Friday, September 18, 2020

Have a good weekend


Well, we've made it through another one. Have a great weekend, and see you on Monday.

AbbVie CEO wants people back in the office

Via CNBC: 

A “critical part” of pharmaceutical company AbbVie’s success is “face-to-face” interaction, CEO Richard Gonzalez explained in an Aug. 27 email outlining its process for bringing thousands of U.S.-based employees back to work. 

Gonzalez said “cross-functional collaboration” was a cornerstone of AbbVie’s high performance, adding that employees needed to “preserve and nurture our culture so we can continue to accelerate, to climb higher and to help the next generation of patients.” 

All of that, he said, “means returning to our workplace,” according to the email viewed by CNBC. The company expects employees — even those who say they’ve been able to work from home just fine — to report to the office to foster creativity and innovation under its phased-in return-to-work plan, according to interviews with three current employees, anonymous complaints in public forums and internal company documents....

...Other drugmakers have announced flexible work-from-home policies. Novartis, for instance, has said its workers can return on-site voluntarily without any pressure to do so. Tylenol maker Johnson & Johnson is bringing employees back in “waves as it is safe to do so,” spokeswoman Lisa Cannellos told CNBC. The company declined to say when its return-to-work program would begin. Cannellos said it’s currently offering “flexible work arrangements for those who need it based on dependent care or underlying health conditions.”

Really depends on the office. If it's a scenario where an office (especially AbbVie!) can have access to plenty of tests, lots of good airflow analysis, plenty of masks and lots of social distancing, then... that might be all right. Returning to February 2020? That ain't happening any time soon...

Thursday, September 17, 2020

18 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there are 18 new positions for September 13.

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company list, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers.

Job posting: sales rep, Waters, Boston, MA:

Waters is seeking a dynamic contributor to fill the role of an Account Manager. This person will have the exciting opportunity to drive the sales of our full range of products and services, which include: Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography System, Mass Spectrometers, software, consumables and services for the Metro West Boston Region. 
The desired candidate should be highly self-motivated to develop and implement a territorial business plan, while working in unison with their assigned specialists and marketing colleagues in order to deliver a strong call cycle and business development activities. The foundation of the account manager's role is to develop a keen understanding of the customers' needs to design solutions with lasting and meaningful impact.
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Warning Letter of the Week: dirty homeopathic equipment edition

In an epistle from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to the CEO of Mayon's Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd in Maharashtra, India:
API Deviations 
1. Failure to clean equipment and utensils to prevent contamination or carry-over of a material that would alter the quality of the API beyond the official or other established specifications. 
Your firm manufacturers homeopathic in process materials and [redacted] from various raw materials. Our investigator observed unidentified debris in the [redacted] of your [redacted] equipment, which is used to process multiple raw materials for homeopathic [redacted], including [redacted] containing [redacted]. This equipment was marked as clean. 
Your response states that you filed a deviation and re-trained your staff. This response is inadequate because you failed to identify the observed debris and perform an impact assessment for the drugs that were manufactured using this dirty equipment.
There are API in homeopathic remedies? How do they test for them? What's the limit of detection?*

*I’m sure there’s some way

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 74 research/teaching positions and 7 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 74 research/teaching positions and 7 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

In 2020-2021, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On September 17, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 290 research/teaching positions and 7 teaching faculty positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread.

Discord for new chemistry faculty

Professor Nadia Korovina has created a Discord server for new assistant professors to talk. It can be found here: https://discord.gg/Fkk3jXv

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 17 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 17 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

From Dr. Josephson: This year we will try to utilize the list further by circulating among the professors, as well as using the hashtags #facultychemEjobs and #MeettheCandidatesChE2020.

The open thread is found here. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 40 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 40 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, September 14, 2020

"No German chemical industry recovery expected until 2022"

In this week's issue of Chemical and Engineering News, this short piece from Alex Scott:
VCI, Germany’s main chemical industry association, says the country’s chemical sector is on course for a 3% drop in production and a 6% decline in sales for 2020 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A return to prepandemic performance levels will not occur before the end of 2021, the association states in a financial report. In the first half of 2020, production and sales were down 2.5 and 6.1%, respectively, compared with the same period a year earlier. Below the headline figures, VCI highlights specific areas of concern, including a drop in plant-capacity use to 77.5% and a lack of orders at one in fourcompanies.  
Despite the negative outlook, VCI sees reason for optimism, with a member poll indicating that operational disruption caused by the pandemic is declining and that domestic and international demand is showing signs of picking up slightly. “We are seeing the first signs of recovery,” Christian Kullmann, president of VCI and chairman of Evonik Industries, says in a press release.
My gut feeling is that we're not going to see major layoffs from the chemical industry, but I can't imagine entry-level hiring keeping pace in the chemical (not pharma) industry. We shall see. 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Have a good weekend



Well, we've made it to another weekend. Have a great one, and see you on Monday. 

Chemical plant explosion in Palm Bay, FL on Tuesday

Via Florida Today:
The cause of several large explosions heard in the area of U.S. 1 and R.J. Conlan Boulevard at FAR Chemical, Inc. in Palm Bay Tuesday just before 11 a.m. is under investigation, but appears to have originated from an industrial storage area on site, fire and company officials said. 
The storage area contained 30 to 40 50-gallon barrels containing an isopropyl alcohol-based solution, said Palm Bay spokeswoman Keely Leggett. "The fire occurred at a material storage pad where flammable materials were stored and then spread to an adjacent building," said Joe Beatty, vice president and general manager of FAR. "No one was injured and all employees have been accounted for." 
The explosions generated a large cloud of black smoke visible for miles.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Professor Erick Carreira issues a statement of regret for the Guido Koch letter

Erick Carreira has been appointed the new editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Here's the news summary from C&EN, with the inclusion of a short paragraph about a letter to a certain Guido:
News of Carriera's appointment reignited debate over a letter he wrote in 1996 describing the long working hours he expected of those in his research group at the time. In a statement released Sept. 5 Carriera said "I regret writing this letter, as it in no way reflects my leadership approach today. . . . Whether I am leading a lab or leading a journal, I am committed to promoting a sustainable and positive cultural shift in our industry."
The full text of Professor Carreira's tweets follows:
A statement from Prof. Erick Carreira: 
“I regret writing this letter, as it in no way reflects my leadership approach today. I have made peace with those impacted by the letter. (1/3) 
In the decades since it was written, I’ve grown as a teacher, as a mentor, as a researcher and as a person. I am proud of the way I work with my colleagues and students and believe that a healthy work-life balance is now more important than ever. (2/3) 
Whether I am leading a lab or leading a journal, I am committed to promoting a sustainable and positive cultural shift in our industry.” - Erick Carreira (3/3)
It has literally been 10 years since this letter was first posted in the chemistry blogosphere, and I don't wish to replow this particular bit of thorny ground. I felt these statements from former students are relevant in terms of testifying to life in and around the Carreira lab, and that this letter seems at least a bit of an anomaly.

I do think it is very likely that senior academics and administrators who select editors-in-chief of major publications were not aware of this letter's impact among chemists in the 2000s and beyond, who are far more plugged into life online than those who were trained in other times. This is not the only letter of its genre, but I think it's the emblem of a certain culture and a certain attitude within organic chemistry. I think that the letter took on a life and a meaning of its own on the internet beyond an interaction between a specific professor and a specific postdoctoral fellow, and it's bluntly clear that The Powers that Be were unaware of that.

As I noted this weekend, it would have been better if this letter were to have been repudiated openly and repeatedly by the broad chemistry community for the last 24 years. That we have a statement of regret from Professor Carreira now is a start. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 66 research/teaching positions and 6 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 66 research/teaching positions and 6 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

In 2020-2021, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On September 10, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 254 research/teaching positions and 7 teaching faculty positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread.

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 16 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 16 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

From Dr. Josephson: This year we will try to utilize the list further by circulating among the professors, as well as using the hashtags #facultychemEjobs and #MeettheCandidatesChE2020.

The open thread is found here. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 40 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 40 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Friday, September 4, 2020

Have a good weekend



Well, I have a new car, so all is not lost. We made it through yet another week. I hope you have a good weekend. 

94 year old chemist learns his compound went into the clinic

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - A former Texas A&M University chemist received a letter in the mail that surprised him. It was addressed to him and came all the way from Japan. As Ralph Zingaro opened the letter and began reading, he said he realized receiving it was no mistake. 
A compound that Zingaro helped create at a Texas A&M lab half a century ago, is being used to cure a specific kind of cancer through clinical trials in Japan. “My arsenic attached to the glutathione had passed all of the clinical testings and would be released soon as a cancer-curing agent for a particular kind of cancer. It’s called T-Cell Lymphoma,” said Zingaro. 
...According to a press release from Solasia, they named the compound Darinaparsin. The release says, “Darinaparsin is a novel mitochondrial targeting drug (organic arsenic compound) that has been developed for the treatment of various hematological cancers and solid cancers. This study was conducted as a multinational, multicentre, single-arm, open-label, non-randomized study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of darinaparsin monotherapy in relapsed or refractory patients with PTCL in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.”
To quote a favorite musical, "What is a legacy? / It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see." Glad to see Dr. Zingaro got to see this particular sprout.  

Thursday, September 3, 2020

31 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there are 31 new positions for August 29.

For the month of August, 117 positions were posted.

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company list, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Recommendations from former coworkers

Interesting article about DIY vaccine makers in the New York Times, with this beaut of a quote about one of the DIY scientists: 
...In the 1990s, Mr. Stine worked for Patrick Gray, a molecular biologist who contributed to the discovery of a hepatitis B vaccine and is now the chief executive of a biotech company. 
Dr. Gray said in an interview that the science Mr. Stine published at Icos, the biotech company where they worked together, was “sound” but that the young scientist had a penchant for making too much of too little. “Johnny was in a hurry to publish his work and advance his career,” he said. “We often insisted on more confirmation and more controls.”
 I probably wouldn't get any complimentary quotes from my former coworkers either...

DuPont published more in JACS than Caltech in the 1960s?

The scale of the change since the 1970s is huge—big businesses have retreated from research. In the 1960s, DuPont, the chemicals giant, published more in the Journals of the American Chemical Society than both MIT and Caltech combined. R&D magazine, which awards the R&D 100 to the hundred innovations it judges most innovative in a given four year period, gave 41% of its awards to Fortune 500 companies in its 1971 iteration and 47% in 1975. By 2006, 6% of the awards were going to firms in the Fortune 500. The great majority of these awards are now being won by federal labs, university teams, and spin-offs from academia. The lone inventor is back. 
This is reflected by declines in the shares of patents going to the biggest businesses, and in the shares of scientists working there. In 1971 just over seven per cent of scientists in industry tracked by the US National Science Foundation worked in firms with under 1,000 employees; by 2004 this was 32%. In 2003 around a quarter worked at firms with fewer than ten employees. Even pharmaceuticals, the one area where large internal research labs are still significant, has been affected—around half of the drugs approved so far in the 2010s were originally discovered by small biotech startups.
I suspect there are a lot of changes as to why companies have slowed their publishing in the scientific literature. It's worth a read. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 61 research/teaching positions and 6 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 61 research/teaching positions and 6 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

In 2020-2021, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On September 3, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 216 research/teaching positions and 7 teaching faculty positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread.

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 15 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 15 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

From Dr. Josephson: This year we will try to utilize the list further by circulating among the professors, as well as using the hashtags #facultychemEjobs and #MeettheCandidatesChE2020.

The open thread is found here. 

Postdoc: Beyzavi Group, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

The Beyzavi Group in the Department of Chemistry/Biochemistry in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas is accepting applications for a highly motivated and hard-working Postdoctoral Fellow in Transition-Metal Based Catalytic Systems with the focus on utilizing Covalent Organic Frameworks (COFs). 
This project is interdisciplinary as we are interested to incorporate catalytically active metal complexes into COFs to address the current challenges in catalysis such as catalyst self-quenching or deactivation.  
This position involves organic synthesis of ligands, preparation and characterizing of transition-metal based complexes, testing their properties, catalytic activities and reporting results to the Professor Beyzavi. The position requires mentoring of junior researchers, manuscript preparation and submission of proposals for further work.
This initial appointment will be for one year, with expectation for renewal. 
Regular, reliable, and non-disruptive attendance is an essential job duty, as is the ability to create and maintain collegial, harmonious working relationships with others.
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 39 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 39 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.