New lab picture (summer 2021) From left to right: Marvin Naing, Dr. John Nganga, Nichali Bogues, Caroline Donaghy (front), Alfredo (back), Matt Howell, Scott Pierce, Murphy Jennings, Izabela Abissi, and Chelsea Schroeder

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We use synthetic chemistry, both organic and inorganic, as a tool to design and construct new molecules for targeted applications. We are particularly interested in the social dilemmas of climate change and antibiotic resistance. Interestingly, both problems can be thought as examples of tragedies of the commons.

Our current research efforts are centered in two key areas:
1) Development of novel catalysts for the activation of small molecules (CO2, O2, H2O). Use of heavy atom isotope effects to study reaction mechanisms in chemical and biological systems.
2) Design and synthesis of compounds with medicinal properties that take advantage of the important role of metal ions in biological systems. Our approach involves synthesizing novel molecules and characterizing them with an arsenal of physical, chemical and spectroscopic data. In recent years, we have focused on the synthesis of peptides and peptidomimetics.