April 28, 2020
Staff Accomplishment

PNNL’s Deepika Malhotra Joins Pollutants Editorial Board


PNNL’s Deepika Malhotra | Photo: Andrea Starr

Deepika Malhotra, an organic chemist at PNNL, will lend her expertise to help shape the content and quality of Pollutants, a new, interdisciplinary, open access, journal focusing on a range of environmental science research.

Deepika and intern
Malhotra believes in sharing her knowledge and experiences with students interested in chemistry careers. Pictured: U.S. Department of Energy Community College intern, Kayla Shaffron, learns from Malhotra about evaluating the rate of carbon dioxide gas released from solvent systems in PNNL’s Physical Sciences Laboratory | Photo: Andrea Starr

Malhotra exemplifies applied research, having been involved in projects including molecular refinement and advanced solvent development for carbon capture, carbon conversion, and selective separations. Currently, she’s working with a team focused on making carbon emissions cleaner through the use of specialized organic solvents. Her expertise in carbon capture compliments reviewer expertise on the Pollutants review board.

Malhotra’s fascination with chemistry was sparked amidst a challenging time in her life.

“My grandfather died from cancer when I was a little kid, and when I grew up I realized organic chemistry has the right tools to gain insight into the field of drug discovery,” explained Malhotra.

As a student she became enthralled by the facets of organic synthesis and the challenges within the field—specifically, generating pharmaceutical products. She followed that career track with hands-on experience in drug discovery while working at GlaxoSmithKline’s Immuno-Inflammation Center for Excellence in Drug Discovery.

Her deep background in organic chemistry has led to leadership roles with three journals, including one reviewer board and now two editorial boards. Sitting on review boards helps researchers gain an insider’s perspective of the review process from start to finish and helps them expand their professional networks across the globe. For Pollutants, that includes working with other editorial board members to evaluate manuscripts, screen submissions, and provide insight to set and maintain high-quality standards for a new journal.

As a woman in science, Malhotra finds inspiration from colleagues at PNNL and talented scientists worldwide. “There are so many amazing women scientists across the world who are constantly pushing research boundaries and contributing to cutting-edge research to make a difference in society.”

When asked what advice she would give students interested in following in her footsteps, Malhotra said, “It’s important to share knowledge and make a collective impact in the scientific world by solving real world problems.”

Malhotra joined PNNL in 2014. In her career, she has published more than 20 peer-reviewed and conference papers, and holds three U.S. patents. She holds a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Louisville.