Reflections on GC&E 2018

Julie Zimmerman Presents Her Keynote at GCandE
Monday, July 23, 2018

Members of the Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering were very active at this year’s GC&E conference in Portland, OR, held June 18-20. Among the events, Center members chaired two symposia and gave oral presentations. The symposia and presentations were well attended and received a positive response on social media.

Most notably, Professor Julie Zimmerman, Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, gave a keynote lecture on “Nourishing the Green ChemisTREE” based on the review paper titled “The Green ChemisTREE: 20 years after taking root with the 12 principles.” The review uses the framework of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry to showcase advances and impact within each principle, tools for practitioners, and remaining challenges and opportunities. For visualization purposes, a tree diagram with 12 branches was created, where each branch represents a principle, and leaves on the branches indicate significant advances. Professor Zimmerman’s keynote emphasized the systems needed to support the growth of environmentally-friendly practices in industry and academia. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Richard Blackburn, University of Leeds.)

Our first symposium was highlighted the Yale-UNIDO Global Green Chemistry Initiative and was led by Professor Paul Anastas and Dr. Philip Coish. Professor Anastas began the session by highlighting the mission of the Yale-UNIDO initiative and explained how the project is intended to increase global awareness of Green Chemistry in developing countries and economies in transition. Professor Anastas then engaged the audience in a lengthy discussion of strategies for the dissemination of Green Chemistry. The discussion was followed by the announcement of the winners of the “Tell A Story Video Competition” by Dr. Coish. 

Our second symposium was focused on advances in the design and development of sustainable molecular design with reduced toxicity. The session began with a Molecular Design Research Network (MoDRN) panel discussion which looked back over the last five years of the project and discussed research, education, and outreach regarding safer chemical design. Principle investigators Terry Kavanaugh, Adelina Voutchkova-Kostal, Paul Anastas and Nancy Simcox provided their perspectives on the work of the network. Following the panel discussion, seven presenters highlighted their work in the area of sustainable molecular design with reduced toxicity. Among the presenters was Yale FES PhD candidate, Fjodor Melnikov, who presented “Modeling the Complex Relationships Between Chemical Properties, Adaptive Response, and Oxidative Stress”. His presentation focused on molecular design guidelines that focused the data-driven methods for designing products with fewer toxicity concerns.

Laurene Petitjean (Yale FES PhD candidate) also presented at the Conference at the Innovation for Bio-Based & Renewable Chemicals session. When asked about her experience at GC&E, she said “It was really rewarding to be part of GC&E 2018 and be able to present our lignin research at one of the sessions. It was a very diverse conference with leaders from many fields and from start-ups, academia, government and well-established industry. I really enjoyed the new interactive sessions which harnessed the multi-disciplinarily and diversity of conference attendees!”

The Center is looking forward to returning to GC&E in 2019.