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CBES: Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science


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."

Three CBES investigators land on highly cited researchers list

November 27, 2018
CBES investigators Samuel Stupp, John Rogers and Chad Mirkin were named to the Highly Cited Researchers 2018 List by Clarivate Analytics, which compiled the list by identifying researchers with multiple papers ranking in the top 1 percent of citations for their field and year. 

CBES research highlighted in EFRC newsletter

November 20, 2018
Senior investigator George Schatz was featured in the Energy Frontier Research Center's Fall 2018 newsletter discussing CBES research. The article details how the work CBES is conducting looks to natural biological processes in nature to improve current manmade systems and devices.

Stupp, Luijten publish new paper in Science

November 16, 2018
CBES investigators Samuel Stupp and Erik Luijten published a new paper in Science magazine, “Reversible Self-Assembly of Superstructured Networks." Stupp's laboratory created bio-inspired, dynamic materials for the project, and Liujten's group performed simulations which suggested chemically reversible structures in the materials can only occur within a limited range of supramolecular cohesive energies.

Danna Freedman to receive ACS Award in Pure Chemistry

September 17, 2018
Danna Freedman has earned the 2019 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Pure Chemistry "for the design of qubits at the molecular level, opening new opportunities in quantum computing and information processing." The CBES investigator will officially receive the award April 2, 2019, at the ACS national meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Department of Energy awards CBES $12M in renewal funding

July 10, 2018
The Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science (CBES) received $12 million in renewal funding for a four-year term through the Department of Energy's national Energy Frontier Research Centers program. CBES is one of 42 programs collectively awarded $100 million to accelerate scientific understanding in energy-relevant fields.

New paper details how to fabricate optically active structures

January 18, 2018

Northwestern University researchers, including CBES senior investigator Chad Mirkin, have developed a first-of-its-kind technique for creating entirely new classes of optical materials and devices that could lead to light bending and cloaking devices.

Using DNA as a key tool, the interdisciplinary team took gold nanoparticles of different sizes and shapes and arranged them in two and three dimensions to form optically active superlattices. Structures with specific configurations could be programmed through choice of particle type and both DNA-pattern and sequence to exhibit almost any color across the visible spectrum.