Bernard L. Feringa, Laureate of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

pc600407-f9Congratulations to Bernard “Ben” L. Feringa, of the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, who shared the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Jean-Pierre Sauvage, of the University of Strasbourg in France, and Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, of Northwestern University in the U.S. They were rewarded “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.”

Dr. Sauvage was the first, in 1983, to create a catenane, a chain of mechanically interlocked molecular rings. Eight years later,  Dr. Stoddart built upon this by creating a rotaxane, a molecular ring threaded through a molecular axle.

Using these techniques, in 1999, Dr. Feringa was able to create the first molecular motor. This will allow for the development of new materials and sensors, and more. Read about possible applications of molecular motors in the 2011 Annual Review of Bioengineering.

Read Dr. Feringa’s article about molecular motors and light switching of surfaces in the 2009 Annual Review of Physical Chemistry.

MacArthur Fellows, Class of 2016

Our warmest congratulations to the 23 people honored this year by the MacArthur Foundation for “breaking new ground in areas of public concern, in the arts, and in the sciences, often in unexpected ways.”

Among them is Dianne K. Newman, a Microbiologist at the California Institute of Technology and of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is also an Editorial Committee Member of the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Dianne Newman
Dianne Newman, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, Caltech, Pasadena, CA, 09.08.2016.

Dr. Newman’s research in microbiology spans across disciplines, from geobiology to biomedicine: she and her group study bacteria that thrive in low-oxygen environments, such as bacteria that “breathe” arsenic or iron, as was the case in Earth’s early atmosphere. This work has taken them to study the metabolism of Pseudonoma aeruginosa, an opportunistic bacterium that thrives in mucus-filled lungs where oxygen is limited, such as those of cystic fibrosis patients. This could open the door to more effective treatment of these infections. Browse the articles she wrote for Annual Reviews here.

Another 2016 MacArthur Fellow is Bioengineer Rebecca Richards-Kortum, of Rice University.

Rebecca Richards-Kortum
Rebecca Richards-Kortum, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, BioScience Research Collaborative at Rice University, Houston, August 31, 2016.

Dr. Richards-Kortum and her students create cheap and effective solutions that seek to redress imbalances in access to health care across the world. Their products have helped overcome challenges in the diagnosis of various types of cancers, but also for the care of premature newborns or babies with jaundice. Read her article for the Annual Review of Physical Chemistry here.

Photo credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.