Monday, August 2, 2021

NYT: Life sciences real estate is hot

Via the New York Times, good news for scientists:
But there is hope for anxious landlords: The life sciences industry, flush with cash from a record $70 billion of private and public capital investments in North America last year, is swooping in to claim that empty space.

Across the six largest U.S. life sciences markets, more than 20 percent of the laboratory spaces being built are conversions from offices. In San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Raleigh, N.C., asking rents for lab space have increased more than 60 percent since the beginning of 2016, while office rents have crept up only 15 to 30 percent.

As it has across a number of industries, the pandemic accelerated a trend that was already in motion.

“It’s been a wild 15 months,” said Austin Barrett, head of the life sciences division for the advisory firm Savills. “The office market and the lab market are a tale of two cities right now.”

This can't last forever, but it's nice to see. Best wishes to all of us.  

C&EN: Texas and Germany plant accidents kill workers

From this week's C&EN, two articles (by Cheryl Hogue and Alex Scott): 
Two workers are dead and two remain hospitalized after a pipe with pressurized acetic acid burst July 27 at a LyondellBasell plant in La Porte, Texas.

First responders helped 31 surviving workers undergo decontamination, Harris County Fire Marshal Laurie L. Christensen told reporters shortly after the accident. LyondellBasell says 30 workers were transported to the hospital for medical evaluation. Of these, 28 had been treated and released as of late July 28.

Hours before the incident, workers shut down the acetyls unit at the plant for planned maintenance, LyondellBasell says in a statement. About 7:35 p.m., a cap burst on a pressurized line of acetic acid, forming a chemical vapor cloud, a spokesperson for the Harris County Pollution Control Services Department tells C&EN. The vaporized acetic acid caused most of the injuries, the spokesperson says.

The two workers killed at the scene were contract employees, LyondellBasell says. They are Dustin Don Day, 36, and Shawn Andrew Kuhleman, 32, according to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.

The pressurized line spewed a mixture of acetic acid, catalyst, hydrogen iodide, and methyl iodide, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) says in an emailed statement. LyondellBasell says the accident released about 45,000 kg of this mixture, which consisted primarily of acetic acid...

Also, this bad news: 

Two employees were killed and 31 were injured after an explosion on Tuesday morning at Chempark’s chemical complex in Leverkusen, Germany. Five more people are missing. The complex is a major manufacturing hub for Bayer, Lanxess, and about 30 other companies.

The explosion occurred in a tank containing solvents in the complex’s waste-management center, which features a sewage system, a landfill, and an incinerator. Organic solvents are stored in containers at the center before being incinerated.

“The search for the missing is still going on at full speed. Unfortunately, the hope of finding them alive is dwindling,” Lars Friedrich, manager of the complex, says in a statement.

It is the worst chemical industry accident in Germany since 2016, when three maintenance workers died while working on pipelines at BASF’s site in Ludwigshafen. 

Terrible news. Be safe out there, everyone.  

Friday, July 30, 2021

Have a great weekend

 

It's been a quiet week of vacation for me. Hope you had a good week, and that you have a great weekend. We'll see you on Monday. 

44 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 15 new positions for July 29, and 29 new positions for July 24. 

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

Global organic chemistry job market link

 Via organic-chemistry.org, a link to the job market section. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Got a career dilemma?

We're soliciting questions for my column at Chemical and Engineering News. Please feel free to write me (chemjobber@gmail.com) if you have a career-oriented dilemma that you'd like me to write about in the magazine. Also, you can submit your questions with this handy web form. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 40 research/teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 40 research/teaching positions. 

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

On July 28, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 23 research/teaching position and 3 teaching positions. On July 30, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 71 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. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 343 research/teaching positions and 77 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 343 research/teaching positions and 77 teaching assistant professor positions. We will continue tracking until August 31, 2021.  

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 June 2, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 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 seventh open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 29 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 29 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, July 26, 2021

USA Today: labor shortage isn't a result of COVID deaths

An interesting fact check on a question that I wondered myself: is the current seeming difficulty for hiring workers about people who died during COVID? USA Today says no: 

There is currently no data counting the number of American workers who died of COVID-19. However, even the most conservative estimates rule out the possibility that deaths caused or significantly contributed to the current shortage.

One reason is that we know the virus was far more lethal for older Americans than for working-age Americans. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 596,740 people had died of COVID-19 as of July 12. Of this number, 75% were 65 years of age or older. And 57% were over 75 years of age.

Seventy-five is far above the minimum retirement age of 62 years and the full retirement age of 66 years and two months, at which retirees can claim full Social Security benefits.

For a very conservative estimate, we could assume all of the COVID-19 victims under 75 years of age were active members of the workforce. 

In that case, COVID-19 deaths would account for only 7.3% of the 3.5 million people who are no longer in the workforce.

That number drops to 4.3% if we take a more reasonable but still conservative approach, assuming that 20% of the people between 65 and 74 were still working, in line with a 2019 AARP survey.

Makes sense. I really like this little comment from a former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics: 

However, a "shortage" doesn't just imply a simple lack of workers or a lack of workers with the right skills. According to Erica Groshen, a Cornell University labor economist who served as commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2014-2017, it means that available workers are not willing to accept the pay and benefits of available jobs.

“I'm not a big believer in overall labor shortages,” she said. “When the price of a car goes up, we don't declare a car shortage…you always have to say (the shortage is) 'at the wages that the employers are offering.’"

I like the cut of her jib! 

Hydroxyethyl acrylate leak on Thursday at La Porte, TX Dow plant

Via the Associated Press: 
LA PORTE, Texas (AP) — An evacuation order has been lifted in an industrial area of a Houston-area city following a chemical release earlier in the week.

Dow Chemical said Thursday there’s “no longer a risk of community impact” in areas surrounding its chemical plant in La Porte, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Houston.

A tank truck trailer over-pressurized on Wednesday, causing the chemical hydroxyethyl acrylate to escape through a safety valve, officials have said. A shelter-in-place order was issued shortly afterward amid air quality concerns, but that order was lifted after monitoring found no issues.

The evacuation order had remained in place within a half-mile (0.8-kilometer) radius of the plant, but that was lifted by midday Thursday. Dow Chemical said late Thursday that the tank was isolated and the site was stable.

Glad it doesn't sound like anyone was hurt.  

Friday, July 23, 2021

Have a good weekend

Well, this was a busy week! I hope that it was a good week for you, and that you have a good weekend. See you on Monday. 

Dow, BASF earnings up in the second quarter

From C&EN, this article by Alex Tullo: 
Early results from two of the world’s largest chemical companies indicate that the industry is rebounding strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic and should maintain momentum for the rest of the year.
Dow is the first major chemical firm to post full second-quarter results. The company’s sales vaulted 66.2% versus the same quarter last year, the quarter most impacted by the pandemic lockdowns. Earnings for the period hit $2.1 billion, versus a loss of $189 million in 2020. Sales increased 42.2% in the first half of 2021, while earnings increased 1,134.0%.

BASF, the world’s largest chemical maker, posted preliminary results. Its sales increased by 55.8% in the second quarter and 33.0% in the first half. Earnings before taxes increased 942.0% in the quarter and 22.8% in the first 6 months.

In a conference call with analysts on July 22, Dow CEO Jim Fitterling boasted of the “strongest quarterly earnings performance in the company’s history.”

Dow’s largest segment, packaging and specialty plastics, saw a 78% sales increase during the quarter, mostly due to higher prices and strong performance in its petrochemical unit. Plastics sales volumes actually declined somewhat due to the lingering effects of the February freeze in Texas and planned plant maintenance. Dow’s other businesses, such as coating materials and polyurethanes, also posted strong gains.

This is continued good news for chemical employment, I think.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Got a career dilemma?

We're soliciting questions for my column at Chemical and Engineering News. Please feel free to write me (chemjobber@gmail.com) if you have a career-oriented dilemma that you'd like me to write about in the magazine. Also, you can submit your questions with this handy web form. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 33 research/teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 33 research/teaching positions. 

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

On July 21, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 18 research/teaching position and 3 teaching positions. On July 23, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 52 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. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 342 research/teaching positions and 77 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 342 research/teaching positions and 77 teaching assistant professor positions. We will continue tracking until August 31, 2021.  

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 June 2, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 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 seventh open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 27 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 27 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, July 19, 2021

Chlorine incident at Texas water park

Via the New York Times, a chemical incident at a theme park: 
Twenty-six people were hospitalized with breathing problems or skin irritation after they were exposed to bleach and sulfuric acid on Saturday afternoon at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown, a water park in Spring, Texas, the authorities said.

One person was in critical condition on Saturday evening, said Rachel Neutzler, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.

The authorities evacuated the park at about 3:30 p.m. local time.

Ms. Neutzler said investigators did not believe the exposure to the chemicals, which are used to maintain pH balance, had been the result of an intentional act. She said it had occurred in a shallow pool intended for children.

Scott Seifert, chief of the Spring Fire Department, said that the authorities had decontaminated more than 60 people by having them massage their eyes and wash off under the hose of a ladder truck.

Chief Seifert said the breathing problems had been caused by a combination of 35 percent sulfuric acid and 10 to 13 percent bleach.

Ms. Neutzler said that 39 people who had come into contact with the chemicals did not want to go the hospital.

Investigators were examining a system at the park that injects chemicals into the water to maintain a pH balance of 7. When the authorities arrived, they tested the water, and the pH balance was 7, said Lina Hidalgo, the Harris County judge.

Curious to know if there was a moment in which the system put too much acid in? Combination of bleach and acid would get you some hypochlorous acid pretty quickly... 

Advocates send letter on CSB

Via NJ.com, this news:  
While President Joe Biden has nominated three people to the independent board that investigates chemical accidents, supporters of the Chemical Safety Board said other steps also must be taken so the agency properly can do its job.

A letter from 22 unions, environmental groups and other advocacy organizations to Chair Katherine Lemos, the last remaining member of the board, called for more investigators, addressing the backlog of probes, publishing the names of those killed in accidents, and protecting unauthorized workers, who can provide needed details, from the threat of deportation.

“The information that they put out is used by the entire universe from industry to advocates,” said Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council, one of the groups signing the letter. “That’s why it’s still critically important that they’re able to fulfill their mission.”

The board is important to New Jersey, the 10th largest chemical producer in the U.S., whose $13.4 billion chemical industry is the largest manufacturing industry in the state, according to the American Chemistry Council.

A board spokeswoman, Sabrina Morris, said the agency was reviewing the letter.

The groups were not alone in expressing concern about the chemical board. Both Democratic and Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, led by its chair, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th Dist, asked Lemos in May whether a lack of staffing and board members has interfered with the chemical safety board’s operations.

Advocates said the changes they recommended could be made within the board’s existing $12 million budget. For example, the board now has only 12 investigators, the lowest number in recent years, according to the groups signing the letter, which also include United Steelworkers Union, National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, Union of Concerned Scientists, AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club.

 12 investigators seems a little low...

Friday, July 16, 2021

Have a great weekend

 

Hope you had a great week. I still have work to do, but... it'll get done. Hope you have a great weekend, and see you on Monday. 

Details of the Charles Lieber FBI interrogation

Via Law360, these interesting details of Professor Charles Lieber's interrogation: 
 A Harvard University nanotechnology professor fighting federal grant fraud charges said the agents who arrested him tricked and coerced him into making statements and ignored his request to have an attorney present. Harvard professor Charles Lieber — arrested shortly before dawn on Jan. 28, 2020, for allegedly lying on federal grant forms about his research and funding ties to China — said Monday federal agents ignored his request for counsel and then “unlawfully employed tactics of trickery and coerced involuntary statements” from him.

The professor, currently on leave from Harvard, wants a Massachusetts federal judge to suppress all statements he made after he asked for a lawyer, along with all evidence the government derived from that interview and the videotape of the three hours of questioning in the interrogation room at the Harvard University Police Department.

The filing does not state what Lieber told the agents during the interview. The government has not yet responded to the motion.

Presented by two federal agents with a Miranda waiver to sign, Lieber responded: “No, I understand my rights I guess. Um, yeah, I’m willing to sign this, but I guess I think probably I should have ah, an attorney,” according to a transcript in the court papers.

The professor’s attorneys said Lieber that morning was in physical pain from his battle with cancer, hadn’t eaten yet, and was “blindsided by federal agents who ransacked his office, arrested him and hauled him off for questioning.”

Lieber said the federal agent responded to his request for an attorney by repeating the Miranda warning until the professor waived his rights.

The agent, having understood the professor’s request, should have halted his questioning and asked the professor to clarify his request rather than interrupting him to confuse him into agreeing to waive his right to remain silent, Lieber said. “He had never been arrested before, and when the agent interrupted his request to read his rights yet again, professor Lieber believed he had no choice but to answer the agent’s questions,” the professor’s lawyers wrote.

Additionally, the agents misrepresented their investigation to Lieber, claiming it had to do with national security concerns about China and protecting him from Chinese intelligence agencies, according to the motion. Lieber’s attorney, Marc L. Mukasey of Mukasey Frenchman & Sklaroff LLP, said in a statement Wednesday, “This is a critically important case to Dr. Lieber, and also for the cause of academic freedom and good faith scientific collaboration. We will leave no stone unturned.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment Wednesday.
I am reminded once again of the words of Ken White of Popehat fame: 
You, dear readers, know my advice about talking to the FBI: don't. If the FBI — or any law enforcement agency — asks to talk to you, say "No, I want to talk to my lawyer, I don't want to talk to you," and repeat as necessary. Do not talk to them "just to see what they want." Do not try to "set the facts straight." Do not try to outwit them. Do not explain that you have "nothing to hide."

Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up.

If they can do this to the chair of the Harvard chemistry department, they can do it to me, and they can do it to you. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

28 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 6 new positions for July 13, and 22 new positions for July 10. 

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

Global organic chemistry job market link

Via organic-chemistry.org, a link to the job market section. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Got a career dilemma?

We're soliciting questions for my column at Chemical and Engineering News. Please feel free to write me (chemjobber@gmail.com) if you have a career-oriented dilemma that you'd like me to write about in the magazine. Also, you can submit your questions with this handy web form. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 26 research/teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 26 research/teaching positions. 

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

On July 14, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 12 research/teaching position and 3 teaching positions. On July 16, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 38 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. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

Job posting: one-year lecturer, general chemistry, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

From the inbox, a position at Case Western Reserve: 

We invite applications for a one-year full-time lecturer position. We are seeking candidates that are committed to excellence in undergraduate teaching, mentoring and service.  We are also seeking a candidate that is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment.  

Candidates with a PhD in chemistry and experience teaching first-year and sophomore-level undergraduate chemistry courses with demonstrated excellence in teaching are strongly encouraged to apply. 

A normal teaching load for lectures is two introductory courses per semester. The expectation for this position is to teach general and organic chemistry and laboratory courses with multiple sections.

The expected start date is Fall 2021

To apply please submit a letter of application, CV, summary of teaching experience, diversity statement and three confidential letters of reference should be submitted at http://apply.interfolio.com/89838 by July 26, 2021. 

Best wishes to those interested. 

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 341 research/teaching positions and 76 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 341 research/teaching positions and 76 teaching assistant professor positions. We will continue tracking until August 31, 2021.  

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 June 2, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 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 seventh open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 27 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 27 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, July 12, 2021

Research chemist/regulatory professional turned ceramic artist

Cool article in the San Diego Union-Tribune: 

It’s not an accident that Bounaud has explored new solutions to turning his abstract concepts into visual reality. The San Diego-based ceramic artist — born and raised in the Provence region, about an hour north of Marseille — had a longtime career as a research chemist with a Ph.D. in chemistry from New York’s SUNY Stonybrook. He moved to San Diego to work at the Scripps Research Institute and then at a biotech company.

“But I was getting burned out doing research and I needed an outlet,” Bounaud said. “I needed something else to take my mind off the pressure. My mom recently retired from being a schoolteacher and had taken up pottery and she would tell me about it. I had a chance encounter at the Hillcrest Farmers Market with a pottery teacher who had a booth there. She was teaching at the Educational Complex Center. I took her flyer and thought, ‘Why not try it?’ I did, and got hooked right away.”

Interesting how so many former bench chemists get their kicks out of creating in other media. 

Job posting: senior/principal scientist, protein engineering, Genentech, South San Francisco, CA

From the inbox, a position at Genentech: 

The Department of Protein Chemistry within the division of Large Molecule Drug Discovery in Genentech Research has an opening for a Senior or Principal Scientist to lead efforts on protein engineering of cell therapies. The Scientist will be responsible for discovery and implementation of new technologies, managing and developing a research group, and leading cross-functional project teams. They will be expected to work independently, but also integrate closely with project teams, to generate and communicate results that drive project decisions. The successful candidate will also be expected to author and contribute to high-impact publications related to their responsibilities, and present at scientific conferences annually.

For reference, it is expected that successful candidates will have 5-10 years of experience or academic training beyond their doctoral degree.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Job posting: Principal Scientist/Associate Director, Medicinal Chemistry, Proteovant Therapeutics, Philadelphia, PA

From the inbox, a position with ProteoVant Therapeutics in Philadelphia:

Reporting to: Head of Discovery Chemistry 

Key Responsibilities

  • Drive a medicinal chemistry effort in oncology or other disease area from hit ID through candidate selection
  • Co-lead a drug discovery project team with a biology colleague, driving scientific strategy & decision-making, target design & synthesis, lead optimization, and budgetary proposals
  • Develop creative solutions to challenging program issues
  • Supervise chemists at overseas CROs to expeditiously deliver high quality compounds for biological evaluation

 Requirements

  • Ph.D. in organic chemistry or related field with 4-8 years of experience as a medicinal chemist at a pharmaceutical or biotech company
  • Demonstrated success as a drug hunter with scientific contributions to advancing a drug discovery program from initial hits to a development candidate
  • Highly proficient in synthetic chemistry and medicinal chemistry. Experience with SBDD, FBDD, DEL, protein degradation, and/or other technology platforms is highly desirable

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.

Job posting: Director/Senior Director, Medicinal Chemistry, Proteovant Therapeutics, Philadelphia, PA

From the inbox, a position with ProteoVant Therapeutics in Philadelphia: 

Reporting to: Head of Discovery Chemistry  

Key Responsibilities

  • Drive medicinal chemistry efforts on multiple projects in oncology and other disease areas from hit ID through candidate selection
  • Co-lead each drug discovery project team with a biology colleague, driving scientific strategy & decision-making, target design & synthesis, lead optimization, and budgetary proposals
  • Develop creative solutions to challenging program issues. Contribute as a senior medicinal chemist to scientific problem solving for programs across the organization
  • Supervise chemists at overseas CROs to expeditiously deliver high quality compounds for biological evaluation
  • Supervise internal medicinal chemists

Requirements

  • Ph.D. in organic chemistry or related field with 8-12+ years of experience as a medicinal chemist at a pharmaceutical or biotech company
  • Demonstrated success as a drug hunter with significant contributions to advancing a drug discovery program from initial hits to a development candidate
  • Experience leading drug discovery project teams
  • Highly proficient in synthetic chemistry and medicinal chemistry. Experience with SBDD, FBDD, DEL, protein degradation, and/or other technology platforms is highly desirable

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Friday, July 9, 2021

Have a great weekend

 

I hope your (short?) week was great, and that summer is treating you well. Have a great weekend, and see you on Monday. 

What's your economy like?

Via chemistry Twitter, this interesting comment from a lab head at NIH: 

What is happening with chemistry in America? We're losing postdocs to pharma after less than 1 year in our med chem labs. Is the job market that hot in chemistry?

I certainly have seen an uptick in hiring behavior over these past few months. My best insights into the pharma/biotech market is seen via Organic Chemistry Jobs, and it's quite clear that hiring has not slacked at all in 2021. My admittedly very conservative take is that the industrial job market is "better than it has been for a while" and "much better than 2009-2014." 

Readers, what do you think? What's your sector, and how has it been?  

*as a normative position, I think PIs having difficulty hanging onto postdocs is a good thing, and the situation that PIs should be put in by the employment market for chemists. High wages and strong market demand (as measured by higher real wages and more benefits) for chemists in the United States and elsewhere is a good thing, perhaps the best thing. 

ODNI focuses on hiring more scientifically trained graduate students?

Via the New York Times, this comment about hiring in scientifically-trained students into the American intelligence community (in the midst of an article about scientific expertise being used by Director of National Intelligence
Faced not only with the immediate unsolved security questions, but also with the longer-term challenge of improving intelligence collection on climate change, Avril D. Haines, the director of national intelligence, has pushed agencies to more aggressively recruit undergraduate and graduate students with an extensive range of scientific knowledge.

“The D.N.I. believes that the changing threat landscape requires the intelligence community to develop and invest in a talented work force that includes individuals with science and technology backgrounds,” said Matt Lahr, a spokesman for Ms. Haines. “Without such expertise, we will not only be unable to compete, we will not succeed in addressing the challenges we face today.”

Will be interesting to see if this translates itself into more biologically/chemically-trained PhDs entering the employ of the Intelligence Community.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

87 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 30 new positions for July 7, 34 new positions for July 4 and 23 new positions for July 1. 

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

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Explosion in Thailand polystyrene factory

Via the Taipei Times, this news: 

A massive explosion at a Taiwanese firm’s chemical factory on the outskirts of Bangkok early yesterday killed at least one person, injured dozens more and damaged scores of homes, while prompting the evacuation of a wide area over fears of poisonous fumes and the possibility of additional detonations.

The fire broke out at about 3am at a foam and plastic pellet manufacturing factory just outside Bangkok near Suvarnabhumi Airport, with the explosion blowing out windows of surrounding homes and sending debris raining from the sky.

The explosion could be heard for kilometers and surveillance footage from a nearby house captured the bright flash and boom, followed by the damage to the property and the one next door from the shock waves.

The main blaze at the Ming Dih Chemical Co (明諦化學) factory had been brought under control by mid-morning, but an enormous tank containing the chemical styrene monomer continued to burn, disaster prevention official Chailit Suwannakitpong said.

Late in the afternoon, dense clouds of black smoke continued to billow from the site and helicopters tried to navigate close enough to dump fire retardant onto it, initially with little apparent success.

Authorities said 62 people had been injured, including 12 involved in the firefighting and rescue efforts, and one person had been confirmed killed.

Styrene monomer, a hazardous liquid chemical used in the production of disposable foam plates, cups and other products, can produce poisonous fumes when ignited.

I'll be honest, I didn't know that there was a polymer industry in Thailand, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 22 research/teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 22 research/teaching positions. 

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

On July 7, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 9 research/teaching positions. On July 9, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 24 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. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 341 research/teaching positions and 74 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 341 research/teaching positions and 74 teaching assistant professor positions. We will continue tracking until August 31, 2021.  

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 June 2, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 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 seventh open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 27 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 27 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, July 5, 2021

Independence Day

 

Monday is the observation of the July 4 Independence Day holiday in the United States - we'll see you on tomorrow. 

Friday, July 2, 2021

Have a good weekend!

 

Well, we made it. Hope you had a good week, and I hope you have a phenomenal weekend. See you on Tuesday. 

Well, that's a little... reversed

From Chemical and Engineering News, this news (article by Rick Mullin): 

WuXi STA, the small-molecule drug arm of WuXi AppTec, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical services firms, plans to build a plant in Middletown, Delaware. WuXi STA announced the project on Monday after the state of Delaware approved a $19 million grant supporting it.

Expected to open in 2024 and employ about 500 people by 2026, the project is a major step in WuXi STA’s international expansion effort. The business is based in China and operates several facilities there. In 2016 it opened a small facility in San Diego. Earlier this year it agreed to buy a Bristol Myers Squibb plant in Switzerland.

In addition to unspecified capacity for making active pharmaceutical ingredients, the Delaware plant will feature testing labs and facilities for packaging of solid-dose and sterile drugs. WuXi says its long-term plans call for creating 1,000 jobs at the site, which is being developed on about 75 hectares in an industrial region 50 km south of Wilmington.

“Delaware’s highly trained pharmaceutical manufacturing workforce and proximity to many of our customers provide tremendous opportunities to support the region’s economic growth and efforts to advance pharmaceutical development and manufacturing,” WuXi STA CEO Minzhang Chen says in a press release.

By further expanding outside of China, WuXi STA is following the lead of other WuXi AppTec businesses. WuXi AppTec opened an immunotherapy facility in Philadelphia in 2014 and earlier this year acquired Oxgene, a UK-based cell and gene therapy specialist. WuXi also purchased US lab testing and clinical research businesses in recent years. 

I did not expect to live in a world where the major Chinese CRO/CMO was trying to set up API manufacturing in the United States, but... here we are. (For the record, I am skeptical this will actually come to pass, but we shall see.) 

Thursday, July 1, 2021

39 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 14 new positions for June 27 and 25 new positions for June 25. 

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

Job posting: formulator, Health Genesis Corporation, Davie, FL

From the inbox: 

Job Description

This position offers you the opportunity to make a difference at a growing health and wellness company as you assume the role of in-house expert in powder formulations, powder filling operations including encapsulation, sachet, and tablet machinery, and other solid-dose formulations. You will work in a collaborative environment and our team is made up of passionate professionals who deliver to high standards but also have fun in the process. While R&D is a strategic driving force in our organization, the R&D team is relatively small, so your successes will be visible and instrumental to the business.

The Dietary Supplement Formulation Scientist is responsible for research and development activities of numerous formulations for encapsulation, powder filling, and tableting applications.

Responsibilities:

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential job duty. Essential job functions and duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Develop formulas and optimized manufacturing procedures for finished products, including probiotics.
  • Work with manufacturing to improve stability, manufacturing efficiencies, and product costs.
  • Perform project management duties as required to ensure that the project is completed according to the agreed to timeline, and with sufficient documentation.
  • Assist in developing protocols and procedures for product process validation, including processing, development, and stability protocols.

Job Type: Full-time

Pay: From $70,000.00 per year

Interested? Contact Meghan Robinson at mrobinson@healthgenesis.com with a resume and a cover e-mail. 



Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 16 research/teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 16 research/teaching positions. 

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

On June 30, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 8 research/teaching positions and 2 teaching assistant professor positions. On July 2, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 17 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. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 341 research/teaching positions and 72 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 341 research/teaching positions and 72 teaching assistant professor positions. We will continue tracking until August 31, 2021.  

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 June 2, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 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 seventh open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 33 positions

 The Academic Staff Jobs list has 33 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, June 28, 2021

Contractors accidentally started Rockton chemical plant fire

Via ABC7 in Chicago: 
Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson said in a press release Friday that the June 13 fire at the Chemtool plant near Rockton started when contractors were replacing insulation on an elevated heat transfer piping network. The system heats vessels used in the manufacture of lubricating greases.

"At the present time, the most credible scenario is that the scissor lift struck a valve or other piece of piping with sufficient mechanical force to cause the release of mineral oil," Wilson said. "Chemtool operators promptly detected the release and shut down the boiler. They were in the process of placing containment booms, as well as de-pressuring the heat transfer piping network, when the fire ignited."

Wilson did not say what ignited the oil, and he was not available for further comment. The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.
I imagine that the mineral oil was hot and ignited something flammable? Will be interesting to see the ultimate Chemical Safety Board report. 

C&EN: ACC projects recovery of chemical industry sales in 2021

From this week's C&EN, the ACC's latest projections for 2021 and beyond (article by Craig Bettenhausen): 

The US chemical industry is a few months into recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but full recuperation won’t happen until 2023.

That’s the view from the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the US chemical industry’s main trade association. US chemical sales should recover this year, the ACC says, with a projected total of $525 billion, not including pharmaceuticals, up from $486 billion in 2020 and $509 billion in 2019. But employment, capital expenditures, and production volumes won’t return to prepandemic levels until late 2022 or early 2023, ACC predicts.

The article notes that the US chemical industry lost 14,800 jobs during 2020. Considering that the level of employment of all employees in chemical manufacturing during January 2020 was 854,700, that's a pretty minimal loss. 

The ACC expects strong chemical demand through 2021 from consumer-focused industries such as auto, construction, and durable goods. That notion is supported by projections from the World Bank, which said in June that the overall US gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of economic growth, will be up by 6.8% for the year.

Moore’s colleague, Kevin Swift, warns that inflation could constrain recovery in the US and worldwide. He says a related concern among his peers at other industry groups is employee and supply shortages. “It’s all they talk about. They can’t get labor, they can’t get materials.” Swift calls out foams, semiconductors, and lumber as being in especially short supply, with the kinked supply chains expected to continue at least into the fall.

I imagine that labor shortages are short-term good for chemists? 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Have a good weekend

Well, we made it another week. Had my first lunch out with old friends in a long time. Have a great weekend, and we'll see you on Monday. 

Are chemists quitting their jobs more?

Via the New York Times, quits are on the rise in the broader economy: 
At some point early this year, Justin Hoffman concluded that he was being underpaid.

The marketing director at an orthopedic practice in Findlay, Ohio, Mr. Hoffman was making $42,000 a year — about $13,000 less, by his count, than people were making in similar jobs elsewhere.

But when he asked for a raise in March, he was given only a small bump in pay. “That was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he said.

So after some careful thinking, Mr. Hoffman, 28, did what he had long ached to do: He quit. His last day was June 4.

Mr. Hoffman is among millions of workers who have voluntarily left their jobs recently, one of the most striking elements of the newly blazing-hot job market. According to the Labor Department, nearly four million people quit their jobs in April, the most on record, pushing the rate to 2.7 percent of those employed.

...The rate was particularly high in the leisure and hospitality industry, where competition for workers has been especially fierce. But the number of those quitting registered across the board.

Economists believe that one reason more workers are quitting is simply a backlog: By some estimates, more than five million fewer people quit last year than would otherwise be expected, as some workers, riding out the labor market’s convulsions, stuck with jobs they may have wanted to leave anyway. 

Here's the latest JOLTS data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I don't have any evidence from my personal experience that chemists are quitting their jobs more, either industrial or academic. If you stopped me on the street and said "how is the market for industrial chemists these days?" I would probably say, "it's not bad, definitely better than it was 10 years ago" and leave it at that, but I haven't noticed a lot of quitting/moving to new positions in my social circle. 

Readers, what are you seeing out there? 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

56 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 33 new positions for June 19 and 23 new positions for June 17. 

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

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Stealing 21 tons of pistachios? Why not?

I don't know why I love these stories, but I do (via the New York Times)
A California pistachio company was conducting a routine audit when it noticed something suspicious: About 42,000 pounds of pistachios — nearly enough to fill a truck trailer — were missing.

Officials of the company, Touchstone Pistachio, called the agricultural crimes unit of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. Within days, after checking surveillance footage, sheriff’s deputies arrested 34-year-old Alberto Montemayor, who had been working for Montemayor Trucking, a family-owned business that the pistachio company had hired this year as a contractor, according to the authorities.

Mr. Montemayor was charged with grand theft, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Sgt. Joseph England, who leads the agricultural crimes unit, said it was not uncommon for people to steal nuts in many of California’s rural counties, where farming drives the local economies. The product isn’t easily traced, he said.

But 42,000 pounds of pistachios wasn’t something he’d seen before.

“That was pretty large,” Sergeant England said. “You don’t come across that every day.”

...While 21-ton nut thefts don’t occur often in Tulare County, it’s not unheard-of, Sergeant England said. Nuts are big business in the region, and agricultural thefts are significant enough that the sheriff’s office created its agricultural crimes unit in 1996.

Stealing a truck full of nuts! Who would have thought? (The article indicates that it's pretty easy to put stolen nuts back into the supply chain, which is pretty important. This is why, I presume, why there aren't more theft of bulk chemicals, i.e. you can't move drums of toluene easily in the secondary market.)  

NYT obituary of Professor Ei-ichi Negishi

Via the New York Times: 
Ei-ichi Negishi, who shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2010 for developing techniques now ubiquitous in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, died on June 6 in Indianapolis. He was 85.

His death, at a hospital, was announced by Purdue University, where Dr. Negishi was a professor for four decades. No cause was given.
Interesting detail from Professor Tour: 
Dr. Tour said Dr. Negishi had pursued research that he thought was Nobel-worthy. “He dreamed about it,” Dr. Tour said. “He often discussed the Nobel Prize. And what would have to be done to win this.”

To that end, Dr. Negishi could be relentless. “He was extremely exacting,” Dr. Tour said. “He had no trouble pushing people to the point of tears at a blackboard.”
Didn't know it took a Fulbright to bring Prof. Negishi to America: 
After graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1958 with a bachelor of engineering degree, he worked as a research chemist at the Iwakuni Research Laboratories in Japan. By his account, he realized that he needed more academic training but felt that graduate school was financially out of reach.

His fortunes changed in 1960, however, when he won a Fulbright scholarship to attend the University of Pennsylvania.
Don't miss the detail about the Nobel Prize medal at the end. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 14 research/teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 14 research/teaching positions. 

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

On June 23, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 7 research/teaching positions and 2 teaching assistant professor 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. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

Job posting: Professor of Battery Electrochemistry and Materials, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

From the inbox, a position at ETH Zurich: 
The Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences (www.chab.ethz.ch) at ETH Zurich and the Energy and Environment Research Division at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Villigen (www.psi.ch) invite applications for a joint professorship in Battery Electrochemistry and Materials.

The new professor will lead, in a joint appointment with ETH Zurich, a Laboratory for Battery Electrochemistry at PSI, and will thus benefit from the access to PSI’s unique large-​scale experimental facilities and analytical infrastructure (Swiss Light Source, Swiss Neutron Source and the Swiss Free Electron Laser). An excellent international record of research accomplishments in the following areas is anticipated (non-​exhaustive list): experimental and computational discovery, structural and morphological engineering of novel battery materials (electrodes, electrolytes etc.), diverse battery concepts (Na-​ion batteries, all solid-​state batteries, multivalent intercalation etc.), in situ/operando analytics and characterization of batteries.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

Job posting: visiting assistant professor, Daemen College, Amherst, NY

From the inbox: 
The Natural Sciences department at Daemen College invites applications for a one year visiting assistant professor of chemistry teaching position. The successful candidate will be responsible for teaching 8 courses (lectures and labs) in the areas of General Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, and Physical Chemistry. All applicants must be willing and able to teach in face to face and online modalities. Find out more about our program: https://www.daemen.edu/academics/areas-study/natural-sciences

A Ph. D in analytical chemistry, physical chemistry or a related discipline is required; candidates who will complete their Ph. D during the 2021-2022 academic year will also be considered.
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 339 research/teaching positions and 72 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 339 research/teaching positions and 72 teaching assistant professor positions. We will continue tracking into August 2021. 

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 June 2, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 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 seventh open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 29 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 29 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, June 21, 2021

What is this hunk of ice?

EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) -- You were probably wondering, "what in the world is that?" when News 18 told you about the 12-pound ice chunk that put a hole through the bedroom ceiling of an Elk Mound home back in May.

UW-Eau Claire chemists aren't 100-percent sure what this icy object is and now, they're digging into what that ice chunk is made of with one simple question... What is this thing?

Meteorologist Justin Esterly went over to UWEC's chemistry lab to see how they plan to solve this mystery.

Back in late May, a 12 pound chunk of ice came crashing through an Elk Mound family's bedroom ceiling causing thousands of dollars in damage.

“We think, it's likely to be a megacryometeor,” said Chemistry & Biochemistry Professor Dr. James Boulter. “These have been observed around the world to a tune of maybe a dozen or so a year.”

Sounds like they're going to do some isotopic analysis on the organic contents of this megacryometeor. All things considered, I'd rather not have interesting scientific problems crash through the roof of my house. 

The meandering paths of a Nobel-prize winning chemist

Via the New York Times, an interesting obituary of Richard Ernst with these fascinating details: 
He earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry at ETH Zurich in 1956 and then briefly served in the Swiss military before returning to ETH for a doctorate in physical chemistry, which he earned in 1962.

He married Magdalena Kielholz the next year. Survivors include his wife and their three children, Anna, Katharina and Hans-Martin. Matthias Ernst, his former student, said Dr. Ernst died in a retirement home.

In 1963, Dr. Ernst joined the technology company Varian Associates in Palo Alto, Calif., as a scientist. It was there that he developed F.T.-N.M.R.

I imagine his military service was just a couple of years - can't imagine what the chemical world would like if there was mandatory 2- or 3-year military service in the United States in modern times before they went to graduate school. Also interesting that Professor Ernst worked in industry before he became a professor!  

Friday, June 18, 2021

Have a good weekend

 

Well, we made it to the end of the week. Here's hoping that your week was more chill than mine, and hope you have a great weekend. See you on Monday. 

Great article about the Pfizer Kalamazoo manufacturing plant

Via the Washington Post: 
Two days later, project manager Melissa French, who started working at the plant 27 years ago when she was a biology student at Western Michigan University, was called into work on the vaccine project to help Pfizer produce its own supplies of a rare but vital ingredient for a vaccine nanoparticle.

Kalamazoo was the only site with specialized chromatography equipment that could produce the ingredient, a special fatty compound called an ionizable cationic lipid, at large scale. French told her two children and two stepchildren — all under 11 — that her planned two-week Christmas break was canceled.

As she walked chemists and engineers through the complex challenge in a Dec. 15 kickoff meeting, French’s emotions surged as she read the bullet points out loud on her presentation.

“I cried a little. I choked up,” French said. “It looks boring, and then there’s a simple slide that says ‘Why is this so important? Because the world needs us, and people are dying of covid-19.’ And to say it out loud, when we needed that vaccine, and we were all cooped up at home …”

French led a team of 40 people who swarmed the problem from all angles, designing and assembling the equipment in a little over a month. It required exhaustive safety reviews. Highly flammable solvents are used to make lipids, so cellphones must be encased in special covers to prevent errant sparks. By Jan. 20 they began the complex, multistep process of preparing the first batch.

The ionizable cationic lipid is the linchpin of a nanoparticle. Of four lipids required, it is used in the greatest quantities. It changes its electrical charge when it enters a human cell, opening the nanoparticle and releasing the mRNA payload. Without it, a nanoparticle vaccine will not work.

“When we put product in the tank, there was an audience,” she said. “A bunch of the chemists came, and these floor operators were saying, ‘Why do we have an audience?’”
Great article, read the whole thing. 

Happy that they were successful. Best wishes to them, and to all of us. 

Tennessee jury hangs on a Justice Department prosecution of a UT-Knoxville professor

From the Knoxville News-Sentinel, this update from the Department of Justice's China Initiative: 
The federal Justice Department's first prosecution in the nation under the Trump administration's "China Initiative" fizzled Wednesday when an East Tennessee jury deadlocked after two days of deliberation.

Now the Justice Department will have to decide whether to mount a second prosecution of former University of Tennessee at Knoxville associate professor Dr. Anming Hu, who was accused by the FBI of intentionally trying to defraud NASA by hiding his part-time work at the Beijing University of Technology.

The court did not make public how many of the jurors — four women and eight men, all white — refused to convict.

Defense attorney Phil Lomonaco called it a victory for Hu and his family.

Trial testimony has shown federal agents falsely accused Hu of spying for China based solely on a Google search. After he refused to work as a spy for the U.S. government, agents stalked and harassed him for more than two years, leading to the destruction of his reputation and internationally renowned career.

It will be interesting to see what the Biden Administration does with the China Initiative, especially in regards to the Charles Lieber case. Perhaps this was a case where the relevant FBI agent wasn't very convincing, and that's what the jury hung on. 

Thursday, June 17, 2021

29 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 29 new positions for June 12.

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

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Tennessee chemist starts food truck

Via Nashville TV station WSMV: 
LEBANON, TN (WSMV) – A Lebanon woman has left behind the world of environmental chemistry to run a food truck.

For 20 years, Gina Hayes worked as an Environmental Chemist in Nashville, making sure the water was drinkable. One year ago, Hayes dumped the lab coat for an apron.

“I was a chemist at an environmental corporation,” Hayes said. “Important work, good pay, and prestige, but out here seemed better.”

Her food truck Hillbilly Shack Delights is between Carthage and Lebanon. She makes cheeseburgers, bacon cheeseburgers, quesadillas, burritos, and chicken Philly cheese steaks.

“It was my dream actually from the beginning,” Hayes said. “Making people happy with food.”

Gotta say, Hillbilly Shack Delights sounds like a good place to have lunch. I would really like to own and run a 24-hour diner someday, but I imagine it's pretty hard work.  

Chemical facility fire in Rockton, IL

From the Associated Press: 
ROCKTON, Ill. (AP) — An industrial firefighting team continued battling a fire Tuesday that has consumed an chemical plant in northern Illinois and forced the evacuation of nearby homes and businesses.

Before pouring fire-fighting foam on the Chemtool plant in Rockton, Louisiana-based U.S. Fire Pumps dug a trench around the facility and installed absorbent booms along the Rock River to prevent residual material from escaping into the village’s source of drinking water.

Rockton fire Chief Kirk Wilson said the smoke plume from the fire has dissipated substantially as a result of U.S. Fire Pumps’ effort

“This is their forte. This is what they do,” Wilson said, adding the company has larger pumps and a larger delivery capability to battle the fire than local fire departments. “At this point in time we have detected no visible runoff into the waterway (that) is just west of Chemtool and to our main waterway.”

If you've seen the pictures, you'll know they're quite dramatic. The CSB views this as a fire event, and not a chemical process safety event. It will be interesting to see what caused it.  

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 9 research/teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 9 research/teaching positions. 

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

On June 9, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 5 research/teaching 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. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

Job posting: Instrumentation Specialist, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH

From the inbox: 

The Center for Photochemical Sciences is home to some of the most cutting edge, and in some cases unique, spectroscopic instrumentation in the world. These instruments require routine maintenance and repairs by an expert. The position is needed to enhance the student learning experience on the BGSU campus, and to accelerate the research efforts of our faculty. Both undergraduate and graduate students will be given hands–on training on some of the sophisticated and modern techniques. Our equipment necessitates a staff member who is an expert in the field and is capable of managing and training students on photophysical techniques such as laser flash photolysis, emission spectrometers (fluorescence and phosphorescence) under both steady state and time resolved modes, operation of lasers, time correlated single photon counting equipment, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, etc. In addition, the staff member should be well versed with two photon excitation techniques.

Essential Duties, Tasks and Responsibilities:

  • Maintenance and upkeep of photophysical equipment such as laser flash photolysis, emission spectrometers (fluorescence and phosphorescence) under both steady state and time resolved modes, operation of lasers, optical setups, near-IR emission measurements/setups, time correlated single photon counting, electron paramagnetic resonance.
  • Establish and oversee a training protocol for students on the proper use of the photophysical instrumentation.  Manage a process to certify students on each instrument.  Schedule training sessions at appropriate times in the semester.
  • Maintain documentation of analytical routines/standard operation procedures and instrument performance. Carry out minor repairs based on performance issues, and/or call for service from manufacturers for assistance with major problems.
  • Carry out routine preventative maintenance and minor repairs on all photophysical instruments (above).

Minimum Qualifications

  • A Master’s degree in chemistry or a closely related field (e.g. Photochemical Sciences, Physics, Materials Science) is required.  A Doctoral degree in the field is highly preferred.  Successful candidate must have Master’s degree conferred at the time of application. 
Deadline is today, June 15, 2021. Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.