Blakemore Group News

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!

6 December 2021 – Welcome new first-year graduate students Davis Curry and Alex Ervin to the group!

6 December 2021 – Congratulations to our graduate student Julie Leseberg, who has been named the recipient of the Department of Chemistry's Chaffee Fellowship. This fellowship will support Julie's appointment as a GRA in Spring 2022, fueling her research and allowing her to accelerate work toward her degree completion. Congrats, Julie!

8 November 2021 – Congratulations to our graduate students Wade Henke, Julie Leseberg, Riddhi Golwankar, and Joe Karnes, who have all been named recipients of Graduate Scholarly Development Funds from the KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences! The students will use these funds to support travel to the upcoming National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Spring 2022. Congrats, team!

31 October 2021 – Claire Dopp is attending the COP26 meeting of U.N. Climate Talks! Claire was selected to be a member of the student-professional delegation of the American Chemical Society to the meeting. At the conference, Claire attended events and interviewed participants with the goal of disseminating her impressions of the event to other chemists and students across the country. She has blogged and posted about the meeting, and will also present her experiences at the ACS National Meeting in Spring 2022. Claire was sponsored for this opportunity by ACS, the KU Department of Chemistry, and the KU Center for Undergraduate Research. Congratulations, Claire, and well done!

30 August 2021 – James attends the "Innovative Separations R&D Needs for Advanced Fuel Cycles" workshop hosted by the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy. Thanks to Dr. Bruce Moyer and the other organizers for the opportunity to join the discussion and contribute ideas in this critical area!

16 August 2021 – Riddhi and James travel to the laboratory of Prof. Tori Forbes at the University of Iowa to begin new collaborative research on the properties of heterobimetallic uranium complexes. Thanks to Tori and her student Mikaela for hosting us as we kick off this new research endeavor!

12 August 2021 – Our undergraduates Jonah Stiel and Emma Cosner have been named to the inaugural class of Kansas ChemScholars. The Kansas ChemScholars program, just announced to begin in 2021, provides support for three exceptional undergraduate Chemistry majors each year who are Kansas natives in their final year at KU. Congratulations, Emma and Jonah!

26 July 2021 – Work has commenced in our expanded laboratory, which is located in the Integrated Science Building rooms 3105 and 3107. The new space provides a safe environment for assembling experimental apparatus and electrochemical investigations, among other tasks that are crucial for our work. Thanks to our Department Chair Prof. Bob Dunn for his support of our research and team!

8 July 2021 – Our research on the structural and redox properties of heterobimetallic zinc complexes has been featured on the Front Cover of ChemElectroChem. The work reveals that multiple redox-inactive metals can simultaneously influence the properties of compounds, including the promotion of ligand-centered reduction processes. Congrats, team!

15 June 2021 – Welcome incoming graduate student Davis Curry to the group! Davis is a brand-new G0 student, and earned his B.S. in Chemistry at Louisiana State University. He is working with Riddhi Golwankar this summer on measurements of Lewis acidity with phosphine oxide probes. Welcome, Davis!

24 May 2021 – We are happy to welcome Gabe Benitez to the group as a summer REU student! Gabe is a rising junior at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado, and will be working this summer with Chelsea Comadoll as his co-mentor. Welcome, Gabe!

17 May 2021 – Congratulations to Emma Cosner, who has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Jack & Carolyn Landgrebe Summer Undergraduate Research Scholarship at KU! This scholarship will support Emma for full-time research work in the group during summer 2021. Congratulations on this stellar news, Emma!

10 May 2021 – Emma Cosner and Claire Dopp have been named recipients of Undergraduate Research Awards for Summer 2021! These awards come with $1,000 scholarships to support Emma and Claire for the summer. Claire is studying vanadyl (VO2+) complexes as structural and redox models for the challenging uranyl (UO22+) ion, and Emma is busy preparing a new class of cyclopentadienyl-supported hydrides for studies of overpotential-optimized hydrogen evolution. Congrats to our outstanding undergraduates!

24 April 2021 – James has been named the recipient of the 2021 K. Barbara Schowen Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. Over the past 5+ years at KU, we've been lucky to have a tremendous group of researchers in the group--nine of whom nominated James for this mentoring award. Looking forward to more great research and working together in the future! 

21 April 2021 – Claire Dopp has been named a Beckman Scholar at KU! This program, funded by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, is providing support to Claire for two years of intensive undergraduate research in our group on the topic of heterobimetallic chemistry. Claire is currently working to prepare new vanadium complexes that model key structural and electrochemical features of uranium-containing compounds relevant to low-carbon nuclear energy, and is co-mentored by Shaun Kelsey (G2). Congratulations, Claire!

26 March 2021 – Congratulations to Jonah Stiel and Emma Cosner, who have been named Goldwater Scholars for 2021! The Goldwater is the premier national scholarship to support undergraduates in science and mathematics. Emma and Jonah are two of KU's three awardees for this year, and represent 1/3 (2 of 6) of the awardees for the State of Kansas. Bravo, Emma and Jonah!

16 March 2021 – Wade Henke (G4) has been selected to receive a Kansas Academy of Science Graduate Student Research Grant! His proposal, titled "Mapping the Mechanism of Hydrogen Evolution with Tunable Organometallic Rhodium Complexes," was selected for funding through competitive review among applications from many disciplines. The funds will support Wade's ongoing work in using stopped-flow UV-visible spectroscopy to understand the kinetics and mechanism of H2 evolution by [Cp*Rh] complexes that undergo uncommon ligand-protonation reactions. Congrats, Wade!

15 March 2021 – Congratulations to our undergraduates Jonah Stiel and Emma Cosner who have been named among KU's four annual nominees for the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, "regarded as the premier undergraduate award to encourage excellence in science, engineering and mathematics" in the United States. Congratulations on this honor, Emma and Jonah!

12 March 2021 – James presents an invited virtual colloquium talk in the Department of Chemistry at Pittsburg State University on our group's work with heterobimetallic uranium complexes. Thanks to Prof. Dilip Paul for the invitation, and all the faculty and students for the great discussions and friendly welcome!

10 March 2021 – Our undergraduate researcher Jonah Stiel has been awarded a RISE Fellowship by the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) for 2021! The RISE program provides support for early career researchers in science and engineering to carry out summer internships at selected institutions in Germany. Jonah has the opportunity to intern at the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, and competed with 1,634 other applicants to be among 268 scholarship recipients. Congratulations, Jonah!

26 February 2021 – James presents an invited virtual departmental seminar at SUNY Binghamton on our group's work in unraveling the mechanism of H2 evolution by [Cp*Rh] complexes. Thanks to Prof. John Swierk for the invitation, and all the faculty and students at Binghamton for their warm welcome and hospitality. Great to connect and talk science!

16 January 2021 – Congratulations to Prof. Bob Crabtree on the occasion of his retirement from Yale University. Bob was James's PhD co-supervisor from 2007-2012, and is an invaluable mentor to this day. Today was Bob's online retirement symposium--it was a treat to see so many fellow Crabtree Group alumni online and hear stories from Yale days. Congrats again, Bob, and our deepest appreciation for all you have done!

1 January 2021 – Dr. Victor Day, our close collaborator since the start of our research group in 2016 and Director of the KU Small-Molecule X-ray Crystallography Laboratory, has retired from the University effective at the end of 2020. We congratulate Victor on this milestone, and look forward to continuing our productive collaboration in the months and years ahead!

9 December 2020 – Emma Cosner has been named a recipient of a KU Undergraduate Research Award. Emma will use the support to continue her work on organometallic rhodium hydride complexes as model intermediates in storage of renewable energy in clean hydrogen fuel. Congratulations, Emma!

9 November 2020 – Congratulations to Emma Cosner, who has been featured in a Student Spotlight for November 2020 by the KU Center for Undergraduate Research. Emma is working on preparation and characterization of a new rhodium hydride complex in our group, and will be preparing her first manuscript for publication later this year. Way to go!

5 November 2020 – James delivered invited virtual seminars this week at the University of Windsor (in Windsor, Canada) and Emporia State University (in Emporia, Kansas). At Windsor, James shared our group's latest collaborative work, in progress with Brookhaven National Laboratory, on the mechanism of H2 fuel generation by half-sandwich [Cp*Rh] complexes; at Emporia, he shared our work on heterobimetallic uranium chemistry. Thanks to Profs. Marcus Drover and Jason Applegate for invitations to present our group's work!

26 October 2020 – James presents an invited virtual seminar at Yale University on our group's research into use of Lewis acidic redox-inactive metals to control the redox chemistry of the uranyl ion. Thanks to Gary Brudvig for the invitation to come back and speak, and to all the faculty for their warm reception and great discussions of chemistry over the day. James received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 2012, so it was great to be back!

14 October 2020 – James presents a "deep dive" talk at the Fall 2020 Industry Advisory Board meeting of the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis on our collaborative research on electrochemical CO2 conversion with the Leonard and Subramaniam Groups. Great to see everyone from the Center online and talk sustainability science!

10 July 2020 – Congratulations to Dr. Yun Peng on passing her Ph.D. Dissertation Defense! Yun joined the group in our first cohort of graduate students in 2015, and examined the mechanism of H2 evolution by [Cp*Rh] complexes in her dissertation research, titled On the Nature of Hydrogen Evolution by Half-Sandwich Rhodium Complexes. Congratulations, Yun!

18 June 2020 – Congratulations to Emma Cosner, who has been named a recipient of an Undergraduate Research Award for summer 2020! Emma is a rising junior at KU, and is studying molecular catalysis in our group with her co-mentor Julie Hopkins. Well done!

16 June 2020 – Congratulations to Jonah Stiel, who has been named a recipient of the prestigious Astronaut Scholarship! The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation was founded in 1984 by the six surviving members of the seven astronauts who were part of the Mercury program as a means to encourage students to pursue scientific endeavors. Way to go, Jonah!

11 June 2020 – Congratulations to Dr. David Sconyers, who has been named a recipient of a 2020 KU Sustainability Leadership Award! David was selected following a nomination and review process by the KU Center for Sustainability, on the basis of his outstanding Ph.D. dissertation, which described applications of the EQCM to study new details of molecular catalysis and use of high pressures to intensify electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 into more useful chemicals. Congrats, David!

28 May 2020 – James has been officially awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor, effective with the start of the upcoming academic year. Looking forward to more good chemistry in the years ahead!

26 May 2020 – The Blakemore Laboratory ramps up to resume experimental work in ISB following a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. We send our warmest greetings to colleagues returning to their labs elsewhere, and wish everyone a safe and healthy return to work!

15 May 2020 – Our collaborative research in electrochemical CO2 conversion with Profs. Subramaniam and Leonard has been featured in Lawrence Business Magazine. Our work, funded through the US National Science Foundation, is exploring new organic-based media for enhancing the rate and selectivity of CO2 conversion. A PDF of the article is available here, and the article is also available online.

15 April 2020 – Congratulations to Dr. David Sconyers on passing his Dissertation Defense with Honors! David, who joined the group in the first cohort of graduate students in 2015, is the first member of our group to complete the Ph.D. degree. Way to go, David!

24 March 2020 – James is awarded tenure and promotion to the rank of Associate Professor. Chancellor Doug Girod and Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer provided their official notification on this day, confirming that James's appointment as Associate Professor will be effective at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. Thanks to our department and the nation-wide chemistry community for their support over the past four years at KU! Looking forward to more good chemistry in the years ahead!

19 March 2020 –The Blakemore Lab has adapted operations to keep our group and our community safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Work continues with accommodations for social distancing protocols, safety, and security. We send greetings to our many friends, colleagues, and collaborators around the world, and wish our communities health and safety. Take care, everyone, and get in touch if we can be of help!

9 March 2020 – James visits Caltech to deliver an invited seminar on our heterobimetallic actinide chemistry as part of the Inorganic-Electrochemistry Seminar (IES) series. Thanks to Prof. Harry Gray and the other faculty for a fantastic time back on campus, and lots of inspirational discussions!

5 March 2020 – Congratulations to our group member Jonah Stiel who has been nominated for a Goldwater Scholarship, among the most prestigious awards for undergraduates studying the STEM fields in the United States. Congrats, Jonah!

9 January 2020 – The Blakemore Group welcomes our newest graduate students: Shaun Kelsey, Emily Mikeska, and Christian Nilles!

6 December 2019 – James visits the Department of Chemistry at the University of Notre Dame to deliver an invited departmental seminar. Thanks to Prof. Emily Tsui for the invitation and the opportunity to talk Lewis Acid science! The visit was also a great chance to see our former labmate and current Tsui Group member Keaton Prather!

3–9 December 2019 – Wade (G3) and James have traveled once again to Beamline 7-ID-D at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory to carry out time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Our experiments, in collaboration with physicists Anne Marie March and Gilles Doumy and the Elles Group from KU Chemistry, are aimed at elucidating the properties of transient species formed by photochemical activation of manganese tricarbonyl complexes. Thanks to our fantastic collaborators, as well as the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the KU Hall Research Fund, for support of this exciting effort!

6 November 2019 – James visits the Department of Chemistry at Clemson University in South Carolina to deliver an invited seminar. Thanks to Prof. Andy Tennyson for the invitation and opportunity to visit, and all the faculty for their hospitality. James was an NSF REU student at Clemson in summer 2006, and it was great to be back on campus! Go Tigers!

17 November 2019 – Thanks to Prof. Matt Chambers (LSU) and Prof. Dino Villagran (UTEP) for the invitation to present a talk earlier this week in the "Energy & Environment" symposium at the joint Southwest/Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society! A great opportunity to visit sunny El Paso, Texas, hear some great science, and network with colleagues from around the country!

8 November 2019 – James visits the University of Cincinnati to deliver an invited departmental seminar. Thanks to Prof. Jimmy Jiang for the hospitality, great discussions, and the opportunity to visit Cincinnati!

18 October 2019 – This week, a special symposium on "Energy Conversion with Molecules & Interfaces" was organized by James and Prof. Cindy Berrie at the Midwest Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society! Thanks to our invited speakers Prof. Shelley Minteer (Univ. of Utah), Prof. Bryce Sadtler (Wash. Univ. in St. Louis), Dr. Aaron Sattler (ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co.), Prof. Jason Applegate (Emporia State Univ.), and Julie Hopkins (Blakemore Group, KU). Thanks also to the sponsors of our symposium: Shimadzu Instrument Co., MDPI Molecules, and the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry.

20 September 2019 – After three and a half years at the University of Kansas, James delivers his tenure talk on "Stirring Up New Chemistry for Carbon-Neutral Energy Systems." Thanks to the group and everyone in our department for making our time at KU so memorable. It's Gonna Be Great!

2 September 2019 – James attends the 1st International Conference on Noncovalent Interactions and presents an invited talk on noncovalent methods for electrode functionalization. We are using such methods to immobilize new f-element complexes and study their electrochemical properties. Thanks to Dr. Kamran Mahmudov and Prof. Armando Pombeiro for the invitation to present at this exciting meeting!

28 August 2019 – James visits the Beckman Institute at Caltech to carry out X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy in the MMRC Lab. Thanks to Prof. Harry Gray and Dr. Bruce Brunschwig for their hospitality!

25 August 2019 – James delivers a talk in the symposium "Emerging Trends in Molecular Synthesis" at the ACS National Meeting in San Diego. Thanks to Jenny Yang, Jessica Hoover, Valerie Schmidt, and Sarah Ryan for the invitation and the opportunity to present our work on hybrid [P,N] ligands!

2 August 2019 – Jonah Stiel attends the annual meeting of the Beckman Scholars Program in Irvine, California. With the support of this great national program, Jonah is preparing new ligands and metal complexes for use in fuel-forming chemistry in our group.

11 July 2019 – James attends the Organometallics GRC, and presents a flash poster talk on our recent efforts to reveal the "Thermochemical Influence of Metal- Versus Ligand-Centered Protonation in Half Sandwich Complexes." Thanks to Al Barney of Strem Chemicals and the other organizers for a great meeting and the opportunity to present our work!

1 July 2019 – Congratulations to our former postdoc Dr. Davide Lionetti, who has started his independent career as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania! F&M, founded in 1787, is a prestigious liberal arts college that is among the oldest institutions of higher education in the US. We thank Davide for his foundational leadership of our group, and wish him all the best for new endeavors!!!

24 June 2019 – Our collaborative research with the Artificial Photosynthesis Group at Brookhaven National Laboratory is underway! Yun (G4) is spending the summer at the lab, in order to collect kinetic data on the mechanism of H2 production by our half-sandwich rhodium complexes. Exciting techniques available at BNL include pulse radiolysis and stopped-flow methods. Thanks to our hosts Etsuko Fujita, Dmitry Polyansky, and David Grills for the opportunity to work together!

7 June 2019 – Thanks to Mita Dasog (Dalhousie), Warren Piers (U Calgary), and Janina Wilkomm (U Calgary) for the invitation to present this week in their great symposium on "Molecules and Materials for Solar Fuel Production" at the Canadian Chemistry Conference in Québec City! James presented our work on understanding the thermochemical properties of ligand-protonated [Cp*] complexes. Looking forward to the next Canadian Chemistry Conference in Winnipeg!

20 May 2019 – We are happy to welcome Micah Anderson to the group as a summer REU student! Micah is a third-year undergraduate at Jackson State University in Mississippi! Welcome, Micah!

19 May 2019 – Congratulations to our extraordinary group of Spring 2019 graduates, Emily Boyd, Will Moore, Shaun Kelsey, and Katie Johnson, who were granted their degrees today at the 147th KU Commencement Ceremony! Congrats again, team!

14 May 2019 –  Congratulations to Jonah Stiel, who has received an Undergraduate Research Award for Summer 2019! This award will support Jonah as he contributes to our group's efforts in development of ligands to support catalysts for electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide. Jonah is co-mentored in our group by graduate student Wade Henke. Congratulations, Jonah!

9 May 2019 – Congratulations to Emily Boyd, who will be honored at Commencement as recipient of a "Class of 1913 Award." Emily is graduating with her B.S. in Chemistry this year, and has carried out research in our group for three years. The "Class of 1913 Award" is one of the prestigious University Awards at KU; these are given to twelve top students in each graduating class. Way to go, Emily!

27 April 2019 – Congratulations to Jonah Stiel, who received an Outstanding Presentation Award at the 22nd Annual KU Undergraduate Research Symposium! Jonah's poster presentation described his efforts to prepare new sterically demanding ligands for use in molecular catalysts for carbon dioxide conversion. Congratulations, Jonah!

15 April 2019 – Thanks to Dr. Philip Wilk for organizing a great PI meeting this week for the US DOE Heavy Element Chemistry Program! James presented our group's work on electrode surface immobilization of f-element compounds as our work is funded through the HEC program.

9 April 2019 – Congratulations to our undergraduate researchers Emily Boyd and Shaun Kelsey, who have been named recipients of US NSF Graduate Research Fellowships! The NSF GRF is among the most prestigious fellowships in the US, and provides full support for three years of graduate study. Way to go!

8 April 2019 – This week, James attended the Cyclic Voltammetry International School, hosted by the Laboratoire d'Electrochimie Moléculaire at Université Paris Diderot. Participants, selected for this opportunity through a competitive application, are instructed in advanced topics and techniques for study of molecular compounds with cyclic voltammetry and other electrochemical methods. Many thanks to our distinguished instructors Jean-Michel Savéant, Marc Robert, Cyrille Costentin, Benoît Limoges, François Mavré, and Cédric Tard for a great week!!

5 April 2019 – Will Moore has been featured in a Student Profile by the KU Office of Undergraduate Research! Will has been carrying out research in the group for over two years, and recently published with the Front Cover of Molecules. Congratulations, Will!

2-3 April 2019 - Thanks to all the great speakers in the symposium on "Small Molecule Activation" at the ACS National Meeting in Orlando! James co-organized the symposium with Dr. Javier Concepcion of Brookhaven National Laboratory.

25 March 2019 – Shaun Kelsey has been named a Madison & Lila Self Graduate Fellow at KU! The Fellowship provides full research support during Ph.D. studies to exceptional students who "demonstrate the promise to make significant contributions to their fields of study and society as a whole." Shaun's research interests focus on energy science and sustainability. Congratulations, Shaun!

25 March 2019 – Jonah Stiel has been named a Beckman Scholar at KU! This program, funded by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, will provide support to Jonah for two years of intensive undergraduate research in our group. Jonah is currently working to prepare new catalysts for carbon dioxide conversion with his co-mentor Wade Henke (G2). Congratulations, Jonah!

21 March 2019 – James presents an invited talk at the 2019 International Olefin and Polyolefin Conference (IOPC) in Ningbo, China. Ningbo is home to the world's busiest port, Ningbo-Zhoushan, and a major base for the Chinese petrochemical industry. Thanks to Dr. Clifford Lee of Townsend Solutions for the invitation, and the opportunity to share our group's approach to sustainability research!

1 March 2019 – KU Chemistry hosts prospective graduate students during the annual GROW Recruitment Weekend! This year, students from across the country were treated to the first official recruitment in the new ISB facility! James served as the Faculty Chair of the event. Other key players include Graduate Advisor Megan Belaire and a team of graduate student volunteers led by Chelsea Comadoll. Thanks to everyone for a great weekend!

15 February 2019 – Will Moore (UG) has been selected to present during the "Undergraduate Research Day at the State Capitol." This event, held in Topeka at the capitol building, offers lawmakers from around our state the opportunity to hear about cutting-edge research underway at our state's public universities. Will is presenting his work on "Designing a Catalyst to Make Chemicals from Renewable Energy." Congrats, Will!

3 January 2019 – A new year of research is underway in the Blakemore Laboratory, now in our new digs on the third floor of the Integrated Science Building! Welcome to new first-year graduate students Riddhi Golwankar and Joseph Karnes!

28 December 2018 – Congratulations to Wade Henke (G2) who has been named a recipient of a travel award through the KU CLAS Research Excellence Initiative. These funds will support our collaborative research on manganese photochemistry. Congrats again, Wade!

13 December 2018 – Thanks to Emeritus Professor George Wilson for a tremendous donation of electrochemical instrumentation and laboratory equipment to our group! George has gifted us, among other items, a CH Instruments bipotentiostat and classic Pine Instruments ASR rotating ring-disk electrode (RRDE). Many thanks to Prof. Wilson for his extraordinary generosity, and for enabling new opportunities for us in experimental electrochemistry! 

7 December 2018 – Thanks to the following professors for invitations to deliver seminars this past semester: Irene Zegar and Bill Shirley (Pittsburg State U.), Chris Exstrom (U. Nebraska at Kearney), Bruce Atwater (Fort Hays State U.), Jorge Colón and Dalice Piñero-Cruz (U. Puerto Rico Río Piedras), Jonah Jurss (U. Mississippi), and Alex Parent (North Dakota State U.). Great opportunities to travel and talk chemistry!

3 December 2018 – James delivers an invited seminar at Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Thanks to Dr. Carlos Cruz for the opportunity to visit and share details on our research!

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!

27 October 2018 – James and Emily are recognized with Honorable Mention in the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry Undergraduate Research Award Program. This disinction identifies top undergraduate researcher and preceptor teams from around the US. In the Blakemore Group, Emily has synthesized and studied the properties of new rhodium hydride compounds.

25 October 2018 – Thanks to Prof. Wenyu Huang (Iowa State U.) and Dr. Igor Slowing (Ames Laboratory) for the opportunity to present an invited talk in their symposium "Materials for Energy" at the Midwest Regional ACS Meeting. James presented on our group's efforts in noncovalent immobilization of molecular f-element compounds on electrode surfaces. Thanks again!

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!

5 October 2018 – Davide presents an invited talk at the KU Red Hot Research forum on "Process and Response." Specifically, Davide explained how we take motivation from the challenge of climate change to design new research projects in our lab. Red Hot Research is an interdisciplinary seminar series in which scholars from various disciplines present their work via short, slide-based talks that introduce audiences to new ideas. Great job, Davide!

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!

19 July 2018 – Harvey Hou of Alabama State University visits the Blakemore Lab! Harvey has an active research effort in natural and artificial photosynthesis, as well as forensic science. Thanks for your visit and for sharing an informative seminar on your work, Harvey!

8–12 July 2018 – Davide and James attend the CCI Solar Capstone Meeting in Ventura, California. Davide shared a poster with his work on thermochemical analysis of diverse protonated [Cp*Rh] complexes, and James presented a talk on our group's work in development of carbon dioxide-rich media for electrocatalytic CO2 conversion. Thanks to Harry Gray, Siddharth Dasgupta, and CCI Solar for the opportunity to present in this exciting forum!

5 July 2018 – Davide and James travel to Pasadena, California for pulsed EPR experiments carried out in collaboration with Dr. Paul Oyala at Caltech. We carried out ENDOR and ESEEM studies of some of Davide's unusual rhodium(II) complexes. Thanks to Paul for the opportunity to do these challenging and unique experiments!

27 June 2018 – Congratulations to graduate student Wade Henke (G1), who has been named a trainee with KU's NIH-funded Training Grant in Dynamic Aspects of Chemical Biology! In this program, Wade will explore the interdisciplinary research area of Chemical Biology through this program, while being supported for full-time research in our lab. Wade's project, in collaboration with the Elles Group at KU, centers on development of new therapeutic reagents for carbon monoxide release, and activation of these reagents by two-photon photochemistry. Way to go, Wade!

25 June 2018 – James attends the NIH Mentoring Workshop for New Faculty in Kansas City. In addition to learning more about the organization of the NIH, James "pitched" a new project idea to a distinguished panel of mentors drawn from diverse research backgrounds in synthetic and biological chemistry. Many thanks to PI Prof. Paul Hanson and the other organizers for a great meeting, and to all the mentors for their supportive feedback and helpful advice!

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. Read more about the program here.

17–25 June 2018 – James and Wade travel to the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory to carry out time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Our experiments, in collaboration with physicists Anne Marie March, Gilles Doumy, and the Elles Group at beamline 7-ID-D, are aimed at elucidating the structure and bonding characteristics of transient species formed during photochemical activation of manganese tricarbonyl complexes. Our work was selected through a competitive proposal process, and builds on recent joint efforts between our group and the Elles Group at KU.

10 May 2018 – Congratulations to Shaun Kelsey, who has been awarded an Undergraduate Research Award for summer/fall 2018! This award will support Shaun as he contributes to our group's efforts in development of ligands and materials for electrochemical studies of molecular actinide compounds. Shaun is co-mentored in our group by graduate student Katie Cannon. Congratulations, Shaun!

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!

18 April 2018 – James presents a public outreach talk on "Artificial Photosynthesis" at Free State Brewery as part of their "Science On Tap" series. A lively crowd full of chemists and non-chemists alike was there to enjoy some sustainability science in an informal setting. Thanks to Jen Humphrey for the opportunity to present in this exciting forum!

30 March 2018 – Group member Emily Boyd has been named a Goldwater Scholar! The Goldwater Scholarship is a national award, and is the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship given in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. Congratulations, Emily!

28 March 2018 – James serves as a discussion panelist during the symposium "Big Botany" at the KU Spencer Museum of Art. The symposium, timed with the opening of the Big Botany art exhibition and featured by the Washington Post, was themed on the critical role plants play on earth. James spoke about our group's work in artificial photosynthesis, inspired by plants. Other panelists included artists Ackroyd and Harvey (based in the UK) and Rohini Devasher (based in Delhi, India). Thanks to Senior Curator Steve Goddard for the invitation to join this important dialogue!

13 March 2018 – Congratulations to group member Emily Boyd, who has been named a Goldwater Scholar nominee by KU!

9 March 2018 – James has been featured in an alumni profile by the Cohen Honors College at Wichita State!

25 January 2018 – James travels to California for the Gordon Research Conference on Solar Fuels. Thanks to Gary Brudvig (Yale) and James Durrant (Imperial College London) for organizing a great meeting!

14 December 2017 – Congratulations to group members Emily Boyd and Will Moore, who have been named recipients of Undergraduate Research Awards by the Center for Undergraduate Research at KU! These awards will support Emily and Will's research on metal-mediated energy conversion in Spring 2018. Well done!

29 November 2017 – Amit's research has been featured on the cover of Chemistry – A European Journal! Our paper examines the structural and electronic effects of Lewis acidity in heterobimetallic complexes. The results suggest that the Lewis acidity of metal ions could be used to reliably tune the electrochemical properties of new catalysts.

November 2017 – James presents invited talks on our group's [Cp*Rh] chemistry at Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS) and Creighton University (Omaha, NE). Thanks to Profs. Tendai Gadzikwa and Kayode Oshin for invitations to present our work!

26 October 2017 – James presents an invited talk on "Structural and Electronic Consequences of [Cp*] Ligand Protonation" at the symposium "Young Scholars" at the Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting of the ACS. Thanks to Prof. Debbie Crans of Colorado State Univ. for the invitation!

20 October 2017 – Congratulations to Wade Henke, recipient of the Paul R. Sharp Graduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry. This prize was awarded for Wade's top oral presentation at the Midwest Regional ACS Meeting, titled "Understanding photodegradation of manganese tricarbonyl catalysts for CO2 conversion." Well done, Wade!

18 October 2017 – The Midwest Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society was held in Lawrence this month on Oct 18-20! The Blakemore Group was well represented with a round of talks in the sessions on Inorganic Chemistry. James was also co-organizer of a symposium titled "From Molecules to Nanomaterials" with Prof. Cindy Berrie of KU. Invited speakers include Prof. Francis D'Souza of UNT, Prof. Lin Chen of Northwestern, and Prof. Rob Coridan of U. Arkansas.

9 October 2017 – We welcome undergraduate Shaun Kelsey to the research group!

1 September 2017 – Another fall semester is underway at KU! We welcome first-year undergraduate Ngan Tran to the research group–he is supported by the KU Center for Undergraduate Research's Emerging Scholars Program.

13 July 2017 – David's paper on distinguishing between heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis was featured by ChemComm in a Tweet!

28 June 2017 – James visits the Synchrotron Soleil in Gif-sur-Yvette, France for collaborative experiments. Many thanks to our collaborator Dr. Benedikt Lassalle, co-investigator on the proposal for this work. We are examining the oxidation states and electrochemical properties of rhodium-based catalysts for fuel production with synchrotron X-ray radiation. 

14 June 2017 – James presents an invited talk in the symposium "CO2 Utilization" at the 21st Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Reston, Virginia. Thanks to Profs. Bala Subramaniam (KU) and Phil Jessop (Queen's Univ., Ontario, Canada) for the invitation to present at this diverse and exciting forum!

6 June 2017 – Congratulations to Will Moore on receiving a KU Undergraduate Research Fellowship! Will works on characterizing new manganese-based catalysts for conversion of carbon dioxide. Way to go, Will!

19 May 2017 – Davide's paper has been featured by Organometallics in a Tweet!

16 May 2017 – A second exciting summer of research is underway in the Blakemore Group! Welcome new group members Clara Stanton, a senior undergraduate at KU, and Daniel King, a visiting summer REU student from St. Olaf College. Let the fun begin!

13 May 2017 – Congratulations to our group member Wade Henke, who has completed his B.S. in Chemistry with Honors! The title of his Honors Thesis is "Opposites Attract," and it focuses on a small family of hydrogen-evolving catalysts and unusual ligand effects on their activities.

22 April 2017 – James visits the Molecular Material Research Center in the Beckman Institute at Caltech to collect X-ray photoelectron spectra on new electrode surface-immobilized metal complexes! Thanks to Dr. Bruce Brunschwig and GLA Ellen Yan for their hospitality! Great to be back in SoCal for some surface science!

31 March 2017 – James presents an invited talk at KU's 'Red Hot Research'. Each installment of this series brings scholars from around the University together at The Commons to discuss big ideas and grand challenges from the perspective of many disciplines. Using the format of Pecha Kucha-style 6-minute talks, researchers at this meeting focused on the topic of "The Environment and the Future." James shared our group's work on carbon dioxide conversion chemistry. Thanks to Emily Ryan for the invitation to present at this thought-provoking and exciting forum!

20–21 March 2017 – James attends the 2017 NSF Chemistry Early Career Investigator Workshop. Activities focused on writing proposals and connecting new research groups with appropriate programs. Thanks to the hosts, Profs. Tom Miller (Caltech) and Kate Plass (Franklin and Marshall College)!!

13–14 March 2017 – Students from Emporia Middle School visit the Blakemore Lab! 65 or so enthusiastic students, teachers, and parents visited the lab for several hours to see demonstrations, learn about our work, and ask questions about studying science. Thanks to Dr. Claudia Bode of CEBC for bringing her fluorescence spectrometer as an additional demonstration!

8 March 2017 – A film crew from UK-based Twofour Group visited our lab to carry out a demonstration for an upcoming program centered on the chemistry of helium. Helium was discovered on Earth at KU in 1905. Our postbaccalaureate students Tyler and Keaton assisted with preparations. We look forward to seeing the final program!

3 March 2017 – James presented an invited talk at Benedictine College in Abilene, Kansas. Thanks to Prof. Larry Sutton for the invitation and the chemistry department's hospitality! Thanks also to Prof. Kolbe Scheetz, KU PhD 2013, for the engaging discussions of inorganic chemistry, d-orbitals, and synthesis!

1 January 2017 – Welcome new graduate students Amit Kumar and Katie Cannon!

18 December 2016 – Congratulations to the organizing committee of the symposium "Young Talent in Colorado and Beyond," held in August 2016! As a co-organizer, James is one of the four recipients of the 2016 COACS ACS Salute to Excellence Awards for work on this symposium. The committee members will each receive a plaque and be honored at a dinner on Feb. 16, 2017 at Colorado State University.

2 December 2016 - James was pleased to host Dr. Emmanuelle Despagnet-Ayoub (Chargé de recherche, CNRS and Visiting Associate, Caltech) for a seminar in the KU Department of Chemistry. Emmanuelle presented her research on polymer synthesis and photochemistry.

21 November 2016 - Our group's new collaborative SusChEM grant from the US National Science Foundation has been featured by the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis at KU! This project will examine a new approach to carbon dioxide conversion to useful chemicals, and is being carried out with Prof. Kevin Leonard and Prof. Bala Subramaniam. You can read more here.

10 November 2016 - James presents an invited talk at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Thanks to Prof. Josh Peng for the invitation and the chemistry department's hospitality!

25–29 October 2016 - James presents an invited talk on "Electrocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution on a Platform Bearing Multiple Non-innocent Ligands" at the Electrocatalysis Symposium hosted by Prof. Aaron Vannucci at the Southeastern Regional ACS meeting in Columbia, South Carolina. Thanks to Aaron for the invitation and opportunity to visit South Carolina! The same week, James presents on hydrogen evolution chemistry at the Midwest Regional ACS meeting.

14 October 2016 - James presents an invited talk on "Development of Efficient Multielectron and Multiproton Electrode Processes" at Dow Electronic Materials in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Dow Electronic Materials is a global supplier of materials and technologies to the electronics industry. Such technologies include photolithography, electrodeposition technologies, and advanced packaging technology. Thanks to Dow for the invitation and opportunity to learn more about this exciting business! More info is here.

7–12 September 2016 - James presents two invited plenary talks and serves as a discussion panelist for "Advancing Energy Sustainability by Governance Leadership in Artificial Photosynthesis" organized by Prof. Tom Faunce of the Australian National University (ANU). The meeting took place in Canberra, Australia at ANU, with a satellite workshop on Lord Howe Island. James presented "Exploring H+ and e– Management in Fuel-Forming Catalysis." The abstract book is here. Tom launched a CD of AP-themed music at the Canberra meeting, and it can be found here.

4 August 2016 - James and Wade present group research at the symposium "New Talent in Colorado and Beyond 2016" at Colorado State University. The symposium was co-organized by CSU chemists Prof. Debbie Crans, Kelly Hassell, Carlos Olivo, and James, and was supported by the ACS Colorado Section and CSU. The meeting brought together young researchers from undergraduates to assistant professors from Colorado and neighboring states. The abstract book is here.

29 July 2016 - Congratulations to Julie Hopkins on a successful summer of research as an NSF REU participant!

11 July 2016 - High school student Jonah Stiel joins the group!

6 June 2016 - James presents "Sustaining the Earth: How New Chemistry Can Protect and Power the Planet" as part of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Mini College Program. Around 25 enthusiastic KU alumni and friends learned about sustainable chemical technology and took a tour of our lab. Learn more here.

15 May 2016 - An exciting summer of research is off to a great start in Malott Hall! Welcome to Wade Henke, Tyler Kerr, and summer REU student Julie Hopkins! Congratulations to Tyler Kerr and Keaton Prather on graduation with their B.S. degrees in Chemistry from KU!

30 March 2016 - James travels to ICIQ in Tarragona, Spain to serve as an external examiner on a Ph.D. committee. Congratulations to Dr. Joaquín Sorriano-López on a successful defense!

15 March 2016 - James attends the ACS National Meeting in San Diego, California.

February 2016 - James serves as Discussion Leader at the Solar Fuels Gordon Research Seminar and presents a poster and talk on Rh-catalyzed hydrogen evolution at the Solar Fuels Gordon Research Conference. Both the Seminar and Conference take place in Lucca, Italy.

15 January 2016 - James travels to Newport Beach, California for the NSF CCI Solar Annual Meeting and presents an invited talk.

1 January 2016 - The Blakemore Laboratory is officially open! Welcome to Postdoc Davide Lionetti, graduate students Yun Peng and David Sconyers, and senior undergraduate Keaton Prather. Let the fun begin!


Recent News

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!

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!

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!

Funding Sources

Our work is supported by the US Department of Energy, US National Science Foundation, the Chevron Phillips Chemical, Lam Research Corp., and the Spring Creek Fund.