Postdoc uses social media to share STEM resources

Stephanie Santos-Diaz, an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education, and a postdoc at the Department of Chemistry, recently started an Instagram account that is intended to be an empowering resource for underrepresented populations in the STEM field. Six months after her first post in October 2020, the STEMpowerment Instagram page has gained more than 200 followers, and has shared over 40 posts. Santos-Diaz explained that the Instagram page is a way to acknowledge her community and help them to overcome potential barriers.

New building scheduled to open for Spring

The new Department of Chemistry tower, which was supposed to open in the Fall of 2021, is now scheduled to open for classes in the Spring of 2022, according to the Facilities Committee. As part of a $133 million upgrade to the building complex, the tower is poised to serve the rapidly increasing number of undergraduate students at UW–Madison.

Lab makes 3-D enzyme mimicking architectures using full pallet of synthetic chemistry

The Martell group’s research focuses on making artificial enzymes and artificial receptors by combining biomolecules with synthetic molecules. “We synthetically modify individual DNA arms by using functional groups that are not found in naturally occur- ring amino acids and cofactors, therefore broadening the scope of our reactivity,” said Prof. Jeffrey Martell. “We then rely on complementary base-pairing for the arms to self-assemble into a 3-D cage, such that the attached functional groups are displayed into a central cavity.”

Exciting discovery made from incorrect hypothesis

A hypothesis can be a scientist’s best-educated guess about how an experiment might turn out or why they got specific results. Some- times, they’re not far off from the truth. Other times, they’re wrong. Being wrong isn’t always a bad thing. Often, it means that the researchers get to discover something new and exciting. This exact scenario happened when the Burstyn and Buller labs decided to work together on a project.