Summer Edition- August 1997
Volume 13, Number 24
Visit the Chemistry Department Website at http://web.mit.edu/chemistry/www/
Message From the Department Head
MIT Chemistry Campaign 2000 Renewal for the Future
Beginning in 1995, we undertook a major infrastructure renovation campaign - MIT Chemistry 2000. The $15 million dollar campaign for renewal will renovate 90,000 square feet of laboratory space, in buildings 2, 6, and 18, some of which has been unchanged since the 1930's. The three-phase plan, based on studies of current needs and future goals, includes the complete renovation of the central instrumentation laboratory housing advanced mass spectrometers (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) instruments. One of the world's most sophisticated facilities for laser-based chemistry research will be constructed this fall.
Mr. Richard Simmons, MIT Class of '53, Chairman of Allegheny/Teledyne and Head of our department Visiting Committee has made a $1,000,000 challenge grant, to be paid in full if other donors contribute at least $3 million within the three years. Additionally these contributions will be matched by the Institute, effectively generating $3 for every $1 dollar raised. With a $3 million nucleus fund, and $3.2 million raised toward the challenge from external sources, we are currently within $800,000 of our goal and are mobilizing to complete MIT Chemistry 2000 by the fall. I hope that we can call on your support for this priority in the 1997-98 academic year.
Pfizer Pledges To Support Establishment of Laboratories In Honor of Prof. George Büchi
Two $500,000 pledges from Pfizer Inc and the Pfizer Foundation announced in early June at the annual Chemistry Department Spring Party will enable the department to recognize and support synthetic organic chemistry. In separate grants in honor of Prof. George Büchi, Pfizer Inc (Central Research Division) and the Pfizer Foundation will be supporting the attraction of new synthetic faculty and the renovation of approximately 15,000 of the 90,000 sq. ft. of chemistry laboratory space targeted in the campaign.
"This is a tremendous boost for chemistry at MIT," said Stephen J. Lippard. "Through these grants, we will be able to continue to excel in the important area of organic synthesis. We are deeply appreciative of this investment in honor of George."
George M. Milne, Jr., Ph.D. MIT Chemistry '69, President of the Central Research Division, Pfizer Inc, said, "Synthetic chemistry lies at the heart of innovation in biomedical research because of its unique ability to transform more fundamental discovery into the molecules that actively probe specific biological hypotheses. Professor Büchi, through the breadth, scope and elegance of his contributions, provides an important exemplar of the opportunity accessible to the prepared and adventuresome mind." Under the supervision of Prof. Büchi, Dr. Milne worked on the biosynthesis of aflatoxins. Büchi's efforts (in collaboration with toxicologist Gerald Wogan) in the biosynthesis metabolism, structure, synthesis, and activity of the aflatoxins - toxic mold metabolites in contaminated food - is a milestone in toxicology and a major contributor to public health. A formal opening ceremony is planned when renovations are completed, anticipated for 1998-99.
Industrial Internship Program
Under the leadership of Prof. Jeff Steinfeld, the M.I.T. Chemistry Department 's Internship Program placed its first intern for the summer of 1997 at Sugen, Inc., and is moving forward to encourage graduate students to spend a brief period in the laboratory of an industrial collaborator. Graduate students and faculty supervisors will have the choice of a number of companies and projects from which to choose, and individual faculty and students are particularly encouraged to propose additional possibilities based on their interactions with specific companies. A typical internship assignment would be three months during the Summer semester, although other times and duration may be considered. If you know of any opportunities for such internships, please contact Prof. Steinfeld at (617) 253-2545.
Spring Party Held at American Academy of Arts and Sciences
On June 13th, faculty and staff gathered at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge. The party coincided with the announcement of the Pfizer gifts to establish the George Büchi/Pfizer Laboratories of Synthetic Organic Chemistry in Building 18.
Professor Daniel Nocera Joins Department
We are delighted that Prof. Daniel Nocera has joined our faculty in July, from Michigan State University. Nocera is a physical-inorganic chemist whose research spans the disciplines of chemistry, engineering and biochemistry. He will be a guiding force in a new time-resolved laser spectroscopy facility which is being established as part of our MIT Chemistry 2000 renovation campaign. This state-of the-art research laboratory will enable important work to be carried out in biocatalysis of small molecules, environmental and processing chemical sensors, and new laser diagnostics of multi-component fluid flow.
Women Chemists Retreat at Talbot House
The Women in Chemistry graduate group held a weekend retreat at the Talbot House in Vermont last May which brought together seventeen MIT women chemists from all areas. Organized by Seble Wagaw and Myra O'Donoghue, the goal of the retreat was to lay groundwork for a supportive group to improve the quality of their graduate experience, and to provide a positive role model for future students. The weekend get-together was an opportunity to foster better communications and networking between women in the department while at the same time sharing information and research experiences between the different divisions. The retreat also allowed time for in-depth focus discussions and workshops in a relaxed and open environment. The group holds regular monthly luncheons during the year.
Welcome Incoming Graduate Students Fall of 1997
Simon Fraser Univ.
John Paul Cherry
Case Western Reserve
Univ. of Delaware
Univ. of British Columbia
Univ. of Ottawa
Nat'l Taiwan Normal U.
University of Penn
College of the Holy Cross
College of Wooster
St. Michael's College
National Taiwan Univ.
Seoul Nat'l Univ.
Moscow Inst. of Physics & Tech.
Univ. of British Columbia
Kudos for Chemists
Faculty members in the Department are the recipients of many awards and honors. Congratulations to all of them on their outstanding achievements!:
Prof. Robert Field received an honorary degree from Amherst College....Profs. Steve Tannenbaum and Mario Molina were elected to the National Institutes of Medicine.
Prof. Moungi Bawendi has been chosen as the W.M. Keck Foundation Professor in the field of energy, succeeding Prof. Sylvia Ceyer. The appointment recognizes his pioneering work in the field of nanocrystalline chemistry. He was awarded the School of Science Teaching Prize for graduate and undergraduate teaching for "his ability to communicate the elegance and beauty of the material to his students and to foster their sense of exploration and excitement both in the classroom and through individual discussions." Prof. Bawendi was presented with the honor along with two other School of Science professors at a surprise reception in Dean Bob Birgeneau's office. The Coblentz Society has chosen Moungi Bawendi to receive the Coblentz Award, which recognizes the achievements of an outstanding, young molecular spectroscopist under the age of 36. The award will be presented next June at a symposium at Ohio State.
Prof. Steve Buchwald was named holder of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Chair in Chemistry effective January 1st of this year. The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Professorship established by the Dreyfus Foundation in 1965 is one of the chemistry department's prestigious endowed chairs.
Prof. Sylvia T. Ceyer has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of her distinguished and continuing achievements in original chemistry research. The election of the sixty new members was held on April 30th at the 134th annual meeting of the National Academy. Election to membership in the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer. The NAS is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare.
The Academy was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation, signed by Abraham Lincoln, that calls on the Academy to act as an official advisor to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.
Profs. Christopher "Kit" Cummins and Gregory C. Fu have both been awarded Alfred P. Sloan fellowships. The two-year fellowships are awarded to young faculty members who have demonstrated great research potential in the physical sciences, economics, mathematics and neuroscience. The Sloan Research Fellowships were first established in 1955 to provide support and recognition to young scientists who were endeavoring to set up laboratories and establish their independent research projects with little or no outside support. Sloan research fellows are chosen from a highly competitive field of scientists from across the country - the selection of Professor Kit Cummins and Professor Greg Fu clearly indicates the high esteem in which their past work and future potential is held by their fellow scientists.
Prof. John Essigmann joins an elite group of teachers and scholars at MIT, including Chemistry Profs. Danheiser, Kemp and Silbey as a Margaret L.A. MacVicar Fellow. Prof. Essigmann was cited not only for his exceptional teaching but also for his innovative curriculum development - in particular, his creation (with Prof. Robert Langer of Chemical Engineering) of the subject "Biotechnology and Engineering" now one of the most popular subjects at MIT. The appointments were announced at the annual MacVicar Fellows reception and luncheon hosted by President Charles M. Vest and his wife Rebecca at the President's House on Friday, February 7th, and Provost Joel Moses made the formal presentation. The fellowship was established by MIT in honor of the late Margaret MacVicar who was MIT's first dean of undergraduate education.
Profs. Jamie Williamson and Gregory C. Fu have been awarded Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher/ Scholar Awards. The Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award program is designed to provide external support to young faculty members at early stages of their academic careers. Prof. Fu also received a Glaxo Wellcome Chemistry Scholars Award. The First Annual Glaxo Wellcome Chemistry Scholars Award is a two year unrestricted research grant awarded to exceptional young faculty in the fields of organic, bioorganic, medicinal or structural chemistry.
Prof. Daniel Kemp was the recipient of the Arthur C. Cope Award. The award, named in honor of the department's former long-tenured chairman, and established in 1984 under the terms of his will, recognizes outstanding research in organic chemistry. The award will be presented at the fall meeting of the ACS in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On June 16th, Prof. Satoru Masamune received the 1997 Fujihara Award, one of the most prestigious awards in Japan. The prize consists of ¥10 million (approx. US $80,000). Mr. Ginjiro Fujihara, the founder of the Japanese paper industry, created the Foundation which established the Fujihara Award in 1960. Every year, two scientists in any field of science are selected for recognition of their accomplishments. Professor Masamune joined the Department in 1978 and has made outstanding contributions in chemistry in general and in synthetic organic chemistry in particular. His major discovery is a powerful, conceptually new synthetic strategy for controlling relative as well as absolute stereochemistry with chiral reagents, now called reagent-controlled or double asymmetric organic synthesis. The new strategy changed the way organic chemists design organic synthesis and revolutionized the ability to efficiently synthesize systems of organic compounds including cyclobutadiene,  annulenes, and many others. Many elusive key species were fully characterized through special techniques. Professor Masamune's long-standing attraction to molecules of theoretical interest led him to synthesize new and unusual organometallic molecules involving ensembles of the main group elements silicon, germanium and tin.
Prof. Mario Molina, the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Sciences, was named in May as Institute Professor, a title reserved for scholars of special distinction. To become Institute Professor is a prestigious honor, bestowed jointly by both the Administration and the faculty to a colleague who has demonstrated exceptional distinction through a combination of leadership, accomplishments and service in the scholarly, educational, and general intellectual life of the Institute or the wider academic community. That person usually has made, and is expected to make, extraordinary contributions to MIT's intellectual and collegial life. There are usually no more than twelve Institute Professors at one time. Prof. Molina shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1995 for discovering the depletion of the ozone layer which the Nobel committee has termed "the Achilles' heel of the universe." His work has led to the first definitive demonstration of a truly global environmental effect of human activities - the chlorofluorocarbon-ozone depletion theory first presented in 1974. He was the principal author of the paper describing this theory, and was also principal co-author on a meritorious series of papers from 1976-86 that defined and refined the relevant kinetics of the compounds that act as "temporary reservoirs" for the free radicals responsible for catalytic ozone destruction.
Prof. Larry Stern has been selected to be the next holder of the Pfizer Inc-Gerald D. Laubach Career Development Professorship effective July 1, 1997 for a three-year term. The Chair was established by Pfizer in 1988 and renamed after Dr. Laubach in 1991 to acknowledge his illustrious 40 year career with Pfizer. Laubach received his MIT Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1950 and is a former President of Pfizer, Inc. The chair is established to provide an opportunity to identify and support promising MIT faculty members as they develop their careers in the fields of biology and chemistry.
Since January 1997 the following postdoctoral students, visiting scientists and graduate students have accepted positions or taken postdoctoral assignments at various companies and institutions.
Robert Batey of the Williamson group has accepted a postdoc with Prof. Jennifer Doudra at Yale
Maria Bautista from the Lippard group works in patent law technology with the firm of Wolf, Greenfield and Sacks
Douglas Birdi a former Stubbe postdoc is a research scientist at ArQule, Medford, MA
Hishashi Haga of the Garland group is a Prof. at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan
Tiecheng Qiao a former postdoc with Prof. Stubbe is now a research scientist at Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, NY
Wilfred van der Donk a former postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Stubbe is an Assistant Prof. at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Sophia Yaliraki a former postdoc with Prof. Silbey has taken a postdoctoral assignment at Northwestern University
Deryn Fogg a former postdoc with Prof. Schrock is an Assistant Prof. at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada
Jesse Lee a former postdoc with Prof. Schrock is a research scientist at Schlumberger in Houston, TX
Tricia Breen a former postdoc with Prof. Buchwald has accepted a postdoc at Harvard University with Prof. Whitesides
Daiankui Fu a former postdoc with Prof. Swager is a research scientist with Schlumberger Dowell in Houston
Jie Li a former postdoc with Prof. Danheiser has gone to Parke-Davis in Ann Arbor, MI as a research scientist
Jongmin Kang from Prof. Rebek's lab has gone to Scripps
Matthew Reding a former postdoc of Prof. Buchwald has accepted a postdoc at University of Tokyo
Gerald Shipps has gone to Scripps as a graduate student
Ross Widenhoefer of Prof. Buchwald's group is an assistant professor at Duke in Durham, NC
Edcon Chang of the Virgil group is a scientist at La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company in San Diego, CA
Bashir O. Dabbousi from Prof. Bawendi's lab has accepted a fellowship at Saudi Aramco in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Joan-Emma Shea from Prof. Oppenheim's group is a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute
Natasha M. Kablaoui a student of Prof. Buchwald has accepted a postdoc with Prof. Stuart Schreiber at Harvard
Michael Lawlor a student of Prof. Danheiser has accepted a postdoc with Prof. Ken Feldman at Pennsylvania State University
Cheon-Gyu Cho with former MIT Prof. Peter Lansbury has accepted a researcher position at Harvard
Shane Krska formerly with Prof. Seyferth is a postdoc with Prof. Robert Bergman, U-Cal Berkeley
Huey Ng a research assistant with Prof. Molina is a consultant with Environ-Chem Engineering & Lab
Brenda Palucki a research assistant with Prof. Danheiser is now a senior research scientist with Merck & Company in Rahway, NJ
Andrew J. E. Peat a research assistant with Prof. Buchwald is a senior scientist with Glaxo Wellcome in Research Triangle, NC
Zhonghua, Pei formerly of Prof. Masamune's group is a researcher at Abbott Pharmaceutical in Abbott Park, Illinois
Lisa Rosenberg from Prof. Bruce Tidor's group is now a fixed income and investment researcher with Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Florian J. Schattenmann a research assistant with Prof. Schrock is a research chemist at Colgate Palmolive in Piscataway, New Jersey
Mike Scott a former postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Lippard's laboratory has assumed a post as assistant professor at University of Florida
Linda S. Shimizu from Prof. Kemp's group is a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Essigmann
Kirsten J. Skogerson of the Stubbe group is a sauté chef at Pignoli in Boston
Elizabeth Trimmer a former research assistant with Prof. Essigmann is a postdoc with Prof. Rowena Matthews, U. of Michigan in Ann Arbor
Jie Wu a student of Prof. Stubbe is a graduate student at Stanford University
Michelle H. Fisher a teaching assistant with Prof. Virgil is a student at the Rabbinical School of Jewish Theology in New York
Cliff Z. Liu a teaching assistant with Prof. Oppenheim will be a first-year law student at Columbia Law School this fall
Toshirou Yagi a visiting scholar with Prof. Nelson has gone to Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan as a Prof.
Maite Beltran a visiting scientist with Prof. Lippard is a graduate student at the University of Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain
Christina Hahn a visiting scientist with Prof. Field is a graduate student with Paul-Scherren Institute Switzerland
Department Lectures for 1997-1998
Mark your calendars for 1997-1998 named lectureships! Check the chemistry website for updates on all the upcoming fall/spring lectures.
Wednesday, September 17, and Thursday, September 18, 1997
The Karl Pfister Lecture in Organic Chemistry
Professor Jean Fréchet, U. of California at Berkeley
Wednesday, October 22, and Thursday, October 23, 1997
The T.Y. Shen Visiting Lecturer in Biological Chemistry
Professor Gerald Joyce, Scripps Research Institute
Monday, April 20, Wednesday, April 22 ,and Thursday, April 23, 1998
The Arthur D. Little Lectures in Inorganic Chemistry
Dr. Claudio Bianchini of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (ISSECC-CNR) Florence, Italy
Monday, May 4, and Tuesday, May 5, 1998
George Büchi Lecture in Organic Chemistry Professor
Samuel J. Danishefsky, Columbia University
Congratulations to those awarded advanced degrees for 1996-1997!
John Battiste, 9/96: Ph.D.
Robert Bieganski, 2/97: Ph.D.
Ciaran Brennan, 6/97: Ph.D.
Edcon Chang, 6/97: Ph.D.
Philip Costa, 9/96: Ph.D.
Bashir Dabbousi, 6/97: Ph.D.
Linda Doerrer, 2/97: Ph.D.
Heidi Erlacher, 9/96: Ph.D.
Michelle Fisher, 6/97: S.M.
Aharon Gal, 9/96: Ph.D.
Joel Houmes, 9/96: Ph.D.
Natasha Kablaoui, 6/97: Ph.D.
Jongmin Kang, 6/97: Ph.D.
Kurt Kendall, 9/96: Ph.D.
Shane Krska, 6/97: Ph.D.
Melissa Kuchma, 6/97: Ph.D.
Michael Lawlor, 6/97: Ph.D.
Edward Licitra, 9/96: Ph.D.
Cliff Liu, 6/97: Ph.D.
Joanna Long, 2/97: Ph.D.
Lewilynn Lopez De Leon, 2/97: S.M.
Douglas Maus, 9/96: Ph.D.
Christopher May, 6/97: S.M.
Jill Mello, 2/97: Ph.D.
Erik Meyer, 9/96: Ph.D.
Robert Murry, 9/96: S.M.
Huey Ng, 6/97: S.M.
Manoj Nirmal, 9/96: Ph.D.
Brenda Palucki Gacek, 6/97: Ph.D.
Zhonghua Pei, 6/97: Ph.D.
Matthew Reding, 6/97: Ph.D.
Ann Sacra, 9/96: Ph.D.
Joan-Emma Shea, 6/97: Ph.D.
Linda Shimizu Szabo, 6/97: Ph.D.
Gerald Shipps, 6/97: Ph.D.
Theodore Trautman, 2/97: Ph.D.
Elizabeth Trimmer, 6/97: Ph.D.
Timothy Warren, 6/97: Ph.D.
Marc Wefers, 9/96: Ph.D.
Jonathan Wilker, 2/97: Ph.D.
Wei Wu, 9/96: Ph.D.
Sophia Yaliraki, 6/97: Ph.D.
Yongwu Yang, 9/96: Ph.D.
The Department plans to publish an expanded issue of Chemformation at least twice a year. It would be most helpful if you could report noteworthy news for inclusion in the next issue. We would also welcome your comments and suggestions.
Please e-mail to: (Linda Earle at) email@example.com
or mail to: Linda Earle, MIT Chemistry Dept. 18-390, Cambridge, MA 02139
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