Chair Notes

Dear ACS Members,

First and foremost, as the 2021 Chair of the San Diego Section of the American Chemical Society, I would like to extend my best wishes to everyone for a safe, happy, healthy and successful 2021. As we gradually emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to continue to apply the best practices to keep ourselves and those around us healthy and safe. I am humbled and honored to lead the Section in 2021 following the stellar examples of past chairs, including the 2020 Chair, James T. Caldwell, who successfully transitioned many of the Section activities from traditional social gatherings we all enjoyed and expected, to the novel (at the time) remote meetings via Zoom. This allowed Section events to continue while we practiced social distancing. I sincerely thank Dr. Caldwell for his leadership, dedication and hard work in the most uncertain and unusual times that was 2020. As the coda to the most unusual 2020, in lieu of a formal year-end meeting and holiday party, we had a business meeting via Zoom on December 3rd, 2020, where Dr. Caldwell presented his review of 2020 activities and I introduced myself and my vision for 2021.

In 2021, the leadership of the San Diego Section includes Juan Gonzalez-Gonzalez, (Chair-Elect), William Tolley, (Secretary), and Desiree Grubisha, (Treasurer). Congratulations to all for being elected to their respective positions. Along with the councilors, alternate councilors, members-at-large, and the committee chairs, this team of volunteers will strive to make 2021 an eventful year for the membership at SD-ACS. Our next Executive Committee Meeting will take place on Thursday, January 7th. All members are welcome to attend (please contact me at to receive Zoom log-in details). Please join us to share your ideas, suggestions, and to volunteer in the Section. Volunteers are the source of inspiration and enable all the events for the Section. My theme for 2021 is “Chemistry of Everyday Things”, as an addition to the traditional medicinal and organic chemistry, I would like to introduce the membership as well as the general public to the concept of chemistry being in everything we touch, use, and consume; from food and drinks to detergents to batteries and more, and to spark interest and curiosity.

To start 2021, due to a last-minute cancellation, in February we will have Ajay Nirula, MD, PhD, Vice President of Immunology at Eli Lilly & Co., to discuss the therapeutic landscape for COVID-19. Future seminars are being planned and will be announced as they are confirmed.

As it was in 2020, many of our traditional and favorite events, including Earth- Fair, Mad Science, Seniors Breakfasts, Family Picnic, 50-/60-/70-Year Member Luncheon, MedChem Symposium, National Chemistry Week/ChemExpo, Distinguished Scientist Award Banquet, and the Holiday Party, may have to be modified in accordance with the city, county and state health and safety regulations. Further details will be announced as we adapt to the ever-changing conditions.

In 2020, we also mourned the passing of our dear colleague, John W. Schindler, a longtime member of the Executive Committee, a past chair of the Section, and an esteemed chemist and professor. I am honored to have worked alongside Dr. Schindler in the Executive Committee over many years and learned from him.

Finally, on behalf of the Executive Committee of the San Diego Section of the ACS, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!


James J. Shih, 2021 Chair
San Diego Section of the American Chemical Society
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