Welcome to the home page of the Blakemore Group! We are a research group in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kansas.

Our aim is to improve the sustainable production of chemicals, fuels, and energy using the tools of contemporary inorganic chemistry, catalysis, and surface chemistry. Design and synthesis of organic and inorganic compounds are major components of this work, along with spectroscopic and electrochemical investigations. Our current projects are focused in three areas:

Coordination chemistry and molecular catalysis. We are working to develop an understanding of the stability, activity, and mechanism of action of several classes of complexes that are molecular catalysts for fuel production from H2O and/or CO2. These compounds include [Cp*]/[Cp*H] complexes that display interesting modes of metal-ligand cooperation, as well as new families of heterobimetallic complexes.

Structure-function studies of chemically modified electrodes. We are studying several classes of metal complexes to understand the role of molecular structure in the stability and activity of immobilized molecular species. Our goal is to improve the stability of coordination complexes on electrode surfaces, so that chemically-modified electrodes can have expanded applications in electrocatalysis and lanthanide/actinide separations science.

New media for carbon dioxide conversion. We are developing new media for carbon dioxide conversion to more useful chemicals. We are specifically targeting improvement of catalytic turnover to industrially relevant rates. This work is done in collaboration with Profs. Kevin Leonard and Bala Subramaniam at the KU Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis.

Photoinduced reactivity. We are designing new metal complexes for studies of controlled, light-induced carbon monoxide release. These studies are aimed at elucidating mechanisms of light-induced speciation and building up a platform of compounds relevant to photodynamic therapy. This work is done in collaboration with the group of Prof. Chris Elles in KU Chemistry.

We are also leading a community outreach effort aimed at improving science literacy among young people and broadening participation in science through mentoring. Our 2016-2017 partner in this effort was Emporia Middle School, and our partner in 2017-2018 is Eudora Middle School. Our group members visit our partner schools and mentor students that are engaged in inquiry-driven projects based on chemistry, energy, and sustainability themes.

In late 2018, the Blakemore Lab will be moving to KU's new Integrated Science Building. A time lapse video shows construction of our new digs.


We need the kind of courage that can withstand the subtle corruption of the cynics, so that 
we can show the world that we are not afraid of the future.
It has always been easy to hate and destroy, but to build and to cherish is [the real challenge].
–Elizabeth R.


Recent News

2 August 2018 – Amit (G2) and James attend the Gordon Conference on Green Chemistry in Barcelona, Spain. James served as a Discussion Leader on the theme of CO2/H2O Electrocatalysis, while Amit presented on heterobimetallic catalyst development and Charles Shaughnessy (Leonard Group) presented our collaborative work in media development for CO2 conversion. And, Amit was elected Co-chair of the future 2020 Gordon Seminar on Green Chemistry! Thanks to Prof. Bala Subramaniam (KU) and Dr. Anna Simpson (RSC) for organizing a great meeting!

21 June 2018 – James is named a recipient of a 2018 Department of Energy Early Career Award. This five-year grant will support our group's efforts to improve the efficiency of processing nuclear fuels and legacy waste. Our strategy is built on development of new chemical reagents that engender efficient bond making and breaking at uranium centers, informed by thermochemical and electrochemical understanding of reaction pathways. More information on the program is here, and the KU news release is here.

27 April 2018 – Congratulations to our postdoc Dr. Davide Lionetti who has been named the recipient of a 2018 Sustainability Leadership Award at KU. Davide was recognized for his outstanding scholarship that is contributing to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and his mentoring of students in lab techniques, presentation skills, and understanding of chemistry. Congratulations on this most deserved honor, Davide!

Funding Sources

Our work is supported by the US Department of Energy, US National Science Foundation, University of Kansas, KU Hall Chemical Research Fund, and the KU NIH Training Grant.