Class of 2015: Where are they Now?

Changing the world with feats of chemistry takes a while. So we asked our inaugural class what they’ve been up to this past year. No pressure.

Brad Olsen

MIT

Olsen

Olsen reports that his group published its first paper on loop defects in polymer networks in Physical Review Letters (DOI:10.1103/physrevlett.116.188302).


Tobias Erb

Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology

Erb

Erb’s team successfully engineered enzymes to pull CO2 from the atmosphere and efficiently convert it into useful carbon-based compounds.

Here, Erb (left) celebrates the feat with grad student Thomas Schwander. “Put your helmets on, we are going to cycle CO2!”

Here, Erb (left) celebrates the feat with grad student Thomas Schwander. “Put your helmets on, we are going to cycle CO2!”


Luke Lavis

Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus

Lavis

“After a year of heavy traveling and writing papers, I finally got back into the lab and made some dyes with my own hands.”


Matt MacDonald

Air Products & Chemicals

MacDonald
MacDonald tells us he’s been whipping up new silicon-based compounds to build microelectronic devices with three-dimensional memory technology.


Troy Lister

Spero Therapeutics

Lister

Lister disclosed his company’s lead drug candidate, SPR741, for the first time at a meeting in Boston. SPR741 is a molecule that disrupts the outer membrane of resistant bacteria so that antibiotics can sneak in and attack.

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Denis Malyshev

Top secret start-up

Malyshev

“I got a job at a biotech company that I’m super stoked about.” The firm is still in stealth mode, though, so Malyshev wouldn’t name names.


Kami Hull

University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign

Hull

Hull reports that her lab has “successfully done both directed and undirected anti-Markovnikov-selective amination” this year. (Translation for nonorganickers: They’ve achieved both tight and loose control over a reaction that adds amines to the most crowded carbon in a carbon-carbon double bond.)


Hosea Nelson

UCLA

Nelson

“My lab ran its first experiment. It worked!” Nelson says. The organic chemist adds that he also taught his first classes ever. “The second class was 100 times better than the first.”


Karen Havenstrite

Tangible Science

Havenstrite

Havenstrite says her firm was issued two patents and received U.S. Food & Drug Administration clearance for its contact lens technology, which helps treat dry eye.


Emily Balskus

Harvard

Balskus

“I graduated my first class of Ph.D. students this year!”

Balskus, a microbial metabolism expert, poses with Hitomi Nakamura (left) and Smaranda Bodea (right).

Balskus, a microbial metabolism expert, poses with Hitomi Nakamura (left) and Smaranda Bodea (right).


Jacob Hooker

Harvard Medical School

Hooker

Hooker celebrated his first graduate student getting her Ph.D. And the radiochemist will soon celebrate the birth of his second child, in mid-September.


Matt Kanan

Stanford

Kanan

Kanan pointed us to a paper his team published in Nature on a reaction that uses simple molten salts to convert greenhouse gas CO2 into building blocks for making a type of polyester plastic (DOI: 10.1038/ nature17185).