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Chemistry Colloquium: Dr. Elizabeth Papish of Drexel University

Dr. Elizabeth T. Papish

Department of Chemistry, Drexel University

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

11:00 am -12:00 pm 

Science Complex (Chemistry Wing), C-121


“Biomimetic Denitrification, Hydrogenation, and Water Oxidation with New Hydrogen Bonding Ligands”


Abstract: Our research group mission is “To apply bioinorganic and organometallic chemistry to problems that relate to green chemistry and sustainability.  In particular, we are interested in exploring how hydrogen bonding groups impact catalysis, due to both potential applications and pure science reasons (functional models help us better understand how enzymes work).”  Our niche is that we 1) design new ligands, 2) aim to use water and other green solvents, and 3) use of hydrogen bonding interactions, both near and far from the metal center, to tune the reactivity.  Within these broad goals, we have pursued bio-inspired reactivity, including denitrification, and reactivity inspired by the organometallic literature, specifically hydrogenation and water oxidation.  The biomimetic chemistry has been aimed at designing structural and functional models for Cu and Zn containing enzyme active sites.  In particular, our tris(triazolyl)borate ligands (Ttz) allow a functional model of Cu Nitrite Reductase wherein hydrogen bonding interactions can alter the electronic properties of the ligand.  Recently, we designed a new ligand that places hydrogen bonding groups near the metal center on a bipyridine scaffold.  This has allowed for formation of Ru and Ir complexes that perform catalytic transfer hydrogenation in water, and perform water oxidation.   Hydrogenation and water oxidation are both of fundamental importance to the impending global energy crisis, as water oxidation is potentially a means of harnessing the sun’s energy, and hydrogenation chemistry can allow for energy storage.


Speaker’s Biographical Sketch:  Dr. Elizabeth T. Papish grew up in Long Island, NY, and attended Cornell University where she received a B.A. degree in chemistry.  At Cornell, she performed bioorganic research with prof. Tadgh P. Begley.  Her graduate studies were conducted at Columbia University in the area of mechanistic organometallic chemistry, under the direction of prof. Jack R. Norton.  Following completion of her PhD, she taught for one year at Franklin and Marshall, and then took a faculty position at Salisbury University.  At Salisbury University, she directed several undergraduate students in bioinorganic research studies, and she taught general and organic chemistries.  In 2007, she took an assistant professorship at Drexel University.  At Drexel she has directed undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in bioinorganic and organometallic research studies.  Her research has been supported by NSF CAREER and ACS-PRF, and she received an award from Research Corporation.  At Drexel, Dr. Papish has taught inorganic chemistry, organometallic, and bioinorganic chemistry.  Dr. Papish also has organized the Intercollegiate Student Chemists Convention (in 2007) and a workshop on Careers in Chemistry (in 2010).  She lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, David Riley, a meteorologist, and their daughter, Genevieve age 2.