Chemistry without borders
The Department of Chemistry of The University of Iowa (UI) hosted the 1st American-Mexican Symposium on Supramolecular Materials Design (AMEX-SSMD), in the Iowa Advanced Technologies Building (IATL) on November 8th, 2019. The symposium represented the beginning of an international series of meetings on the rapidly growing field of supramolecular chemistry or “chemistry beyond the molecule”, and its applications.
The symposium provided a platform for more than 50 participants from eight institutions (four international, UI, Cornell College, Grinnell College, and Kirkwood Community College), including faculty, students and industrial scientists, to discuss opportunities between the US and Mexico where the use of supramolecular chemistry can be a potential solution for mutual problems and challenges.
The symposium hosted four keynote speakers: Prof. Karen Ochoa-Lara (University of Sonora), Prof. Braulio Rodríguez-Molina (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Prof. Tori Z. Forbes (UI) and Prof. Hugo Morales-Rojas (Autonomous University of the State of Morelos), who gave inspiring talks highlighting applications of supramolecular chemistry to solve current social challenges, including the development of DNA-based receptors, molecular machines, materials for storage and purification of water, and pharmaceutical solids.
In line of with the scope of the symposium, UI Chemistry graduate students led the discussions, as well as question and answer periods, for the four keynote and ten student oral presentations. The discussions emphasized interdisciplinarity and collaboration. An important component of discussion was the participation of members of chemical and pharmaceutical industries, who encouraged collaboration with academia in order to work together toward common goals. The event also included a poster session in an inclusive social setting that facilitated networking and collaboration with different members of the UI.
“The intimacy and kindness with which all of the students and faculty showed me, made this my favorite conference that I have attended in my five years of graduate school, even though it was easily one of the smallest. This was an awesome opportunity to establish professional connections with several of the students and faculty and I hope that this conference will carry on so that others may have as great of an experience and opportunity as I did.”
-Taylor V. Fetrow, PhD student in Chemistry, UI
“Thanks for organizing the Mexico-Iowa symposium, I thought it was well done with good talks. It was interesting to hear about some of the supermolecular chemistry research taking place south of the border. It was a good opportunity for the Department and University to make some international contacts.”
-Dale C. Swenson – X-ray diffraction facility, Department of Chemistry, UI
The ACS Iowa Local Section annual dinner, presided by Prof. Betsy Stone (UI), served to close for the symposium. Prof. Hugo Morales-Rojas (Autonomous University of the State of Morelos) gave a talk on his interactions with the pharmaceutical industry, and shared perspectives and examples of successful international collaborations (e.g., research internships, funding opportunities for American and Mexican students, international meetings).