The ChemDraw® Innovation Challenge: The Results are in!

We challenged the ChemDraw Community to help us drive the future of ChemDraw with the question, “What would you add to ChemDraw to help you do better science?”

The response was overwhelming! Over 300 ideas were submitted in the initial round, of which 47 made it through the Expert Review phase. The Community then selected the top 10 ideas in the final pairwise voting. The Expert Panel convened once more and the top winning ideas were selected. The selection procedure was quite difficult as many excellent ideas were submitted. You will undoubtedly be seeing several of the innovative ideas—in addition to the winning ideas—in future versions of ChemDraw!

Welcome to the ChemDraw Hall of Fame

We are pleased to announce the 4 winning ideas and their respective Innovators. In doing so, we would also like to acknowledge several other Challenge participants featured in the Honorable Mention categories. Among the Innovators, you’ll see a student, retired and active consultants, and scientists working in education, academic research, industry and publications. Our diverse collection of winners and honorable mentions truly reaffirms that, Wherever there is Chemistry, there is ChemDraw!

ChemDraw Challenge Winners
Ehsan Fereyduni Name: Ehsan Fereyduni

Position: Ph. D Candidate, University of Florida, Gainsville, FL, USA

Winning idea: Rather than manually adjusting the "reaction condition" on an arrow – often when having more than 100 reactions to report in a paper— simply right click on the arrow and type the reagent(s), solvent, temp., and ChemDraw automatically adds them on the arrow.

Why Ehsan can’t work without ChemDraw: As a Ph.D candidate involved in everything from research to writing manuscripts to preparing student exams and handouts, ChemDraw plays a big role in Ehsan’s life. That’s why for almost eight years, ChemDraw has been the first program that Ehsan runs when he turns on his laptop. As a Ph.D. student, the ‘reaction stoichiometry’ and ‘SciFinder Search’ have been the most used in his research. Ehsan’s favorite things about ChemDraw are the HotKeys and shortcuts as he points out these ‘help chemists to speed up drawing molecules and reactions.’ Thanks, Ehsan!
Wayne Mascarella Name: Wayne Mascarella

Position: Senior Chemist at Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina USA

Winning idea: Enhanced clean-up of structures relative to a user-defined template so that small variations in drawn ring systems could be forced into a consistent appearance.

Why Wayne can’t work without ChemDraw: An organic chemist and native North Carolinian, Wayne is one of those organic chemists who was lured away from the bench by computational chemistry and cheminformatics. Wayne uses ChemDraw in the preparation of publication-quality graphics for publications and presentations. From Wayne’s perspective, ChemDraw is the most ‘Mac-like’ structure drawing problem available. “As a UNC at Chapel Hill graduate, I should mention that I have reason to think that my PhD dissertation may have been the first submitted at that institution with ChemDraw figures!” Impressive… thanks, Wayne!
Alex Stirk Name: Alex Stirk

Position: Ph.D Candidate University of Windsor, Ontario Canada

Winning idea: Change the center of rotation for a smarter structure perspective providing a better way to help draw 2D representations of complex 3D constructs.

Why Alex can’t work without ChemDraw: Alex first used ChemDraw in 2008 when he began his chemistry career at the University of Leeds, UK, graduating with a BS. His Ph.D. work has focused on supramolecular chemistry of mechanically interlocked molecules (MIMs) for incorporation into Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs). Alex uses ChemDraw in many different ways, such as drawing simple reaction schemes to help plan out multi-step synthesis. This step can help to prevent costly lab mistakes. Alex points out, “I've often enjoyed designing fantastic supramolecular molecules and think about how to make them a reality.” He also shared that his favorite thing about ChemDraw is actually the hotkeys! “I like the efficiency of using two hands to quickly make large molecules.” Thanks, Alex!
S Barrie Walker Name: S Barrie Walker

Position: Senior Consultant in Chemical Information, data & databases, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Winning idea: Use a toggle to switch to allow ChemDraw to display atom numbering as used in chemical names. This would be particularly useful for larger molecules.

Why Barrie can’t work without ChemDraw: Barrie was one of the first ChemDraw users back in 1985. He first used ChemDraw on a Mac (via a handwritten copy on a floppy disk!) and later on a PC. Barrie introduced ChemDraw to a group of Research Chemists at the former ICI/Zeneca Plant Protection, now Syngenta. In the early days, Barrie created the central chemical database for the business— one of the earliest computer files of chemicals that was structure/sub-structure-searchable. Since retiring, Barrie continues to consult with work that spans data editing, database creation and drawing structures from chemical names, naming chemicals from structures−with some help from ChemDraw, of course! Thanks, Barrie!
ChemDraw Challenge Honorable Mention Winners
Top Innovators
Dr. Bharat Kumar Allam Name: Dr. Bharat Kumar Allam

Position: National Postdoctoral Fellow (DST–SERB) at Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi, India

ChemDraw idea submissions: We thank Bharat for the 34 ideas he submitted!

Why Bharat can’t work without ChemDraw: Dr. Allam has been using ChemDraw since 2007 and says it makes his profession much easier. He uses ChemDraw to draw structures, for the prediction of NMR, for the prediction of exact mass and to create the graphical abstracts. His favorite things about ChemDraw include the high resolution structures generated by ChemDraw and features such as SciFinder Scholar Search. Thanks, Bharat!
Professor Luc Boisvert Name: Professor Luc Boisvert

Position: Organic chemistry professor at the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, USA

ChemDraw idea submissions: We thank Luc for the 19 great ideas he submitted!

Why Luc can’t work without ChemDraw: Luc conducted his Ph.D. in organic chemistry under Prof. Claude Spino at the Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, completing a postdoctoral fellowship in organometallic chemistry and catalysis in the laboratory of Prof. Karen Goldberg at the University of Washington. Luc’s group conducts research in organic and organometallic chemistry, seeking to develop more sustainable and efficient ways to form chemicals. Luc relies on ChemDraw daily to prepare course material and uses it extensively for the preparation of journal articles, grant applications, conference presentations and reports. “I like that the use of ChemDraw is very intuitive and that students can easily start using it without much preparation. I like that many aspects of its use can be customized.” Thanks, Luc!
Panel Favorites
Jennifer Beveridge Name: Jennifer Beveridge

Position: Ph.D. candidate, Georgia Institute of Technology

Recognized idea: Have ChemDraw/Reaxys compatibility

Why Jennifer can’t work without ChemDraw: Jennifer is presently NNSA’s Graduate Fellow through Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and a Ph.D. candidate in the lab of M.G. Finn at Georgia Institute of Technology. For her graduate research in organic chemistry and biochemistry, Jennifer uses ChemDraw regularly to make figures for presentations and papers. “I enjoy the uniform, clean look of figures made in ChemDraw and the speed with which I can make them.” Jennifer’s idea recognized by the Expert Panel was to have ChemDraw/Reaxys compatibility. Thanks, Jennifer!
Linda Press Name: Linda Press

Position: Editorial consultant, organic reactions

Recognized idea: Have a “find and replace” option to help when you need to replace numerous text boxes with the same text

Why Linda can’t work without ChemDraw: Linda received her B.S. and Ph.D, in Chemistry from Ohio State University and has worked as a consultant for the publication “Organic Reactions” for more than 20 years. Each volume of this publication is comprised of 1 to 4 chapters, each dealing with a specific transformation in organic chemistry. Linda works with authors, editors (renowned chemists from both academic and private sectors), the O.R. production team, and the publisher, John Wiley, to create this volume series that are reference works for graduate students, professors, and industrial chemists. Linda’s favorite thing about ChemDraw is having the ability to analyze structures, view their physical, spectroscopic, and stereochemical data, and generate names (and, conversely, to generate a structure from a name). These capabilities facilitate Linda’s analysis of transcription (as done by the author from the original paper) accuracy. Thanks, Linda!
Tim Williams Name: Tim Williams

Position: Pharmacologist, San Francisco, CA, USA

Recognized idea: Allow users to toggle “color by atom” on/off

Why Tim can’t work without ChemDraw: Tim is a Pharmacologist who has spent ten years in the lab, followed by 17 years in Discovery Informatics supporting all aspects of small molecule drug discovery. While Tim is not a daily user of ChemDraw himself, he supports its use for the many ChemDraw fans! Thanks, Tim!
Top Contributors
Nicolas Ondich Name: Nicolas Ondich

Position: Private science tutor for college and high school students while pursuing medical school

ChemDraw Challenge Contribution: Nicolas was very active across the entire challenge and was also the star in the final pairwise voting.

Why Nicolas can’t work without ChemDraw: A recent graduate of Duquesne University with a B.S. in Health Management Systems, Nicholas was involved in two research projects looking at combinations and ratios of elements to achieve a pure crystal state of diamond-like semiconductors, and with Baculovirus Expression in Sf-9 insect cells to produce and optimize recombinant viruses. During this research, Nicholas used ChemDraw to obtain a visual of his created proteins and to propose how he should change procedures and parameters to increase the yield and purity of diamond-like semiconductors. The ability to draw anything from simple to very complex structures and reactions and perform multiple analyses is what Nicholas likes best about ChemDraw. “ChemDraw is so thorough, I learn how to do something new every time I use it.” Thanks Nicholas!
Dr. Leo Betschart Name: Dr. Leo Betschart

Position: Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at University British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

ChemDraw Challenge Contribution: Leo was a very active participant at all stages of the Challenge –he submitted 6 ideas!

Why Leo can’t work without ChemDraw: Dr. Betschart is a synthetic organic chemist with expertise in the field of total synthesis and carbohydrate chemistry. Since his work is driven by synthesis, Leo’s workflow is centered around a massive ChemDraw document which he uses as a repository of current ideas. The ideas are reordered and reprioritized in regular intervals and, once implemented, become properly documented, leaving space for new ideas. Leo finds ChemDraw to be ‘the most intuitive of all the chemical graphics software he has used’. He adds, “And the hotkeys...don't forget the hotkeys… they will make the next version of ChemDraw even more powerful.” Thanks Leo!
Thanks to all who participated! Stay tuned for the next releases of ChemDraw and feel free to submit any ideas you’d like to see in future releases of ChemDraw by contacting us at .