"Our group is interested in the chemical transformations that are relevant to feeding and fueling the planet. There are two efforts on this campus in artificial photosynthesis, and I participate in both."
Scientists and engineers around the world are working to find a way to power the planet using solar-powered fuel cells. Such green systems would split water during daylight hours, generating hydrogen that could be stored and used later to produce water and electricity. But robust catalysts are needed to drive the water-splitting reaction. Now Caltech chemists have determined the mechanism by which some highly effective cobalt catalysts work.
Caltech researchers have shown for the first time that a specific sugar, known as GlcNAc ("glick-nack"), plays a key role in helping cancer cells grow rapdily and survive under harsh conditions. The finding suggests new potential targets for therapeutic intervention.
Gregory C. Fu, a new faculty member and the Altair Professor of Chemistry at Caltech, uses his intuition and creativity to develop new chemical reactions that make chemical conversions more efficient—enabling organic chemists to convert reactants into their desired products in fewer steps or with higher yields than previously possible, for example. He talks about the creative aspects of organic chemistry, some of his current work, and making the move to Caltech.
Caltech chemists in the lab of Nobel laureate Bob Grubbs have developed a new class of catalysts that will increase the range of chemicals—from pharmaceuticals, insect pheromones, and perfume musks to advanced plastics—that can be synthesized using environmentally friendly methods.
Last fall, assistant professor of chemistry Long Cai received a New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—funding meant to both stimulate highly innovative research and support promising new investigators. Now, just nine months later, Cai has published the first results of his supported research.
When Caltech senior Arvind Kannan graduates on Friday, he will be one highly decorated Techer. During this academic year, the chemical engineering major racked up multiple honors that will support his graduate studies, including a Churchill Scholarship, a Hertz Foundation fellowship, and a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship.
Providing a possible new route to hydrogen-gas production, researchers at Caltech have devised a series of chemical reactions that allows them, for the first time, to split water in a nontoxic, noncorrosive way, at relatively low temperatures.
When scientists think about the replication of information in chemistry, they usually have in mind something akin to what happens in living organisms when DNA gets copied: a double-stranded molecule that contains sequence information makes two new copies of the molecule. But researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have now shown that a different mechanism can also be used to copy sequence information.
With $6 million of funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Caltech has established the Chemistry of Cellular Signaling Center. The new center will build on the Institute's successes at the interface of chemistry and biology, and will focus on determining how complex systems of molecules interact to create the pathways that regulate the lives of cells and allow them to respond to their environments.
With the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) well on its way to Mars, the newest members of its science team have been announced. Two Caltech professors—Kenneth Farley and Bethany Ehlmann—are among 18 researchers who have been selected as funded participating scientists on the mission.