News

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,… 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… read more about Using Quantum Rules to Move Chemistry into Uncharted Territory »

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… 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! »

Duke’s leading scholars are once again prominently featured on the annual list of “Most Highly Cited Researchers.” Thirty-seven Duke faculty were named to the list this year, based on the number of highly cited papers they… read more about 37 From Duke Included in Most Cited List »

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… 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… 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 »

Jonathon Yuly likes scientific analogies. He loves the weird connections mathematical modeling makes visible—like the fact that models of magnetism can also be used to describe neural networks and the way birds fly as a flock. It was just… read more about PhD Student Solves 40-Year Bioenergetics Mystery »

Professor Weitao Yang delivered the Introductory Lecture at the Royal Society of Chemistry's Faraday Discussion “New Horizons in Density Functional Theory”. Professor Yang's lecture, “When the Density of the Noninteracting Reference System is not the Density of the Physical System in Density Functional Theory”, began the discussion earlier this week. As the Introductory Lecturer, Professor Yang set the scene for the discussion by providing a perspective on the state of the field. The Scientific Committee… read more about Weitao Yang Delivers Introductory Lecture at Faraday Discussion »

The Therien lab studied highly conjugated porphyrin arrays and incorporated proquinoidal linkers— small molecules that have closely aligned LUMO energy levels to the parent porphyrins arrays. They found that capping porphyrin arrays with proquinoidal moleculesarray preserves and enhances conjugation, resulting in a red-shifted emission, while also increasing the radiative rate constant, making these systems uniquely good NIR fluorophores. Read about this excellent work by Erin, Dr. Peng Zhang and former Therien lab members… read more about Highly Conjugated NIR-absorbing Fluorophores Display Extraordinary Absolute Fluorescence Quantum Yield Values »

The signs of change were all around: Students walking around campus wearing face masks, talking to new friends in distanced circles.  Socializing tents scattered around campus. Seminars in large rooms with seats spaced out. But the first day of classes also had much that was familiar. Students… read more about The First Day of Classes Start With Masks, Distancing and Vigorous Classrooms »

A paper just published by the Beratan Lab resolves a long standing puzzle in molecular bioenergetics.  A class of reactions that lies at the core of biological energy conversion - and underpins Mitchell’s Nobel Prize winning chemiosmotic hypothesis - had remained enigmatic for nearly 50 years.  Cursory analysis of these reactions suggested that they should “short circuit” and dissipate energy, rather than transduce it.  Jon Yuly, a Physics graduate student at Duke, working with Profs. Beratan and Zhang in Chemistry and… read more about One Universal Free-energy Landscape Supports Efficient Electron Bifurcation Reactions »

The Warren Lab has demonstrated a simple optical measurement method to evaluate the efficacy of masks to reduce the transmission of respiratory droplets during regular speech. In proof-of-principle studies, they compared a variety of commonly available mask types and observed that some mask types approach the performance of standard surgical masks, while some mask alternatives, such as neck fleece or bandanas, offer very little protection. Read about Dr. Fischer's findings in a recent issue of Science Advances,… read more about A Box, a Laser, a Lens, and a Cell Phone: Visual Proof that Face Masks Work in the COVID Fight »

Very commonly, molecules don't evolve simply under quantum mechanics-the evolution is interrupted by exchange or reactions. The study of this kind of coherent evolution in dynamic systems is at the forefront of many disciplines, but has been prominent in magnetic resonance for more than 50 years. However, the arguments that led to the theoretical formalism were motivated under incorrect assumptions. The Warren lab has recently reported on a complete re-interrogation of this problem, and has presented a corrected theory that… read more about Warren Lab Completely Reassess the Foundations of Chemical Exchange Models »

Professor Matthew Becker has been named as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society!  This designation is awarded to members who, in some capacity, have made exceptional contributions to the science or profession and have provided excellent volunteer service to the ACS community.  Chemistry alumnus Rudy Baum (C&EN, Retired) joins Matt as a 2020 Fellow. Congratulations!   read more about Becker Named ACS Fellow »