Iota Sigma Pi 2022 Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award

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Prof.. Ellen Sletten

Professor Ellen Sletten receives the 2022 Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award from Iota Sigma Pi, the National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry. The award is given for research achievement to a woman chemist or biochemist not over forty years of age.

Sletten joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at UCLA as an Assistant Professor and John McTague Career Development Chair in 2015. She was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in July 2021.

The Sletten group takes a multidisciplinary approach towards the creation of enhanced nanotherapeutics, shortwave infrared diagnostics, and new chemical tools to study living systems. Research within the group involves a mix of organic synthesis, fluorous chemistry, chemical biology, self-assembly, polymer synthesis, photophysics, nanomedicine, and pharmacology.

From THE IOTAN by Julia Vaynberg (October 2022):

Iota Sigma Pi Gives 2022 Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award to Dr. Ellen Sletten of University of California, Los Angeles

Iota Sigma PI, the National Organization for Women in Chemistry, has
selected Dr. Ellen Sletten, Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles, to receive the 2022 Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award. Dr. Sletten obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from Stonehill College and PhD in Chemistry from University of California, Berkeley. She is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of California, Los Angeles. She has been invited to participate in the organization’s Triennial Convention in 2023.

Dr. Sletten has already established herself as one of the worldwide recognized leaders in chemical biology. She has advanced the field of in vivo fluorescent imaging by successfully designing a panel of fluorophores for the shortwave infrared (SWIR, 1000-2000 nm) region of electromagnetic spectrum that allows enhanced light penetration through tissues and reduction of background signal compared to visible and near- infrared regions. Together with collaborators, she demonstrated for the first time real-time, non-invasive, high resolution multicolor imaging in animals. This opened a possibility of contactless observation of biological processes in animals in their natural state, without the effects of anesthesia, which will impact areas of biology, medicine, and psychology.

Dr. Sletten’s lab is also making significant advances in fields of fluorous nanotherapeutics and biorthogonal host-guest chemistry. As one of her nominators stated: “I expect that in the next five years these two research areas will enable selective drug delivery and metabolic targeting of disease.”

To date, Dr. Sletten is an author of 59 publications, 16 patents and close to 70 presentations and a recipient of multiple prestigious awards. She serves on the editorial advisory board of numerous high impact publications such as Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., Chem. Commun., ChemPhotoChem, Macromolecules, and Polymer Chemistry.

Her nominators have also commented on her excellence as a mentor and a teacher. In her short career as an independent researcher, she has already mentored 21 graduate students, 4 postdoctoral researchers, and 22 undergraduate researchers many of which are women and from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award is given for research achievement to a woman chemist or biochemist not over forty years of age.