Chemistry Professor Jefferson Chan and alum Melissa Lucero (PhD, '22) are recipients of a 2024 ACS National Award — the Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry.

The 2024 ACS National Awards were announced Sept. 7, 2023, and included the Nobel Laureate Signature Award, which was established in 1978 by Avantor and recognizes outstanding graduate students and their preceptors in the field of chemistry. National award recipients will be honored at the award ceremony Tuesday, March 19, 2024, in conjunction with ACS Spring 2024 in New Orleans.

While pursuing a PhD in Chemistry at Illinois, Dr. Lucero was a graduate researcher in the Chan Lab and worked on several projects, including developing a non-toxic, small-molecule probe that provides real-time visualization of disease progression without the need for surgical intervention and another project developing a finely tuned molecular agent that can target lung and other cancer cells for imaging and treatment. Lucero also received the Department of Chemistry's Professor Gary Schuster Mentoring Scholarship

Dr. Lucero is now a Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Dr. Martin J. Schnermann at the Center for Cancer Research in Maryland, which is the basic and clinical intramural research program of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

Professor Chan began his independent research career at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2014, pursuing research in the areas of analytical, organic and chemical biology. He received his BSc in Chemistry from the University of British Columbia in 2006 and his PhD from Simon Fraser University in 2011 with Prof. Andrew Bennet. For his graduate work, he was recognized with the Boehringer Ingelheim Doctoral Research Award for the top Canadian thesis in the areas of organic and bioorganic chemistry. From 2011 to 2014 he was a Human Frontiers Science Program Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley with Prof. Christopher Chang.