Professor Heather Desaire named July 2023 Sutton Family Research Impact Award recipient

The Department of Chemistry congratulates Professor Heather Desaire on receiving the July 2023 Sutton Family Research Impact Award!

The Sutton Award is a monthly competition among chemistry faculty. Every month, the Chemistry Department Chair and Associate Chairs review the peer-reviewed papers published by chemistry faculty from the three previous months to select a winner. The recipient receives a $500 cash prize and is featured on the departmental website.

For a full list of winners, visit our Sutton Family Research Impact Award webpage.

Distinguishing academic science writing from humans or ChatGPT with over 99% accuracy using off-the-shelf machine learning tools

By Heather Desaire, Aleesa E. Chua, Madeline Isom, Romana Jarosova, and David Hua

Published in Cell Rep. Phys. Sci., 4 (2023), Article 101426

Chatting with ChatGPT.

Researchers in the Desaire group have been busy this year, using ChatGPT.  They were fascinated with the speed with which it generated authentic-sounding text, even on obscure topics, and the group immediately wondered how they might go about differentiating AI-generated text, made by ChatGPT, from real human scientists’ writing. 

Some journals allow ChatGPT usage for assisting the writing process, and others do not.  But even in cases where ChatGPT is allowable, researchers are supposed to disclose its use.  Very few such disclosures are being made.  And without a tool to accurately distinguish human writing from AI, nobody knows the extent to which this tool is already infiltrating the academic literature, undetected.

So the Desaire group leveraged their backgrounds in machine learning and developed an AI tool to distinguish AI writing from human writing.  (Yes, there is some irony in that.)  Their approach, which was shown to be over 99% accurate on hundreds of example documents, was recently published in Cell Reports Physical Science.  The manuscript is available open-access and can be found here:

The study piqued the interest of reporters and science writers, and Desaire has fielded questions from journalists from all over the globe who wanted to know more about the work.  Their stories appear in news articles in Brazil, Japan, Israel, Australia, England, and the US.  One of the stories on the work can be found here: