Newswise — SAN FRANCISCO--Attend press conferences live -- online at or in person -- at the 253rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Press conferences will be held Monday, April 3, through Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Below is the schedule, which will be updated as needed.

The Press Center on-site location:

Moscone CenterSouth Building, FoyerPhone: 415-978-3605

Anyone can view the press conferences, but to chat online, you must sign in first with a Google account.


Note to journalists: Please report that this research is being presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Monday, April 3

9 a.m. Pacific Time

No more ‘superbugs’? Maple syrup extract enhances antibiotic action EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Sunday, April 2, 2017, 5 a.m. Eastern Time

Antibiotics save lives every day, but there is a downside to their ubiquity. High doses can kill healthy cells along with infection-causing bacteria, while also spurring the creation of “superbugs” that no longer respond to known antibiotics. Now, researchers may have found a natural way to cut down on antibiotic use without sacrificing health: a maple syrup extract that dramatically increases the potency of these medicines.

Nathalie Tufenkji, Ph.D.McGill University (Canada) 

9:30 a.m. Pacific Time Upcycling ‘fast fashion’ to reduce waste and pollution EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Sunday, April 2, 2017, 5 a.m. Eastern Time

Pollution created by making and dyeing clothes has pitted the fashion industry and environmentalists against each other. Now, the advent of “fast fashion” — trendy clothing affordable enough to be disposable — has strained that relationship even more. But what if we could recycle clothes like we recycle paper, or even upcycle them? Scientists today report new progress toward that goal.

Simone HaslingerAalto University (Finland)
Michael Hummel, Dr.Aalto University (Finland)

10 a.m. Pacific Time Altering the immune system to reverse paralysis (video)EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Monday, April 3, 2017, 5 a.m. Eastern Time

In the ultimate betrayal, one’s own immune system can turn against the protective sheath that envelops neurons in the brain, leaving the body paralyzed. Researchers have developed an experimental treatment that tames the wayward immune system in rodents, returning the power of movement to paralyzed mice. The approach may someday combat autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes, in humans.

A brand-new video on the research is available at

Christopher Jewell, Ph.D.University of Maryland

10:30 a.m. Pacific Time A ‘bionic leaf’ could help feed the worldEMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Monday, April 3, 2017, 5 a.m. Eastern Time

In the second half of the 20th century, the mass use of fertilizer was part of an agricultural boom called the “green revolution” that was largely credited with averting a global food crisis. Now, the challenge of feeding the world looms again as the population continues to balloon. To help spur the next agricultural revolution, researchers have invented a “bionic” leaf that uses bacteria, sunlight, water and air to make fertilizer in the very soil where crops are grown.

Daniel Nocera, Ph.D.Harvard University

1 p.m. Pacific Time ‘Sniffing’ urine to detect prostate cancer could prevent unnecessary biopsiesEMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Monday, April 3, 2017, 5 a.m. Eastern Time

On the list of dreaded medical tests, a prostate biopsy probably ranks fairly high. The common procedure requires sticking a needle into the prostate gland to remove tissue for assessment. Thousands of men who undergo the uncomfortable procedure, prompted by a positive PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, ultimately don’t require cancer treatment. Today, scientists report progress toward minimizing unnecessary biopsies: They have identified the molecules likely responsible for the scent of prostate cancer, which could be detected by chemically “sniffing” urine.

Amanda Siegel, Ph.D.Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

Mangilal Agarwal, Ph.D.Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

1:30 p.m. Pacific Time Ridding the oceans of plastics by turning the waste into valuable fuelEMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Monday, April 3, 2017, 5 a.m. Eastern Time

Billions of pounds of plastic waste are littering the world’s oceans. Now, a Ph.D. organic chemist and a sailboat captain report that they are developing a process to reuse certain plastics, transforming them from worthless trash into a valuable diesel fuel with a small mobile reactor. They envision the technology could someday be implemented globally on land and possibly placed on boats to convert ocean waste plastic into fuel to power the vessels.

Swaminathan Ramesh, Ph.D. EcoFuel Technologies, Inc.

James HolmClean Oceans International

2 p.m. Pacific Time How to clamp down on cyanide fishingEMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Monday, April 3, 2017, 5 a.m. Eastern Time

Spraying cyanide near coral reefs teeming with tropical creatures can quickly and cheaply stun ornamental fish that can then be scooped up and sold around the world. The practice supplies pet stores but often leaves behind damaged coral and dead fish exposed to too much of the toxin. Countries where aquarium fish are collected have outlawed the method decades ago, but catching perpetrators is difficult. Now researchers are developing a handheld device for detecting cyanide fishing that could help clamp down on the destructive practice.

Clifford Murphy, Ph.D. Roger Williams University

Tuesday, April 4 9 a.m. Pacific Time Hair strands could reveal lifestyle secrets of criminals (video)EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 5 a.m. Eastern Time

Hair fiber analysis, a forensic crime tool with a questionable past, could soon have a brighter future thanks to the development of a more refined scientific technique that could reveal much about a person’s lifestyle. Scientists say the new technique could potentially provide investigators with vital clues about a person’s age, sex, body mass, diet and exercise habits that could help them hone in on potential suspects.

A brand-new video on the research is available at

Glen P. Jackson, Ph.D. West Virginia University

9:30 a.m. Pacific Time Bio-sensing contact lens could someday measure blood glucose, other bodily functionsEMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 5 a.m. Eastern Time

Transparent biosensors embedded into contact lenses could soon allow doctors and patients to monitor blood glucose levels and a host of other telltale signs of disease without invasive tests. Scientists say the bio-sensing lenses, based on technology that led to the development of smartphones with more vivid displays, also could potentially be used to track drug use or serve as an early detection system for cancer and other serious medical conditions.

Gregory S. Herman, Ph.D. Oregon State University

10 a.m. Pacific Time Materials may lead to self-healing smartphonesEMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 5 a.m. Eastern Time

Taking a cue from the Marvel Universe, researchers report that they have developed a self-healing polymeric material with an eye toward electronics and soft robotics that can repair themselves. The material is stretchable and transparent, conducts ions to generate current and could one day help your broken smartphone go back together again.

Chao Wang, Ph.D.University of California, Riverside

10:30 a.m. Pacific Time Stopping Zika from crossing the placentaEMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 5 a.m. Eastern Time

Although the World Health Organization ended its global health emergency on Zika last November, the virus could still make a comeback as temperatures get warmer and mosquito season ramps up. Over 5,000 cases have been identified in the U.S. over the past two years, including about 1,500 pregnant women, and 70 countries have reported evidence of Zika transmission. It is a particularly insidious virus because it can cross the placenta and cause birth defects. Now, researchers may have figured out how this virus invades the placenta, and they are taking steps to develop strategies that block its access.

Robert J. Linhardt, Ph.D.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Wednesday, April 5

10 a.m. Pacific Time Addictive nut’s derivatives could help smokers break the nicotine habitEMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 5 a.m. Eastern Time

As many as 600 million people in Southeast Asia chew areca nuts with betel leaves, sometimes adding tobacco leaves. Many users are addicted to this harmful “betel quid” preparation, which can create a sense of euphoria and alertness. Yet researchers have now discovered that compounds derived from the nut could help cigarette smokers — as well as betel quid chewers — kick their habits.

Nicole A. Horenstein, Ph.D.University of Florida

10:30 a.m. Pacific Time Green laser light probes metals for hidden damage (animation)EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 5 a.m. Eastern Time

Imagine being able to check the structural integrity of an airplane, ship or bridge, without having to dismantle it or remove any material for testing, which could further compromise the structure. That’s the promise of a new laser-based technique that chemists are developing to reveal hidden damage in metals.

A brand-new video on the research is available at

Alex FarnsworthBrigham Young University

Scott SmithBrigham Young University

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly 157,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact [email protected].

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