Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Warning Letter of the Week: recycling consumables edition

A dispatch from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to the Managing Director of Claris Injectables Ltd. in Gujarat, India: 
1.    Your firm failed to thoroughly investigate any unexplained discrepancy or failure of a batch or any of its components to meet any of its specifications, whether or not the batch has already been distributed (21 CFR 211.192). 
Your firm invalidated out-of-specification (OOS) results without adequate investigation and scientific justification. Examples include: 
....In March, 2017, you obtained OOS results for the [redacted] impurity during stability testing of [redacted] injection batches [redacted]. You suspected the analyst may have incorrectly rinsed the HPLC vials. New samples prepared and tested by a second analyst using both the original column and a new column, as well as old and new vials, also yielded OOS results. Although you lacked sufficient evidence, your investigation concluded that the OOS results were due to sample vial contamination. You invalidated the OOS results after obtaining passing results from testing retain samples.
Rinsing HPLC vials??!?!?

(Someone who does science in the United States probably has no idea as to the constraints around consumables in the developing world. But still!)

Odd approach to peer review

Also in this week's C&EN, a pretty remarkable experiment from eLife (article by Katherine Sanderson): 
The life sciences journal eLife is trying out a radical approach to peer review. Rather than deciding whether to publish a paper after peer review, an editor’s decision to send a paper for peer review will be a commitment to eventually publish it. The trial is optional and aims to recruit 300 papers. In the trial, the editor and referees will agree on what they want authors to address.  
The authors can then make revisions, including more experiments; respond to criticisms; or withdraw the paper completely. The referee reports, editor’s decision letter, and authors’ response will be published alongside the final article. Reviewers can choose whether to remain anonymous.  
The aim is to give more power to authors, say eLife editors Mark Patterson and Randy Schekman in an editorial. They also hope it will strengthen the review process, with referees gaining a reputation for the advice they give. Observers welcome the trial with caution. Raghuveer Parthasarathy, a physicist from the University of Oregon, worries that journal editors sifting through initial submissions are given more power. “It may bias the system further towards flashy papers from well-connected authors,” he says.
This is a pretty interesting experiment, and it will be interesting to see if it produces anything sustainable... 

This week's C&EN

A few articles from this week's issue of Chemical and Engineering News:

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 30 positions

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 30 positions.

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

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

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

Please fill out the 2017-2018 Faculty Search Survey

In the interests of understanding the results of this year's academic recruiting, I have created an unscientific survey. I will be sharing results as they come in.

If you were a faculty candidate during the 2017-2018 academic year, please fill out this survey so we can get a better picture of the experience of faculty candidates this past year.

Please leave suggestions for improvements for the survey (and the List!) in the comments. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 25 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 25 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. 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, July 16, 2018

Chinese plant explosion kills 19

BEIJING — At least 19 people have been killed and a dozen injured after a chemical plant exploded in southwest China, engulfing the plant in flames and throwing a thick plume of smoke into the sky. 
The explosion erupted in an industrial park in Jiangan County, Sichuan Province, at about 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, the China News Service reported. Intense fires gutted a new-looking, three-story production building belonging to the Yibin Hengda Science and Technology Company, and windows of nearby buildings were shattered, a Sichuan news service said. 
“I heard an enormous explosion, enormous, and felt tremors,” Liu Ping, an official in charge of the industrial park, told a Chinese news website. “We’re now checking DNA to confirm the list of fatalities.” 
China’s grim record of accidents in factories and mines has improved in recent years, according to government statistics. They showed that 38,000 people died in work-related accidents last year, a fall of 12 percent from 2016.
Sounds like it was a methanol plant, which would offer plenty of risk of explosion. Best wishes to those involved. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Nitrile gloves

A list of small, useful things (links): 
An open invitation to all interested in writing a blog, a hobby that will bring you millions thousands hundreds tens of dollars joy and happiness. Send me a link to your post, and I'd be happy to put it up.

Have a good weekend!

Are you having more difficulty in sourcing chemicals?

"Finally, we have found the Lost City of Acrolein!"
Credit: cageclub.me
This was an interesting comment by Dan Singleton at Texas A&M about the difficulty of sourcing basic organic chemicals. (Recently, he had difficulty in ordering acrolein, which is a bit of a surprise.)

Here's a comment about the difficulty in sourcing lithium powder (isn't there a Collum prep about how to make lithium powder? Does Rieke sell that? Either way, I'd rather buy that than make it.)

I haven't noticed too much difficulty in ordering compounds these days (at least in the 100 gram range.) Now tons of compound? I think it's always hard.

What's been your experience with finding lab-scale quantities of typical organic chemicals? 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 121 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list (curated by Joel Walker and myself)  has 121 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions, but if you want to do the traditional "leave a link in the comments", that works, too.

Want to chat about medchem positions? Try the open thread.

Positions I'm not including: positions outside the United States, computational positions (this will likely change), academic positions (likely never.)

The Computational Drug Discovery Chemistry Jobs List: 20 positions

The Computational Drug Discovery Chemistry Jobs List has 20 positions. This list is curated by Joel Walker. 

15 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 10 new positions posted for July 9 and 5 positions posted on July 5.

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 175 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 175 positions.

Want to help? Here's a form to fill out.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Warning Letter of the Week: throw it all in there edition

A note from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to the General Manager of Foshan Jinxiong Technology Co., Ltd.: 
4.    Your firm failed to prepare batch production and control records with complete information relating to the production and control of each batch of drug product produced (21 CFR 211.188).
You lacked complete information related to the production and control of each lot. For example, you failed to have specific identification for each  lot of component, and production equipment, used in manufacturing. You also failed to have unique lot or control numbers for the distributed drug product. You provided our investigator with a list of more than [redacted] batches manufactured in 2017 that lacked this basic information.

In your response, you described your new lot numbering system and how you revised your production records. You also provided a copy of the revised production record.
Figuring out a way to accurately and robustly number manufacturing batches is a non-trivial task. Not numbering them at all is a pretty bold and simple solution! 

It's good to be Andy

Long-time Chemjobber bugaboo Andrew Liveris (and retired Dow CEO) had a few perks (article by Alex Tullo):
Dow Chemical will pay the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission $1.75 million for failing to report $3.0 million in perks to former CEO Andrew N. Liveris, who retired on July 1. Among the benefits, SEC says, were travel to outside board meetings, sporting events, and personal activities; club memberships; and a board membership fee for a charity. SEC says Dow didn’t have the right system in place for sorting out and reporting such expenses.
There's a software package I'd like to expense with my employer, maybe I could sneak a few Padres tickets in there too....

This week's C&EN

A few articles from this week's issue of Chemical and Engineering News:

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 18 positions

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 18 positions.

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

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

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

Postdoctoral position: Reed College, Portland, OR

From the inbox, a postdoctoral position: 
We invite applications for a postdoctoral position in organometallic chemistry at Reed College under the supervision of Dr. Miriam Bowring.  This research position focuses on organometallic mechanisms, synthesis, and catalysis. 
The postdoctoral researcher will develop homogeneous organometallic reactions with late transition metals for probing the causes and effects of large kinetic isotope effects. The position requires strong communication skills, since this work involves collaboration and supervision of undergraduate research projects.  Applicants with a desire to mentor undergraduates, work independently, pursue external funding, and become an active member of the Reed community are preferred.
Link to ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

Faculty position: Reed College, fall 2019, Portland, OR

From the inbox, a tenure track opening at Reed College:
Reed College is hiring a tenure-track chemist and we are interested in hearing from candidates with a broad range of background and training. 
Please apply or share our ads with anyone who has interest in well-supported research and teaching at an undergraduate level. We value diversity and encourage applications from underrepresented groups.
Link to ad here. Best wishes to those interested.

Please fill out the 2017-2018 Faculty Search Survey

In the interests of understanding the results of this year's academic recruiting, I have created an unscientific survey. I will be sharing results as they come in.

If you were a faculty candidate during the 2017-2018 academic year, please fill out this survey so we can get a better picture of the experience of faculty candidates this past year.

Please leave suggestions for improvements for the survey (and the List!) in the comments. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 25 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 25 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. 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, July 9, 2018

Colorado State biochemistry professor fakes job offer, gets caught

Via Twitter and Denver's local CBS station, quite the story out of Colorado State University (article by Mark Ackerman)
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – A former professor at Colorado State University is facing a felony charge for fabricating an outside job offer to improve his status at CSU. Professor Brian McNaughton, 40, ran the McNaughton Lab, a biochemistry research group at CSU. 
He is now charged with attempt to influence a public official, for presenting his employers with a fictitious offer letter from the University of Minnesota in order to get more money from CSU. 
The falsification was determined through a series of emails between leaders of the two schools. CBS4 obtained the conversations through a Colorado Open Records Act Request. 
“It is my understanding this letter is simply a fake,” wrote Dr. Dan Bush, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at CSU. “Needless to say we are shocked and dismayed that one of our faculty would fabricate such a letter to advance the status at CSU.” “Quite shocking indeed!” wrote Tom Hays, Professor at University of Minnesota. “I can confirm that I did not write, nor sign an offer letter to Brian McNaughton during my interim term (2014-2015) as Dean of College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota.”
McNaughton resigned his position at CSU. In a letter to the Dean, McNaughton apologized for an “enormous mistake.” He wrote that he got the idea to fake the outside offer from colleagues. 
“It was openly stated that multiple former CSU faculty (now either dead or no longer affiliated with CSU) lied about an outside offer as a mechanism to improve their salary,” McNaughton wrote. “I’m not excusing it, and I’m not excusing my own actions, but these factors are real.”
From conversations with professors at research universities, I have heard departments basically demand an outside offer before considering a pay raise. That said, I think this is reasonably common in many industries (particularly financially-related industries?). I imagine that the demanded raises are relatively large (greater than 10%?)

I do think it is interesting that this ultimately got caught - I wonder when that happened? I suspect that non-email conversations were how this was uncovered, i.e. one department member saying to a friend in the other one, "say, I heard you guys made Prof. McNaughton an offer?" and the response was "uh, what offer?

It's also interesting that Prof. McNaughton claims that faking outside offers was common - I would love to know the backstory on that claim as well...

UPDATE: Anon838 notes The Chronicle of Higher Education has McNaughton's letter. Might offer some insight into his state of mind.

Also, the article makes a vague comment about felony charges. Who is pressing charges? The university? 

Friday, July 6, 2018

I'll never eat chili again

Credit: Wikimedia
A recent conversation with a friend was about food in graduate school. They were pretty glad to be done with eating ramen and other various inexpensive meals.

What was your go-to meal? Mine was chili. I was a big fan of making a huge pot and freezing it and eating chili for two weeks or so. (Did I mention that I lived alone in graduate school?) 

This week's C&EN

A few of the articles from this week's issue of Chemical and Engineering News:

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 119 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list (curated by Joel Walker and myself)  has 119 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions, but if you want to do the traditional "leave a link in the comments", that works, too.

Want to chat about medchem positions? Try the open thread.

Positions I'm not including: positions outside the United States, computational positions (this will likely change), academic positions (likely never.)

The Computational Drug Discovery Chemistry Jobs List: 20 positions

The Computational Drug Discovery Chemistry Jobs List has 20 positions. This list is curated by Joel Walker. 

18 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 11 new positions posted for July 1 and 7 positions posted on June 26. 

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 168 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 168 positions.

Want to help? Here's a form to fill out.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day



It's Independence Day in the United States, which is a national holiday. We'll see you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Faculty position: Reed College, fall 2019, Portland, OR

From the inbox, a tenure track opening at Reed College:
Reed College is hiring a tenure-track chemist and we are interested in hearing from candidates with a broad range of background and training. 
Please apply or share our ads with anyone who has interest in well-supported research and teaching at an undergraduate level. We value diversity and encourage applications from underrepresented groups.
Link to ad here. Best wishes to those interested.

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 12 positions

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 12 positions.

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

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

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

Please fill out the 2017-2018 Faculty Search Survey

In the interests of understanding the results of this year's academic recruiting, I have created an unscientific survey. I will be sharing results as they come in.

If you were a faculty candidate during the 2017-2018 academic year, please fill out this survey so we can get a better picture of the experience of faculty candidates this past year.

Please leave suggestions for improvements for the survey (and the List!) in the comments. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 25 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 25 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. 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.