Michael Gelb, Professor and Boris and Barbara L. Weinstein Endowed Chair in Chemistry, was selected as the 2018 recipient of the highly prestigious Repligen Corporation Award in the Chemistry of Biological Processes. This award was established in 1985 to “acknowledge and encourage outstanding contributions to the understanding of the chemistry of biological processes, with particular emphasis on structure, function, and mechanism.” The award is given annually by the Division of Biological Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.
Professor Gelb and his co-workers have made numerous seminal scientific contributions during his three decades of research at the University of Washington. Among these are the elucidation of the structure and mechanism of phospholipase A2, an enzyme that operates at the membrane-water interface, the discovery of protein prenylation, and the development of the first practical method to screen newborns for a family of rare genetic diseases. The latter protocol is being adopted world-wide.
This award is an extraordinary honor for lifetime scientific achievement in biological chemistry. Professor Gelb joins a list of previous recipients that includes leading figures in the history of biological chemistry such as Robert Abeles, Stephen Benkovic, Harold Scheraga, Frank Westheimer, Jeremy Knowles, Judith Klinman, William Jencks, Christopher Walsh, and JoAnne Stubbe. He will receive the award at an upcoming ACS national meeting, anticipated for the latter part of 2018.
To learn more about Professor Gelb and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.
Sotiris S. Xantheas, Affiliate Professor of Chemistry and UW-PNNL Distinguished Faculty Fellow, was awarded a fellowship by the Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program and the Fulbright Foundation.
Started in 2016, the Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program, managed by the Institute of International Education and the Fulbright Foundation in Greece and funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, is part of an effort to develop long-term collaborations between universities in Greece and the United States while enhancing opportunities for Greek students. “This award has the potential to positively affect the lives of young students and it is an excellent opportunity to reciprocate the educational benefits I received — for free — from my own country,” said Xantheas, who was one of thirty Greek- and Cypriot-born scholars scholars selected in this round of awards among professors in U.S. institutions in fields ranging from humanities, law, medicine and science.
Dr. Xantheas will work with Dr. George Boulougouris at the Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics at the Democritus University of Thrace in Alexandroupoli to pursue curriculum co-development and collaborative research in analyzing and modeling the formation of the hydrogen bond network in a variety of aqueous environments by bridging quantum and classical modeling approaches. During the five-week program, Dr. Xantheas will collaborate on research projects, work with students and give lectures on the intricate network of bonds within watery environments.
Dr. Xantheas is a Laboratory Fellow in Chemical Physics & Analysis, part of the Physical Sciences Division at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Dr. Xantheas is widely recognized for his expertise related to the molecular science of aqueous systems. His innovative studies of intermolecular interactions in aqueous ionic clusters and use of ab initio electronic structure calculations to elucidate their structural and spectral features are at the forefront of molecular theory and computation.
For additional coverage, see the PNNL news brief and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation announcement.
For more information about Dr. Xantheas and his research, visit his faculty page or his PNNL staff page.
Assistant Professor Dan Fu has been selected as one of eight recipients of the 2017 Beckman Young Investigator Award. The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation aims to support “the most promising young faculty members in the early stages of their academic careers in the chemical and life sciences, particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments and materials that will open new avenues of research in science.” The recipients were selected from a pool of over 300 applicants after a three-part review led by a panel of scientific experts.
“We are excited to support these amazing researchers,” says Dr. Anne Hultgren, Executive Director of the Foundation. “The Foundation is committed to helping launch our next generation of talented scientists by giving them the funding and flexibility they need to pursue novel areas of study that have the potential for revolutionary breakthroughs.”
Additional coverage of Professor Fu’s research and his Beckman Young Investigator Award can be found in the Summer 2017 issue of the ChemLetter and the July 2017 Perspectives Newsletter from the College of Arts & Sciences.
To learn more about Professor Fu and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.
Assistant Professor Ashleigh Theberge and Affiliate Assistant Professor Erwin Berthier were selected to receive a Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge grant, which supports novel, cross-cutting tools and methods in the field of microbiome research. “The Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge is an exciting opportunity to support high risk, interdisciplinary research that does not normally receive traditional funding,” said Tim Donohue, Chair of the Scientific Advisory board for the Kavli Challenge. “The grants selected for funding demonstrated great potential for the generation of novel tools and methods that will be broadly applicable across the many environments and move the field forward in the causal understanding of microbial and community function. The Kavli Foundation is to be commended for investing in this rapidly emerging field with this program.”
The Theberge group, along with collaborator Nancy Keller at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, will use their Kavli grant to develop a tool for deciphering multi-kingdom communication molecules using engineer cellular traps. The team will create new analytical chemistry and engineering tools that pull out key molecules from a mix of molecular noise in order to selectively “listen” to molecular signals produced by specific fungi, bacteria, or human cells.
To learn more about Professor Theberge and her research, please visit her faculty page and research group website.
Assistant Professor Brandi Cossairt has been named a 2017 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar by The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.
The Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program supports the research and teaching careers of talented young faculty in the chemical sciences. Based on institutional nominations, the program provides discretionary funding to faculty at an early stage in their careers. Criteria for selection include an independent body of scholarship attained within the first five years of their appointment as independent researchers, and a demonstrated commitment to education, signaling the promise of continuing outstanding contributions to both research and teaching. The Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program provides an unrestricted research grant of $75,000.
To learn more about Professor Cossairt and her research, please visit her faculty page and research group website.
Karen Goldberg, Professor and Nicole A. Boand Endowed Chair in Chemistry, joins 228 new members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences this year. “It is an honor to welcome this new class of exceptional women and men as part of our distinguished membership,” said Don Randel, chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors. “Their talents and expertise will enrich the life of the Academy and strengthen our capacity to spread knowledge and understanding in service to the nation.”
Goldberg’s research focuses on designing more efficient catalysts. Better catalysts can transform industrial production methods for everything from pharmaceuticals to construction materials. Goldberg’s approach is to gather detailed data on the mechanisms by which certain chemical reactions occur and synthesize the desired products. This information is crucial to help develop catalysts that are more precise in the types of chemical products they yield, and more efficient and sustainable in terms of the amount of materials and energy used.
Goldberg also serves as director of the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis, a consortium of 20 faculty members and research labs at more than a dozen universities and research institutions that are pursuing innovative approaches to catalysis. Goldberg is a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2016 received the American Chemical Society Award in Organometallic Chemistry.
Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world. Current research focuses on higher education, the humanities, and the arts; science and technology policy; global security and energy; and American institutions and the public good.
Members of the 2017 class include winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Wolf Prize; MacArthur fellows; Fields medalists; Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Arts recipients; and Academy Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award winners. A full list can be found here.
The University of Washington has selected Michael Gelb, Professor and Boris and Barbara L. Weinstein Endowed Chair in Chemistry, as the 2017 recipient of the University Faculty Lecture Award. The award will be presented at the 47th Annual Awards of Excellence ceremony on June 8 in Meany Hall.
Since 1976, the University Faculty Lecture Award has honored current or emeritus faculty whose research, scholarship, or art has been widely recognized by their peers and whose achievements have had a substantial impact on their profession, on the research or performance of others, and perhaps on society as a whole, acknowledging outstanding creativity and scholarship by University faculty.
Professor Gelb will deliver the annual University Faculty Lecture during the 2017-18 academic year, scheduled for January 23, 2018 at 7:00 pm at Kane Hall. (Further details will appear on both the University and Department websites.)
To learn more about Professor Gelb and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.
David Ginger, Alvin L. and Verla R. Kwiram Endowed Professor of Chemistry and Associate Director of the UW Clean Energy Institute, has received the 2017 Cottrell Scholars TREE Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. “TREE awards recognize the outstanding research and educational accomplishments of the community of Cottrell Scholars,” said RCSA Senior Program Director Silvia Ronco. She added, “The awards serve to encourage the improvement of science education at American universities and colleges.”
The RCSA stated in their press release: “Ginger is known for his pioneering development of powerful tools for new scanning probe microscopy, allowing scientists to visualize the dynamic behavior of electrons in new materials with unprecedented precision. Ginger has also pioneered the application of scanning probe microscopy tools to challenging problems in chemistry, physics, and materials science. His primary research focuses on what is arguably the most important challenge facing civilization today: how to supply our society with low-cost, environmentally benign sources of energy, such as solar power. He has made major contributions to understanding organic photovoltaic devices and to developing the optoelectronic properties of colloidal nanocrystals, and he is widely recognized as an international leader in the development of frontier scanning probe microscopy techniques. In addition, Ginger is noted for his work to improve the educational experience for his undergraduate students, receiving the UW Chemistry’s departmental teaching award in 2007. His teaching emphasizes computational problem solving of context-rich, inquiry-based problems.”
The TREE Award consists of an unrestricted $20,000 award sent to the awardee institution on behalf of the recipient’s educational and scholarly work. The recipient is encouraged to use these funds to foster advancements in his or her research and educational accomplishments. An additional $5,000 award is provided to the recipient to support lectures and travel to other institutions to help broadly communicate innovative research and educational accomplishments. For more information about the TREE Award, read the press release.
Recipients of the TREE Award must have previously been selected by the RCSA as Cottrell Scholars, an honor which Professor Ginger received in 2006. In 2011, he was named as a Scialog Fellow by the RCSA, along with his colleague, Professor Daniel Gamelin.
For more information about Prof. Ginger and his research, visit his faculty page or research group website.
The Biophysical Society has announced Professor Sarah Keller as the recipient of the 2017 Avanti Award in Lipids. Avanti Polar Lipids, Inc. established this annual award to be given by the Biophysical Society in recognition of an investigator’s outstanding contributions to understanding of lipid biophysics. Professor Keller will be honored at the Awards Symposium on February 14, 2017, during the Society’s 61st Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
In their announcement, the Biophysical Society stated that Professor Keller “is being recognized for her seminal work that has contributed to the understanding of phase behavior of multicomponent lipid membranes.” She is among the youngest recipients for this honor, in terms of years since Ph.D. at the time of award. Her numerous professional accolades include two previous BPS awards: the 2014 Thomas Thompson Award, which recognizes an outstanding contribution in the field of membrane structure and assembly, and the 2005 Margaret Oakley Dayhoff Award, which is given to a woman who holds very high promise or has achieved prominence while developing the early (pre-tenure) stages of a career in biophysical research.
Professor Keller is a biophysicist who investigates self-assembling soft condensed matter systems, primarily centered around how simple lipid mixtures within bilayer membranes give rise to complex phase behavior. In addition to her primary work in Chemistry, she is also Adjunct Professor of Physics, and previously served as Associate Dean for Research Activities in the College of Arts and Sciences.
For more information about Professor Keller and her research, please visit her faculty page and her research group website.