Chemistry for a Healthy Planet

 

We develop environmentally friendly new methods for organic synthesis through ubiquitous C-H bonds, explore the interconversion of nitrogen and ammonia as carbon-free fuels, and decode ways that biology communicates using nitric oxide as a molecular messenger. Our laboratory studies how chemical reactions work that are catalyzed by metal ions such as nickel, copper, and zinc to better enable new insights into the development of useful catalysts for synthesis and energy applications as well as to lay the groundwork for therapeutic interventions connected with nitric oxide misregulation.

Through mechanistic understanding of reactive copper intermediates, we develop new reactions to directly convert sp3 C-H to C-C, C-N, C-O, and C-S bonds.

Ammonia is a carbon-free fuel produced on a scale of over 150 M tons / year.  We examine the fundamental chemistry of N-H and N-N bond cleavage and formation as we develop molecular electrocatalysts based on Earth abundant metals such as iron and copper.

Nitric oxide (NO) is a powerful signaling molecule with far reaching effects. Inspired by Cu and Zn environments in biology, we employ synthetic models that outline pathways to interconvert molecules in NO signaling such as nitrate, nitrite, and S-nitrosothiols (RSNO).