Researchers develop new set of colloidal crystals
In work supported by the Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science, researchers demonstrated a new method for engineering colloidal crystals using metal-organic framework nanoparticles chemically modified with DNA. These materials have potential applications in chemical detection and decontamination, among other functions relevant to energy.
CBES senior investigator Chad Mirkin was corresponding author of the paper.
Whitesides to receive honorary degree from Northwestern
CBES senior investigator George Whitesides will receive an honorary degree from Northwestern University during a virtual commencement ceremony on June 19.
Whitesides is the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor at Harvard University and has made seminal contributions in the areas of chemistry, materials science, mechanical engineering, drug discovery and medical diagnostic systems for underdeveloped regions, among many others. His prolific and wide-reaching work has led to the development of materials for robotic systems, surface chemistries for drug discovery assays and methods for microfabrication.
Five CBES researchers land on ‘highly cited’ list
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
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.”
Mirkin receives Netherlands Award for Supramolecular Chemistry
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
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.
Joanna Aizenberg elected to prestigious national academies
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."