Coordination, bioinorganic and supramolecular chemistry
Short description of your research area
I design, synthesize and investigate the chemical, structural and physical properties of new biomimetic transition metal-organic compounds. Some of these new materials reversibly bind oxygen, or catalyze the oxidation of organic substrates by oxygen directly from air. One has catalyzed water oxidation – the same reaction found at the heart of photosynthesis.
Experimenting with the chameleon first row d-block metal ions means a surprise every day: We have (often serendipitously) landed in areas as diverse as small molecule activation, oxo-anion recognition, metal tags for proteomic methodologies, magnetic spin-state switching molecules, supramolecular halogen-bonding, gas phase chemistry, solvent-free gas-solid reactions, the controlled synthesis of molecular metal clusters and coordination polymeric materials (aka Metal Organic Frameworks), water remediation from organic pollutants, and synthesis of new theranostic radiopharmaceuticals.
Unleashing the unexploited potential of the first row d-block elements for solving some of humankind’s greatest challenges is the primary motivation for my research. The parallels between the controls and constraints imposed on metal ions like iron, by the active sites of metalloenzymes are inspiration. In this research area the ultimate aim is mimic the clean and atom-economic chemistry found in biology, and with this knowledge devise sustainable and environmentally benign methods for producing everything from pharmaceuticals to fuel.