Issue Date: July 31, 2017
2017 SciFinder Future Leaders
The 2017 SciFinder Future Leaders have been announced by CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society, which publishes C&EN. This program offers Ph.D. students and postdocs from around the world the opportunity to learn about the chemical information industry and network with each other. Participants will visit CAS in Columbus, Ohio, as well as attend the ACS national meeting in Washington, D.C., next month. CAS’s chemical information products include SciFinder, a chemistry research solution. Here’s a look at this year’s SciFinder Future Leaders (those presenting papers in Washington are marked with an asterisk):
Graduate student in chemistry at Flinders University
Education: B.S., organic chemistry, Flinders University, 2015
Research: Developing tools for detecting poorly understood cysteine redox chemistry, with broader impact in medicine and biology.
Advice for others: “Experiments rarely work the way they are planned the first time, and everything often takes longer than expected. You need to be committed and willing to persevere through the rough patches, try failed experiments again, troubleshoot, and most important, never lose your motivation for scientific discovery.”
Royal Commission 1851 Research Fellow at Durham University
Education: B.S., chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, 2010; Ph.D., chemistry, Northwestern University, 2015
Research: Addressing global research challenges in energy storage and how three-dimensional structural hierarchy can influence the design of hybrid organic optoelectronic materials.
Goals for program: “I would like to learn about what plans SciFinder may have in the future to address searches that involve dynamic systems, self-assemblies, and advanced macromolecular topologies as the field is now starting to move into an era of chemistry ‘beyond the molecule.’ ”
Postdoc in chemistry at the University of Edinburgh
Education: MChem, Heriot-Watt University, 2008; Ph.D., chemistry, University of Edinburgh, 2012
Research: Synthesis of actinide complexes with multiply bonded ligands to probe f-block covalency and uranyl (UO22+) reduction.
Goals for program: “I am interested in finding new ways of locating and managing research data. I believe data management will be a big challenge in the years ahead but also a huge opportunity for scientists, providing us with the ability to use data in new ways to improve our understanding of chemistry.”
Graduate student in chemistry at California Institute of Technology
Education: B.A., chemistry, Columbia University, 2013
Research: Synthesizing new polymer architectures, studying their self-assembly and properties, and developing applications as functional materials.
Scientific role models: “I am inspired by my undergraduate and graduate advisers, Ron Breslow and Bob Grubbs, respectively. Their commitment to discovery, entrepreneurship, and social as well as scientific progress motivates me to improve as a scientist and communicator.”
Graduate student in chemical engineering at Tianjin University
Education: B.S., chemical engineering, Tianjin University, 2012
Research: Fuel production by solar water splitting and photocatalytic CO2 reduction, particularly in the investigation of reaction mechanism and pathways.
Goals for program: “I am looking forward to developing a better understanding of how to efficiently use research information to help advance my research, and making pleasurable connections with elite scientists at the same time.”
Morgan J. Cichon
Research scientist at Ohio State University
Education: B.S., chemistry and economics, Emory University, 2010; Ph.D., food science and technology, Ohio State University, 2015
Research: Working on the Personalized Food & Nutritional Metabolomics for Health initiative at OSU.
Career dreams: “As I work to define my future career, I know I want to be involved in communicating science on a national and global scale. I envision a role in which I can utilize my financial economics degree in conjunction with my chemistry background to be a leader in the field and drive important scientific research in an unpredictable economic climate.”
Graduate student in chemistry at the National University of Singapore
Education: MChem, chemistry, University of Edinburgh, 2014
Research: In the field of frustrated Lewis pairs, searching for cheaper and greener methods for the activation of small molecules and bonds.
Favorite ACS career resource: “SciFinder, simply because it’s the resource I use the most, have used for the longest time, and always intend to use. I find it to be very user-friendly, and it makes searching for literature so simple.”
Wai Chung Fu
Graduate student in chemistry at Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Education: B.S., chemistry, Hong Kong Baptist University, 2013
Research: Developing a series of novel phosphine ligands for palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions and using catalytic methods for materials science.
Goals for program: “It’s always exciting to learn new skills and insights from others, not to mention a select group of elite Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral researchers from every part of the world.”
Graduate student in chemistry at the University of Alberta
Education: B.S., nanoscience and nanotechnology, Beijing Institute of Technology, 2014
Research: Functionalization of porous and flat silicon surfaces, especially modifying the surfaces with silicon-chalcogen bonds, Si–E (E = S, Se, or Te), and studying the change in chemical properties of those surfaces.
What she likes to do to relax: “Cooking! The interesting thing is, cooking is just like doing chemical research: fresh ingredients, cooking time and temperature, and different cooking styles, all of which in cooking lead to a delicious dish!”
Graduate student in chemistry at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Education: B.S., chemistry, 2011, and M.S., chemistry, 2013, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Research: Exploring and developing ruthenium complexes to be used in the promotion of asymmetric and light-induced metathesis reactions.
Goals for program: “The reason I am most excited to be a part of this program is to meet fellow students from all over the world, people that I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise. I hope to expand my circle of colleagues and hear how research is done in other universities.”
Graduate student in chemistry at Leibniz Institute of Surface Modification in joint collaboration with Leipzig University and Monash University
Education: B.S., chemistry, 2012, and M.S., chemistry, 2015, Leipzig University
Research: Aggregation of amyloidogenic peptides near interfaces using biophysical and computational methods.
Favorite ACS career resource: “I was mainly interested in research programs, and I became aware of the ACS International Center. It is a great resource to look for research and funding opportunities in several countries worldwide.”
Postdoc in chemistry at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Education: B.S., chemistry, Islamic Azad University, 2007; Ph.D., chemistry, University of the Witwatersrand, 2014
Research: Developing techniques involving organic solid-state reactions for the synthesis of materials for applications in molecular electronic devices.
Scientific role models: “I have many role models. One of these is my Ph.D. supervisor, who changed my attitude toward chemistry from not liking it much in the beginning to seeing it as a field with infinite
opportunity in which the limit is my imagination.”
Postdoc in chemical and biological engineering at Seoul National University
Education: B.S., chemical engineering, Seoul National University of Science & Technology, 2010; Ph.D., chemical and biological engineering, Seoul National University, 2016
Research: Developing lithium-oxygen batteries with a phosphorene-derived protective layer on a lithium anode.
Advice for others: “Listen and pay attention to your colleagues’ research. Surprisingly, I found a couple of problems that could not be solved in my research were solved by peer research.”
Postdoc in chemistry at the National Institute of Standards & Technology
Education: B.S., chemistry, Virginia State University, 2010; Ph.D., chemistry, North Carolina State University, 2015
Research: Combinatorial approach to studying photocatalytic systems.
Scientific role models: “I have a fond memory of Mae C. Jemison’s picture on a bulletin board in elementary school. She was the first African American astronaut, and the only woman in science that I could relate to at the young age of seven. I admired her intelligence and accomplishments and thought, ‘Science looks fun.’ ”
Jeffrey Y. W. Mak
Postdoc in molecular bioscience at the University of Queensland
Education: B.S., organic chemistry, 2007, and Ph.D., synthetic organic chemistry, 2012, University of Queensland
Research: Synthesis of biologically active small molecules, especially against immune system T-cell and G protein-coupled receptor targets.
Advice for others: “Research life in graduate school is full of setbacks. Rather than putting pressure on yourself to achieve, focus on working hard and learning from your experiences, especially from failures.”
Graduate student in chemistry at Northeastern University
Education: B.S., forensic science and chemistry, University of New Haven, 2012
Research: Protein function annotation using computational methods to predict the function of proteins and testing these predictions biochemically, thus bridging the gap between chemical biology and computational chemistry.
Favorite ACS career resource: “ACS Career Consultants have been an enormous help to me over the years. I have had the opportunity to discuss potential career paths with a consultant and was given information and suggestions on how to explore these career paths before graduation.”
Graduate student at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science
Education: B.S., chemistry, Scottish Church College, 2009; M.S., chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, 2011
Research: Developing bioinspired water-splitting catalysts.
Career dreams: “To become a research faculty member and pursue high-quality research on bioinspired N2 fixation. I also have a mind to run a start-up in India to offer an alternative source of energy for the benefit of society.”
Graduate student in chemistry at the University of Amsterdam
Education: B.S., organic chemistry, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Heerlen, 2010; M.S., chemistry, Radboud University, 2013
Research: Developing scaffold-assisted peptide multicyclization strategies.
Goals for program: “I will get to meet 24 people from all over the world, all with their own perspectives on science and life. I hope to learn a lot from them and have some fun as well.”
Michael D. Schulz
Postdoc in chemistry and chemical engineering at California Institute of Technology
Education: B.S., chemistry, University of Iowa, 2010; Ph.D., organic and polymer chemistry, University of Florida, 2014
Research: Acyclic diene metathesis polymerization and depolymerization, and developing polymeric delivery vehicles for radionuclides to treat pediatric bone cancer.
Advice for others: “Learn to use your time effectively. Many graduate students mistake the number of hours they’ve worked for the number they’ve worked productively, but they aren’t the same thing.”
Postdoc in ecotoxicological risk assessment of ionic liquids at Petronas Technology University
Education: B.S., biotechnology, Asian Institute of Medicine, Science & Technology, 2008; Ph.D., bioprocess engineering, Universiti Putra, Malaysia
Research: Ecotoxicological assessment of ionic liquids, biosurfactant binary mixtures as oil dispersants, and microbial adaptation to ionic liquids.
Advice for others: “I believe grad school is a personal experience for everyone. Take it easy and enjoy every bit of it, both the good and the bad. The reward is certainly big at the end!”
Graduate student in bioengineering at the University of California, Los Angeles
Education: B.S., engineering, National University of Singapore, 2014; M.S., bioengineering, UCLA, 2015
Research: Developing technologies for magnetic-based neural stimulation and for directed evolution of magnetotactic bacteria.
Goals for program: “I hope to learn more about resources from ACS and to interact with peers to learn about their countries, cultures, and amazing research.”
Gabriela D. Tormet-Gonzalez
Graduate student in organic chemistry at the University of Campinas
Education: B.S., chemistry, Central University of Venezuela, 2010; M.S., organic chemistry, University of Campinas, 2015
Research: In vitro and in vivo studies of the biosynthesis of the polyether ionophore salinomycin.
Favorite ACS career resource: “The e-learning courses offered by the ACS Leadership Development System are a diverse resource for professionals who are continuously searching for career development.”
Graduate student in biochemistry at Moscow State University
Education: B.S., chemistry, Moscow State University, 2014
Research: Human blood cells and processes during differentiation and immune response.
Favorite ACS career resource: “I like ACS Career Navigator because it combines a lot of information in one clear format.”
Graduate student in applied chemistry at East China University of Science & Technology
Education: B.S., fine chemicals, East China University of Science & Technology, 2015
Research: Host-guest interactions in supramolecular systems, photochromic materials, and supramolecular self-assembly.
Career dreams: “My career objective is to work in the editorial office of an academic journal or database so that I could still follow important scientific research findings, discuss or comment on contributions, and spread ideas as well as knowledge.”
Graduate student in chemistry at the University of Tokyo
Education: B.S., chemistry, 2014, and M.S., chemistry, 2016, University of Tokyo
Research: Developing peptide ligation reactions toward total protein chemical synthesis.
What he likes to do to relax: “Since I am a member of the track and field club of the university, I take part in a half marathon several times a year. In the future, I would like to go to marathon competitions around the world.”
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