynamics.

For more information about the NSF CAREER Award program, please visit the program website.

For more information about Professor Stoll and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.

UW researchers uncover the molecular basis of the heartbeat

Stoll HCNconformationchange editAssistant Professor Stefan Stoll (Chemistry), Professor William Zagotta (Physiology & Biophysics), and co-workers have used double electron-electron resonance (DEER) spectroscopy to determine the structural origins of the regulatory function of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) on an important ion channel. Their work reveals that binding of the cAMP induces a large structural change in the intracellular part of the channel. The ion channel studied, a hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) ion channel, is critical to the function of heart, as it is part of the heart’s natural pacemaker. The HCN channel is crucial in regulating the heartbeat: binding of cAMP to HCN increases of the heart rate. This work, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could form the basis for better drug design for disorders of electrical signaling in the heart. (A movie showing a model of the structural change can be downloaded in Quicktime format from: http://felix.chem.washington.edu/HCN_DEER_movie.mov.)

To learn more about Professor Stoll and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.

To learn more about Professor Zagotta and his research, please visit his faculty page.

Open tenure-track faculty positions in Chemistry

Applications are invited for full-time, tenure-track appointments in the Department of Chemistry. Outstanding candidates in all areas of chemistry and interdisciplinary areas involving chemistry will be considered for appointment at the Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor levels. We especially welcome applications in the areas of analytical, inorganic, and organic chemistry.

University of Washington faculty members engage in teaching, research, and service. Successful candidates will be expected to participate in undergraduate and graduate teaching and to develop innovative, vigorous, externally-funded research programs. Applicants must have a Ph.D. or domestic or foreign equivalent degree by date of appointment.

For information about the Department and to apply, please visit https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/4322; applications should include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, statement of future research interests, and (at the Assistant Professor rank) three letters of reference. Priority will be given to applications received by October 3, 2014. Please direct all inquiries or disability accommodation requests to search@chem.washington.edu.

The University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to, among other things, race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, status as protected veterans, or status as qualified individuals with disabilities.