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CBES: Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science

2019 News

George Schatz portrait

Schatz retires as editor-in-chief of journal after 15 years

December 20, 2019
CBES senior investigator George Schatz announced his retirement as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Physical Chemistry (JPC) in an editorial published online Dec. 19. Schatz spent 15 years in the position, overseeing the family of journals as it expanded from two journals (JPC A and JPC B) to four (adding JPC C and JPC Letters). During this time, the journals published more than 100,000 papers.

Five CBES researchers land on ‘highly cited’ list

November 19, 2019

CBES Director Samuel Stupp and investigators Chad Mirkin, George Schatz, Joanna Aizenberg and George Whitesides were named to the Highly Cited Researchers 2019 list by the Web of Science Group. The list sought to recognize the world’s most influential researchers of the past decade, as evidenced by having multiple papers that ranked in the top 1 percent of citations for their field and year.

Weiss leverages quantum mechanics to produce desirable bioactive molecules

November 1, 2019

CBES investigator Emily Weiss led a team of researchers who used visible light and tiny nanoparticles known as quantum dots to make molecules of a class that is highly desirable for drug development. The nanoparticle catalysts — only three nanometers across — can be reused for additional chemical reactions, and the work represents the first use of a nanoparticle’s surface as a template for a light-driven reaction called a cycloaddition.

“Quantum dots behave more like organic molecules than metal nanoparticles,” Weiss said. “The electrons are squeezed into such a small space that their reactivity follows the rules of quantum mechanics. We can take advantage of this, along with the templating power of the nanoparticle surface.”

Gem-like nanoparticles

CBES research unveils new method for creating highly active catalysts

September 12, 2019
A Northwestern University research team led by CBES senior investigator Chad Mirkin has developed a new method for making highly desirable catalysts from metal nanoparticles that could lead to better fuel cells, among other applications. The researchers also discovered the method can take spent catalysts and recycle them into active catalysts.

Mirkin receives Netherlands Award for Supramolecular Chemistry

August 30, 2019

CBES investigator Chad Mirkin accepted the 2019 Netherlands Award for Supramolecular Chemistry on August 18 during the International Conference on Molecular Systems Engineering in Nijmegen. The award, given by the Research Center for Functional Molecular Systems, seeks to “recognize and reward outstanding scientists in the supramolecular chemistry field.”

As the third recipient of the honor, Mirkin joins two Nobel Laureates in chemistry: Jean-Marie Lehn and Sir Fraser Stoddart. Mirkin also visited universities around the Netherlands as part of a lecture series associated with the award.

Danna Freedman honored with Presidential Early Career Award

July 12, 2019

CBES investigator Danna Freedman is one of five Northwestern University professors selected for the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). President Donald Trump announced the recipients on July 2, and each awardee will be recognized at a July 25 ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Freedman, a chemist nominated by the National Science Foundation, received the PECASE for her work on qubits — the smallest unit in quantum computing. Developing computers with these objects would allow scientists to understand electron transfer in new ways, enabling the creation of novel materials for renewable energy.

Chad Mirkin portrait

Chad Mirkin wins Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience and Nanomedicine

July 11, 2019
CBES investigator Chad Mirkin has been selected to receive the $250,000 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience and Nanomedicine, the world’s largest monetary award for outstanding achievement in nanotechnology and its application to medicine and biology.
Monica Olvera de la Cruz portrait

Electron-like nanoparticles challenge current understanding of matter

June 20, 2019
Northwestern University researchers led by CBES investigators Monica Olvera de la Cruz and Chad Mirkin have made a discovery that may upend the current notion of matter. They found that tiny nanoparticles engineered with DNA in colloidal crystals act just like electrons — opening a pathway to design new materials.
Stacey Chin research image

CBES research on artificial muscles featured in EFRC newsletter

June 20, 2019
Recent CBES work was featured prominently in the Energy Frontier Research Centers’ Summer 2019 newsletter. The research, published in Nature Communications, describes a special class of polymer chains that expand and contract based on water temperature.
Combined portrait of Chad Mirkin and John Rogers

Rogers, Mirkin to receive 2019 Nakamura Awards

June 18, 2019
CBES investigators Chad A. Mirkin and John A. Rogers will each receive a 2019 Nakamura Award from the American Association for Advances in Functional Materials (AAAFM) this August.

Joanna Aizenberg elected to prestigious national academies

April 30, 2019

CBES investigator Joanna Aizenberg was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in February and to the National Academy of Sciences in April. The NAE honor recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice or education.

For her NAS election, Aizenberg was cited for "being the pioneer of the budding field of bioinspired materials chemistry, applying lessons from natural systems to inventing artificial materials with unprecedented properties." She was also noted for making "groundbreaking, seminal contributions to biomineralization, crystal engineering, smart surfaces, and antifouling and stimuli-responsive materials that display unique hierarchical designs."