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2019 CAS Future Leaders

CAS honors this year’s class of chemical information scholars

by Linda Wang
July 20, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 29


This year’s class of CAS Future Leaders includes 29 participants from 16 countries, bringing the total number of participants in the program to 200. Since the program began in 2010, participants have come from 35 countries. CAS is a division of the American Chemical Society, which publishes C&EN. The Future Leaders program offers PhD students and postdocs the opportunity to gain leadership skills and learn about the chemical information industry. Participants will visit CAS in Columbus, Ohio, and attend the fall ACS national meeting in San Diego. We have listed the affiliations of the Future Leaders that were current at the time of the award; some people may have changed affiliations.

Olga Bakulina

Photo of Olga Bakulina.
Credit: Courtesy of Olga Bakulina
Olga Bakulina

Postdoc at Saint Petersburg University

Education: Diplom Chem, organic chemistry, 2014, and PhD, organic chemistry, 2016, Saint Petersburg State University

Research: Developing synthetic methodology for multicomponent reactions

Advice for others: “Do not start graduate school unless you have a strong passion for doing research. Never give up once you’ve started it, and find work-life balance.”

Kerry Betz

Photo of Kerry Betz.
Credit: Courtesy of Kerry Betz
Kerry Betz

Graduate student at Stanford University

Education: BS, chemistry, California Institute of Technology, 2015

Research: Expanding the capabilities of C–H amination reactions through novel catalyst design and applications to total synthesis

What she hopes to get out of the program: “I’m very excited to learn more about how SciFinder works and to meet the people involved with this service. I’ve often thought about how much I rely on the search features in SciFinder, so I’m looking forward to seeing behind the scenes at the CAS headquarters.”

Aisha N. Bismillah

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Credit: Courtesy of Aisha Bismillah
Aisha Bismillah

Graduate student at Durham University

Education: MChem, University of Central Lancashire, 2015

Research: Investigating fluxional carbon cages and their shape-shifting properties

Role model: “My PhD supervisor, Paul McGonigal. He is not only an incredibly talented scientist but also an outstanding educator. He pursued my weaknesses so that they became my strengths. His constant passion and support allows every student to feel supported so that they can thrive and flourish. I wouldn’t be the scientist or person I am without him.”

Nathan Boase

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Credit: Courtesy of Nathan Boase
Nathan Boase

Lecturer at Queensland University of Technology

Education: BSc, chemistry, 2010, and PhD, polymer chemistry and molecular imaging, 2015, University of Queensland

Research: Studying adaptable and responsive polymer coatings to prevent bacterial fouling

Advice for others: “Learn to write every day. Through writing, you will be constantly reviewing your progress, and ultimately it will lead to more and better-quality papers. There is no point in doing an experiment that no one ever hears about, so make sure you write!”

Lucas Busta

Photo of Lucas Busta.
Credit: Courtesy of Lucas Busta
Lucas Busta

Postdoc at University of Nebraska

Education: BS, chemistry, University of Minnesota Duluth, 2011; PhD, chemistry, University of British Columbia, 2016

Research: Using informatics to understand the molecular structures, biosynthesis, bioactivities, and physical properties of plant chemicals, polymers, and composites

Role model: “My role model is a senior scientist who oversees a small group of diverse junior scientists. This person meets with each junior scientist once a week, still does small experiments in the lab, helps mentees develop soft skills and technical skills, isn’t afraid of trying out new technologies or protocols in the lab, and constantly works to integrate multiple fields of science in pursuit of answers to cutting-edge research questions.”

Cassandra Callmann

Photo of Cassandra Callman.
Credit: Courtesy of Cassandra Callman
Cassandra Callman

Postdoc at Northwestern University

Education: BS, biochemistry, West Chester University, 2012; PhD, chemistry, University of California San Diego, 2018

Research: Using spherical nucleic acids as cancer vaccines

What she hopes to get out of the program: “I am excited to make new connections with fellow young scientists from all around the world, as well as learn about what both ACS and CAS have to offer.”

Subhash Chander

Photo of Subhash Chander.
Credit: Courtesy of Subhash Chander
Subhash Chander

Postdoc at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali

Education: BSc, University of Bikaner, 2008; PhD, physics, Mohanlal Sukhadia University, 2017

Research: Understanding the physical properties of thin films for solar-cell applications

What he hopes to get out of the program: “Participating in this prestigious program will allow me to connect with inspiring scientists from across the globe and create strong friendships with remarkable individuals who will continue to be a source of support and motivation long after finishing the program.”

Connor W. Coley

Photo of Connor Coley.
Credit: Courtesy of Connor Coley
Connor Coley

Graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Education: BS, chemical engineering, California Institute of Technology, 2014

Research: Using data science and laboratory automation to streamline discovery in the chemical sciences

Career goals: “I will be starting up my own research group in the second half of 2020. I’m interested in developing a more systematic approach to scientific discovery and helping students learn to do the same.”

Yuanxin Deng

Photo of Yuanxin Deng.
Credit: Courtesy of Yuanxin Deng
Yuanxin Deng

Graduate student at East China University of Science and Technology

Education: BEng, 2015, and MEng, 2017, applied chemistry, East China University of Science and Technology

Research: Designing and constructing intelligent nano- and polymer materials by incorporating molecular switches and motors

Career goals: “To combine scientific research and business. I hope I can delve into technology commercialization and make scientific research serve humanity.”

Andreas Ehnbom

Photo of Andreas Ehnbom.
Credit: Courtesy of Andreas Ehnbom
Andreas Ehnbom

Graduate student at Texas A&M University

Education: BS, chemistry, 2011, and MS, chemistry, 2013, Lund University

Research: Understanding and predicting the function of newly designed Werner complexes, a new class of catalysts for enantioselective organic synthesis

What he hopes to get out of the program: “I am eager to communicate with other participants in computational chemistry and build my network of potential collaborators. At the same time, I hope to expand my research network outside of computational chemistry, gaining new perspectives on cutting-edge research.”

Ehsan Fereyduni

Photo of Ehsan Fereyduni.
Credit: Courtesy of Ehsan Fereyduni
Ehsan Fereyduni

Graduate student at the University of Florida

Education: BSc, chemistry, Rajaee University, 2007; MSc, inorganic chemistry, Kharazmi University, 2010

Research: Devising a simple and standardized synthetic route centered on the development of new Cope rearrangements to access complex molecules for drug discovery

What he hopes to get out of the program: “SciFinder is Google for chemists! I am so excited to meet the people who are working behind the scenes of SciFinder and to hear about the challenges they have had in the past and the techniques they used to resolve these issues.”

Mahlet Garedew

Photo of Mahlet Garedew.
Credit: Courtesy of Mahlet Garedew
Mahlet Garedew

Postdoc at Yale University

Education: BS, material science and engineering, 2009, and PhD, biosystems and agricultural engineering, 2018, Michigan State University

Research: Studying electrochemical conversion of biomass to high-value products while implementing the principles of green chemistry to reduce energy requirements and losses

Role models: “As a woman of color who was raised in Ethiopia, I look up to the women who are making impacts in their fields, especially women of color who are doing amazing things in the scientific world. To me, representation matters, and these women pave the way and show me what I can be capable of.”

Farnaz Heidar Zadeh

Photo of Farnaz Zadeh.
Credit: Courtesy of Farnaz Zadeh
Farnaz Zadeh

Postdoc at Ghent University

Education: Dual PhD, theoretical chemistry, McMaster University, and physics, Ghent University, 2017

Research: Developing new mathematical tools, numerical algorithms, and computer software to qualitatively and quantitatively predict the outcome of chemical phenomena

Advice for others: “Be open minded and eager to explore less-traveled paths, as well as keeping a good work-life balance.”

Jazmín Ciciolil Hilario-Martínez

Photo of Jazmin Ciciolil Hilario-Martinez.
Credit: Courtesy of Jazmin Ciciolil Hilario-Martinez
Jazmin Ciciolil Hilario-Martinez

Graduate student at Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla

Education: BS, chemical engineering, Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla, 2014

Research: Studying chemical synthesis and biological assays of selective anticancer compounds and potent plant-growth promoters

Career goals: “I want to lead a research group to develop basic and applied science expertise in the synthesis of novel bioactive molecules. It is my desire to collaborate with scientists from all around the world to shape a better future.”

Gregory K. Hodgson

Photo of Gregory Hodgson.
Credit: Courtesy of Gregory Hodgson
Gregory Hodgson

Postdoc at Ryerson University

Education: BSc, chemistry, Trent University, 2013; PhD, chemistry and nanomaterials science, University of Ottawa, 2018

Research: Studying plasmon-enhanced fluorescence activation, machine learning, and predictive analytics in photochemistry; researching smart nanotextiles in collaboration with industrial partners

Advice for others: “Don’t become attached to the traditional academic career formula. Focus on acquiring transferable skills, and view your time in graduate school through that lens. Explore alternative career pathways, and force yourself to engage with the community outside the lab, as well as beyond your discipline.”

Arianne C. Hunter

Adrianne Hunter
Credit: Courtesy of Adrianne Hunter.
Adrianne Hunter

Graduate student at the University of Oklahoma

Education: BA, chemistry, Dartmouth College, 2014

Research: Supporting forensic analysis in remote locations

Advice for others: “Whatever discipline or subject matter you can sit in the library studying for or stay in the lab for hours on end working on without looking at the clock . . . pursue that!”

Marc-André Légaré

Marc-Andre Legare
Credit: Courtesy of Marc-Andre Legare.
Marc-Andre Legare

Postdoc at Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg.

Education: BS, chemistry, 2010, and PhD, chemistry, 2015, Université Laval

Research: Investigating the interactions of low-valent boron compounds with small molecules

Career goals: “My dream is to work for society as an academic researcher, teacher, and leader. I want my research to contribute to the common effort in terms of a green future and to inspire students—as tomorrow’s scientists—to not give up and to try to make the world a better place.”

Dickson Mambwe

Dickson Mambwe
Credit: Courtesy of Dickson Mambwe
Dickson Mambwe

Graduate student at the University of Cape Town

Education: BS, chemistry, University of Zambia, 2014

Research: Investigating the cardiotoxicity risk of an antihistamine drug for malaria

Advice for others: “You’re doing your research for a greater cause, one bigger than you might realize; appreciate how far you’ve come, and keep doing what you’re doing. Stay hungry and curious. That feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt that constantly haunts you—that’s you challenging yourself to reach further and do more.”

Jovana V. Milić

Jovana V. Milić
Credit: Courtesy of Jovana V. Milić
Jovana V. Milić

Scientist at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL)

Education: PhD, chemistry, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, 2017

Research: Investigating supramolecular engineering of molecular machines and functional nanomaterials for energy conversion

Advice for others: “Take the time to reflect on your desired career path by considering unique skill sets, abilities, and aspirations without being constrained by external expectations. More importantly, in pursuing that path, allow yourself to dream and consider that making a difference starts with a state of mind.”

Sean N. Natoli

Sean Natoli
Credit: Courtesy of Sean Natoli.
Sean Natoli

Postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley

Education: BS, chemistry, Southern Utah University, 2012; PhD, transition metal chemistry, Purdue University, 2017

Research: Expanding the scope of reactions catalyzed by artificial metalloenzymes through cofactor design and directed evolution

Career goals: “I have an ever-growing desire and a strong history of promoting scientific careers for underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students. As a member of this group, I understand the power and encouragement that can be gained from a role model that is willing to go the extra mile.”

Meagan Oakley

Meagan Oakley
Credit: Courtesy of Meagan Oakley.
Meagan Oakley

Graduate student at the University of Alberta

Education: BSc, chemistry, University of Prince Edward Island, 2013

Research: Using computational chemistry to study excited-state calculations

Role model: “My scientific role model is my mother. As a woman with a degree in metallurgical engineering, her representation as a successful leader in a largely male-dominated field showed me that I could choose any career path I wanted.”

Yoonsu Park

Yoonsu Park
Credit: Courtesy of Yoonsu Park.
Yoonsu Park

Postdoc at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Education: BS, chemistry, 2014, and PhD, chemistry, 2019, KAIST

Research: Exploring statistical analysis of selective catalysis

Career goals: “I hope to develop a game-changing catalyst that enables unprecedented yet super cool organic transformations.”

Vanessa Sanchez

Vanessa Sanchez
Credit: Courtesy of Vanessa Sanchez.
Vanessa Sanchez

Graduate student at Harvard University

Education: BS, fiber science, Cornell University, 2016

Research: Developing adaptive textiles for wearable devices

Advice for others: “Follow your internal compass. I feel a PhD is about developing a deep expertise in a field that you have chosen—whether you’re passionate about it, you’re good at it, you think it’s a necessary career choice, or a combination of these—and learning how to ask new and interesting questions in this field.”

Jesus Sanjosé-Orduna

Jesus Sanjose-Orduna
Credit: Courtesy of Jesus Sanjose-Orduna.
Jesus Sanjose-Orduna

Graduate student at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia


Education: BSc, organic chemistry, 2014, and MS, organic chemistry, 2015, University of Barcelona

Research: Gaining a fundamental understanding of cobalt-catalyzed C–H transformations to develop more innovative and efficient catalytic processes through rational design

Advice for others: “There is one particular ability that usually is forgotten during your undergraduate studies: the ability to lose. Life is full of rejection, and doing research is being committed to fail continuously. I would tell people that are thinking about entering graduate school to not be afraid of failing, and start embracing it. Every failure gets you closer to success!”

Koichi Sasaki

Koichi Sasaki
Credit: Courtesy of Koichi Sasaki.
Koichi Sasaki

Graduate student at Kyushu University

Education: BS, engineering, 2015, and MS, engineering, 2017, Kyushu University

Research: Investigating the efficacy of antibody and cytokine cancer immunotherapies

Career goals: “My dream is to be a principal investigator who gives positive influence on all lab members as well as society.”

Tracy Schloemer

Tracy Schloemer
Credit: Courtesy of Tracy Schloemer.
Tracy Schloemer

Graduate student at the Colorado School of Mines

Education: BS, chemistry, 2009, and MA, educational studies, 2010, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Research: Advancing charge-transport material development for the realization of highly stable and efficient perovskite solar cells

Advice for others: “The culture of the research group is extremely important. As a graduate student, you will spend a tremendous amount of your time with your lab mates. When you visit a lab, ask yourself whether people look like they’re enjoying their work. Working with kind, generous, and intelligent people has made graduate school really great for me, especially when my science doesn’t work as anticipated, so I recommend you look for the same kind of supportive environment.”

Dannie van Osch

Dannie van Osch
Credit: Annabel Romijn
Dannie van Osch

Postdoc at Eindhoven University of Technology Education: MSc, chemical engineering and chemistry, 2014, and PhD, chemistry, 2018, Eindhoven University of Technology

Research: Exploring sustainable chemistry for research on spinning disc reactors, microfluidic devices, visible-light photocatalysis, sustainable solvents, and crude lignin oil

Advice for others: “There will always be people who will tell you that you are not good enough or that you will fail. Don’t listen to them, but show them better. Work harder than you ever have and show them that you are good at what you do; prove them wrong!”

Paulette Vincent-Ruz

Paulette Vincent-Ruz
Credit: Courtesy of Paulette Vincent-Ruz.
Paulette Vincent-Ruz

Postdoc at the University of Pittsburgh

Education: BS, chemical engineering, National Autonomous University of Mexico; PhD, learning sciences and policy, University of Pittsburgh

Research: Understanding the systemic disadvantages that hinder the success of minoritized students

Career goals: “I want to focus my research on improving the environment of chemistry learning for marginalized populations. We often talk about this in terms of sex and race, but we really need to acknowledge that students with different gender identities, disabilities, and sexualities experience learning and belonging in our classroom in different ways.”

Liang Zhang

Liang Zhang
Credit: Courtesy of Liang Zhang.
Liang Zhang

Postdoc at the University of Manchester

Education: BSc and MSc, chemistry, Fudan University, 2015; PhD, chemistry, University of Manchester, 2019

Research: Synthesizing topologically complex molecules

Career goals: “As a scientist, I would like to make contributions to the science, tackling the critical problems in both fundamental chemistry questions and practical problems. As a supervisor, the most wanted thing in my career would be to pass my knowledge and experiences to young students and help them to reach a better situation in their life, of course, [and] support them with my strongest manner.”


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