Chair Notes – October 2023

Dear esteemed members,

Lots of exciting things are happening in our Local Section. Did you make it out to the Annual Picnic? We had over 90 attendees, which surpassed our typical pre-pandemic attendance! I had such a great time meeting many of you for the first time. I am also grateful for so many kind words some of you shared about our Local Section’s efforts to create opportunities to bring our chemically-minded community together. I thank my colleagues Jim ShihChristina VialvaCarolina Ibarra, and Max Mahler for working throughout the summer to make the return of the Annual Picnic a success.

October is typically a busy month for the Local Section and this year is no exception. This month we honor Dr. Jean Cui as the Local Section’s 2023 Distinguished Scientist. To say that Dr. Cui is one of our region’s most exceptional inventors and scientists is an understatement. Dr. Cui is a renowned oncology drug designer who is the lead inventor of multiple oncology medicines and clinical compounds. She is the Co-Founder, President, and CEO of BlossomHill Therapeutics, Inc and the Scientific Founder of Turning Point Therapeutics, Inc. Her impressive list of honors and accolades include the 38th National Inventor of the Year Award in 2011; two Pfizer Worldwide R&D Achievement Awards in 2006 and 2012 and a Pfizer innovation award in 2011. She has also been the the 2013 American Chemical Society Heroes of Chemistry honoree for the discovery and development of Crizotinib. She received her second Heroes of Chemistry Award from the ACS in 2021 for the discovery and development of Lorlatinib. I hope that you will join us on October 17th at 6 PM at the Butcher Shop Restaurant to honor and learn from Dr. Cui’s experiences. Click here to register for our flagship event.

This month we also feature two exciting and diverse seminars. On October 24 at 6 PM, Nga DoPrincipal Scientist at Pfizer, will discuss the story of Nirmatrelvir, a selective, orally bioavailable inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 2 M went from development to millions of distributed doses in under 18 months. Click here to register for this virtual seminar. That same week we feature distinguished speaker, H.N Chang. Dr. Chang is a prolific author in the field of green polymer chemistry, agro-based materials, biocatalysis, and polymer analysis. On October 26 at 7 PM, Dr. Cheng will deliver a presentation titled “Plastic Pollution: Problems and Solutions. Expect to learn about the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding our relationship with plastic, as well as the state of green chemistry research to help mitigate the deleterious effects of plastic in our environment. Click here to register for Dr. Cheng’s seminar.

October is also important because of National Chemistry Week (NCW), which falls on Mole Day (6:02 AM to 6:02 PM on 10/23). Did you know that NCW was first conceptualized as National Chemistry Day in 1986 when George Pimentel, then ACS president, had an idea to better educate the public about the crucial role of chemistry in everyday life? The ACS organized its first official National Chemistry Day on Nov. 6, 1987. By 1989, the ACS Board had approved National Chemistry Day, and it became an annual celebration, held every year in late October. In 1993, it was renamed National Chemistry Week. This year’s NCW theme is The Healing Power of Chemistry. The Local Section will celebrate NCW with Chem Expo at Miramar College on Saturday, November 4. Join us for a fun and educational day for the whole family. There will be interactive exhibits and demonstrations by the local Student Affiliate Chapters. If you would like to volunteer and help make it a success, reach out to my colleague, Jackie Trischman ( If you represent a local biotech company. We would love to offer you a table at Chem Expo, so that you may engage with the general public to teach them about your products that move the science of medicine forward and improve the quality of our lives. You may reach out to me or to Jackie for more information.

As someone who has dedicated much of their professional career to expand opportunities for students to learn about and engage with nanotechnology, this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry is dear to my heart. On behalf of our Local Section, I congratulate Moungi G. BawendiLouis E. Brus and Alexei I. Ekimov for their pioneering work in discovering and developing quantum dots. For the uninitiated, quantum dots are nanoscale semiconductors, which have tunable optical and electrical properties. These amazing little crystals have found applications in HD displays, solar cells, and even biological imaging.

Lastly, elections are coming up next month. Please read our candidates’ biographies and do not forget to vote! Ballots will be sent out in early November to the email the National ACS has on file for you. Results will be announced at our End-of-Year Meeting, which will take place on Thursday, December 7th at the Butcher Shop restaurant.

I wish you and your loved ones a spooktacular October.

With gratitude,