Matthew Bush selected to receive 2014 Eli Lilly Young Investigator Award in Analytical Chemistry

matt_bushAssistant Professor Matthew F. Bush has been selected to receive the 2014 Eli Lilly and Company Young Investigator Award in Analytical Chemistry. The award is given by the Analytical Chemistry Academic Contacts Committee at Eli Lilly and Company based upon Dr. Bush’s outstanding research, publication record, and the impact they feel he is making in the field of analytical chemistry.

Eli Lilly awards these grants in many fields of chemistry and the life sciences to new, outstanding faculty members at universities throughout the country with the aim to strengthen ties with the academic community and, at the same time, provide support for leading scientists in analytical chemistry.

For more information about Matthew Bush and his research program, please visit his faculty page.

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.

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:

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.

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

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 (see the results at, 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.




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; 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

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.

Bo Zhang promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure

zhangThe Department of Chemistry congratulates Assistant Professor Bo Zhang on his promotion to associate professor with tenure, effective September 16, 2014.

Professor Zhang’s research focuses on the development and application of electroanalytical measurement tools to study single electrochemical events and processes. The Zhang group uses nanometer-scale electrodes to study electron transfer reactions of single molecules and single metal nanoparticles, electrocatalysis, and mass transport at the electrode/solution interface. This work is being conducted in pursuit of fundamental understanding of heterogeneous electron-transfer reactions and electrode/solution interfaces as well as single-cell chemistry and biological function such as neuronal secretion and brain activity.

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

Munira Khalil promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure

khalilThe Department of Chemistry congratulates Assistant Professor Munira Khalil on her promotion to associate professor with tenure, effective September 16, 2014.

Professor Khalil’s research focuses on the development and application of advanced spectroscopic techniques to understand the ultrafast structural dynamics of light-driven chemical and biological processes in solution. Using multidimensional infrared (IR) and ultrafast x-ray absorption spectroscopies, the Khalil group studies how coupled electron and vibrational motions and their interactions with the surrounding solvent dictate the course of ultrafast charge transfer reactions in chemical and biological systems. This work will ultimately provide fundamental understanding of molecular energetics and the dynamics of chemical reactions, with broad practical applications in the design of new materials and molecular devices.

To learn more about Professor Khalil’s research, please visit her faculty page and her research group website.

Alvin Kwiram elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences

Alvin KwiramEmeritus Professor Alvin Kwiram is among the 18 new members elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences in recognition of their “outstanding record of scientific achievement and willingness to work on behalf of the Academy in bringing the best available science to bear on issues within the State of Washington.” The Washington State Academy of Sciences provides expert scientific and engineering analysis to inform public policy-making, and works to increase the role and visibility of science in the State of Washington. The new members, elected based on their achievements, will be inducted during the academy’s seventh annual meeting at the Seattle Museum of Flight on September 18, 2014. Thew newly elected members bring the academy’s total membership to 221.

WSAS Press Release: 18 New Members Elected by Science Academy

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