August Research Round-Up

Congratulations to our amazing research teams here in the Department of Chemistry for their publications this month!


Blakey Group


Bowman Group


Brathwaite Group


Dyer Group


Evangelista Group


Kindt Group


Lian Group


Salaita Group


Wuest Group



Amy Solinski to Present at the ACS National Meeting

On the 25th of August, Amy Solinski will take the stage at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Diego to present at the Merck-sponsored Women Chemist Committee (WCC) Session. The opportunity is a wonderful recognition of Amy’s scientific excellence as well as her advocacy for women in science – she is a recipient of the 2018 ACS Georgia Section Women in Chemistry Scholarship, a member of the Georgia Chapter of the WCC, and a member of Emory’s Association for Women in Science (AWIS).

Amy Solinski’s contributions at Emory paint a picture of an engaged, curious, and creative scholar. From collaborations in the Wuest Lab and beyond to outreach with multiple organizations, she has had an impact on the Emory community. Her contributions to our community are made all the more impressive by the fact that, despite being a rising fifth year graduate student, she has only been at Emory for two years as of this June. She moved to Emory from Temple University with her advisor, Dr. Bill Wuest, when he joined the Emory faculty in 2017. Amy’s hobby of photography has had a visual impact on the community as well. Her work is featured on the Wuest Lab website, the Department of Chemistry website, and has been featured in multiple chemistry news stories.

In the Wuest Lab, Amy’s graduate research centers around the development of antibiotics derived from natural products. She uses chemical tools to study complex biological systems, specifically focusing on biofilm growth in the oral cavity. In fact, her manuscript, “Synthetic Simplification of Carolacton Enables Chemical Genetic Studies in Streptococcus mutans”, was recently published in ACS Infectious Diseases. This research will be the focus of her talk at the ACS meeting.

Amy appreciates the dynamic nature of the research in the Wuest lab. Although most of the research projects start with synthesis, they tend to branch out into medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, or other fields of chemical application. “You aren’t pigeonholed into one area of science,” says Amy. “If a project takes you in a new direction, you are encouraged to continue in that direction.” Fortunately, her lab members are keen to collaborate and, when she needed resources outside of her own lab, she was able to reach out to other labs. In fact, she has been a part of three separate collaborations so far!

When she isn’t spearheading collaborative research efforts, Amy is also a leader in the many organizations of which she is a member. For the AWIS Emory Graduate Student Chapter, Amy has served as the social networking chair, helping to plan networking events with other organizations. One event this last spring was a brunch social attended by members of the Georgia AWIS chapter, a few engineering organizations, and some members of the Georgia Tech community. As a member of the Georgia Chapter of the WCC, she has also helped manage communications efforts through social media.

Big things are on the horizon for Amy as she enters her fifth year. She has another manuscript soon to be published and has recently embarked on the search for a postdoc position. Although she is open to several possibilities, she is hoping to dive a little deeper into the realm of chemical biology. “I’m really into the idea of using synthesis and chemistry as a tool in biological systems,” Amy says. Her passion for research is matched by her passion for mentorship. Having mentored two undergraduate students and several younger graduate students, she is particularly interested in a career where she can provide one-on-one mentorship to students in a research setting.

“Research is hard!” says Amy. “Sometimes it’s hard to visualize the real impact, but persistence is key.” As she moves closer to the end of her graduate career, she is beginning to see the pieces of her project really come together. Amy is enthusiastic about her career trajectory, confident that she can reach her professional goals, and excited about her recent engagement! She is really looking forward to a bright and fulfilling future.

Department to Kick Off “Spectrum: Building a Fully Engaged Community in Chemistry” in September

Culture is created through our relationships with each other—and this includes the (re)creation of structural bias. Fostering diversity and inclusion is a key issue facing our community right now in 2019. Addressing diversity and inclusion together is an opportunity to establish stronger communication, transparency, and trust in our community as a potential path to making our culture more resilient and fully inclusive.

As a response to these challenges and opportunities, the Department of Chemistry is kicking off a year of programming titled “Spectrum: Building a Fully Engaged Community in Chemistry.” “Step One”, offered on September 6th and 7th, 2019, is a voluntary training that places chemistry’s current culture into the context of the history of our department and the discipline to facilitate a shared foundation for future work addressing diversity and inclusion. The training also orients participants to important concepts and vocabulary related to discussing and supporting diversity and inclusion.

All members of the chemistry community are invited and encouraged to participate in a “Step One” event. The schedule is as follows. Please click the link to sign up. Participation is free but an RSVP is required.

Friday, September 6th @ 9am (breakfast will be served)
Friday, September 6th @ 12pm (lunch wlll be served)
Saturday, September 7th @ 12pm (lunch will be served)

Each presentation will be the same, so community members can attend any one presentation that works best with their schedule. The training will  be led by Ed Lee III, the Senior Director of Emory’s Barkley Forum.

Prior to the training, community members are encouraged to respond to the climate survey distributed to eligible participants (current faculty, staff, and graduate and postdoctoral scholars) via email. The climate survey project is affiliated with Spectrum and seeks to be yet another resource in building a fully engaged community.

Questions? Please contact the Spectrum steering committee via communications liaison Kira Walsh (kwalsh6 [at] emory [dot] edu).

The Spectrum Steering Committee:

  • Ana Cheng, Graduate Ambassador
  • Bentley Gibson, “The Bias Adjuster” and Expert Consultant
  • Amanda Marie James, Director of EDGE, Laney Graduate School
  • Ed Lee, Emory Barkley Forum and “Step One” Program Lead
  • Onix Ramirez, Director of Operations, Liotta Group, Department of Chemistry, and Co-Founder
  • Kira Walsh, Communications and Outreach, Department of Chemistry and Communications Liaison/Co-Founder

Thank you to the Department of Chemistry and the Laney Graduate School for their support of Spectrum.

Welcome to the Fall 2019 Entering Graduate Class!

We are excited to welcome our 2019 graduate cohort to campus! This group of early career scientists is distinguished by their broad research experience and training, including summer REUs and participation in programs including:

  • National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science (GEM)
  • Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP)
  • McNair Scholars
  • NIH Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD)
  • NIH Post-Baccelaureate Research Education Program (PrEP)
  • NSF STEM Talent Expansion Program
  • Robert A. Welch Foundation Research Fellowship
  • Rotary Club Scholarship

Almost every student in the cohort has been a peer instructor for chemistry courses and many completed an honors thesis. Outside of the classroom, these scholars have pursued techniques relevant to chemistry via industry internships, training as a certified pharmacy technician, and beyond. They have conducted outreach in K-12 education, their universities, and the broader community. 

In recognition of their academic and research excellence, our new graduate scholars received generous support from highly competitive Laney Graduate School fellowships including:

  • 7 Centennial Scholars
  • 1 IMSD Fellow
  • 2 Laney Scholars
  • 2 Quayle New Student Awardees
  • 5 Women in Science Scholars
  • 3 Woodruff Scholars

Each of these students has their own story to tell and incredible potential to draw on Emory resources to forge an amazing scientific career.

Entering Class of 2019

Anna Blood
New College of Florida

Patrick Gross
College of Charleston

Kendra Ireland
Sam Houston State University

Noah Jaffe
Emory University

Ayanna Jones
Clark Atlanta University

Stacey Jones
Georgia State University

Christina Lester
East Tennessee State University

Kimberly Marroquin
University of West Georgia

Zakiria Mays
Georgia State University

Kirklin McWhorter
Auburn University

Yasir Naeem
Hunter College

Christian Sanchez
Pepperdine University

Gavin Smith
University of California, Santa Cruz

Sa Suo
Southern University of Science and Technology

Rachel Washington
Willamette University

We Are Hiring: Assistant Professor and Lecturer

We are hiring an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and a Lecturer to join our faculty! Both searches are now open and we are accepting applications through October 15th via the Interfolio application portal. Applicants are encouraged to submit all materials by September 15th to ensure full consideration.

Successful appointees will join the department during an exciting period of growth and help build our teacher-scholar model of excellence in both teaching and research.

We encourage interested applicants to view the full job descriptions:

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Lecturer, Department of Chemistry

The search committees are chaired by Dr. Brian Dyer (Assistant Professor) and Dr. Vincent Conticello (Lecturer). Applicants with questions are encouraged to contact  chemsearch [at] emory [dot] edu as a first point of contact for a swift response.

Department to Celebrate Spirit Week

What is spirit week?

In American elementary and high schools, “spirit week” is an opportunity for a school community to come together and celebrate. Often, the week is organized around an important activity like testing, the 100thday of school, a sports game, or commencement. Activities usually consist of a week of “themed” days culminating in a big event.

In August 2019, the Department of Chemistry will host our own spirit week to celebrate our new and continuing graduate students and to kick off a “Year of Celebration” in which our community will be encouraged to celebrate each other’s accomplishments. And of course, since we all love friendly competiton, our spirit week includes ways to collect points and win prizes!

When is spirit week?

Monday, August 26th, 2019 through Friday, August 30th, 2019

Who can participate?

All graduate students, postdocs, faculty, staff, and declared chemistry majors are welcome to participate! You can pick up a card to track your points. Prizes include a free t-shirt, your own pack of color powder for Friday’s “Color Game Day” and entries in a pizza party raffle!

What’s the schedule?

  • Monday: Emory Spirit Day
  • Tuesday: Twin Day
  • Wednesday: Rainbow Day
  • Thursday: Waldo Day
  • Friday: Color Game Day

Grab a card in the stockroom to keep track!

How do I track my points?

Use your card! We’re counting on the honor system for points, although there are a few activities that erquire you to post to social media to earn points.

Where do I get my prizes?

Prize pick up opportunities will be posted soon. There will be chances Tues-Thurs of Spirit Week!

Who is Waldo?

Waldo is a picture book character (“Wally” in England). He always wears blue jeans, a red and white striped shirt, a beanie hat, and glasses and carries a cane. He always finds himself in crowded situations and the readers of his books are tasked with finding him in the crowded pictures. Anyone can dress as Waldo for extra points!

Who is Super Waldo?

There will only be one Super Waldo. They will be wearing a cape to help you identify them.

What else do I need to know?

Tag @EmoryChem and #chemspiritweek when you post on social media! Have fun, get excited, and get ready to show your chemistry spirit!

Aaron Bosse wins ARCS Award

Aaron Bosse (Davies Lab) has recently been named an ARCS Award recipient. The award is given by the ARCS foundation to celebrate the exceptional promise of the nominee to make a significant contribution to the advancement of Science.

While earning his B.A. in chemistry at The College of the Holy Cross, he completed two years of research in the lab of Prof. Andre Isaacs. His research focused on developing novel methodologies using click chemistry and resulted in a first author publication in Synlett. Now, Aaron is serving as lead researcher on C–H functionalization methodology applied to total synthesis in the Davies lab, collaborating with multiple groups in the CCHF.  Before winning the ARCS award, he has received numerous other recognitions including the ACS DOC Outstanding Undergraduate award, Quayle New student award, Quayle Student Achievement award, and NSF GRFP Honorable mention. Outside of lab, Aaron loves spending time in nature, visiting craft breweries, and relaxing with his dog and cat.

Congratulations, Aaron!

July Research Round-Up

Congratulations to our amazing research teams here in the Department of Chemistry for their publications this month!


Bowman Group

Havenith-Newen, M., Schwan, R., Qu, C., Mani, D., Pal, N., Schwaab, G., … & Bowman, J. Observation of the low frequency spectrum of water dimer as a sensitive test of the water dimer potential and dipole moment surfacesAngewandte Chemie.

Conticello Group

Hughes, S. A., Wang, F., Wang, S., Kreutzberger, M. A., Osinski, T., Orlova, A., … & Conticello, V. P. (2019). Ambidextrous helical nanotubes from self-assembly of designed helical hairpin motifs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences116(29), 14456-14464.

Merg, A., Touponse, G., van Genderen, E., Zuo, X., Bazrafshan, A., Blum, T., … & Conticello, V. P. (2019). 2D Crystal Engineering of Nanosheets Assembled from Helical Peptide Building BlocksAngewandte Chemie.

Davies Group

Fu, J., Wurzer, N., Lehner, V., Reiser, O., & Davies, H. M. (2019). Rh (II)-Catalyzed Monocyclopropanation of Pyrroles and Its Application to the Synthesis Pharmaceutically Relevant CompoundsOrganic Letters.

Heaven Group

VanGundy, R. A., Persinger, T. D., & Heaven, M. C. (2019). Improved vibrational constants for BaCl+ X1Σ+. Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy, 111176.

Sun, P., Zuo, D., Mikheyev, P. A., Han, J., & Heaven, M. C. (2019). Time-dependent simulations of a CW pumped, pulsed DC discharge Ar metastable laser system. Optics Express27(16), 22289-22301.

Hill Group

Kaledin, A. L., Muthukumar, K., Hill, C. L., & Musaev, D. G. (2019). Effects of Surface Hydration on the Electron Injection Rate from Graphene to Anatase and Rutile TiO2 SurfacesChemical Physics, 110463.

Lynn Group

Grover, M. A., Hsieh, M. C., & Lynn, D. G. (2019). Systems Analysis for Peptide Systems ChemistryLife9(3), 55.

Musaev Group

Kaledin, A. L., Muthukumar, K., Hill, C. L., & Musaev, D. G. (2019). Effects of Surface Hydration on the Electron Injection Rate from Graphene to Anatase and Rutile TiO2 SurfacesChemical Physics, 110463.

Salaita Group

Salaita, K., Wongtrakool, C., & Galior, K. (2019). S. Patent Application No. 16/304,549.

Merg, A., Touponse, G., van Genderen, E., Zuo, X., Bazrafshan, A., Blum, T., … & Conticello, V. P. (2019). 2D Crystal Engineering of Nanosheets Assembled from Helical Peptide Building BlocksAngewandte Chemie.

Salaita, K. S., Schumacher, C., & Stabley, D. R. (2014). S. Patent Application No. 14/347,095.

Wuest Group

Solinski, A. E., Scharnow, A. M., Fraboni, A. J., & Wuest, W. M. (2019). Synthetic Simplification of Carolacton Enables Chemical Genetic Studies in Streptococcus mutansACS Infectious Diseases.

Korobeynikov, V., Borakove, M., Feng, Y., Wuest, W. M., Koval, A. B., Nikonova, A. S., … & Shagisultanova, E. (2019). Combined inhibition of Aurora A and p21-activated kinase 1 as a new treatment strategy in breast cancerBreast cancer research and treatment, 1-14.

Cheng, A. V., Kim, W., Escobar, I. E., Mylonakis, E., & Wuest, W. M. (2019). Structure–Activity Relationship and Anticancer Profile of Second-Generation Anti-MRSA Synthetic RetinoidsACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

Morrison, K. R., Allen, R. A., Minbiole, K. P., & Wuest, W. M. (2019). More QACs, more questions: recent advances in structure activity relationships and hurdles in understanding resistance mechanismsTetrahedron Letters.

Bill Wuest Named Leshner Fellow


Bill Wuest speaks to a reporter during the 2019-2020 AAAS Leshner Leadership Fellows orientation week.

Human augmentation. Sounds like the theme of a highly-rated, futuristic SciFi movie, right? In the realm of chemistry, however, the idea of enhancing human capability often guides some of the most impactful research. For example, research in the Wuest lab is focused on the development of new antibiotics inspired by nature. From identifying and synthesizing to characterizing and optimizing, researchers in the Wuest lab hope to improve upon natural products with the ultimate goal of commercialization. Because of their ability to alter the human microbiome, the therapeutic use of these antibiotics lends itself to improving the human function.

These research efforts recently earned Dr. Wuest the distinction of being named a Leshner Leadership Institute Public Engagement Fellow. The Leshner Fellow program was developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to train scientists to be more active in public engagement and government policy discussions. Each year, the program selects a theme that they deem to be of importance in the realm of public engagement. The theme of the year was Human Augmentation, which followed such past themes as Infectious Diseases, Food and Water Security, and Climate Change.

Leshner Fellows visit with staff in Rep. Bill Foster’s office.

As a Leshner Fellow, Dr. Wuest was given the opportunity to participate in a week-long orientation designed to facilitate issue-specific scientific communication and to encourage attendees to serve as leaders in public engagement. Instructional modules covered topics from video production and graphics to social media. “We met with a panel of journalists to learn how to engage with them about research stories we are working on,” says Dr. Wuest. “We received training in how to engage policy makers on Capitol Hill and create one page ‘drop sheets’. We also were instructed on how to give televised interviews and participated in one recording for the Leshner video.” In addition, the meeting provided a stage for attendees to initiate collaborations with other leaders in the field.

Fellows on Capitol Hill.

“The highlight of the week was our visit to Capitol Hill,” says Dr. Wuest. He met with staff members of the Senate Commerce Committee, The House Committee on Science and Technology, and with the office of Representative Bill Foster (D-IL), with whom he was able to communicate his passion for graduate student training and the need for diversity and inclusion in the sciences (the current focus of two bills in Congress). “I focused my pitch on the specific training of graduate students through an increase in federal funding to fellowships and training grants as opposed to directly to the PI, which is the primary mode of funding graduate students currently,” he explains. This concept is also the topic of an op-ed that he is co-writing with 4 other fellows.

At the end of the orientation week, Dr. Wuest walked away with answers to such questions as “How do you engage writers and editors?”, “What is the best approach to impacting policy?”, and “What is the best way to make institutional change within your organization?”. Moreover, each fellow was guided towards developing and implementing two engagement plans for the upcoming year. For Dr. Wuest, the first plan is centered around educating the public on the issues of antimicrobial resistance and the development of new antibiotics. “My plan involves writing a number of op-eds to educate the public as well as organizing public forums around the topic,” he says. For his second plan, Dr. Wuest is focusing on the further development of a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at Emory University. This aim, he says, is derived from his relationship with the Georgia Research Alliance. In collaboration with Emory, this organization awarded him a Distinguished Investigator endowed chair when he moved here in 2017.

“The experience has made a significant impact on how I think about communicating my science and the reach I would like my findings to have,” says Dr. Wuest. He is already capitalizing on some of the training he received during orientation, having recently engaged with a number of journalists to help share his message. He had an interview with NPR regarding a recent publication that is set to air sometime this month, and he contacted Senator Isakson (R-GA) who currently has proposed a bipartisan bill, the DISARM Bill, which seeks to address the issue of antibiotic development in the private sector.

Beyond just sharing his interest in antibiotics and research, Dr. Wuest also hopes to inspire others to take a similar approach to communicating their own science. “I would encourage not only faculty but students as well to think more broadly about public engagement in all areas, whether it be social media, SciComm, writing op-eds, emailing local representatives, etc.,” he says. “Without public support, a lot of the science we do will not be possible.”

If you are a student interested in similar programs to the one described here, check out the AAAS Fellowships website!

To read more about the research in the Wuest lab, check out this article in Emory News.

2019-2020 AAAS Leshner Leadership Fellows

All photo credit to Mary Catherine Longshore, AAAS

Mallory Theis is a Reaxys PhD Prize Finalist

Congratulations to Mallory Theis (Heaven Lab) for being selected as a finalist for the Reaxys PhD Prize 2019 for her publication “Dative Bonding between Closed-Shell Atoms: The BeF– Anion“.  The prize, given by Elsevier, recognizes accomplished young chemists for innovative and rigorous research. It is considered the world’s most prestigious award for PhD students in the chemical sciences.

As a finalist, Mallory is invited to this year’s Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium, which will take place in Amsterdam on October 3 and 4. At the symposium, attendees get the opportunity to meet with other finalists as well as members of the Reaxys Advisory Board. In addition, students will have the chance to showcase their research during a poster presentation session.