2019 UCLA Research Showcase at ACS National Meeting

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Scientists from around the world attended the UCLA Research Showcase at the American Chemistry Society (ACS) National Meeting in San Diego on August 27.     

The Research Showcase included a poster session presenting the work of 55 UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, all of whom also either gave a talk or presented a poster at the ACS conference. A PDF of the poster session booklet can be downloaded here.

Professors Ken Houk and Heather Maynard welcomed the guests who represented alumni, friends, current faculty and students. Houk acknowledged faculty and alumni who have recently been honored by ACS or have achieved a notable accomplishment (see below). “To all of you, and our many awesome students, graduates and friends, we want to acknowledge your incredible contributions to the world of chemistry and the awards and recognitions that you are receiving at this year’s ACS meeting,” Houk said in his toast.

Houk and Maynard, with the help of Professor Michael Jung, then led the crowd of over 150 people in the UCLA 8 clap cheer. A short video clip of the cheer can be viewed here (thanks to alum Prof. Steven Lopez).

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(Left) Prof. Ken Houk made the welcoming remarks. (Right) Over 150 people attended the event at the San Diego Marquis hotel.

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Prof.  Heather Maynard (left) made remarks and then she and Houk, with the help of Prof. Michael Jung, led the group in the UCLA 8-clap cheer.

The following faculty and alumni were acknowledged by Houk in his remarks: 

  • Dean of Physical Sciences Miguel García-Garibay and former Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty member Nobel Laureate Sir Fraser Stoddart who have been elected as 2019 ACS Fellows. 
  • Professor Hosea Nelson for being named a 2020 Arthur C. Cope Scholar by the ACS. “A great honor for our young rising star who has had major impacts on chemistry already in his carbocation and micro-electron diffraction work,” Houk said.
  • Alumnus Professor Bob McMahon of University of Wisconsin-Madison, for being awarded the prestigious 2019 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award at a symposium at the conference. McMahon received his Ph.D. in 1985 with Orville Chapman.  
  • Professor Heather Maynard for receiving the ACS 2019 Bioconjugate Chemistry Lectureship Award at a symposium at the conference, which was held in her honor.  
  • Professor Ellen Sletten for being honored as a 2019 PMSE Young Investigator Awardee at the 2019 PMSE Future Faculty Symposium at the conference.  
  • Professor Neil Garg for receiving the 2019 Leete Award for his outstanding contributions to teaching and research in Organic Chemistry.  
  • Alumna Professor Joanne Stubbe of MIT for being chosen for ACS’s highest honor, the 2020 Priestley medal.  Stubbe was a postdoc at UCLA from 1971 to 1972 with Professor Julius Rebek. “Your work is nothing short of amazing,” Houk told Stubbe.
  • Alumna Professor Nancy Goroff of Stony Brook University who is running for Congress in New York Suffolk County. “Nancy, we wish you success in your new endeavor, and hope you are part of a new future for our country!” Houk said. Goroff was a postdoc at UCLA from 1990 to 1994 with Professor François Diederich.
  • Houk also toasted himself, as his new book, which he co-authored with his friend Professor Pierre Vogel of EPFL-Lausanne, Switzerland, was recently released and announced at the conference.
  • Lastly, Houk acknowledged alumnus Professor Patrick Lam who celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Chan-Lam reaction at the conference. Lam was a postdoc in Professor Mike Jung’s lab from 1980 to 1984, and Houk mentioned how his great reaction has had a big impact on synthetic chemistry.  

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(Left) Profs. Joan Stubbe (MIT), Ken Houk, Dan Kahne (Harvard), and Patrick Y-S Lam (Baruch S. Blumberg Institute). (Right) Prof. Paul Weiss (UCLA) chats with his former postdoc Dr. Tom Pearl (DCS Corporation).

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(Left) UCLA alums Profs. Steven Lopez Ph.D. ‘15 (Northeastern University), Osvaldo Gutierrez ‘09 (University of Maryland) and Luis Campos Ph.D. ’06 (Columbia). (Right) Postdoc Dr.  Xiaoguang Liu with mentor Prof. Michael Jung.

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(Left) Former Houk group postdoc Prof. Satomi Niwayama (Muroran Institute of Technology) with Prof. Joanne Stubbe. (Right) Graduate students from the Garcia-Garibay group – Zhiyu Liu, Marcus Jellen, Ieva Liepuoniute, and Jordon Dotson.

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(Left) Kevin M. Cheung and Chuanzhen Zhao, joint graduate students of the P. Weiss and Andrews groups. 

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(Left) Zink group members Chi-An Cheng (Bioengineering) and Wei Chen with Sletten group member Emily Cosco. (Right) Fang-Chu Lin (Zink group) and Chengzhang Wan (Duan group).

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(Left) Prof. Ellen Sletten (3rd from left) with members of her group – graduate students Ga Young (Gina) Lee, Monica Pengshung, Joseph Jaye, Emily (Maly) Cosco, and Irene Lim. (Right) Prof. Heather Maynard (far right) with current and former members of her group – alum Dr. Jeong Hoon (JK) Ko (Ph.D. ’18), now a postdoctoral researcher at CalTech, and graduate students Madeline Gelb and Kyle Tamshen.

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Current and former members of Professor Neil Garg’s group pose for a group photo at the event.

Thanks to the generous support of our endowed chair holders and supporters of the department, all the poster presenters at the showcase received $500 awards. The awards and the event were sponsored by Professors Neil Garg (Kenneth N. Trueblood Endowed Chair in Chemistry & Biochemistry), Ken Houk (Saul Winstein Chair in Organic Chemistry), Richard Kaner (Dr. Myung Ki Hong Endowed Chair in Materials Innovation), Heather Maynard (Myung Ki Hong Endowed Chair in Polymer Science), and Shimon Weiss (Dean Willard Chair in Chemistry) with additional support provided by the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry Chair’s Office and donations from our generous alumni and friends of the department.

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry’s event coordinator Nikki Erinakis organized the event. 

Many thanks to the following people who provided photos for this article: Annie Chi-An Cheng, Nikki Erinakis, Prof. Neil Garg, Ieva Liepuoniute, Dr.  Xiaoguang Liu, Prof. Steven Lopez, Prof. Heather Maynard, Dr. Mano Manoharan, Dr. Nako Nakatsuka, Prof. Ellen Sletten, Chuanzhen Zhao.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.