Recognizing those who,
through their innovative research, advance the central science.
Recipients of the ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize are identified by canvassing and selection committees composed of visionaries from across chemistry and its allied fields.
The selection committee made their final determination in Spring 2022.
Awardees are invited to write a Disruptor’s Outlook for publication in ACS Central Science. They will also present an oral lecture at the ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Symposium and Reception in collaboration with C&EN.
Read the Press Release
■ ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize
■ $10,000 prize honorarium
■ Travel and accommodations to attend a celebratory reception to take place at an ACS National Meeting (Up to $2,000)
■ ACS Membership for 2 years
The ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize is awarded every two years, beginning in 2020.
Questions regarding the ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize can be directed to ACS Central Science Senior Managing Editor, Dr. Sofia Garakyaraghi.
Carolyn R. Bertozzi
ACS Central Science, Editor-in-Chief
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Clare P. Grey, FRS is the Geoffrey Moorhouse-Gibson Professor of Chemistry at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Pembroke College Cambridge.
She holds a Royal Society (RS) Professorship. She received a BA and D. Phil. (1991) in Chemistry from Oxford University.
After post-doctoral fellowships in the Netherlands and at DuPont CR&D in Wilmington, DE, she joined the faculty at Stony Brook University (SBU) in 1994.
She moved to Cambridge in 2009, maintaining an adjunct position at SBU.
She was the founding director of the Northeastern Chemical Energy Storage Center, a Department of Energy, Energy Frontier Research Center.
She is currently the director of the EPSRC Centre for Advanced Materials for Integrated Energy Systems (CAM-IES) and an Expert Panel member of the Faraday Institution.
Recent honours/awards include the RSC John Goodenough Award (2019), the Richard R. Ernst Prize in Magnetic Resonance (2020), the RS Hughes Award (2020) and the Körber Award (2021) for her contributions to the optimization of batteries using NMR spectroscopy.
She is a foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her current research interests include the use of solid-state NMR and diffraction-based methods to determine structure-function relationships in materials for energy storage (batteries and supercapacitors) and conversion (fuel cells).
She is a cofounder of the company Nyobolt, which seeks to develop batteries for fast charge applications.
Professor Grey is awarded the Prize for her extensive and disruptive research in pioneering applications of solid state nuclear magnetic resonance to materials of relevance to energy and the environment.
Véronique Gouverneur is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. After receiving her PhD degree in Organic Chemistry at the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) in 1991, she joined the group of Professor Richard Lerner at the Scripps Research Institute (USA) as a postdoctoral fellow. In 1994, she was appointed Maître de Conférence at the University Louis Pateur (Strasbourg, France). Four years later, she moved to the University of Oxford where she became Professor of Chemistry in 2008. Her current research is centred on various aspects of fluorine chemistry for applications in medicine, including the development of catalytic fluorination methods and 18F-labeling processes for Positron Emission Tomography. She was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2019.
Taeghwan Hyeon is SNU Distinguished Professor at Seoul National University and Direct of Center for Nanoparticle Research of Institute for Basic Science (IBS). Since he joined the faculty of the School of Chemical and Biological Engineering at SNU in 1997, he has focused on the synthesis and applications of uniformly sized nanoparticles and related nanomaterials and published > 400 papers in prominent international journals (> 65,000 citations and h-index of > 130). He was listed in “Top 100 Chemists” of the decade by UNESCO/IUPAC in 2011 and “Highly Cited Researcher” in both chemistry and materials science from 2014 to 2021 by Clarivate Analytics. His contribution to the field was recently highlighted by 2020 Citation Laureate in Chemistry. He received many awards including Korea Best Scientist Award from the Korean President (2016), Samsung Hoam Prize (2012), POSCO-T.J.Park Award (2008), and IUVacuumSTA Prize for Technology (2016). From 2010 to 2020, he served as an Associate Editor of J. Am. Chem. Soc. He is an editorial (advisory) board member of ACS Central Science, Advanced Materials, Nano Today, and Small.
"It was my great honor to serve as a committee member along with top-notch scientists. I do hope that the ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize is awarded to relatively under-recognized excellent scientists who conduct disruptive and innovative research."
Sharon Hammes-Schiffer received her B.A. in Chemistry from Princeton University and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Stanford University, followed by two years at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Her academic career progressed from the University of Notre Dame to the Pennsylvania State University to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently the Sterling Professor at Yale University. Her research centers on the investigation of proton-coupled electron transfer, nonadiabatic dynamics, and quantum mechanical effects in chemical, biological, and interfacial processes. Her work encompasses the development of analytical theories and computational methods, as well as applications to experimentally relevant systems. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Chemical Reviews and is on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science and the Editorial Board for PNAS.
She enjoyed serving on the canvassing committee for the ACS Central Science Disruptors and Innovators Prize and was incredibly impressed by the extraordinary scientific accomplishments of the candidates.
Jason K. Sello is a full professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Prior to his appointment at UCSF, Prof. Sello was a professor in the department of chemistry at Brown University. Before his first faculty appointment, he investigated RNA processing in Streptomyces bacteria using genetic tools as a visiting scientist at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, England and studied enzymes catalyzing antibiotic biosynthesis as a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School in the laboratories of Prof. Christopher T. Walsh. He earned a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University in 2002 for work in diversity-oriented chemical synthesis under the supervision of Prof. Stuart L. Schreiber and a B.S. in biology, magna cum laude, from Morehouse College in 1997. In his independent career, Prof. Sello has been synergistically using experimental methods from chemistry, biophysics, biochemistry, and genetics to study biological phenomena and to develop new therapeutics for infections, cancer, and neurological disorders.
Samuel Stupp is Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. He also directs Northwestern’s Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology and the Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science, an Energy Frontiers Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Stupp’s interdisciplinary research is focused on developing self-assembling supramolecular nanostructures and materials for functions relevant to renewable energy, regenerative medicine, and robotic soft matter. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Spanish Academy, and the National Academy of Inventors. His awards include the Department of Energy Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Materials Chemistry, the Materials Research Society Medal Award, the International Award from The Society of Polymer Science in Japan, the Royal Society Award in Soft Matter and Biophysical Chemistry, and three national awards from the American Chemical Society: the ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry, the Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry, and the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry.
“It was a terrific experience to participate in the canvassing committee for ACS Central Science Disruptors and Innovators Prize, which captures the forward-looking spirit of this great journal.”
Tom Ward obtained his PhD in organometallic chemistry from the ETHZ (1991), followed by a postdoc with Roald Hoffmann at Cornell University in applied theoretical chemistry. After a second postdoc with Carlo Floriani at the University of Lausanne, he started his independent career at the University of Berne, combining bioinorganic chemistry and organometallic catalysis. In 2000, he moved to the University of Neuchâtel as a full professor of bioinorganic chemistry. Since then, his focus has been to bring new-to-nature reactions, catalyzed by artificial metalloenzymes, into a cellular environment. In this context, he is fascinated by the prospect of endowing organometallic catalysis with a genetic memory. In 2008, he moved to the University of Basel. Shortly thereafter, he became director of the Molecular Systems Engineering National Center of Competence in Research, a joint research effort between the ETHZ and the University of Basel.
Vivian W.-W. Yam obtained both her BSc (Hons) and PhD from The University of Hong Kong, and is currently the Philip Wong Wilson Wong Professor in Chemistry and Energy and Chair Professor of Chemistry at The University of Hong Kong. She was elected to Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, International Member (Foreign Associate) of US National Academy of Sciences, Foreign Member of Academia Europaea, Fellow of TWAS and Founding Member of Hong Kong Academy of Sciences. She was Laureate of the 2011 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award. She has received a number of awards, including the Josef Michl ACS Award in Photochemistry, RSC Centenary Medal, RSC Ludwig Mond Award, Porter Medal, JPA Eikohsha Award, JSCC International Award, State Natural Science Award, CCS-China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) Chemistry Contribution Prize, CCS Huang Yao-Zeng Organometallic Chemistry Award, etc. Her research interests include inorganic/organometallic chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, photophysics and photochemistry, and metal-based molecular functional materials for sensing, organic optoelectronics and energy research.
Also see: web.hku.hk/~wwyam/yam/homepage/
"I am thrilled to see the rigor of our discussions at the meetings of the canvassing committee, both in terms of the breadth and depth of the science as well as the diversity of the candidates."
Congratulations to the inaugural recipient of the ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize: Professor Zhenan Bao
Learn More About Professor Zhenan Bao
2019–2020 Canvassing Committee
Professor Bao is recognized for her extensive and disruptive research in the field of conducting polymer molecular designs and their applications, as well as her outstanding advances in the development of artificial electronic skin and other bioelectronic devices.
■ Learn more about Zhenan Bao in this ACS Central Science Center Stage Interview, in collaboration with C&EN
■ Read Zhenan Bao's research, published in ACS Central Science
■ Read the press release
Professor Bao presented her Disruptors Lecture during the ACS Central Science Disruptors & Innovators Prize Symposium, as part of C&EN's Futures Festival.
Following the Lecture, a lively discussion was held between a panel of speakers including Carolyn Bertozzi, E.W. "Bert" Meijer, Monica Olvera de la Cruz, and Richmond Sarpong.
Register for FREE "on demand" access to the Symposium!
Zhenan Bao is Department Chair and K.K. Lee Professor of Chemical Engineering, and by courtesy, a Professor of Chemistry and a Professor of Material Science and Engineering at Stanford University. Bao founded the Stanford Wearable Electronics Initiate (eWEAR) in 2016 and serves as the faculty director.
Prior to joining Stanford in 2004, she was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies from 1995-2004. She received her Ph.D in Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1995. She has over 500 refereed publications and over 65 US patents with a Google Scholar H-Index >160.
Bao is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors. She is a Fellow of MRS, ACS, AAAS, SPIE, ACS PMSE and ACS POLY.
Bao was selected as Nature’s Ten people who mattered in 2015 as a “Master of Materials” for her work on artificial electronic skin. She was awarded the Gibbs Medal by the Chicago session of ACS in 2020, University of Chicago Alumni Award by the Department of Chemistry in 2020, the Wilhelm Exner Medal by Austrian Federal Minister of Science 2018, ACS Award on Applied Polymer Science 2017, the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award in the Physical Sciences 2017, the AICHE Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering in 2014, ACS Carl Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award in 2013, ACS Cope Scholar Award in 2011, the Royal Society of Chemistry Beilby Medal and Prize in 2009, the IUPAC Creativity in Applied Polymer Science Prize in 2008.
Bao is a co-founder and on the Board of Directors for C3 Nano and PyrAmes, both are silicon-valley venture funded start-ups. She serves as an advising Partner for Fusion Venture Capital.
Professor Carolyn Bertozzi is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Chemical & Systems Biology and Radiology (by courtesy) at Stanford University, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Carolyn is also the Co-Director of Stanford ChEM-H, which draws together faculty from many disciplines with the goal of improving human health. Bertozzi has built a reputation as one of the foremost multidisciplinary scientists of her generation. She is admired for her infectious enthusiasm for science, her inexhaustible energy and her unfailing expertise and passion in the fields of chemical biology and glycoscience. Carolyn is the co-founder and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of Lycia Therapeutics, OliLux Biosciences, InterVenn Bio, Palleon Pharmaceuticals, Enable Biosciences and Redwood Bioscience (acquired by Catalent in 2014). She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Lilly.
Dr. Xing Chen is currently Changjiang distinguished Professor and Dean of the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering at Peking University. He completed his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Tsinghua University in 2002 and his Ph.D. in chemistry from University of California, Berkeley in 2007, under the guidance of Prof. Carolyn Bertozzi and Prof. Alex Zettl. He then joined the laboratory of Prof. Timothy Springer at Harvard Medical School as a LSRF postdoctoral fellow, where his research focused on structural immunology. Dr. Chen started as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Peking University in 2010 and was promoted directly to Full Professor with tenure in 2016. He is also affiliated with Center for Life Science (CLS) and Synthetic and Functional Biomolecule Center (SFBC) of Peking University. Some of his recent awards include OKeanos-CAPA Senior Investigator Award at the Chemical and Biology Interface (2019), CCS-RSC Young Chemist Award (2018), ACS David Y. Gin New Investigator Award (2016), IGO Young Glycoscientist Award (2015), and National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (2014). His current research interest focuses on chemical glycobiology.
Naomi S. Ginsberg is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Physics at University of California, Berkeley and a Faculty Scientist in the Materials Sciences and Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Imaging Divisions at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where she has been since 2010. She currently focuses on elucidating the electronic and molecular dynamics in a wide variety of soft electronic and biological materials by devising new electron and optical imaging modalities that enable characterization of fast and ultrafast processes at the nanoscale and as a function of their heterogeneities. Her background in chemistry, physics, and engineering has previously led her to observe initiating events of photosynthesis that take place in a millionth billionth of a second and to slow, stop, and store light pulses in some of the coldest atom clouds on Earth.
Sharon Hammes-Schiffer received her B.A. in Chemistry from Princeton University in 1988 and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Stanford University in 1993, followed by two years at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Since 2018, she has been the John Gamble Kirkwood Professor of Chemistry at Yale University. Her research centers on the investigation of charge transfer reactions, proton-coupled electron transfer, nonadiabatic dynamics, and quantum mechanical effects in chemical, biological, and interfacial processes. Her work encompasses the development of analytical theories and computational methods, as well as applications to experimentally relevant systems.
Professor Craig J. Hawker is Clarke Professor and holds the Alan and Ruth Heeger Chair of Interdisciplinary Science at UCSB where he directs the California Nanosystems Institute and the Dow Materials Institute. He came to UCSB in 2004 after eleven years as a Research Staff Member at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, CA. Professor Hawker’s work has led to over 500 peer-reviewed papers and 75 patents with Professor Hawker helping to establish a range of start-up companies including Relypsa, Intermolecular, Olaplex, and Tricida. For his pioneering studies, Professor Hawker’s recent honors include the 2017 Charles Overberger International Prize, the 2013 American Chemical Society Award in Polymer Chemistry and the 2012 Centenary Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Professor Hawker has been honored with election to the Royal Society as well as being named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, American Association for the Advancement of Science and in 2018 the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Luis M. Liz-Marzán, is Ikerbasque Professor and Scientific Director of CIC biomaGUNE, in San Sebastian (Spain), since September 2012, after a long career as Professor at the University of Vigo (1995–2012). His major research activity is devoted to the design of biomedical applications based on the plasmonic properties of well-defined metal nanoparticles and nanostructures. He is well-known for his contributions to understanding the growth mechanisms of colloidal metal nanocrystals, tailoring their surface chemistry and directing their self-assembly. His current activity focuses on the application of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy to in situ monitoring of biological systems.
E.W. “Bert” Meijer is Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems of the Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands. After receiving his PhD degree in Organic Chemistry at the University of Groningen in 1982, he worked for 10 years in industry (Philips and DSM) on Polymer Materials. In 1991 he was appointed in Eindhoven, while he has part-time positions in Nijmegen, Santa Barbara, and Mainz. He is a member of several academies and societies, including the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), where he is appointed as Academy Professor in 2014.
Karen L. Wooley holds the W. T. Doherty-Welch Chair in Chemistry, and is a University Distinguished Professor and Presidential Impact Fellow at Texas A&M University, with appointments in the Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering. She also serves as Director of the Laboratory for Synthetic-Biologic Interactions. Entrepreneurial activities have included her serving as a co-founder and President of Sugar Plastics, LLC, and Chief Technology Officer of Teysha Technologies, LTD. Research interests include the synthesis and characterization of degradable polymers derived from natural products, unique macromolecular architectures and complex polymer assemblies, and the design and development of well-defined nanostructured materials. The development of novel synthetic strategies, fundamental study of physicochemical and mechanical properties, and investigation of the functional performance of her materials in the diagnosis and treatment of disease, as non-toxic anti-biofouling or anti-icing coatings, as materials for microelectronics device applications, and as environmental remediation systems are particular foci of her research activities.