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Department of Chemistry

Inorganic Research

The Penn State Department of Chemistry has one of the leading Inorganic Chemistry groups in the world. Faculty research interests include the traditional areas of bioinorganic, coordination, main group, organometallic, and solid-state chemistry, as well as strong interdisciplinary efforts in inorganic materials, nanoscience, metalloenzymes, active matter, and catalysis. Several groups seek to understand how metal-containing proteins and enzymes function. Other groups develop cutting edge methods to synthesize and characterize new molecules, polymers, solids, and nanoparticles and apply them to forefront applications in energy, medicine, and electronics.





Harry Allcock Evan Pugh University Professor of Chemistry
Polymer synthesis, materials chemistry, and biomedicine

Amie Boal Associate Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and of Molecular Biology
Structural biology and mechanisms of metalloproteins

Martin Bollinger Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Mechanisms of redox metalloenzymes and metallocofactor assembly

Squire Booker Evan Pugh University Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Biochemistry; enzymology; protein chemistry; iron-sulfur clusters

Bert Chandler Professor of Chemistry and of Chemical Engineering
Environmental Catalysis; Nanoparticle & Materials Synthesis; Catalytic Reaction Mechanisms

Joseph Cotruvo Louis Martarano Career Development Professor of Chemistry
Chemical biology of metal ion and redox homeostasis

Julie Fenton Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Materials synthesis and characterization; inorganic, organic, and hybrid solids; colloidal nanomaterials; surface chemistry.

Ramesh Giri Weinreb Early Career Professor of Chemistry
Organic, organometallic, inorganic, and materials chemistry

Danielle Reifsnyder Hickey Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering
Atomic-resolution investigation, transformation, and synthesis of nanomaterials

James Hodges Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Solid-state Chemistry; Materials Synthesis; Catalytic Materials; Thermoelectrics

Christine Keating Professor of Chemistry
Bioinspired materials chemistry. Synthesis and characterization of organic/inorganic composite particles.

Jonathan Kuo Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Physical Organic, Organometallic, Bioinorganic

Carsten Krebs Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Mechanisms of metalloenzymes

Ben Lear Associate Professor of Chemistry
Interplay between electronic properties of materials and their chemical environment

Raymond Schaak DuPont Professor of Materials Chemistry
Synthesis and applications of inorganic solids and nanomaterials

Ayusman Sen Verne M. Willaman Professor of Chemistry
Self-powered nanoscale and microscale motors and pumps

Alexey Silakov Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Metalloenzymology and structural biology


Courtesy Faculty

Roman Engel-Herbert Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Synthesis and characterization of oxide thin films

Zhiqiang Mao Professor of Physics
Synthesis and properties of quantum materials

Robert Rioux Friedrich G. Helfferich Professor of Chemical Engineering
Heterogeneous catalysis and reaction mechanisms in nanoscale systems

Mauricio Terrones Verne M. Willaman Professor of Physics
Synthesis and applications of 2-D materials


Recent Representative Publications

Basnet, P.; Kc, S.; Dhungana, R. K.; Shrestha, B.; Boyle, T. J.; Giri, R. Synergistic Bimetallic Ni/Ag and Ni/Cu Catalysis for Regioselective γ,δ-Diarylation of Alkenyl Ketimines: Addressing β-H Elimination by in Situ Generation of Cationic Ni(II) CatalystsJournal of the American Chemical Society 2018140 (46), 15586–15590.


Chen, Z.; Chang, J. W.; Balasanthiran, C.; Milner, S. T.; Rioux, R. M. Anisotropic Growth of Silver Nanoparticles Is Kinetically Controlled by Polyvinylpyrrolidone BindingJournal of the American Chemical Society 2019141 (10), 4328–4337.


Cirri, A.; Silakov, A.; Jensen, L.; Lear, B. J. Chain Length and Solvent Control over the Electronic Properties of Alkanethiolate-Protected Gold Nanoparticles at the Molecule-to-Metal TransitionJournal of the American Chemical Society 2016138 (49), 15987–15993.


Cotruvo, J. A.; Featherston, E. R.; Mattocks, J. A.; Ho, J. V.; Laremore, T. N. Lanmodulin: A Highly Selective Lanthanide-Binding Protein from a Lanthanide-Utilizing BacteriumJournal of the American Chemical Society 2018140 (44), 15056–15061.


Donahue, P. P.; Zhang, C.; Nye, N.; Miller, J.; Wang, C.-Y.; Tang, R.; Christodoulides, D.; Keating, C. D.; Liu, Z. Controlling Disorder by Electric-Field-Directed Reconfiguration of Nanowires To Tune Random LasingACS Nano 201812 (7), 7343–7351.


Dunham, N. P.; Chang, W.-C.; Mitchell, A. J.; Martinie, R. J.; Zhang, B.; Bergman, J. A.; Rajakovich, L. J.; Wang, B.; Silakov, A.; Krebs, C.; Boal, A. K.; Bollinger, J. M. Two Distinct Mechanisms for C–C Desaturation by Iron(II)- and 2-(Oxo)Glutarate-Dependent Oxygenases: Importance of α-Heteroatom Assistance. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2018140 (23), 7116–7126.


Fenton, J. L.; Steimle, B. C.; Schaak, R. E. Tunable Intraparticle Frameworks for Creating Complex Heterostructured Nanoparticle LibrariesScience 2018360 (6388), 513–517.


Lapano, J.; Brahlek, M.; Zhang, L.; Roth, J.; Pogrebnyakov, A.; Engel-Herbert, R. Scaling Growth Rates for Perovskite Oxide Virtual Substrates on SiliconNature Communications201910 (1).


Lei, Y.; Pakhira, S.; Fujisawa, K.; Wang, X.; Iyiola, O. O.; López, N. P.; Elías, A. L.; Rajukumar, L. P.; Zhou, C.; Kabius, B.; Alem, N.; Endo, M.; Lv, R.; Mendoza-Cortes, J. L.; Terrones, M. Low-Temperature Synthesis of Heterostructures of Transition Metal Dichalcogenide Alloys (WxMo1–xS2) and Graphene with Superior Catalytic Performance for Hydrogen EvolutionACS Nano 201711 (5), 5103–5112.


Liu, Y.; Kempinger, S.; He, R.; Day, T. D.; Moradifar, P.; Yu, S.-Y.; Russell, J. L.; Torres, V. M.; Xu, P.; Mallouk, T. E.; Mohney, S. E.; Alem, N.; Samarth, N.; Badding, J. V. Confined Chemical Fluid Deposition of Ferromagnetic MetalatticesNano Letters 201718 (1), 546–552.


Martinie, R. J.; Pollock, C. J.; Matthews, M. L.; Bollinger, J. M.; Krebs, C.; Silakov, A. Vanadyl as a Stable Structural Mimic of Reactive Ferryl Intermediates in Mononuclear Nonheme-Iron EnzymesInorganic Chemistry 201756 (21), 13382–13389.


Mccarthy, E. L.; Booker, S. J. Destruction and Reformation of an Iron-Sulfur Cluster during Catalysis by Lipoyl SynthaseScience 2017358 (6361), 373–377.


Ng, T. L.; Rohac, R.; Mitchell, A. J.; Boal, A. K.; Balskus, E. P. An N-Nitrosating Metalloenzyme Constructs the Pharmacophore of StreptozotocinNature 2019566 (7742), 94–99.


Ren, Y.; Li, Z.; Allcock, H. R. Molecular Engineering of Polyphosphazenes and SWNT Hybrids with Potential Applications as Electronic MaterialsMacromolecules 201851 (14), 5011–5018.


Tansi, B. M.; Peris, M. L.; Shklyaev, O. E.; Balazs, A. C.; Sen, A. Rücktitelbild: Organization of Particle Islands through Light-Powered Fluid Pumping (Angew. Chem. 8/2019). Angewandte Chemie 2019131 (8), 2548–2548.


Tamanaha, E.; Zhang, B.; Guo, Y.; Chang, W.; Barr, E.; Xing, G.; St. Clair, J.; Ye, S.; Neese, F.; Bollinger, J.M.; Krebs, C. Spectroscopic Evidence for the Two C–H-Cleaving Intermediates of Aspergillus nidulans Isopenicillin NSynthaseJ. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138 (28), 8862-8874.