Daniel Gamelin wins 2015 Inorganic Chemistry Lectureship Award

GamelinThe American Chemical Society Division of Inorganic Chemistry has announced Professor Daniel Gamelin as the winner of the third Inorganic Chemistry Lectureship Award. Prof. Gamelin was nominated by his peers for his broad, unique, and outstanding sustained contribution to the development of inorganic nanoscience. He will be presented with the award at a symposium held in his honor at the 250th ACS National Meeting in Boston, August 16-20, 2015.

Gamelin’s research combines synthesis, spectroscopy, and ligand field theory or ab initio electronic-structure methods to elucidate key functional properties of inorganic materials. His work has been recognized with numerous awards including the ACS Inorganic Nanoscience Award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Senior Fellow of the Zukunftskolleg, and a Scialog Fellow of the Research Corporation.

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

Recent work by Jesse Zalatan featured on the cover of Cell

Assistant Professor Jesse Zalatan and co-workers at the UCSF have developed a method to encode complex, synthetic transcriptional regulatory programs using the CRISPR-Cas system. Natural biological systems can switch between different functional or developmental states depending on the particular set of genes being expressed, and the ability to synthetically control gene expression has important implications as both a research tool and as a means to engineer novel cell-based therapeutics and devices.

Zalatan and coworkers designed CRISPR-Cas RNA scaffold molecules that specify both a DNA target and the function to execute at the target, so that sets of RNA scaffolds can be used to generate a synthetic, multigene transcriptional program in eukaryotic cells in which some genes are activated and others are repressed. These types of programs can be used to reprogram complex reaction networks in biological systems, such as metabolic pathways or signaling cascades.

For more information about Professor Zalatan 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.

Brandi Cossairt wins Seattle AWIS 2015 Award for Early Career Achievement

Cossairt_HeadShot_sqAssistant Professor Brandi Cossairt has been awarded the 2015 Award for Early Career Achievement from the Seattle chapter of the Association for Women in Science. The award, which recognizes a woman who has led her own research lab or program for less than six years in an academic, non-profit or industry setting who shows exceptional potential for leadership and innovation in her field, will be presented at the AWIS Seattle Awards Dinner in June 2015.

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

Boydston research group has back-to-back papers highlighted in C&E News

boydstonResearch by Assistant Professor AJ Boydston and his group has been featured in two recent articles in the American Chemical Society’s Chemical & Engineering News. An article in the December 18, 2014 issue highlights his research on polymers that change color when stretched (http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/web/2014/12/3-D-Printed-Polymer-Devices.html). Just one month later, an article in the January 19, 2015 issue summarized the Boydston group’s research on a metal-free route to prepare polymers (http://cen.acs.org/articles/93/i3/Radical-Polymer-Approach.html).

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

Matthew Bush receives 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 Professor Bush and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.

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: 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.

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/.