Talented 12: Chemical & Engineering News announces its 2021 rising stars in chemistry

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2021 — Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society (ACS), unveils its annual “Talented 12” list today. Sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific, this program, now in its seventh year, highlights early-career researchers in the chemical sciences who are fearlessly tackling difficult global problems. These intrepid innovators in chemistry will be featured in the Aug. 23 issue of C&EN, but you can read about the impressive class now by visiting

Using a rigorous review process, C&EN selected this year’s Talented 12 from a highly competitive pool. The world-changing work by this year’s group includes efforts to remove pollutants from water, transform the immune system to fight cancer and create the next generation of chemical catalysts.

Below is the list of 2021’s Talented 12 class.

Shanique Borteley Alabi, Ph.D., Monte Rosa Therapeutics
Molecular matchmaker is designing drugs that break down badly behaving proteins.

Alaaeddin Alsbaiee, Ph.D., DuPont
Polymer pro is smoothing the way to superior silicon data storage.

Derya Baran, Ph.D., King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Solar power innovator is creating organic materials for cheaper, more efficient photovoltaics.

Patrick Fier, Ph.D., Merck & Co.
Manufacturing magician is creating chemical transformations to scale up drug syntheses.

Cesunica Ivey, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Air quality crusader is gathering information about our daily exposures to dangerous emissions.

Chern-Hooi Lim, Ph.D., New Iridium
Photocatalyst phenom is developing organic molecules that spur on light-powered reactions.

Hans Renata, Ph.D., Scripps Research
Chemoenzymatic conductor is using enzymes to accomplish exquisitely selective chemical reactions.

Emilie Ringe, Ph.D., University of Cambridge
Plasmonics pioneer harnesses the potential of magnesium nanoparticles.

Diego Solis-Ibarra, Ph.D., National Autonomous University of Mexico
Perovskite powerhouse is perfecting this family of sunlight-absorbing semiconductors.

Jesús Velázquez, Ph.D., University of California, Davis
Catalyst connoisseur is studying materials that could impact climate change or clean up water.

Katya Vinogradova, Ph.D., Rockefeller University
Proteomics path paver is using organic chemistry to glean information on immune system proteins.

Ziyang Zhang, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco
Chemical biology champion is toppling tough drug targets with novel approaches.

“We are delighted to present the 2021 class of C&EN’s Talented 12. This year is the seventh edition of the program and it continues to be an honor and a privilege to recognize some of the world’s greatest early-career scientists,” says Bibiana Campos Seijo, editor-in-chief and vice president of C&EN Media Group. “C&EN’s Talented 12 is an annual opportunity to take a look at the young visionaries and entrepreneurs who are taking the chemical sciences in new and innovative directions. The class of 2021 does not disappoint: Let’s celebrate and be inspired by the leaders of tomorrow.”

“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 Raymond Mercier, 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 Talented 12 will each give a snapshot of their life and research during a virtual symposium on Sept. 27 and 28, featuring keynote speakers Carolyn Bertozzi, professor of chemistry, Stanford University, and Malika Jeffries-EL, associate dean of the graduate school of arts and sciences at Boston University. Register to save the date for this free event here:

Photos of the scientists are available upon request by emailing

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Note: ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies.

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