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 several diverse 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

1 November 2018 – Congratulations to Emily Boyd, who was featured in a recent KU highlight titled "Chemists with Chemistry." Emily was featured among a group of four undergraduate friends, who have studied in the chemistry program at KU together for the past four years. Watch the video to hear the incredible story of the students' successes!

8 October 2018 – Congratulations to Julie Hopkins (G2) who was awarded the 2018 Outstanding Research Poster Award at the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis Fall Industrial Advisory Board Meeting! Julie's research focuses on use of tailored, hybrid ligands to modulate and harness the properties of new metal hydride complexes for energy conversion. Congrats again, Julie!

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.

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.