Talented 12: Chemical & Engineering News announces its 2022 rising stars in chemistry

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2022 — Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), an independent news outlet of the American Chemical Society (ACS), has unveiled its annual “Talented 12” list. Presented by Thermo Fisher Scientific, this program highlights early-career researchers in the chemical sciences who are fearlessly tackling difficult global problems. These intrepid innovators in chemistry are featured in the July 11/18 issue of C&EN; read about the impressive class 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 gene editing to understand disease, using nanomaterials for sustainable practices, and implementing innovative technologies.

Below is the list of 2022’s Talented 12 class.

Adeyemi Adeleye, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
This environmental chemist develops nanomaterials to save contaminated soil and water.

Abigail Dommer, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
This molecular modeler wrangles billions of atoms to figure out how aerosols spread disease.

Maher El-Kady, Ph.D., Nanotech Energy and University of California, Los Angeles
This materials scientist sculpts graphene with light to solve energy storage problems.

Gabe Gomes, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University
This machine learning expert trains computers to develop intuition for chemical reactions.

Ming Joo Koh, Ph.D., National University of Singapore
This organic chemist uses common metals to shrink synthetic chemistry’s environmental footprint.

Alexis Komor, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
This base-editing ace develops tools to decipher how variations in our DNA might affect health.

Cate Levey, Blue Planet Systems
This climate-tech chemist engineers food and building materials to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Bichlien Nguyen, Ph.D., Microsoft Research
This IT innovator develops electronics that are environmentally friendly.

David Romney, Ph.D., Aralez Bio
This biochemist engineers enzymes to make amino acid derivatives for drugs with minimal waste.

Helen Tran, Ph.D., University of Toronto
This polymer designer creates biocompatible, biodegradable materials for sensors.

Alexandra Velian, Ph.D., University of Washington
This inorganic chemist builds catalytic clusters that perform new chemical tricks.

Weixue Wang, Ph.D., Scorpion Therapeutics
This assay inventor identifies drug candidates for targets once thought to be undruggable.

“2022 marks eight years of C&EN's Talented 12 and I could not be more proud of this year’s class. I truly admire these young scientists who, despite the uncertain times the globe is facing, remain determined to solve the world’s greatest challenges,” says Bibiana Campos Seijo, Ph.D.,  editor in chief and vice president of C&EN Media Group. ”With chemistry as their superpower, these rising stars have what it takes to improve people’s lives and the health of our planet. “

“The Talented 12 is an extremely exciting and important program that celebrates and provides exposure to the young scientists whose chemistry is making an impact on the world,” says Jon Balderstone, Global Market Development, Laboratory Chemicals, Thermo Fisher Scientific.  “Our partnership to support the Talented 12 is now in its fifth year and we are incredibly proud of our long-standing relationship with ACS and C&EN.  As the world leader in serving science, Thermo Fisher is committed to help the next generation of scientific talent bring chemistry to life. Our chemicals, reagents and materials help enable innovation in the laboratory and free up scientists to focus on life-changing discoveries.”

Can’t get enough of the Talented 12? Tune into the Talented 12 symposium on Sept. 19 and 21 to hear from the 12. They will talk about their path and their groundbreaking work. The symposium will feature keynote addresses from the 2020 ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize recipient, Zhenan Bao, Ph.D., on Sept. 19 and the 2016 Chemistry Nobel Laureate, Ben Feringa, Ph.D., on Sept. 21. Register at

Photos of the scientists are available upon request by emailing

Keep an eye out for next year’s Talented 12 in C&EN’s May 15/22, 2023, issue. Nominate someone for next year’s Talented 12 here:; submit by Jan. 17, 2023.

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