News

The Cleveland Section of the ACS has named Professor David Beratan the recipient of the 2021 Edward Morley Medal in recognition of his many contributions to the fields of computational and theoretical chemistry, to include the development of tunneling pathway and flickering resonance theories of biological electron transfer. The award highlights David's establishment of new schemes for molecular design, with applications to challenges in molecular bioenergetics, absolute stereochemistry assignment, materials discovery, and… read more about David Beratan to Receive the Morley Medal »

Congratulations to Chemistry major Logan Glasstetter, one of three recipients of this year’s Faculty Scholars Awards, the highest bestowed by Duke faculty on undergraduates! The award honors students for a record of innovative and independent research and scholarship. Logan, a double major in chemistry and biology, is conducting collaborative research with Professor Kathy Franz and with Professor Steve Craig in the NSF funded Monet Center. Logan’s primary research focus has been on the force-coupled behavior of salient,… read more about Logan Glasstetter Receives Faculty Scholars Award »

Chemistry major John Boom has been named a 2021 scholar by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. John is among 410 students awarded Goldwater Scholarships for the 2021-2022 academic year. The one- and two-year scholarships go toward covering the cost of tuition, fees, books, room and board.   The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,256 nominated mathematics, science and engineering students nationwide. Virtually all scholars intend to obtain a… read more about Chemistry Major Named Goldwater Scholar »

All four Duke University undergraduates nominated for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship have won the federally endowed award that encourages students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. Yasa Baig, John Boom, Grace Dessert and Anish Karpurapu are among the 410 students awarded Goldwater Scholarships on March 26 for the 2021-2022 academic year.  The Goldwater Scholars were chosen on the basis of academic merit from a pool of 1,256 natural science, engineering… read more about Four Duke Juniors Named National Goldwater Scholars »

Professor David Beratan, Dr. Peng Zhang, Mr. Jonathan Yuly and colleagues have won the 2020 Cozzarelli Prize for Physical and Mathematical Sciences! The Cozzarelli Prize is awarded annually to six Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences articles, one for each of the six classes of the NAS. It honors former PNAS Editor-in-Chief Nicholas R. Cozzarelli and recognizes the work of researchers who share his uncompromising scientific standards, his dedication to advancing scientific knowledge, and his… read more about Beratan Wins Cozzarelli Prize! »

Congratulations to our NSF Graduate Research Fellowship award recipients! These include 2nd year graduate students, Gigi Tutoni and Anna Truong, and two senior Duke undergraduates, Brittany Prempin and Xiaochen Du.  The NSF-GRFP is a highly competitive program that supports over 100 subfields.  This year's approximately 2000 fellowship winners were selected from a field of over 13,000 applications.  Also receiving Honorable Mention for their applications… read more about Four Receive NSF Graduate Fellowships! »

Recent work from the Ji (Department of Anesthesiology at Duke) and Derbyshire labs has led to the unexpected discovery that artesunate, a front-line antimalarial, confers protection against infection-induced sepsis and pain-like behavior in mice. Artesunate has been used for decades in the clinic, and while its potent anti-plasmodium activity has been widely studied, little is known about its interactions with host cells. While studying the possible role of the human orphan GPCR GPR37, they found that GPR37 agonists may… read more about Derbyshire Lab Making Strides Toward Treating Malaria »

Skyler Cochrane, jointly mentored by Drs. Pei Zhou and Jiyong Hong, has received the Jo Rae Wright Fellowship for Outstanding Women in Science! The fellowship, created in memory of former Dean of the Graduate School, is funded through an endowment given in her name to recognize two Ph.D. students—one in the biomedical sciences and one in the natural sciences—whose research shows particular creativity and promise. Skyler will receive a monetary award in recognition of her work developing and testing novel inhibitors of one… read more about Skyler Cochrane Receives Graduate Fellowship Award! »

Professor Emily Derbyshire has been named a 2021 Sloan Research Fellow! The award recognizes Emily's study in Malaria and her search for new druggable targets that can prevent infection.  “I’m honored, humbled and surprised,” Derbyshire said. “They recognize really outstanding people in really diverse fields, so it feels special to be among that group.” Read more about Emily's journey to a Sloan Fellowship in Duke Today. read more about Emily Derbyshire Receives 2021 Sloan Fellowship »

Congratulations to Prof. Amanda Hargrove! Amanda is the recipient of the 2021 Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize! Sponsored by ChemComm, the Prize is named in honor of the winners of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry & recognizes significant, original work in Supramolecular Chemistry! The 2021 Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize will be celebrated during two days of virtual sessions in July 2021 at 16th International Symposium of Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry. read more about Amanda Hargrove is the 2021 Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize Winner »

One is a chemist attempting to prevent malaria infections. The other is a mathematician working to understand one of the most mysterious problems in her discipline. Both were named 2021 Sloan Research Fellows. Emily Derbyshire, assistant professor of Chemistry and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and Jessica Fintzen, assistant professor of Mathematics, were among the 126 recipients of this year’s Sloan awards, which recognize early-career scholars “of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial… read more about Meet Trinity's 2021 Sloan Fellows »

The United Nations has declared February 11 the sixth International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Presently, less than a third of scientists worldwide are women, and only about a third of women in college are pursing STEM fields. How many more great, female minds are out there who might help solve the world’s problems? We’d like to celebrate the day, and Duke’s path-breaking women scientists, by sharing some highlights of their work over the last year.   Amanda Hargrove Duke chemist Amanda Hargrove identified a small… read more about Duke Celebrates Women and Girls in Science Day »

The Department seeks to complement our undergraduate instructional abilities by hiring a colleague with strong commitments to teaching and embracing a diverse and inclusive community of scholars. We invite applications for a non-tenure track Lecturing Fellow position to begin July 1, 2021. The candidate would develop and implement advanced physical and analytical laboratory curricula, train and mentor teaching assistants, and design and facilitate clear grading criteria. Additional responsibilities include developing safety… read more about Join Our Undergraduate Team! »

As educational institutions seek ways to enhance opportunities for students during the pandemic, the College Board has tapped five Duke University professors to provide recorded lectures to millions of advanced high school students around the world. The new lecture series, called “AP Daily,” offers free, online videos across a variety of college-level topics to students who are learning in person, remotely or in blended learning environments. Students can view the videos independently or Advanced Placement (AP) teachers can… read more about In Pandemic, Advanced Placement Turns to Duke Faculty for Help in High School Lecture Series »

DURHAM, N.C. – A Duke-led team of scientists has developed a bio-compatible surgical patch that releases non-opioid painkillers directly to the site of a wound for days and then dissolves away. The polymer patch provides a controlled release of a drug that blocks the enzyme COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2,) which drives pain and inflammation. The study appears Jan. 10, 2021 in the Journal of Controlled Release. When they started “We were making hernia meshes and different antimicrobial films,” said Matthew Becker, the Hugo L.… read more about Post-Surgical Patch Releases Non-Opioid Painkiller Directly to the Wound »

Next time you feel a time crunch at work, think of the one David Beratan and his colleagues at the Center for Synthesizing Quantum Coherence (CSQC) have. They measure their deadlines in picoseconds (ps) and femtoseconds (fs) — one trillionth and one quadrillionth of a second, respectively. The big hurry is because they are conducting basic science about how to design and control chemical reactions according to the rules of quantum theory rather than those of century-old classical chemistry theory, which describe the role of… read more about Using Quantum Rules to Move Chemistry into Uncharted Territory »

Eight Duke University faculty groups shared updates on the work supported by their 2019 Intellectual Community Planning Grants (ICPG). Although many groups’ plans were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, they logged a number of accomplishments and intend to further their collaborations. Big Data and Social Interactions Jillian Grennan (lead), Chris Bail, Ines Black, Ofer Eldar, Sarah Gaither, Sharique Hasan, Rachel Kranton, David Robinson The group held a kick-off event featuring Amir Goldberg of Stanford… read more about From Marine Medicine to the Economics of Education, Faculty Build New Collaborations »

Editor’s Note: This is part of an occasional series of essays by Duke faculty members whose normal fall 2020 class routines were disrupted by the pandemic. These essays will examine how faculty adapted. I teach Chem 101, and to give students a realistic laboratory experience this fall, I used a combination of simulations and at-home experiments using ingredients they might find in their pantry or the baking section of the grocery store. Students completed simulations during the first half of the semester for the… read more about For Chemistry Lab, Raid the Pantry for Raw Materials »

Congratulations to Chemistry major Xiaochen Du, one of three recipients of this year’s Faculty Scholars Awards, the highest bestowed by Duke faculty on undergraduates! The award honors students for a record of innovative and independent research and scholarship. Xiaochen, a double major in chemistry and computer science, is interested in using machine learning and automation to accelerate the search for materials to fight climate change. From materials science to biochemistry, Xiaochen's undergraduate years were all about… read more about Xiaochen Du (T'21) Named Faculty Scholar! »

A chemistry and computer science major seeking to further explore solutions to climate change. A first-generation college student who studies the connection between race, history and educational policy. An African and African American Studies major who translated her research into service helping others in Durham overcome racial barriers to housing and education. These are the recipients of this year’s Faculty Scholars Awards, the highest bestowed by Duke faculty on undergraduates and honors students for a record of… read more about Three Undergraduates Named Faculty Scholars for Outstanding Records of Research »

Congratulations to Professors Jie Liu, Bob Lefkowitz and David Mitzi! These chemists were once again named as Highly Cited Researchers by Web of Science, part of a select few who have been most frequently cited by their peers over the last decade. Our chemists are among an elite group recognized for exceptional research influence, demonstrated by the production of multiple highly-cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in Web of Science.  View the full list, including 34 additional Duke… read more about Chemists Do It Again! Three named Highly Cited Researchers in 2020! »

When Dean Valerie Ashby shows up as a guest in your class, sometimes she brings props. Zooming in from her dining room table one morning this October, she hoisted a roll of Kevlar threads toward the camera, questioning whether students were familiar with the material used to create bullet-proof vests. A similarly-sized sample of Nomex came into view next, as she described its flame-retardant properties. “It is the same chemical compound,” said the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences leader, who is a chemist by training… read more about Classroom Drop-ins Build Connections with Students, Tackle Challenging Topics »

Dean Valerie Ashby & Dr. Holden Thorp led a discussion this week on "Leading Science and Education during the Twin Crises of COVID-19 and Racial Injustice".  If you didn't have an opportunity to join, please view it here. A special thanks to Duke Chem's NSF Center for Synthesizing Quantum Coherence for hosting this event.   read more about Dean Valerie Ashby Talks Leadership & Education in Times of Crisis »

A recent collaborative effort between the Derbyshire lab at Duke and Prof. Jacquin Niles’ lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered a mechanism that helps Plasmodium falciparum parasites survive hostile thermal conditions recapitulating malaria fever. The study shows that P. falciparum, the deadliest of the human malaria parasites, uses the lipid PI(3)P and heat shock protein 70 to stabilize the parasite’s digestive vacuole under heat stress. Read more about their discovery of this… read more about Derbyshire Lab Illuminates How Malaria Parasites Withstand Feverish Temperatures »

DURHAM, N.C. -- Even when a person suffering from malaria is burning up with fever and too sick to function, the tiny blood-eating parasites lurking inside them continue to flourish, relentlessly growing and multiplying as they gobble up the host’s red blood cells. The single-celled Plasmodium parasites that cause 200 million cases of malaria each year can withstand feverish temperatures that make their human hosts miserable. And now, a Duke University-led team is beginning to understand how they do it. Assistant professor… read more about Duke Researchers Discover How Malaria Parasites Withstand a Fever’s Heat »

ACTIVE FACULTY ROBERT J. LEFKOWITZJames B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Medicine  Robert Lefkowitz, M.D., has been a member of the Duke faculty since 1973 as a professor of medicine and a professor of biochemistry and chemistry. He won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, sharing the award with Brian Kobilka, who did postdoctoral work with Lefkowitz at Duke. The two were recognized for their work on a class of cell surface receptors that have become the target of prescription drugs, including… read more about A Look at Duke's Nobel Laureates »

The National Science Foundation has awarded Duke University a $3 million, five-year Research Traineeship grant to develop a program for graduate students to develop expertise in using artificial intelligence (AI) for materials science research. The aiM (AI for Understanding and Designing Materials), program will fill a vital workforce gap by training the next generation in the new convergent field of materials and computer science research. “To achieve the promise of the U.S. Materials Genome Initiative of accelerated… read more about Filling an AI and Materials Science Training Gap »

DURHAM, N.C. -- A study published this week in the journal Nature Communications offers some good news in the search for antiviral drugs for hard-to-treat diseases. Researchers have identified a potential new drug candidate against enterovirus 71, a common cause of hand, foot and mouth disease in infants and young children. The compound of interest is a small molecule that binds to RNA, the virus’s genetic material, and changes its 3-D shape in a way that stops the virus from multiplying without harming its human host.… read more about New Drug Candidate Found for Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease »