University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

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The Tolman Group works at the interfaces of inorganic, biological, and polymer chemistry to address important problems related to human health and the environment.


Overview of Research

Current research in the Tolman group encompasses synthetic bioinorganic and organometallic/polymer chemistry. In the bioinorganic area, our objective is to gain a fundamental structural, spectroscopic, and mechanistic understanding of metalloprotein active sites of biological and environmental importance via the synthesis, characterization, and examination of the reactivity of model complexes. The current goal of our research in the organometallic/polymer area is to synthesize and characterize a variety of metal complexes for use as catalysts for the polymerization of cyclic esters and for converting biomass feedstocks to useful monomers. In this project, particular emphasis is being placed on developing controlled synthesis of polymers derived from renewable resources.

While the synthesis of new molecules lies at the center of our research effort, we also use a wide array of techniques to characterize the compounds we prepare and to examine their reactivity. Among the characterization methods that we use are X-ray crystallography, NMR, EPR, UV-Vis, FTIR, and resonance Raman spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, GC/M, SEC, DSC, tensile testing, and cyclic voltammetry. We also endeavor to unravel reaction mechanisms through kinetics and isotope labeling experiments. Students and postdoctoral associates in the group thus obtain a highly multidisciplinary training in the synthesis, structural and spectroscopic characterization, and mechanistic study of organic, inorganic, and organometallic molecules and polymers.

Financial support for the research is provided by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, DARPA, Bridgestone, and BASF.

Useful Links


Recent News

**A new video describing the research activities in the UM Department of Chemistry features some of us! Click here to view it.
**Welcome to Hanna Macaranas, a new graduate student in the group! Hanna received her B.S. from the University of Southern California, and will be working on mechanistic studies of polymerization catalysis.--12/4/13
**Welcome to Che (Tom) Wu, a new graduate student in the group! Tom received his B.S. in our department, after having done computational research with Profs. Lu and Gagliardi. He'll now turn to experimental work in the bioinorganic side of the group.--11/25/13
**Several new publications from the group have appeared recently, with current and former group authors including Reza Halvagar, Maria Miranda, Spencer Knight, and Chris Schaller. See here for details.
**Welcome to two new undergraduate researchers in the group, Luis Torrealba and Levi Hogan. Luis is working with Ben Neisen on a copper-oxygen project, while Levi will be working with Alex John on a catalysis project starting in January.