Who We Are

Mahdi M. Abu-Omar
  • Principal Investigator
Baoyuan Liu
  • Graduate Student
Hao Luo
  • Graduate Student
  • Visiting Professor

C-H activation

  • Research associate

Computational Chemistry

Chan Park
  • Graduate Student
  • Graduate Student

Converting low-value waste polymers such as polyethylene and polypropylene into high-value chemicals


Shou Zhao
  • Graduate Student

Dr. Aysegul Senocak, 6/11-6/12 (Visiting Scientist), Current affiliation: Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Gaziosmanpasa University, Tokat, Turkey

Professor Basudeb Saha, 2011(Visiting Scientist), 2013-2015 (Associate Research Scientist), Current affiliation: Associate Director for Research, Catalysis Center of Energy Innovation, University of Delaware

Professor Tae-Jin Won, 2008, Current affiliation: Associate Profesor, Changwon National University, Korea

Dr. Trenton Parsell, 2009-2014, Current affiliation: Scientist, Cook Medical., West Lafayette, IN.

Dr. Michael J. Zdilla, 6/05-6/09, Current affiliation: Associate Professor, Robert L. Smith Early Career Professor, Department of Chemistry, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. https://chem.cst.temple.edu/zdilla.html

Dr. Guodong Du, 8/05-6/08, Current affiliation: Associate Professor, Chemistry Department, University of North Dakota. http://arts-sciences.und.edu/chemistry/du.cfm

Dr. Corneliu Stanciu,6/05-5/08, Current affiliation: Senior Research Chemist, Sasol, Performance Chemicals, West Lake, LA.

Dr. Elon A. Ison, 06/04-07/06, Current affiliation: Associate Professor, Chemistry Department, North Carolina State Universityhttp://www.ncsu.edu/chemistry/people/eison.html

Dr. Nikos Hontzeas, 09/04-04/05, Current affiliation: Strategy, Senior Manager, Roche, Sacramento, CA.

Dr. Virginie M. Bereau, 12/99-08/01, Current affiliation: Associate Professor, IUT Paul Sabatier-Departement do Chimie, France

Dr. Aram M. Nersissian, 03/99-12/00, Current affiliation: Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Occidental College, CA

Curt Bougher, Ph.D. 2017, Thesis title:  "Exploring Rractivity of Bio-Relevant Porphyrinoid Complexes for Propensity in Chlorite Dismutase, Catalase, Hydrogen Atom Transfer, Electron Transfer and Oxygen Atom Transfer."  Current affiliation:  Process Engineer II at Raytheon Vision Systems, Goleta, CA.

Kelsey Cantwell, Ph.D. 2017, Thesis title:  "Design and Synthesis of Molybdenum-Dioxo Complexes and the Development of Novel Methodologies."  

Thilina Gunasekara, Ph.D. 2017, Thesis title:  "Mechanistic and Kinetic Studies of Alpha-olefin Oligomerization and Selective Ethylene Trimerization."  Current affiliation:  Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Columbia University, NY.

Andrew Preston, Ph.D. 2017, Thesis title:  "Structure-Activity Relationships in Olefin Polymerization by Group (IV) Catalysts."  

Robert Balow, Ph.D. 2015, Thesis title: " Low-Cost and Earth-Abundant Nanocrystal Synthesis for Solar Energy Production and Thermoelectric Device Applications." Current affiliation: NRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Alexandria, VA.

Ian Klein, Ph.D. 2015, Thesis title: " Selective and Catalytic Hydrodeoxygenation of Lignin in Model Compounds and Intact Biomass." Current affiliation: Scientist, Spero Energy, Inc., West Lafayettte, IN.

Jing Yi, Ph.D. 2015, Thesis title: "Homogeneous And Heterogeneous Rhenium Catalysts For Sustainable Transformations Of Polyols, Alcohols, And Amines." Current affiliation: Postdoc, Purdue University, West Layfette, IN.

Shuo Liu, Ph.D. 2015, Thesis title: "Catalytic Transformations with Oxorhenium and Chromium Complexes for Deoxygenation of Diols and Selective Reduction of Dioxygen." Current affiliation: Systems Diagnostics Scientist, Emerald Therapeutics, Belmont, California.

Christine Bohn, Ph.D. 2014, Thesis title: "Transformation Of Biomass Carbohydrates By Transition Metal Catalysts." Current affiliation: Lecturer, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA.

Keith Steelman, Ph.D. 2014, Thesis title: "Kinetics Of Olefin Polymerization Using Group IV Metal Complexes." Current affiliation: Scientist, Dow Chemical Company, Freeport, Texas

Isaac Corn, Ph.D. 2014, Thesis title: " A Study Of Molybdenum Complexes Supported By Alpha-Diimines And Amine-Bis(Phenols) And Their Applications Towards Oxygen Atom Transfer Reactions." Current affiliation: Post Doctoral Research Scientist, HiFunda LLC, Salt Lake City, UT.

Scott Hicks, Ph.D. 2014, Thesis title: "Catalytic Conversion Of Chlorite To Chlorine Dioxide Using Water-Soluble Heme And Non-Heme Manganese Complexes." Current affiliation: Senior Application Developer, icitizen, Fairport, NY.

Benjamin Wegenhart , Ph.D. 2013, Thesis title: "Utilization Of Biomass Derived Furans In Value-Added Organics And Heterogeneous Oxorhenium Catalysts For Deoxydehydration Of Diols." Current affiliation: Scientist, Swift Fuels, West Lafayette, IN.

Judith Ronau, Ph.D. 2013, Thesis title: "Crystallographic And Mutational Evaluation Of Substrate Binding In Phenylalanine Hydroxylase From Chromobacterium Violaceum." Current affiliation: Senior Scientist, AbbVie, Chicago, IL.

Eurick Kim, Ph.D. 2012, Thesis title: "Part One. Factors Influencing Furan Formation From Monosaccharides Using Maleic Acid Part Two. Silyl Group Migration Studies." Current affiliation: Scientist, Aerotsk.

Erin E. Smith, Ph.D. 2012, Thesis title: "Part One. Catalytic Activation of Organosilicon and Organohalide Compounds with Dinuclear Nickel Hydride. Part Two. Mechanistic Study and Kinetic Modeling of Single-Site Catalytic Olefin Polymerization with Zirconium Salan." Current affiliation: High school teacher in Maryland.

Andrew Evans, M.S. 2011, Thesis title: "The Scope and Limitations of the Diol-to-Alkene Reaction Catalyzed by MTO and Its Corresponding Mechanism." Current affiliation: Assistant Professor, Bethel University of Tennessee.

Jennifer L. Petersen, Ph.D. 2010, Thesis title: "High-Valent Complexes of Porphyrin and Corrole: Kinetics and Spin-State Dependence of Hydrogen Atom Transfer Reactions." Current affiliation: Research Analyst, Canter for Naval Analyses, Alexandria, VA.

Nicholas E. Trvia, Ph.D. 2010, Thesis title: "Part I. High Valent Oxo Imido Rhenium(VII) Complexes: Mechanisms of Their Formation from Azide and Their Use in Catalytic Oxidation of Triethylsilane. Part II. Single-Site Olefin Polymerization: Kinetics and Mechanistic Insight from Molecular Weight Distribution." Current affiliation: Research Professional, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Berkeley, CA.

Jeanette E. Ziegler, Ph.D. 2010, Thesis title: "Atom Transfer Reactions of High-Valent Rhenium and Molybdenum Oxo Catalysts: Applications in Oxygen Atom Transfer, Hydrosilylation, and Deoxydehydration of Diols." Current affiliation: Content Development Manager, MilliporeSigma, St. Louis, MO.

Rex A. Corbin, Ph.D. 2009, Thesis title: "Niobium and Tantalum Complexes Supported with Aryloxide Ancillary Ligation: Synthesis, Structure, 2-Vinylpyridine Insertion Reactions. Oxorhenium(V) Oxazoline Complexes: Reactivity. Mechanism, and Application Towards Catalytic Hydrolysis and Alcoholysis of Organic Silanes." Current affiliation: Staff chemist, Crane Naval Base, IN.

Amanda Q. Lee, Ph.D. 2009, Thesis title: "Structural and Mechanistic Characterization of Heme and Non-Heme Iron Metalloenzymes." Current affiliation: Regulatory Affairs Specialist, City of Hope, Duarte, CA.

Aristobulo Loaiza, Ph.D. 2008, Thesis title: "Stability and Folding Studies of Phenylalanine Hydroxylase from Chromobacterium violaceum." Current affiliation: Senior Managert, BASF New Business, Florham Park, NJ.

Shalini Sharma, Ph.D. 2005, Thesis title: "I. Functionalization of Porous Silicon Surfaces for Biosernsors Application. II. Synthesis, Structure and Olefin Polymerization Kinetics of Half-Sandwich Titanium and Zirconium Aryloxide Complexes." Current affiliation: Senior Development Engineer, JSR Micro, San Francisco, CA.

Richard Himes, Ph.D. 2005, Thesis title: "Ancillary Ligand Control of the Structure, Reactivity, and Stereochemistry of Group 4 Aryloxide Complexes." Current affiliation: Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Charleston, SC.

Mui Sam, Ph.D. 2005, Thesis title: "Mechanistic Studies on Chemical and Biological Nucleases." Current affiliation: Laboratory Director, Department of Toxic Substances Control, Los Angeles, CA.

Andrew Han, Ph.D. 2005, Thesis title: " The Molecular Basis of the Steady-State Kinetic Mechanism of Bacterial Phenylalnine Hydroxylase." Current affiliation: UC Davis, CA.

Jung H. Hwang, Ph.D. 2004, Thesis title: "Ligand Substitution Reactions and DNA-Cleavage Mechanism of Anticarcinogenic Bioperoxovanadium(V) Compounds." Current affiliation: Process Development Chemist, Heraeus Metal Processing Inc.

Lee D. McPherson, Ph.D. 2004, Thesis title: "Reactivity and Mechanism of Oxazoline- and Thiazoline-Based Rhenium(V) Catalysts for Oxygen-Atom and Imido Transfer Reaction." Current affiliation: Research Analyst, Center for Naval Analyses.

Alon Volner, Ph.D. 2003, Thesis title: "Bacterial Phenylalanine Hydroxylase: Cloning, Preparation, Structural Features, Steady-State Mechanism, and Preliminary Investigation of Active-Site Residues." Current affiliation: Chief Chemist, Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA.

Rebecca A. Eikey, Ph.D. 2002, Thesis title: "Synthesis and Characterization of Imido Corrole Complexes of Manganese(V) and Chromium(V), Synthesis and Characterization of Simple Rhenium(V) Nitrido Complexes and Intermetal Nitrogen-Atom Transfer from Manganese(V) Nitrido to Rhenium(III)." Current affiliation: Professor and Department Chair, College of the Canyons, CA.

Kimberely J. Miller, Ph.D. 2002, Thesis title: "Synthesis and Mechanistic Studies of Palladium(II) Catalysts for the Formation of C-C, C-N, C-O, and C-S Bonds." Current occupation: Partner, Knobbe Martens Intellectual Property Law, San Diego, CA.

Gregory S. Owens, Ph.D. 2001, Thesis title: "Methyltrioxorhenium-Catalyzed Oxygen Transfer Reactions in Ambient Temperature Ionic Liquids." Current affiliation: Associate Dean, College of Science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

Joachin J. Arias, Ph.D. 2001, Thesis title: "Reactions and Mechanisms of Rhenium Catalyzed Oxygen Atom Transfer." Current affiliation: Teacher, Los Angeles Unified School District, CA.

Rhonda K. Larson, Ph.D. 2001, Thesis title: "The Synthesis, DNA Interactions, and Ligand Exchange Kinetics of [(bpy)VˇO(η²-O₂)₂]ˉ and Manganese Oxazoline as an Aziridination Catalyst." Current affilation: VP Sales Operations, Snowflake Computing.

Denny M. Schoch, M.S. 2000, Thesis title: "Expression and Purification of Phenylalanine Hydroxylase from Pseudomonas Aeruginosa." Current affiliation: Medical doctor in Nashville, TN.