AJ Boydston wins NSF CAREER Award

boydstonAssistant Professor AJ Boydston 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.” Professor Boydston received the award for his research proposal, “CAREER: Development of Force-Activated Materials for the Release of Small Organic Molecules”. This award funds research to develop materials capable of releasing small organic molecules via mechanochemical transduction. In this way, macroscopic forces will be translated into molecular-level chemical reactions. In particular, Professor Boydston will be:

  1. Investigating how mechanical force can be used to guide chemical reactivities. This will include comparisons between mechanophores that operate by complementary bond bending and stretching mechanisms.
  2. Developing mechanochemical triggers for initiating head-to-tail depolymerization of self-immolative polymers.
  3. Establishing design principles for materials that most efficiently convert mechanical input into chemical output.

In addition to providing new insights and capabilities for functional materials, Professor Boydston maintains an active commitment to STEM education through interactions with various on-campus organizations and curriculum development with Sammamish High School.

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

For more information about AJ Boydston and his research program, please visit his faculty page.

Department ranks 10th nationally for research spending

nsf_smallOne measure of the scale and strength of chemistry research programs is success in the allocation of competitively awarded grant and contract funds in support of research. The Department of Chemistry at the University of Washington has in recent years been among the leaders nationally by this measure. According to the most recent (2012) National Science Foundation Survey of Higher Education Research and Development, the University of Washington Department of Chemistry is ranked 10th nationally for overall research and development spending in chemistry, appearing just below the Department of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for total expenditures. In terms of federally-funded research and development spending, the Department of Chemistry ranks 8th nationally.

Date related to the survey can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/herd/.

UW Chemistry Graduate Program ranked #1 by students

Bagley_squareA recent survey of graduate students in chemistry ranked the University of Washington as having the Top Chemistry Graduate School based on 15 ranking categories relevant to students, such as academic competitiveness, career support, financial aid, and quality of network. The chemistry graduate program was also ranked number one for “use of technology”. The survey was administered and published by Gradschools.com (see the results at http://www.graduateprograms.com/top-chemistry-programs/), a “graduate program guide for students, created by students”.

Multi-disciplinary approach to understanding Botulinum toxin

RonetalFigResearch Associate Professor Werner Kaminsky contributed to a research project recently highlighted in Nature. With the catch phrase “BOTOX paralyses zebrafish muscles and blocks fin regeneration”, Nature highlighted a publication on the effect of Botulinum toxin on bone regeneration,[i] tested on small fish, whose fins were cut-off (under sedation), then regrown while testing different amounts of medications administrated to the fish’s dorsolateral trunk and the base of the tail fin prior to surgery.[ii] Nature summed up the findings with “muscle paralysis (was) similar to that seen in mammals and humans in that it was focal, dose-dependent and short-lasting.” and “BTx treatment had a negative impact on bone formation during fin regeneration.” The work involved a truly diverse multi-discipline co-operation between members of three departments on the UW campus: Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Pharmacology, and Chemistry. The regenerating zebrafish tail fin often provides a compelling model for therapeutic studies. However, a major hurdle to such efforts is the lack of quantitative modalities for bone mineralization analysis. Kaminsky contributed his patented microscopy technology to determine bone mineralization with a custom built automated polarized light microscope to sequentially acquire images under a stepwise rotating polarizer. This enabled birefringence to be decoupled from transmittance and orientation, allowing for quantitative analysis.




Sam Jenekhe receives the 2014 AIChE Charles M. A. Stine Award

jenekhe150_2Sam Jenekhe, Professor of Chemistry and Boeing-Martin Professor of Chemical Engineering, is the recipient of the 2014 Charles M. A. Stine Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). The award recognizes Professor Jenekhe for outstanding and pioneering contributions to the development of semiconducting polymers for applications in organic electronics and optoelectronics. The award is given annually to a leading researcher in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of materials science and engineering and is sponsored by E. I. duPont de Nemours & Co. Professor Jenekhe will present the keynote talk in the MESD Plenary Session at the 2014 AIChE Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

More information on the Charles M. A. Stine award can be found here.

For more information about Professor Jenekhe and his research, please visit his faculty page.

Benjamin Van Kuiken wins College of Arts and Science Dean’s Graduate Medal

BVK Picture_sqCongratulations to Benjamin Van Kuiken for his accomplishments earning the College of Arts and Science Dean’s Graduate Medal in Natural Sciences. Benjamin is a graduate student in Assistant Professor Munira Khalil’s laboratory. The Dean’s Graduate Medal is awarded to four exceptional graduate students – one in each division of the College of Arts and Sciences – representing Arts, Humanities, Natural Science, and Social Sciences.

Munira Khalil selected for 2014 Journal of Physical Chemistry B Lectureship

khalilAssistant Professor Munira Khalil has been named one of the 2014 Journal of Physical Chemistry lecturers by the Physical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Lecturers will present their work at a special symposium at the Fall ACS National Meeting in San Francisco (August 10-14, 2014). The lectureships were established to recognize the contributions of young investigators who have made major impacts on the field of physical chemistry related to research areas published in the Journals of Physical Chemistry; Professor Khalil’s lectureship is for the Journal of Physical Chemistry B covering biophysical chemistry, biomaterials, liquids, and soft matter.

To learn more about this award, please see the ACS lectureship announcement. To learn more about Professor Khalil’s research, visit her faculty page and her research group site.

AJ Boydston named a 2014 Cottrell Scholar

boydstonAJ Boydston, University of Washington assistant professor of chemistry, has been selected as one of 12 Cottrell Scholar Awardees for 2014. The awards are presented by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) to early career faculty who are committed to excel at both research and teaching. RCSA Interim President Jack Pladziewicz, notes, “It may well be that not all research faculty can do this simultaneously and early in their careers, but the very best can.” Previous awardees from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Washington include Professors David Ginger, Daniel Gamelin, Sarah Keller, and Phil Reid.

Boydston’s research group is developing synthetic materials capable of mechanochemical transduction. They have recently reported “flex activated” mechanophores, which are capable of converting mechanical input into chemical output via force-guided changes in molecular-level geometry. Boydston has also been active in redesigning his introductory organic chemistry course to help undergraduate students learn how to apply concepts and develop problem-solving strategies, similar to how experts in the field approach their research.  The Cottrell Scholar Award, which provides $75,000 in funding, will help support Boydston’s ongoing research and teaching efforts.

For more information about the Cottrell Scholars Award, visit their announcement page. More more information about Prof. Boydston’s research, visit his research page.

Matthew Bush named Sloan Research Fellow

matt_bushMatthew Bush, University of Washington assistant professor of chemistry, has been selected as one of 126 Sloan Research Fellows for 2014. The fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, according to the announcement Feb. 18 by the Sloan Foundation. Fellows receive $50,000 to further their research.

Bush leads a lab that develops mass spectrometry-based technologies to study the structures, assembly and dynamics of protein complexes. His group applies these approaches to a wide range of biological systems including those involved in bacterial secretion, regulating protein degradation and protein maintenance. Bush, whose bachelor’s degree is from Carleton College, Minn., and doctorate from the University of California Berkeley, did post-doctoral research at the University of Cambridge and then the University of Oxford. He joined the UW in 2011.

See this UW News original article (by Sandra Hines) here.

Clean Energy Institute Launches

CleanEnergyInstKickoff_sqA new University of Washington institute to develop efficient, cost-effective solar power and better energy storage systems launched December 12 with an event attended by UW President Michael K. Young, Gov. Jay Inslee and researchers, industry experts and policy leaders in renewable energy.

The Clean Energy Institute formed when Washington’s governor and state legislators last summer allocated $6 million to create a research center at the university that will advance solar energy and electrical energy storage capacities. The institute will better connect and boost existing energy research at the UW as well as attract new partnerships and talent, including new faculty members.

The opening of the Clean Energy Institute was covered by KIRO 7 News, the Seattle Times, and UW News. Chemistry Professor David Ginger, Raymon E. and Rosellen M. Lawton Distinguished Scholar in Chemistry, is the Associate Director of the Clean Energy Institute.  Daniel Gamelin, Harry and Catherine Jaynne Boand Endowed Professor of Chemistry, serves on the Faculty Advisory Board.