News


14 December 2022 – Congratulations to our undergraduate student Cecilia Paranjothi, who has been named the recipient of a KU Undergraduate Research Award for Spring 2023! This award comes with a $1,000 scholarship to support Cecilia, who is working on development of new quantitative measures of the effective Lewis acidity of highly electropositive metals in organic solvents. Congrats, Cecilia!

13–17 November 2022 – Congratulations to Dr. Aaron Sattler of the ExxonMobil Technology & Engineering Company, a long-time friend to James and the whole Blakemore Group, who has been named the 2022 recipient of the Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Prize of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE). This week, James traveled to the AICHE Annual Meeting to give an invited talk on our group's work in carbon dioxide conversion chemistry during Aaron's award symposium. Congratulations to Aaron on this well-deserved honor, and thanks for the opportunity to share our work and interact at the meeting!

1-3 November 2022 – James gave an invited departmental seminar at the University of Alabama on the topic of "Controlling the Redox Properties of the f-Elements." Thanks to Prof. Liz Papish for the invitation to visit and present our work, and the faculty and students at UA for their warm welcome and tremendous opportunity to talk chemistry face-to-face!

24-25 October 2022 – James and members of our group attend the CEBC Industrial Advisory Board Meeting. Several members of our group, including Riddhi, Joe, and Emily, presented posters on their work, and James delivered an invited talk on our group's research on electrocatalysis and electrochemistry at elevated pressures. Thanks to all the advisory board members for their feedback on our work, and great conversations during the meeting!

19-22 October 2022 – James attended the annual Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (SERMACS) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Thanks to Dr. Jorge Colón and Dr. Dalice Piñero-Cruz for their invitations to present our group's work at the meeting, and to all the  speakers for great talks & scientific discussions throughout the meeting. James presented our group's efforts to discover the mechanism of hydrogen evolution by [Cp*Rh] complexes, as well as our work in structural lanthanide and actinide chemistry. ¡Gracias a todos los organizadores por una reunión excelente y la oportunidad de regresar a Puerto Rico, un país hermoso y dinámico!

7 October 2022 – James and Davis are wrapping up a collaborative visit to the laboratory of Ron Grimm and his group. On this visit, they carried out X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) experiments on actinide coordination complexes, an exciting frontier ripe for exploration. Prof. Grimm is on the faculty of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts, and we have teamed up with his group to take advantage of his expertise in photoelectron spectroscopy. Special thanks also to PhD candidate Julie Martin from the Grimm Group, who helped lead the charge to collect data this week. Here's to more great experiments down the road!

28 September 2022 – Congratulations to Claire Dopp, who was named a Finalist for a campus Ex.C.E.L. Award! These awards, formally the Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership Awards, are supported by Konica Minolta and highlight notable student leaders at KU on the occasion of Homecoming. Claire is currently carrying out research in our group, and also serves as a lead student assistant in the Center for Undergraduate Research. Congratulations, Claire!

21 August 2022 – James attended the ACS National Meeting in Chicago this week, and delivered an invited talk on our electrochemical uranyl functionalization chemistry. Thanks to Korey Carter and Tori Forbes (U. Iowa) for the invitation to present in their symposium "Macromolecular, Supramolecular, and Solid-State Structural Chemistry of Actinides." Great to see many folks at the meeting and talk about new chemistry!

15 August 2022 – Congratulations to our grauate student Christian Nilles on being awarded a Best Poster Presentation Prize at the 2022 Great Plains Catalysis Society Annual Meeting! The meeting was held in Ames, Iowa, and Christian presented his work on developing new media for carbon dioxide conversion. He was selected for the Prize by a panel of expert judges working in catalysis in both academia & industry. Well done, Christian!

2 August 2022 – Claire Dopp, a rising senior undergraduate in our group and current Beckman Scholar, presented a talk and poster this week on her vanadyl chemistry at the 2022 Beckman Symposium, held on this day at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Congratulations to Claire on being selected to give an invited talk, and on all her research successes—well done!

1-4 August 2022 – This week, the Integrated Science Building underwent a major electrical system maintenance overhaul. The work done required multiple, full on-off cycles of electrical power, resulting in a need to carefully cycle our three inert-atmosphere gloveboxes. Thanks to Group Safety Officer Davis Curry and fourth-year graduate student Emily Mikeska for leading the glovebox effort, and also ISB Building Manager Laurie White for helping coordinate this major event. Way to go, team!

26–30 June 2022 – James and Riddhi attend the 29th Rare Earth Research Conference (RERC29) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. James delivered an invited talk on the first morning of the meeting on the topic of "Redox Tuning of Tripodal Cerium Complexes with Secondary Metal Cations," and Riddhi was awarded a Best Poster Prize for her work on "Electrochemical Activation of the Uranyl Ion." Thanks to Prof. Eric Schelter and Dr. Marta Guron (U. Penn) for organizing such a great meeting—a truly inspirational experience!

12–19 June 2022 –  This week, James is attending the American Crystallographic Association's Summer Course in Chemical Crystallography in order to undergo formal, intensive training in X-ray crystallography, diffraction data collection, and structures solution & refinement. Building on our years of fruitful collaboration with Dr. Victor Day and Dr. Allen Oliver, this training will bolster our group's efforts in synthesis and characterization of molecular metal complexes for years to come. Thanks to Allen for bringing the course to our attention, and to all the instructors at the course for the opportunity to attend and learn so much!

15 June 2022 – Congratulations to our group members who have been named recipients of annual Departmental Awards and Scholarships! This year's recipients include undergraduates Emma Cosner, Jonah Stiel, and Claire Dopp, and graduate students Davis Curry, Riddhi Golwankar, Julie Hopkins Leseberg, and Wade Henke. Well done!

6 June 2022 – An exciting summer of research is underway in the Blakemore Group–our seventh here at KU! Welcome to our newest group members: Fynn Cooper, an incoming graduate student; Cecilia Paranjothi, a rising sophomore at KU;  and Natalie Lind, a visiting summer REU student from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Let the fun begin!

3 June 2022 – Our newest group member, undergraduate Cecilia Paranjothi, has been named the recipient of a Clark E. Bricker Summer ChemScholar Award from the KU Department of Chemistry. This award will support Cecilia's research in phosphine oxide probes of Lewis acidity, an effort in which she is being co-mentored by Davis Curry. We thank KU Chemistry for this endorsement of our research, and George and Bev Wilson for their support of this tremendous program.

31 May 2022 – James delivered an invited talk today in the monthly Angular Momentum virtual seminar series on the topic of redox tuning in heterobimetallic cerium complexes. Thanks to Prof. Jerome Robinson (Brown U.) and the other organizers of the series for the opportunity to present our group's work!

6 May 2022 – Emma Cosner has been named the recipient of the Class of 1913 Award. This prize, which is one of the prestigious University Awards, is granted annually to two graduating students “who, by their evidenced intelligence, devotion to their studies, and personal character, give promise of such usefulness to society.” The central criterion for this award is a stellar academic record, making Emma a very deserving recipient. Emma has been conducting research in our group for over three years, and has been co-mentored throughout that time by Dr. Julie Leseberg. Congratulations, Emma!

9 April 2022 – James attends the 2022 KU Chemistry Faculty Retreat, where all the colleagues gathered to discuss the future of our department and strategies to achieve our shared mission and vision. Thanks to Prof. Bob Dunn for his leadership and the leaders of the event for an exciting day of planning for the future of KU Chemistry!

4 April 2022 – Congratulations to our undergraduate researcher Emma Cosner, who has been named a recipient of a US NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! The NSF GRF is among the most prestigious fellowships for graduate study in the US, and provides full support for three years. Way to go, Emma!

2 April 2022 – Wade Henke presents his work on organometallic Cp*H ligand chemistry at the Kansas Academy of Science Annual Meeting in Sterling, KS. At the meeting, he was selected as recipient of a First Place Award for his Oral Presentation. Congratulations, Wade!

29 March 2022 – This week, James visited Southeast Missouri State University (Cape Girardeau, Missouri) and the University of Memphis for invited seminars. At Cape, James presented our group's work in uranyl chemistry as well as our work in understanding hydrogen evolution with [Cp*Rh] complexes. At Memphis, James shared our latest work in uranyl oxo activation chemistry. Thanks to Dr. Sarah Shaner (Cape) and Dr. Chuck Garner & Dr. Tim Brewster (UM) for their generous invitations to visit and warm welcome to the Mississipppi Delta!

20 March 2022 – The Blakemore Group traveled to the ACS National Meeting in San Diego this week, and presented a diverse range of talks and posters based on our work! James presented work from Julie and Amit on the topic of heterobimetallic Ce and U chemistry; Riddhi presented her work on uranyl activation and Pd heterobimetallics; Joe presented his work on Ni heterbimetallics; Davis presented his work on Lewis acidity quantification; Jonah presented his work on Rh complexes with monosubstituted bipyridine ligands; Emma presented her work on tripodal Sm and Eu complexes; and, Claire presented both her work on vanadyl chemistry as well as her experiences at the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland. Great work, group!

19 March 2022 – Thanks to Prof. Konstantinos Kavallieratos for inviting and hosting James for a departmental seminar at Florida International University in Miami. Also, thanks to Prof. Chris Dares, Prof. Raphael Raptis, and Prof. Kostya Bukhryakov for their warm welcome. What a great visit and opportunity to talk redox chemistry in the sunshine!

10 March 2022 – Congratulations to our former REU student Gabe Benitez, who has been selected for the 2022 Nuclear Chemistry Summer School!

4 March 2022 – Our group and the full KU Chemistry community were thrilled to host this year's cohort of prospective graduate students for our annual recruitment weekend. This was our first in-person Graduate Recruitment Opportunities Weekend (GROW) since 2019, and it was great to have everyone together! Thanks to Aaron Teator and Meredith Hartley for leading the events! 

2 March 2022 – Claire Dopp has been named recipient of a Travel Award scholarship through the KU Center for Undergraduate Research. Claire will use the support to travel to the ACS National Meeting in San Diego, California and present her work on heterobimetallic vanadyl complexes as well as share her experiences as a student-professional delegate to the COP26 summit that took place in 2021. Congratulations, Claire!

25 February 2022 – James presents an invited seminar in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Iowa on our group's work in electrochemical activation and oxo functionalization of the uranyl ion. Thanks to Prof. Korey Carter for the invitation, and all the faculty and students for the great discussions and friendly welcome!

16 January 2022 – Congratulations to Claire Dopp, who has been selected as one of KU's nominees for the prestigious national Udall Scholarship! The Udall Foundation awards scholarships to college sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or to the environment. Well done, Claire!