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Chemical & Engineering News "The Talented 12" Young Science Trailblazers
WASHINGTON, July 6, 2015 — A microbiome code breaker. A carbon dioxide (CO2) wrangler. A bug battler. These aren’t members of a new group of super heroes, but a sampling of “The Talented 12” young scientists and entrepreneurs that Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) magazine is highlighting in a special feature in today’s edition. C&EN is the weekly news magazine of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society.
“The Talented 12” includes profiles of a dozen of the best and brightest young researchers who are using chemistry to solve global problems. Among other things, this impressive group is seeking ways to synthesize molecules in a more environmentally friendly way, developing methods to curb global warming by removing CO2 from the air and investigating the biochemical underpinnings of diseases to help find cures.
Why 12? “We chose that number as a nod toward the scientists’ chemical roots,” says C&EN Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Wolf. “Like many things in chemistry, it all comes back to the mole, a fundamental unit of measure for chemists. The International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry defines it with respect to the number of atoms in 12 grams of carbon-12.”
Below is the full list, gathered from nominations from esteemed advisors and from nominees for the Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry. C&EN staff researched a list of the top candidates, interviewed their colleagues and conducted an intense evaluation session.
Emily Balskus, Ph.D., Harvard University
“The Microbiome Code Breaker”
Tobias Erb, Ph.D., Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Germany
“The CO2 Wrangler”
Karen Havenstrite, Ph.D., Harvard University
“The Soothe Seer”
Jacob Hooker, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School and the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital
“The Mind Mapper”
Kami Hull, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
“The Green Aminator”
Matt Kanan, Ph.D., Stanford University
“The Renewable Energy Reaper”
Luke Lavis, Ph.D., Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
“The Fluorescence Phenom”
Troy Lister, Ph.D., Spero Therapeutics
“The Bug Battler”
Matt MacDonald, Ph.D., Air Products & Chemicals
“The Oxidation Agent”
Denis Malyshev, Ph.D., Synthorx
“The DNA Amplifier”
Hosea Nelson, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
“The Bioactives Builder”
Brad Olsen, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“The Macromolecule Melder”
“Congratulations to the Talented 12. C&EN is proud to showcase these gifted young scientists and has high hopes for raising the profile of chemistry and this competition in the future,” says Bibiana Campos Seijo, editor-in-chief and vice president of C&EN Media Group.
The full feature is available at To nominate deserving scientists for next year’s “The Talented 12,” visit
Photos of the scientists are available upon request by emailing .
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 158,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
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