FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 22, 2021

Chemical & Engineering News celebrates Black chemists and chemical engineers

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2021 — Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society (ACS), is celebrating Black chemists and chemical engineers with a special Trailblazers issue highlighting Black chemists who work across the fields of biotechnology, solar energy, pharmaceuticals and more. Guest edited by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) drug delivery pioneer Paula Hammond, Ph.D., this special issue showcases Black scientists, spotlighting their scientific passions and career accomplishments.

“In bringing into focus the unique lives of this set of accomplished Black scientists in chemistry and chemical engineering, it is my hope that we open the door to more frequent and constant recognition of our presence in the field,” Hammond wrote in her introductory remarks. “We have always been present in the sciences — but now more than ever, we must appreciate and acknowledge the presence of Black people and other people of color. We must find ways to continue to raise our voices and celebrate our work. As a nation, we all benefit from the huge talent gained when all are included in the science enterprise.”

Among the chemists and chemical engineers featured in the 2021 Trailblazers issue are Karen Akinsanya, Ph.D., of Schrödinger on AI-driven drug discovery; Oluwatoyin Asojo, Ph.D., of Hampton University on her calling to develop drugs for neglected diseases; Squire J. Booker, Ph.D., of Penn State University on the catalytic moments of his career; Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Connecticut on his twin passions for surgery and biomedical engineering; and Kristala L. J. Prather, Ph.D., of MIT on harnessing the synthetic power of microbial systems. 

“C&EN is thrilled to dedicate the 2021 Trailblazers issue to Black excellence in chemistry,” says C&EN’s Editor-in-Chief Bibiana Campos-Seijo, Ph.D. “We are proud to celebrate diversity and to have the opportunity to recognize these individuals for their distinguished contributions to their fields and their broader service to society.”

Black writers created all original content in the 2021 Trailblazers issue of C&EN, and all commissioned photos of the Trailblazers were taken by Black photographers. The print issue will release on Feb. 22.

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