Jesse Zalatan to join faculty

Zalatan_picWe are delighted to announce that Dr. Jesse Zalatan will be joining the Department as Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Zalatan conducted his undergraduate work at Harvard University, performing research with Professor Stephen Harrison. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry with Professor Daniel Herschlag at Stanford University, where he studied enzyme-catalyzed phosphoryl transfer reactions. He is presently a postdoctoral fellow with Professor Wendell Lim at the University of California at San Francisco, where he has studied mechanisms for controlling specificity in cell signaling networks. He has received a Hertz Foundation graduate fellowship, a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation postdoctoral fellowship, and a Burroughs Wellcome Career Award at the Scientific Interface for his research.

Dr. Zalatan will launch his program at the University of Washington in September 2014. His work will focus on the molecular mechanisms that allow living cells to efficiently process, integrate, and coordinate signals. He will use approaches ranging from mechanistic enzymology to synthetic biology to explore the physical organizing principles of biological networks.

For more information, please visit his faculty page or contact him directly via email at

Cody Schlenker to join faculty

schlenker3We are delighted to announce that Dr. Cody Schlenker will be joining the Department as Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Schlenker conducted his undergraduate work in chemistry at Linfield College, where he studied porphyrin synthesis with Professor Thomas J. Reinert, followed by an NSF REU in chemical engineering at Cornell University researching hydrogels for soil remediation with Professor Claude Cohen. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, where he synthesized small molecule dyes and charge transport materials and developed advanced device concepts for thin film photovoltaics with Professor Mark E. Thompson as an Anton B. Burg Foundation Fellow in Chemistry. He is presently an NSF Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor David S. Ginger in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Washington studying photoinduced charge transfer and recombination in novel semiconducting polymers relevant for light harvesting applications.

Dr. Schlenker will launch his program at the University of Washington in July 2014. His research interests concern the integration of spectroscopy, synthesis, and electrical characterization to develop new insight into the mechanisms governing energy transduction in heterogeneous materials relevant for solar energy harvesting and storage devices like organic and organic/inorganic photovoltaics and meso-structured next-generation rechargeable batteries.

For more information, please visit his faculty page or contact him directly via email at

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.