Houk Research Conference – Summer 2020

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A two and a half-day conference in honor of Professor Kendall N. Houk will take place August 12-14, 2020, at UCLA’s CNSI Auditorium.  

Houk’s former graduate students and postdoctoral scholars have organized the Houk Research Conference (HRC) to honor the career, tradition, and experience of computational chemistry research at UCLA with Professor Houk. The conference will provide a forum to highlight the significant impact that Houk has had on the scientific community and it will showcase the research and careers of the many individuals who have expanded on the foundation of Houk’s research since leaving his group.

Scientists from around the world who work in computational chemistry and related fields, including data science, have been invited to speak at the conference.

The organizing committee, all Houk alumni, is led by two co-chairs, Steven Lopez (Northeastern University) and Matthew Grayson (University of Bath). They are joined by Sílvia Osuna (University of Girona), Daniel Ess (Brigham Young University), Sharon Neufeldt (Montana State University), and Martin Breugst (University of Cologne). 

Houk Conference
Steven Lopez, Matthew Grayson, Silvia Osuna, Daniel Ess, Sharon Neufeldt, and Martin Breugst.

There will be ample opportunities for alumni, collaborators, and newcomers to interact across disciplines. In addition to poster and oral presentations, breakout sessions and elevator talks will serve to strengthen ties between industrial, academic, and government researchers and re-connect them on the UCLA campus. The abstract deadline is Sunday, March 15, 2020.

For the past 50 years Houk has pioneered the use of computational chemistry methods to understand fundamental principles governing organic reactions. “We have all had the amazing privilege of being a co-author with Ken and reporting a discovery in one of his greater than 1200 scientific publications” the conference website states. “We are all grateful to be mentored by the insightful Saul Winstein Chair in Organic Chemistry. As LSU, Pitt, or UCLA Houkies, we learned how to identify and model countless problems in organic chemistry, make a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, and then try again. We learned how to ‘Push Back the Frontiers of Science’, which allowed us to go on to productive careers in industry, academia, and beyond.”

Houk has been recognized around the world for the impact of his scientific discoveries, including by the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the ACS in 1988, the 1991 ACS James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry, the 1998 Schrödinger Medal of the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists, and the Arthur C. Cope Award of the ACS in 2009. In 2010, Houk was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2012 became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. To learn more about Houk, visit his group’s website.

Abstracts are welcome from current students, all alumni, and their students. To register or learn more about the conference please visit www.houkconference.com. Registration is free.

Nikki Erinakis, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemsitry, nikkie@chem.ucla.edu.