Talented 12: Chemical & Engineering News announces its 2018 rising stars in chemistry

Note to journalists: Please report that this announcement was made at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

BOSTON, Aug. 19, 2018 — Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society (ACS), is today unveiling its annual “Talented 12” list. This award program, now in its fourth year, and for the first time sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific, recognizes young global stars in the chemical sciences that are working to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems. These up-and-coming innovators in chemistry will be debuted at an event today at ACS’ 256th National Meeting & Exposition. They are also featured in this week’s issue of C&EN.

Chosen from a highly competitive pool of more than 350 nominees, this year’s Talented 12 are tackling what C&EN calls “some of the most vexing challenges in the chemical universe.” Their research is deciphering the chemistry that led to life on Earth, exploring molecules on the moons in our solar system, designing complex materials that can store energy or mimic human organs and developing gene editing technology to fight disease.

Below is the full list, which C&EN’s staff selected after an intense evaluation of candidates submitted by C&EN’s advisory board, Talented 12 alumni and members of the chemistry community via an online nomination form.

Darryl Boyd, Ph.D., U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Stitching sulfur into molecular strands to create advanced optics

Morgan Cable, Ph.D., Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Exploring exotic chemistry on astronomical bodies in our solar system

Connor Coley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Reprogramming the way chemists design drugs with machine learning

Pedro García Barrantes, Ph.D., Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Discovering new drug leads for psychiatric and rare diseases

Nicole Gaudelli, Ph.D., Beam Therapeutics
Developing CRISPR base editors to treat genetic diseases

Roxanne Kieltyka, Ph.D., Leiden University
Designing supramolecular scaffold materials for growing tissue in the lab

Joseph Moran, Ph.D., University of Strasbourg
Seeking the chemistry that sparked life on Earth

Cathy Mulzer, Ph.D., DowDupont
Powered-up covalent organic frameworks and other polymers for energy storage

Mónica Pérez-Temprano, Ph.D., Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia
Capturing chemical reaction intermediates to improve old reactions and find new ones

Jose Rodriguez, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
Structurally characterizing proteins that clump to understand diseases such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes

Luisa Whittaker-Brooks, Ph.D., University of Utah
Building multitasking materials for sustainable electronics

Shrike Zhang, Ph.D., Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Fabricating organ mimics and testing drugs on them to personalize medicine

“C&EN is thrilled to present the 2018 class of the Talented 12. If you want to learn about who is shaping the future of the chemical sciences, look no further,” says Bibiana Campos Seijo, Ph.D., editor-in-chief and vice president of C&EN Media Group. “These pioneers are unlocking powerful and unconventional uses of existing technologies; building the products and technologies of the future; and creating new businesses while making a safer, cleaner and healthier world for all.”

“We are proud to partner with the ACS and C&EN on this exciting program that celebrates the young scientists whose chemistry is making an impact on the world,” says Chris Armstrong, president, Laboratory Chemicals, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Our chemicals, reagents and materials help enable innovation in the laboratory and free up scientists to focus on life-changing discoveries. As the world leader in serving science, Thermo Fisher is committed to help the next generation of scientific talent bring chemistry to life.”

The full 2018 C&EN feature will debut Sunday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time at Photos of the scientists are available upon request by emailing

The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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