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American Chemical Society AMA: I am M.G. Finn, Editor-in-Chief of ACS Combinatorial Science, here to discuss why combi chem is not dead. Ask me anything!
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Welcome! I am M.G. Finn, Editor-in-Chief of ACS Combinatorial Science. My group does research in a variety of areas that seek to develop molecular function, but we define “molecular” in ways that go from small molecule drugs to large multiprotein assemblies to organisms. In particular, we develop and optimize reactions for bioconjugation and release, engineer virus-like nanoparticles for immunology, cell targeting, and enzyme encapsulation, and work on new ways to evolve aptamers and enzymes. Since moving to Georgia Tech in 2013, we are also doing a lot more materials science, trying to apply some of our click chemistry techniques and attitudes to the creation of new functional polymers and surfaces. An appreciation for molecular function is what motivated me to steer the journal into expanded waters, while retaining a core commitment to the publication of good synthetic chemistry. ACS Comb. Sci. now publishes papers in a wide variety of areas in which functional structures are made, identified, or enhanced by combinatorial means. We also like to highlight methods — synthetic, analytical, and theoretical — by which function can be created and measured. Combinatorial biology, materials development, and drug development are all combinatorial chemistry in my view, and so the field is most certainly very much alive. Thanks VERY much to everyone who posted questions and comments - I had a great time and you gave me some good things to think about. (Hopefully, that feeling is mutual.) I look forward to the next AMA.