Nick Jackson selected Scialog Fellow to pursue advancements in automating chemical laboratories


Advances in automated instrumentation and artificial intelligence (AI) are increasing the opportunities for innovation in basic research, including chemical science laboratories, and Prof. Nick Jackson and other early career scientists are working on accelerating progress in this innovative area through interdisciplinary, collaborative projects in the Research Corporation for Science Advancement’s Scialog series, Automating Chemical Laboratories.

Scialog is short for “science + dialog.” Created in 2010 by RCSA, the Scialog format supports research by stimulating intensive interdisciplinary conversation and community building around a scientific theme of global importance.  

Jackson is one of 50 Fellows recently selected for this Scialog series that brings together scientists from distinct fields including all areas of synthetic chemistry (organic, inorganic, materials and biological), integrated and automated instrument development, engineering, materials science, computer and data science, and AI computer research.

Jackson said recognition as a Scialog Fellow is exciting and builds directly off of the momentum led by the Molecule Maker Laboratory Institute on the UIUC campus in which his research group is working to automate chemical design, high-throughput measurements, and scientific hypothesis generation.

"I look forward to sharing and learning the state-of-the-art with colleagues across the country to push the chemical sciences towards a more AI-compatible future," Jackson said.

The goal of this specific Scialog series is to create a dynamic, interdisciplinary community that will accelerate progress in the chemical sciences and laboratory automation through collaborative projects marrying advances in automation and AI to key questions in fundamental research. The group is also expected to have additional discussions on how the chemistry curriculum and workforce development must adapt to the changes in how basic chemistry research is conducted.

The first meeting in this series will be April 11 – 14 in Tucson, Arizona.

Jackson was also recently elected to the inaugural Early Career Board at the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation.