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January 2018 Meeting

New Bylaws Passed Unanimously
The January Meeting was held at Nova Biochem in Waltham. Nova is one of several companies that have hosted multiple NESACS section meetings in the last five years. This is a very valuable contribution by local companies and is greatly appreciated.
The January Meeting is special because the Annual Meeting precedes the regular monthly meeting of the NESACS Board. At the end of the Annual Meeting the Chair for the preceding year passes leadership to the incoming chair. Lee Johnson completed his year as chair and Mindy Levine replaced Lee as Chair and hosted the remainder of the meeting.
The speaker at the January Meeting is often the incoming President of the American Chemical Society. The 2017 ACS President, Alison Campbell, was guest speaker at the January 2017 Meeting. The 2018 ACS President, Peter Dorhout, was our guest speaker for this meeting. He gave an interesting talk about his passion for leadership and his pathway to ACS President.
At each table at the meeting was a copy of the old Constitution and Bylaws and a copy of the newly proposed Bylaws for the Section. Lee Johnson explained the reasons for the changes and the team who had worked on the new bylaws. He then conducted a vote of the NESACS members in attendance and the new bylaws were passed unanimously. These new bylaws were mainly enacted to allow electronic balloting in future NESACS elections. The new streamlined and updated bylaws are also more in line with current ACS practices than the historic “Constitution” and its bylaws.

Chemistry Is Showcased at the 2017
NESACS Process Chemistry Symposium
By Katherine Lee, Matthew Maddess, Steven Mennen, Erin O’Brien, Scott Plummer, and Stefanie Roeper
All photos by Katherine Lee
Over 200 people from over 50 different companies and academic institutions convened for a day of top-notch science at the annual NESACS Process Chemistry Symposium, held at Merck Research Labs in Boston, MA on October 12, 2017.
The symposium showcased 8 speakers who represented academic institutions from across the United States and biotech and pharmaceutical companies from the local scientific community: Stephen Buchwald, MIT; Timothy Curran, Vertex; Jamie McCabe Dunn, Merck; Steven Mennen, Amgen; Sarah Reisman, California Institute of Technology; Richmond Sarpong, University of California, Berkeley; Corinna Schindler, University of Michigan; and Jim Yang, Biogen.
The program featured real-life examples of process chemistry problemsolving from speakers from industry on
topics including process development of a bicyclic b-amino acid synthon, phosphoramidate prodrugs, a high complexity BACE inhibitor, and phosphorothioate oligonucleotides; and invigorating lectures by academic speakers on cutting-edge organic synthesis methodologies such as carbonyl-olefin metathesis and asymmetric hydrofunctionalization, as well as strategies for the synthesis of complex polycyclic alkaloid natural products. A new feature of the NESACS Process Chemistry Symposium in 2017 was the presentation of posters by selected students from local academic institutions.
In addition to delivering a powerful scientific program, the day-long symposium fostered many opportunities for attendees to interact with each other and for the representatives from symposium sponsor companies to connect with potential clients over breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks, as well as at a lively networking reception at the close of the day.
The 2017 NESACS Process Chemistry Symposium was made possible thanks to gracious financial support
from Amgen Inc., Biogen, Merck, Novartis, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Johnson Matthey, SK Life Science, Mettler Toledo, Laviana, PCI Synthesis, J-Star Research, Inc., Navin Fluorine, Strem Chemicals, Inc., Flamma, and Cambrex.
The 2017 NESACS Process Symposium Committee included Katherine Lee, Pfizer; Matthew Maddess, Merck; Steven Mennen, Amgen; Erin O’Brien, Biogen; Scott Plummer, Novartis; and Stefanie Roeper, Vertex. The committee would like to thank Merck for hosting the symposium, and dedicated individuals including Anna Singer, Jim Piper, Ashis Saha, and Ken Drew from NECSACS; Luigi Anzalone, Angie Angeles, and Suzie Opalka; and Johnny Bennet, LC Campeau, Tom Lyons, Aaron Sather, and Jeanne Callinan from Merck for
helping to make the symposium a success.

A Chain Reaction for Peace

This is a guest editorial by Zafra Lerman, president of the Malta Conferences Foundation, and Ben Margolin, a volunteer writer for the Malta Conferences Foundation

Given the tumultuous political situation in the Middle East, it is important - perhaps now more than ever - to foster new grassroots collaborations in the region. Imagine a room with Israeli, Palestinian, and Syrian scientists collaborating on regional issues while also building friendships. For many, this seems impossible. At the Malta Conferences, this is the norm.
The eighth Malta Conference (Malta VIII) was held Dec. 10-15, 2017, in Malta. Malta VIII had workshops that focused on chemical, biological, and nuclear security; air and water quality; sustainability of energy and materials resources; medicinal chemistry, organic and biochemistry, biophysics and biotechnology; science and technology education at all levels; and entrepreneurship and innovation. A total of 26 oral and 39 poster presentations were given in the workshop sessions by participants from the Middle East and Morocco. During the workshop on entrepreneurship and innovation, participants dove in and envisioned companies that would require cross-border collaboration. For example, Israeli and Gazan participants developed the concept of a start-up company, Every Drop Counts, for the conservation of water resources.
Every two years since 2003, top scientists from throughout the Middle East have come together to tackle regional issues despite the hostility among their governments. At the Malta Conferences, the goal is to create a critical mass of scientists to start a chain reaction for peace, to stop demonizing the unknown other, and to resolve regional problems. More than 600 Middle East scientists and 15 Nobel laureates are now in the network.
Politicians see national boundaries; the environment does not. Many aquifers in the Middle East are shared, and pollution knows only one sky. Therefore, no matter how polarized politics can get, there are many environmental issues that one nation alone cannot solve - only regional collaboration can truly have an impact.
Politicians see national boundaries; the environment does not. Many aquifers in the Middle East are shared, and pollution knows only one sky. Therefore, no matter how polarized politics can get, there are many environmental issues that one nation alone cannot solve - only regional collaboration can truly have an impact.
So at this year’s conference, a resolution concerning water quality in Gaza was drafted and approved overwhelmingly by the participants from the Middle East. This resolution, coauthored by scientists from Israel and Gaza, addressed the most critical aspects of the humanitarian water crisis in Gaza while calling on “the international community to establish a task force that will be able to overcome the political difficulties and will enable professional treatment of the water and environment.” As a result of the relationships developed at the conference, Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and Syrians were able to work together toward a common goal.
An Israeli participant said, “Do you know what it means for us to spend five days talking to scientists from countries that otherwise we would never have a chance to meet? We develop friendships and collaborations. Where else can we do it?”
The Malta Conferences continue to face a number of logistical challenges. One of the toughest is finding a host country that will issue a visa to all participants. There are scientists coming from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the Palestinian Authority, and Morocco. For Malta VIII, I [Lerman] was up at 3 a.m. before the conference began to ensure that Iranian and Syrian scientists would be able to attend. At the end, all invited participants received a visa. Other obstacles include securing all the funding needed for each conference and dealing with the lack of money to employ paid staff. All the fundraising and the organizing of the conference is done by volunteers who serve on the Malta Conferences Foundation Board of Directors.
Despite all obstacles and against all odds, the Malta Conferences continue to play a crucial role for science diplomacy in the Middle East.
  This article was reprinted with permission from C&EN; it originally appeared in the January 22, 2018, issue, p. 2. Ben Margolin graduated from Brandeis University in 2017.  

Chemists Celebrate Earth Week
Blue Wing of Museum of Science
Sunday, April 8, 2018, 11am - 3 pm

In 2018, CCED becomes CCEW and celebrates its 15th anniversary!

The theme for Chemists Celebrate Earth Week event this year is "Dive into Marine Chemistry”.        

We encourage teams to bring their own activities related to the current theme. If you don’t have one, please mention it on the sign-up sheet. We can provide you with activities.

Please complete the following online form by Feb 23, 2018. This would greatly assist me with ordering t-shirts for our science educators (volunteers). Please enter the Name of your Institution, Title of your activity, Name & e-mail of the contact person from your Institute, names of all the science educators from your Institute, number of t-shirts (+ t-shirt sizes) for your team members at this link:

Team leader, please e-mail me (and David: the following information by March 9, 2018
  1. Title of your activity
  2. Abstract
  3. List of chemicals to be used for the planned activity

We hope to have as many activities as possible at the Earth Day Event.

As the event is from 11 am - 3 pm, we need help with the set-up of activities at 10:30 am and help with the clean-up from 3 - 3:30 pm.  Please encourage your science educators to sign up between 10.30 am - 1 pm or 1 - 3.30 pm or 10.30 am - 3.30 pm. All the science educators will receive an Earth Day t-shirt.

Thanks for your continued support. 

Dr. Ranga 

NESACS and Salem State University

American Chemical Society
254th ACS National Meeting
Washington, District of Columbia
August 20-24, 2017
Councilor Talking Points; Summary of Governance Issues and Actions
Click to read full report ...

Inspiring Younger Chemists to become the Future of Science and Leadership
By: Caitlyn L. Mills, NSYCC Chair (
This past August, twenty-one young chemists and I embarked on an eye-opening, life-changing adventure through the SciFinder Future Leaders program. I first learned about this opportunity from a friend who had participated in the program in the past. The application process involved submitting a CV, a letter of recommendation, and an essay on one’s research and experience with SciFinder. Since I use the application often and wanted a behind-the-scenes look into how it was constructed and maintained, I decided to apply. This prestigious program brought together young chemists, not only with different scientific interests, but from different parts of the world. We were given the unique opportunity to learn the inner workings of the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) division of ACS as well as to develop our networks and careers (exponentially).
In the first portion of the program, the Future Leaders gathered at CAS headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, for a fast-paced week filled with workshops, focus groups, and fun! From day one, we were immersed in thought-provoking exercises that brought us out of our shells and closer together. We participated in workshops hosted by CAS staff members on communicating science through innovation, marketing, and presentations. Every session offered valuable information and transferable skills that every scientist can benefit from.
After a few days at CAS, we flew to Washington, DC, for a day at ACS headquarters before the start of the national meeting. While at ACS, we participated in a number of workshops and activities on authoring, leadership, communication, and the reviewing of manuscripts. This experience allowed us to interact with ACS staff as well as learn information directly from the experts.
Finally, the Future Leaders got to experience all that the national meeting had to offer. Many of us also had the opportunity to give poster or oral presentations; I was selected to give an oral presentation during the Graduate Student & Postdoctoral Fellow Symposium hosted by the Division of Biological Chemistry, where I spoke about my current research in protein function annotation using computational methods to predict the function of proteins, and testing these predictions biochemically. This research is crucial to bridge the gap between chemical biology and computational chemistry while providing an approach to functional annotation for wide applications, including drug discovery, alternative energy technology, biofuel production, and controlling antibiotic resistance.
I think I can speak for all of the Future Leaders when I say this program was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that taught us a great deal, not only about ACS and CAS, but also about ourselves as individuals and scientists. The program was intensive and involved long hours over a short period of time, and we all wished we had a little longer. We didn’t want the program to end, and we left with an enormous amount of information, unforgettable experiences, and friendships that will last a lifetime. Each person I met during this program, Future Leaders and members of CAS/ACS, inspired me both professionally and personally. I strongly recommend and encourage all chemistry Ph.D. students and postdoctoral researchers to apply for the SciFinder Future Leaders program. It has been one of the most pivotal moments in my career thus far. For more information, check the CAS webpage ( The application deadline for the next program will be in early 2018. If you would like to learn more about this year’s Future Leaders, check out the article in C&EN (July 31, 2017, pp. 40-42).
Since returning from my trip to CAS and the ACS meeting, I have fully taken over the chair position of NSYCC. At the meeting, we were honored to win a ChemLuminary Award for Outstanding Sustainability Activity for our Green Chemistry workshop that we co-hosted with UMass Boston and Pfizer last year. We also hosted our annual Fall Mixer night in September, which gave young chemists in the Boston area the chance to get together and network while enjoying some friendly competition through chemistry-themed trivia. On November 18, we will hold our Second Annual Fall Career Symposium at Boston University, which will feature workshops for younger chemists from the undergraduate to postdoctoral levels to engage them in resume and CV construction, cover letter writing, and confidence building; panels will provide expert guidance on career paths in academia, industry, and other professions. In addition, a separate program for undergraduates will be held at Bridgewater State University on November 29. For more information on these two events, check the NSYCC webpage (
The NSYCC is planning a number of programs for 2018 as well, including our annual Northeast Student Chemistry Research Conference (NSCRC) and hosting events during the Fall ACS National Meeting in Boston in August. I am very excited for all that NSYCC has to offer and to interact with other young chemists in the area!
Photo by Peter Carlton (CAS)

Editor’s note: Torsten John, a graduate student at the Leibniz Institute of Surface Modification, was a participant in the NESACS-GDCh German Exchange to Boston and New Haven (for NERM) in October 2013.


Approved Oncologic Drugs for Pediatric Use 2015-2017
By James S. Weinberg, Ph.D., Biophysics Assay Laboratory

The good news - the FDA has approved 4 new drugs with indications for pediatric oncological use and added them to the original list of 25 drugs published in October 2015 NESACS The Nucleus.
(See) 2015.pdf
Regulatory Approved Oncologic Drugs for Pediatric Use with Pediatric Dosing 2015-2017
Drug Oncology Drugs Approved - Indication
(tradename Unituxin)
Neuroblastoma in combination with GM-CSF and IL-2 and 13-cis retinoic acid
(tradename Blincyto)
Relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia
(tradename Kaytruda)
Microsatellite instability-high solid tumors
(tradename Bavencio)
Children 12 years of age and older with Merkle cell carcinoma
This brings the total in the last 64 years (since 1953) to 29 drugs approved (about one every two years). In the last two years the rate has improved to two drugs a year. All four new drugs are monoclonal antibodies: Dinutuximab is a monoclonal antibody that targets glycolipid disialoganglioside (GD2), expressed on neuroblastoma cells. Blinatumomab specifically targets the CD19 antigen present on B cells. Pembrolizumab targets the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) receptor. Avelumab targets the protein programmed deathligand 1 (PD-L1).
Our 2016 Weinberg Symposium speaker Mignon Loh was deeply involved in the successful pediatric clinical trials of Blinatumomab.

Photo by Sam Ogden

Thanks to major support from Members, contributors to Team Andrew Weinberg Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, and two major donations from Epizyme®, Inc., and Tufts’ Physician Assistants Class of 2018, we are proud to announce: James E. Bradner, MD, President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research will give the 21st Andrew H. Weinberg Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm which will be simultaneously web streamed at:
Final information will be in the October issue of The Nucleus, online at MassBio’s event page and online in Whitehead Institute’s Biology Week.
Donations are gratefully accepted at: http:/

2017 ACS Fellows Named
The ACS has named 65 members as ACS Fellows in the Class of 2017, who will be celebrated at the National Meeting in Washington, DC, in August.  Among them are four from NESACS.
Rick Danheiser
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Contribution to the science/profession: Developed numerous innovative and elegant methodologies, including the Danheiser Annulation, the Danheiser Benzannulation, and cycloadditions of highly unsaturated conjugated molecules for the synthesis of complex carbocyclic and heterocyclic organic compounds.
Contribution to the ACS community: Through for his sustained tenure as Editor-in-Chief of Organic Syntheses, he championed reproducible, independently validated, and practical procedures for useful synthetic transformations. Advocated compellingly for increased reproducibility in chemical research.
Arthur Greenberg
University of New Hampshire
Contribution to the science/profession: Recognized for service as journal founder/editor and college administrator and for contributions to the fields of polycyclic aromatics, focusing on analysis, hazards and metabolism, and structural chemistry, especially strained molecules and amides.
Contribution to the ACS community: Recognized as an author of books on the history and image of chemistry. Other contributions include public presentations, volunteer service on professional committees and boards, and educator and Project SEED mentor.
Katherine Lee
Pfizer, Inc.
Contribution to the science/profession: As an outstanding medicinal chemist, she has discovered four compounds that have reached Phase II clinical trials. At Pfizer, she led the chemistry team that discovered a first-in-class IRAK4 inhibitor.
Contribution to the ACS community: A leader in the Northeastern Local Section and the Division of Organic Chemistry, she introduced innovative programs to engage younger chemists and help all chemists advance their careers.
Irvin Levy
Gordon College
Contribution to the science/profession: Honored for significant contributions in advancing the field of green chemistry education, including expanding the community of green chemists, contributing scientific communications, and increasing student engagement.
Contribution to the ACS community: Recognized for excellence in service to the Division of Chemical Education (CHED), bringing in new, cross-Divisional programming to the CHED program and introducing relevant, green chemistry programming to the Division.
They join the more than 1,050 ACS members who have been named as Fellows since 2009 when the program began, including a total of 44 members of NESACS.
For a complete list of ACS Fellows, see <>

ACS Announces 2018 Awards
The following NESACS members have been named as winners of awards administered by the ACS for 2018.  With the exception of the Cope Scholars Awardees, these recipients will be honored at the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in conjunction with the 255th ACS National Meeting in New Orleans, LA.
ACS Award in Applied Polymer Science sponsored by Eastman Chemical: Paula T. Hammond, M.I.T.
ACS Award in Pure Chemistry sponsored by the Alpha Chi Sigma Fraternity and the Alpha Chi Sigma Educational Foundation: Mircea Dinca, M.I.T.
Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry sponsored by the Ronald Breslow Award Endowment: David R. Liu, Harvard University.
Arthur C. Cope Scholar Awards sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund: Emily P. Balskus, Harvard University; James P. Morken, Boston College.
Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry sponsored by Avantor™ Performance Materials: Aleksandr V. Zhukhovitskiy (Student), University of California, Berkeley and Jeremiah A. Johnson (Preceptor), M.I.T.
Also, the James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry sponsored by NESACS will be presented to Cynthia J. Burrows, University of Utah.
In addition, our Brauner Memorial Lecturer at National Chemistry Week will be honored:
James T. Grady–James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public sponsored by ACS: Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
All 2018 ACS Award recipients are listed here ...

Historical Notes
Marietta Schwartz Jean-Pierre Anselme Karen L. Piper
Christine Jaworek-Lopes Vivian Walworth Daniel J. Sandman
Arthur Obermayer Benedict Gallo Haig Markarian
Edwin Emerson Morse Claude Spencer Tommy Menino
David O. Ham Norman J. Hochella Bernard Siegal
Clarence Grant Leon Mir