North Jersey Section
American Chemical Society

Nov 15, 2019 Baekeland Award Symposium

Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award for 2019 - OLD

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[ 2013 | 2015 | 2017 | 2019 ]

Baekeland Medal

Congratulations to the 2019 Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award Winner!

Neal Devaraj

Professor Neal K Devaraj

Professor of Chemistry, University of California, San Diego

2019 Baekeland Symposium

Featuring Prof Devaraj as Keynote Speaker

Date: Friday, November 15, 2019

Time: 1:00 PM

Place: Fairleigh Dickinson University   [ official campus directions ]

Getting there: The symposium takes place on the Florham Campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University. Although the campus has an entrance from Madison NJ, if you are driving you should use the entrance at 175 Park Ave, Florham Park NJ 07932. The meeting room is Lenfel Hall, which is located in one of the main buildings on campus, called Hennessy Hall, or “The Mansion”. Navigating the campus is tricky, but Google Maps knows some locations and roads on the campus, so this link gets you to the front of Hennessy Hall:,Mansion+Mall,+Florham+Park,NJ.
As usual with Google Maps, you can click the “Directions” link to the left of the map to get turn-by-turn directions.

But we are asked to use Parking Lots 2 and 8. The following link takes you straight to both lots. When you reach the end of the route, turn left for Parking Lot 2 (which is larger), or right for Parking Lot 8 (which is a little closer):,-74.4350543/@40.7783301,-74.4350862,212m

This [ annotated campus map ] will help you locate Parking Lots 2 & 8 and how to walk from the parking lots to Hennessy Hall. As you drive onto campus you’ll stop at a guard house, and they can help with directions, as well. For planning purposes, please note that it’s a 9 minute walk from the parking lots to The Mansion. If you need handicap parking, ask at the guard house.

Invited Speakers

Dr Sidney Hecht

Sidney Hecht

Dr Dinshaw Patel

Dinshaw Patel

Dr Amanda Garner

Amanda Garner

Dr James Collman

James Collman

Program Agenda:

1:00 - Registration / Snacks

1:30 - Welcome Address Dr Cecilia Marzabadi, Baekeland Symposium Chair

1:40 - Professor Sidney A. Hecht,
Director, Biodesign Center for BioEnergetics Professor, School of Molecular Sciences Arizona State University

Protein Synthesis with Non-canonical Amino Acids In Vitro and In Vivo

2:20 - Professor Dinshaw Patel,
Professor and Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Chair in Experimental Therapeutics Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Sloan Kettering Institute

Structural Biology of CRISPR-Cas Surveillance Complexes

3:00 - Professor Amanda S. Garner,
Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, University of Michigan

Chemical Probing of Coding and Non-Coding RNA Biology

3:40 - Break / Refreshments

4:10 - Professor James M. Collman,
George A. and Hilda M. Daubert Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, Stanford University

From Theory to Practice: Invention of Reversible Respiration Inhibitors

4:50 - Remarks and Baekeland Award Presentation
Dr. Katherine Lee, ACS Director, District 1

Dr. Amjad Ali, NJ-ACS Section Chair

5:00 - Keynote: Professor Neal K Devaraj

Exploring the Lipid World

5:50 - Closing remarks Dr. Les McQuire, NJ-ACS Awards Chair

Speakers' Bios

Neal K. Devaraj
is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the
University of California, San Diego. A major research thrust of his
lab involves understanding how non-living matter, such as simple
organic molecules, can assemble to form life. Along these lines,
he has developed approaches for the in-situ synthesis of synthetic
cell membranes by using selective reactions to “stitch”
together lipid fragments. His lab's work has enabled the first
demonstration of perpetually self-reproducing lipid vesicles and
artificial membranes that can dynamically remodel their chemical
structure. Recently, his lab has demonstrated that in situ synthesis
can assemble lipid species within living cells, enabling studies
that decipher how lipid structure affects cellular function.

Raised in Manhattan Beach, California, Prof. Devaraj left the west
coast to pursue undergraduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, graduating with dual bachelor's degrees in Chemistry
and Biology. He earned his doctoral degree in chemistry from Stanford
University under the mentorship of Prof. James Collman and Christopher
Chidsey. After a postdoctoral fellowship with Prof. Ralph Weissleder
at the Harvard Medical School, he joined the faculty of Chemistry
and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. His
work has been recognized by the 2016 National Fresenius Award, the
2017 American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry, being
selected as the 2018 Blavatnik National Laureate in Chemistry, and
the 2019 Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry. In recognition
of his contributions to teaching, Dr. Devaraj was named a 2016
Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar.

Sidney Hecht
obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of
Illinois. Following studies as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular
Biology at the University of Wisconsin, he was a member of the MIT
Chemistry faculty from 1971-79. He was the John W. Mallet Professor
of Chemistry and Professor of Biology at UVa from 1978-2008. From
1981-87 he held concurrent appointments at Smith Kline & French
Laboratories, first as Vice President Preclinical R&D, then as Vice
President Chemical R&D. Since 2008 he has been Director of the
Center for BioEnergetics in the Biodesign Institute, and Professor
of Chemistry at Arizona State University. He has been an Alfred P.
Sloan Fellow, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. Hecht received
the 1996 Cope Scholar Award of the ACS and was selected as Virginia's
Outstanding Scientist for 1996. He received the 1998 Research
Achievement Award of the American Society of Pharmacognosy and is
a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science,
and of the American Society of Pharmacognosy. He received the ASU
Faculty Achievement Award in Defining Edge Research: Innovation
(2011) and was recently elected a Senior Member, National Academy
of Inventors (2019). He has been an Associate Editor of the Journal
of the American Chemical Society since 1992.

His research interests include the synthesis and mechanism of action
of bleomycin group antitumor agents. He identified DNA topoisomerase
I as the locus of action of the alkaloid camptothecin and participated
in the discovery and development of the camptothecin analogue
topotecan, marketed under the trade name Hycamtin for the treatment
of ovarian cancer and small cell lung cancer. At ASU, his Center
is studying the chemistry of the mitochondrial electron transport
chain with the goal of devising therapeutic strategies to treat
mitochondrial diseases. Other research interests include the
elaboration and study of proteins containing synthetic amino acids.
He has published more than 460 research papers and has supervised
more than 250 graduate students and postdoctoral associates.

Dinshaw J. Patel
is Member and Abby Rockefeller Mauze Chair in
Experimental Therapeutics in the Structural Biology Program at the
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York city. He received
his PhD from New York University in Chemistry in 1968, followed by
a year of postdoctoral training in Biochemistry at NYU Medical
School (1967) and two years of postdoctoral training at AT&T Bell
Laboratories (1968-1969). His independent career has included a
permanent appointment as Distinguished Member of Technical Staff
at AT&T Bell Laboratories (1970-1984), tenured Professor of
Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University-Health
Sciences (1984-1992) and his current appointment at the Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (1992-current). His research interests
are in structural biology of macromolecular recognition involving
peptides, proteins, RNA and DNA using nuclear magnetic resonance
(NMR) and x-ray crystallography. His current research interests
span the following areas: RNA silencing, epigenetic regulation of
histone and DNA methylation marks, cytoplasmic metazoan nucleic
acid sensors, riboswitches and ribozymes, protein-RNA complexes
mediating disease syndromes, lipid transfer proteins, and replication
of DNA damage sites by bypass polymerases. His recent research has
incorporated cryo-EM approaches to structurally characterize large
protein-nucleic acid complexes and machines. In the last decade he
has published extensively in the highest impact biological journals
and is internationally renowned for his scientific contributions.

Dr. Patel's research achievements have been recognized through
receipt of the AT&T Bell Laboratories Distinguished Technical Staff
Award (1983), the Distinguished Alumnus Award of New York University
(1997) and the FEZANA Jamshed and Shirin Guzdar Excellence in
Profession Award (2014). In 2019, he received the Lifetime Achievement
Award of the American Association of Indian Scientists in Cancer
Research and the inaugural Tan Jiazhen International Collaboration
Prize. He has served in the past on the Scientific and Medical
Advisory Boards of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (1989-1996)
and the National Cancer Institute (2000-2005). He currently serves
on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the European Institute of
Chemical Biology, Bordeaux, France (2009-), the Institute of Research
in Biomedicine, Barcelona, Spain (2011-), the Beijing Advanced
Innovation Center for Structural Biology, Tsinghua University,
Beijing, China (2016-), the School of Life Sciences and Technology,
Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China (2017-), the Biology
Department of Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen,
China (2019-) and Shenzhen Bay Area Laboratory, Shenzhen, China
(2019-). In recognition of his scientific contributions, Dr. Patel
was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2009 and the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014.

Amanda Garner
received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University
of Pittsburgh working under the supervision of Prof. Kazunori Koide
and completed NIH-funded postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of
Prof. Kim Janda at The Scripps Research Institute. She began her
independent career in 2013 in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry
at the University of Michigan. Her laboratory uses chemical biology,
medicinal chemistry and molecular and cellular biology approaches
to investigate the high-risk/high-reward areas of targeting microRNAs,
RNA-protein and protein-protein interactions for probe and drug

Dr. James P. Collman
was born in Beatrice, Nebraska. He received
his BS and MS from the University of Nebraska. He received his PhD
from the University of Illinois in 1958. He has held academic
positions at the University of North Carolina from 1958-1962 and
then at Stanford University from 1959 to the present. He achieved
the rank of Professor in 1966, Stanford Professor 1967- 1980 and
Daubert Professor 1980-present.

Dr. Collman is a member of the National Academy of Science (1975)
and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1975). He has received
honorary doctorates from the University of Bourgogne (1988) and the
University of Nebraska (1988). He was the California Scientist of
the Year in 1983.

His research interests are in organometallic chemistry, multiple
metal-metal bonds; functional models of hemoglobin, myoglobin, and
cytochrome-c oxidase. He also studies drugs to inhibit blood clotting,
maintain stem cells, and treat mitochondrial diseases.