November 26, 2019 (Tues.)
12:30 – 1:30 pm
Dr. Abby O’Connor
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
Sustainable routes to fuels and chemicals using earth abundant catalysts
Research in the O’Connor lab focuses on the development of more sustainable approaches to the production of chemicals. Companies and academic institutions are increasingly focused on developing more benign and greener catalytic processes to traditional stochiometric transformations for chemicals and fuels. A grand challenge facing society is the utilization of plentiful carbon dioxide (CO2) obtained from the combustion of fossil fuels. To take advantage of this plentiful carbon-rich feedstock, carbon dioxide must be converted to a more valuable chemical or fuel. The reduction of petroleum-derived carbon dioxide using a single-site molecular catalyst would provide a unique carbon recycling strategy, and help tackle issues related to global warming and climate change. Our group is exploring the use of cooperative approaches between the metal and ligand as a means to improve CO2 hydrogenation using iron catalysts. This talk describes our progress towards the synthesis of Earth-abundant catalysts to reduce CO2 to the fuel methanol.
Dr. Melkamu Woldemariam
Associate Professor, Department of Biology
The Search for Novel Regulators of Plant Defense Responses
In their natural habitats, plants are attacked by a multitude of insect herbivores that depend on them to complete their life cycles. These attacks severely compromise the survival or fitness of plant communities. In response, plants have evolved various defense strategies including the production and deployment of poisonous chemicals that either kill the attacking herbivores or slow their growth. Despite the obvious fitness benefits of chemical defense responses, their production, storage and catabolism are very costly. Therefore, plants need to regulate the duration and extent of defense metabolite production. My research focuses on identifying novel regulatory mechanisms of plant defense responses and studying their evolution in model dicot and monocot plants.