University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Go to chemistry home page.


Connie Lu promoted to associate professor with tenure

The University Board of Regents has approved the promotion of Connie Lu to associate professor with tenure. She joined the Department of Chemistry faculty as an assistant professor in 2009. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000, and her doctorate in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 2006. She was the Alexander von Humboldt Post-Doctoral Fellow, working at the Max Planck Institute for Bioinorganic Chemistry for three years before coming to the University of Minnesota.

Lu has received numerous honors and awards for her research and creative work, teaching, public engagement and service, including an Early Career Grant, Kavli Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, and National Science Foundation Career Award.

Researchers in her laboratory seek to develop homogeneous catalysts for converting abundant small molecules, such as N2 and CO2, into useful chemical feedstocks, such as ammonia and methanol, respectively. A big challenge in developing such catalysts is promoting multi-electron and proton-coupled reactivity. Her lab’s general approach is to create and test ligand designs that abet transition metals in transferring the electron and/or proton equivalents needed in small-molecule reduction. Those ligands are ideally designed to quickly build a large family of potential transition-metal catalysts that can be screened for catalytic activity in a rapid and efficient manner. Research methods include synthesis, spectroscopy, and theory to create, understand and exploit new chemical bondings involving transition metal centers. Current projects focus on developing highly tailored bimetallic active sites for both homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis.

Lu is an active faculty member, serving as an undergraduate adviser, and on the department’s Seminar Committee and Diversity Committee.