MolES faculty members elected to Washington State Academy of Sciences

Chemistry Professors Alshakim Nelson and Munira Khalil are among the 38 new members of the Washington State Academy of Sciences recognized for their "outstanding record of scientific and technical achievement and willingness to work on behalf of the Academy to bring the best available science to bear on issues within the state of Washington."

Alshakim Nelson named MolES Director of Education

two men sitting at table looking at hydrogels
Alshakim Nelson

Alshakim Nelson, UW associate professor of chemistry, has been named Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute (MolES) Director of Education. Nelson replaces Christine Luscombe, professor of chemistry and materials science & engineering, who served in the role prior to her recent appointment as interim chair of the Materials Science & Engineering Department. Nelson will lead the Molecular Engineering (MolE) Ph.D. Program, an interdisciplinary graduate program housed in the UW Graduate School and administered by the Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute. Read More

New system outcompetes traditional biofactories with on-demand, remote chemical production

two men sitting at table looking at hydrogels
A team was led by Dr. Alshakim Nelson, an assistant professor of chemistry at the UW, and Dr. Hal Alper, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Texas, developed a new method that combines the bioactivity of microbes and a 3D-printed, synthetic hydrogel "” a water-based gel structure "” to create desired chemical compounds. The products can vary from pharmaceuticals to nutraceuticals, alluding to the vast potential for this new finding.

First-of-its-kind hydrogel platform enables on-demand production of medicines and chemicals

a water-based gel that is used in molecular biology research
Researchers in the lab of MolES faculty member and professor of chemistry Al Nelson along with collaborators at the University of Texas unveiled a new way to produce medicines and chemicals and preserve them using portable "biofactories" that are embedded in water-based gels known as hydrogels. The approach could help people in remote villages or on military missions, where the absence of pharmacies, doctor's offices or even basic refrigeration makes it hard to access critical medicines and other small-molecule compounds.