CCHF Receives $20 Million Renewal from NSF

Center Director Huw Davies (right) in the CCHF lab at Emory.

Emory’s Center for Selective C-H Functionalization has received a five year, $20 million renewal from the National Science Foundation. The CCHF is part of NSF’s Centers for Chemical Innovation (CCI) program that supports research centers focused on major, long-term fundamental chemical research challenges. The CCHF aims to bring about a paradigm shift in the logic of chemical synthesis, one that has the potential to impact the construction of all organic molecules. The Center is headquartered at Emory, but has satellite centers at research universities across the U.S. and internationally including UC Berkeley, Stanford, Princeton, and Georgia Tech, among others. The CCHF also works with industrial collaborators, including Novartis, Merck, and AbbVie.

Center Director Huw Davies says, “We are very excited with this opportunity because we feel the momentum of the CCHF continues to build.   An Outlook of the CCHF has just been published, which summarizes what we have achieved so far and where we plan to go in the future.”

As with all CCI, the CCHF also has an outreach mission, seeking to share their science with the public. They are regular participants in the Atlanta Science Festival and sponsors of the Graduate School Prep Club. The CCHF has also pioneered the use of virtual symposia offering talks by researchers that take place at one institution and are simulcast to partner centers and the public worldwide, reaching thousands of viewers.

The CCHF is profiled in-depth in a recent article in ACS Central Science.

Congratulations to Dr. Davies and all Center staff, students, and faculty on this major grant renewal!

Milestones for the Hill Group

The Hill Group–led by Dr. Craig L. Hill– is celebrating as their paper, “Polyoxometalates in medicine” recently went over 1000 citations. This is the third paper by the Hill group to reach this significant milestone.  A fourth paper by the Hill Group on a new type of water oxidation catalyst, a critical requirement of artificial photosynthesis, will also reach 1000 citations soon.

The Hill Group had another opportunity to share their research with a broad audience this summer when Professor Hill was selected as the Global Initiative of Academic Networks lecturer in India. The GIAN program seeks to bring together researchers across the globe to promote international collaboration on a range of scientific subjects.  Professor Hill’s lectures targeted artificial photosynthesis, polyoxometalate science, and related subjects.

Further Reading:

Congratulations, Dr. Marika Wieliczko!

Marika Wieliczko defended her thesis, “Innocent and Non-innocent Countercation Interactions in Transition Metal Oxidation Catalysts” on Wednesday, April 5th, 2017. Marika’s thesis committed was led by Craig L. Hill with Cora MacBeth and Brian Dyer as additional members.

During her time at Emory, Marika was a founding member of SciComm, the graduate student science communications group. She was also an organizing member of the recent “Sickle & Flow” benefit concert that raised money for research into sickle cell disease.

Following graduation, Marika will be based in Washington, D.C. where she has a position in editorial development for the Royal Society of Chemistry in North America. Specifically, she will be working with the inorganic, nano, materials, and chemical engineering as well as general chemistry journals. 

Congratulations, Marika!


Chemistry Graduate Students Raise Awareness with Sickle and Flow Concert

Meet the New Graduate Class: Elaine Liu

Elaine Liu
Elaine Liu

Elaine Liu comes to Emory Oberlin College where she was an active member of the chemistry community—while also taking classes in psychology, sociology, history, religion, and beyond. Elaine has also worked with the organization Graduate Women in Stem (GWIS). A particular focus of her work with GWIS was a series of articles on the struggles of women and feminists in STEM fields published in the GWIS quarterly magazine. After college, Elaine spent a year as an au pair in Paris, France, giving her an opportunity to explore Europe, including meeting family living in Denmark for the first time. She is excited to begin her next adventure at Emory and has a particular interest in catalyst synthesis. In addition to her strong chemistry background, Elaine is an accomplished dancer. She minored in dance in college and previously danced up to 24 hours per week as a pre-professional. Once she is settled in to Atlanta, Elaine hopes to take dance classes with the Atlanta Ballet.

Divisions of Interest: Inorganic, Organic

Meet the New Graduate Class: Cameron Pratt

Cameron Pratt
Cameron Pratt

Cameron Pratt comes to Emory from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. At Hope, he had the opportunity to be involved in multiple research projects that sparked his love of chemistry as well as his interest in teaching at a primarily undergraduate institution in the future. This summer, Cam joined Emory as a summer rotation student in the Davies Group. He also became involved with Pi Alpha Chemical Society, helping stage demos for visiting summer camps. At Emory, he looks forward to getting excited about new research projects and learning more about teaching as a TA. Outside of chemistry, Cam enjoys theatre and improv and hopes to eventually start a graduate improv troupe at Emory.

Divisions of Interest: Inorganic, Organic, Physical

Meet the New Graduate Class: Dave Bruns


Dave Bruns
Dave Bruns

Dave Bruns comes to Emory from Vanderbilt University. Dave appreciated that Vandy—like Emory—offers “outstanding academics and great athletic programs that are not football.” After graduation, Dave worked for a year and he is excited to get back into the classroom. Dave says, “I chose Emory because the faculty were proactive in reaching out to me during the decision-making process and made it clear that they were concerned with developing me into the best chemist I can be. The beautiful new building also played a considerable role in my decision.” After Emory, Dave’s dream job would include teaching, whether as a research professor or lecturer.

Research Interests: Catalyst development, mechanistic and kinetic studies of catalytic conversions

Divisions of Interest: Inorganic, Organic, Physical

What makes Dave Unique: I once had a mullet that gave Joe Dirt’s a run for its money.


Meet the New Graduate Class: Tao Jin

Tao jin
Tao Jin

Tao Jin comes to Emory from the University of Science and Technology in China. He chose Emory for its research expertise and the opportunity to be inspired by the work of our PIs. Tao’s undergraduate research is in the synthesis and optimization of materials as well as some advanced knowledge of techniques in physical chemistry. His research interests include photocatalysis, energy materials, and nano-materials.

Divisions of Interest: Inorganic, Physical

Meet the New Graduate Class: Qiliang Liu

Qiliang Liu
Qiliang Liu

Qiliang Liu comes to Emory from the University of Science and Technology of China. He was attracted to Emory for its research excellence, particularly the work of Craig Hill and Tim Lian. In the first year, he is also excited about serving as a TA and getting involved in all aspects of the PhD experience. His research interests include light-driven hydrogen production, solar energy, and photocatalytic devices.

Divisions of Interest: Physical, Inorganic

Meet the New Graduate Class: Namkhang Tsamchoe

Namkhang Tsamchoe
Namkhang Tsamchoe

Namkhang Tsamchoe comes to Emory from Sarah Lawrence College. Before coming to the United States, Namkhang studied in India and in England. Namkhang chose Emory for the amazing chemistry faculty, the outstanding research facilities, and the new Atwood chemistry building. Her research interests include synthetic inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, catalysis, drug discovery, and organometallics and she is particularly excited to further develop her synthetic skills at Emory. One of her research goals is to find a more sustainable way of fixing atmospheric nitrogen. When she isn’t in the lab, Namkhang applies her love of chemistry to cooking.

Divisions of Interest: Inorganic, Organic, Physical

Meet the New Graduate Class: Dayna Patterson

Dayna Patterson
Dayna Patterson

Dayna Patterson comes to Emory from Houston Baptist University. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Dayna is the youngest of four siblings. She chose Emory because of its academic reputation as well as the facilities and the strong community—“when I visited Emory, I knew it was the perfect fit for me.” Dayna is excited to meet new people and explore the greater Atlanta area—and to get involved in research.

Divisions of Interest: Biomolecular, Inorganic, Theoretical