This is the time of year when we thank and congratulate Whited lab alumni! Congrats to Ben Brewster, who is graduating and will be starting in the Chemistry PhD program at University of Wisconsin in the fall! Also a slightly belated congrats to Irene Stoutland ’21, who is already at UW-Madison working in the Blackwell lab and was recently awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!


Hot Paper!

Our recent paper on using cobalt silylenes as platforms for group-transfer reactions has been designated as a “Hot Paper” by Angewandte Chemie! This is awesome news, congratulations to all involved! The paper is also dedicated to the memory of Prof. Bob Grubbs, a true luminary in chemistry and a caring mentor to many generations of students, postdocs, and faculty (including Matt).

Cooperative Catalysis

We are so excited that our recent work demonstrating a powerful new approach to catalysis using metal/main-group bonds has been published in Angewandte Chemie! We show that an unsaturated Co=Si (cobalt silylene) linkage provides two distinct and orthogonal sites for substrate binding, allowing nitrene-group transfer from an organic azide to carbon monoxide while avoiding interference between the substrates since CO does not bind to silicon. Congrats to undergraduate students Wenlai Han ’23, Helen Jin-Lee ’23, Zach DiNardo ’22, Emma Watson ’23, and Jim Zhang ’18 for their fantastic work, and thanks to collaborator Prof. Dani Kohen!


By completely coincidental timing (having nothing to do with March Madness and Carolina Basketball), Matt has packed up and moved to UNC for a few months to hang out (and do some cool nickel research) in Prof. Alex Miller’s lab. Swing by and say hi if you’re in the area! He is also doing some seminar traveling during this sabbatical and will give talks at UNC (3/29), Davidson College (4/22), and University of Vermont (5/5), with a southern CA trip coming in the fall [stay tuned].

Thanks to NSF for their support of the sabbatical through a Research Opportunity Award (ROA)!

Lots of new crystal structures

The hard work of CHEM 352 students last term has come to fruition! The awesome group of 9 lab students made and crystallized tons of new complexes as part of three different inorganic experiments, and now three of these structures have been published (LINK TO PAPER) in Acta Crystallographica. This work follows up on several years of experiments by CHEM 352 students exploring solid-state characteristics of Mo(II) acetyl complexes, extending to a series of propionyl complexes featuring differently substituted triarylphosphine ligands. Congrats to Margaret Ball ’21, Alison Block ’22, Ben Brewster ’22, LouLou Ferrer ’22, Helen Jin-Lee ’23, Colby King ’22, Jamie North ’21, Inger Shelton ’22, and David Wilson ’22 for their excellent work!

Bimetallic small-molecule reductions

We are so excited that our recent work, showing a really cool and distinct approach to reducing small molecules like CO2 and ethylene, has been published in Angewandte Chemie! These findings show a really fascinating way that silylene ligands can template multimetallic redox reactions, and we think they may be extended more broadly to a variety of 3d metals. Congrats to students Jim Zhang ’18, Jason Ma ’18, and Anna Conley ’20 as well as collaborators Prof. Dani Kohen and Prof. Daron Janzen for their awesome work!!

New Paper

We just published a paper with collaborators at Davidson College in Acta Crystallographica.  The manuscript examines differences between related molybdenum acetyl structures featuring the PTA ligand and its diaceylated DAPTA variant.  Shout out to Prof. Mitch Anstey for identifying PTA as an interesting target for these studies and special thanks to his students at Davidson for excellent work!