Stanford Chemistry Newsletter
Winter Quarter 2018, Issue 3
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Professor Zare cooking a steak
Chemistry in the Kitchen: A Different Kind of Laboratory

“I’m not exaggerating. It’s one of the best things I’ve had in my entire life,” one student declares as he bites into a seared strip of steak cooked on a hot plate during his freshman seminar.

As the rest of the class chuckles softly, Professor Richard Zare reminds his students that the meat changed color due to an important chemical reaction. “There is a special name for this reaction called the Maillard Reaction, which is a form of non-enzymatic browning,” Zare explains. The Maillard Reaction is a reaction between amino acids and sugars that gives browned foods, like biscuits, toasted marshmallows and steaks, their unique flavor.

At first glance, it may appear that Zare is teaching a cooking class, but, in reality, he is leading a new science course for Stanford undergraduates titled Chemistry in the KitchenRead the full story.
Stanford Chemistry: Creating a Shared Culture of Respect

West Coast Theoretical Chemistry Symposium


McConnell Lectureship
Prof. Petra Schwille

Guthikonda Lectureship
Prof. Kenichiro Itami

Student Awards Ceremony

View all upcoming events.
Eric Kool
Hiding RNA Under a Chemical Cloak of Invisibility Could Help Reveal Its Secrets, Professor Eric Kool Finds  

Biologists do not know the purpose of about 90 percent of the RNA in living cells, in large part because RNA is so chemically unstable. A new method called RNA cloaking could help get the molecule under control.

Learn more about the new technique to hide the highly reactive molecule.

Bertozzi students in the lab
Bertozzi Lab Develops a Hassle-Free HIV Test 

Stanford researchers have developed a reliable, hassle-free HIV test – just what public health officials need to screen large numbers of people and head off potential outbreaks.

Learn more about the HIV test.

Lynette Cegelski and Wiriya Thongsomboon
Professor Lynette Cegelski Discovers New Cellulose That Could Have Applications from Energy to Medicine

Produced by plants, algae and some bacteria, cellulose is an abundant molecule involved in the production of hundreds of products. Now, Stanford scientists have found a new type of cellulose in bacteria with properties that could make it an improvement over traditional cellulose for fuels and other materials, or for better understanding and treating bacterial infections. Learn more about the Cegelski lab's discovery
Maria Dulay
Addressing Sexual Harassment in Chemistry: Dr. Maria Dulay Shares Her Story

The September cover story of Chemistry & Engineering News (C&EN), “Confronting Sexual Harassment in Chemistry,” shined a harsh light on the problem of sexual harassment in academia. Since its publication, Dr. Maria Dulay, referred to as “Nancy” in the C&EN story to protect her privacy, has bravely come forward to share her story of sexual harassment when she was a research scientist at Stanford. Read Maria's statement.
Carolyn Bertozzi
Chemistry World Profiles Professor Carolyn Bertozzi

One-time heavy rocker Carolyn Bertozzi has made a name for herself with hit papers and sound science. Sarah Houlton charts her path to success in Chemistry World.

Read the full story on Carolyn Bertozzi.

Michael Zhu Chen
Chemistry Student Michael Chen Named 2018 Rhodes Scholar

Michael Zhu Chen is one of five individuals with Stanford affiliations who will begin graduate programs at the University of Oxford next fall as Rhodes Scholars. Chen is a chemistry major whose research spans both biology and chemistry. He has investigated the neuronal basis of motivation and zeolite membranes as a promising technology for more energy-efficient gas separations. Learn more about Michael Chen.

New ChEM-H Building
Topping Out new Stanford ChEM-H Building

A new home for interdisciplinary life sciences at Stanford, set to open in mid-2019, reached an important milestone on Friday when workers put the building’s highest steel beam in place, an event known as “topping out.”

Located just across campus drive from the James H. Clark Center, home to Stanford Bio-X, the new facility will be home to Stanford ChEM-H and the Stanford Neurosciences Institute and will help to foster deeper collaborations across traditional academic boundaries. Learn more about the new building.

Undergraduate Students
Inspired by Professor Paul Wender's class, Stanford undergraduates start a popular science publication

In fall of 2014, chemist Paul Wender offered the introductory seminar Science Innovation and Communication. He had never taught a so-called IntroSem before, but after hearing about his colleagues’ fondness for these small classes for first-year students, he decided to create one focused on how science is conveyed to the public. Learn more about the class.
Cover of Science
Professor Matt Kanan's Research on CO2 Electroreduction Featured in Science

Bulk defects in a metal, such as grain boundaries, can create regions of increased strain at its surface that could affect its catalytic activity. Mariano et al. studied the electroreduction of CO2 to CO on polycrystalline gold films, a reaction that competes with H2 evolution. Learn more about the Kanan Lab's research.
Dr. Isaac Liu
Isaac Liu, PhD
Co-CEO and President
SunGen Pharmaceutical
1995 Graduate

When did you receive your Ph.D. and who was your advisor? My dissertation defense was in late 1995, and my thesis was on extended x-ray absorption of proteins. I did my research with Professor Keith Hodgson. It was probably one of the best memories in my life. I remember the environment, the weather, the diversity… Most importantly, this institution and Keith taught me how to think critically. His dedication to science and the freedom and guidance he provided influenced me for the rest of my life. Keith is a tremendous advisor and that is why, after 20 years, I have always kept in touch with him.
What was your first impression of Stanford? There was something magical about Stanford that attracted me immediately, and I knew from the moment I drove down Palm Drive that this was my school. One thing I learned from this institution and from Keith is to be open-minded. I have traveled all over the world and worked with people coming from many different cultures and backgrounds: the Europeans, the Asians, and the Africans. Certain cultures are highly disciplined, while others are more laissez-faire. Accepting different people and finding a way to work with them is the key to success. Stanford has a unique culture that values passion, dedication, and open-mindedness, which is important because when you are doing science, you do not know all the answers and you need to have imagination.

Read the full interview with Isaac Liu.

Electric Car Graphic
Ph.D. Student William Gent Discovers Path to Improving Game-Changing Battery Electrode

Electric car makers are intensely interested in lithium-rich battery cathodes that could significantly increase driving range. A new study led by chemistry Ph.D. student William Gent opens a path to making them live up to their promise.

Learn more about the study 

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