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.

**Check out our parody of the Sarah McLachlan SPCA commercial on youtube.**

Financial support for the research is currently provided by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the US-Israeli National Science Foundation.

Useful Links


Recent News

** Welcome to Dr. Wilson Bailey, a new postdoctoral associate in the group who will be working in the Cu bioinorganic area.
** Congrats to the outstanding team of Courtney Elwell, Nicole Gagnon, Ben Neisen, Debanjan Dhar, Andy Spaeth, and Gereon Yee! Their article "Copper-Oxygen Complexes Revisited: Stuctures, Spectroscopy, and Reactivity" has been published online in Chemical Reviews. This paper has the additional distinction of being my 200th publication!--Bill. See:
** Welcome to Caitlin Bouchey, a new graduate student who has joined the group, who will be working on a bioinorganic chemistry project.
**The paper "Mechanistic Studies of e-Caprolactone Polymerization by (salen)AlOR Complexes and a Predictive Model for Cyclic Ester Polymerizations." by Elodie E. Marlier, Joahanna A. Macaranas, Daniel J. Marell, Christine R. Dunbar, Michelle A. Johnson, Yvonne DePorre, Maria O. Miranda, Benjamin D. Neisen, Christopher J. Cramer, Marc A. Hillmyer, and William B. Tolman has appeared onlin in ACS Catalysis (DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.5b02607).
**The paper "Perturbing the Copper(III)–Hydroxide Unit through Ligand Structural Variation" by Debanjan Dhar, Gereon M. Yee, Andrew D. Spaeth, David W. Boyce, Hongtu Zhang, Büsra Dereli, Christopher J. Cramer, and William B. Tolman has been published online in J. Am. Chem. Soc. (DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b10985).
**Welcome to two new graduate students who are joining the group, Hussnain Sajjad and Anna Luke! Hussnain received his bachelor's degree from the College of New Jersey and will be working in the bioinorganic side of the group. Anna graduated from the College of St. Benedict/St. Johns University and will be working on a polymerization catalysis project. Welcome Hussnain and Anna!
**The paper "Secondary Sphere Hydrogen Bonding in Monocopper Complexes of Potentially Dinucleating Bis(carboxamide) Ligands" by Benjamin D. Neisen, Pavlo V. Solntsev, Mohammad R. Halvagar and William B. Tolman has appeared online (DOI: 10.1002/ejic.201501060) in the European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry.
**Welcome to Megan Fieser, a new postdoctoral researcher in the lab who is working on a collaborative Center for Sustainable Polymers project focused on understanding the mechanism of copolymerization of bio-derived anhydrides with epoxides. Megan received her Ph.D. from UC Irvine, where she performed research in organometallic lanthanide/actinide chemistry in the group of Bill Evans. -- 7/27/15