Jackson Research Group

Group members (left to right)

Grace Sanford, Priya Singh, Timothy Jackson, Adedamola Opalade, Helena Howell, Elizabeth Grotemeyer, Yuri Lee

Not in the above picture: Jaycee Mayfield

About Us

Nature uses metalloenzymes containing Mn, Fe, or Cu and oxidants such as molecular oxygen and hydrogen peroxide to carry out remarkable oxidative transformations that are both vital for life and fascinating from a fundamental perspective. Such reactions also serve as inspiration for synthetic chemists, as catalytic processes that utilize earth-abundant metals are less expensive and more environmentally benign than conventional process that employ precious-metals. Our research focuses on using synthetic model complexes to understand the chemical reactions that are critical to the function of both metalloenzymes and earth-abundant metal catalysts. These reactions include activation of dioxygen (O2) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and the cleavage of C-H and O-H bonds by high- and mid-valent metal-oxygen species. To achieve these goals, the Jackson lab uses a combination of i) synthetic and kinetic methods to generate and characterize the reactivity patterns of metal ion complexes, ii) detailed spectroscopic characterization of transition-metal species, and iii) computational chemistry. These combined efforts allow us to identify geometric and electronic properties of transition-metal complexes that influence chemical reactivity.

Spectroscopic methods used in our research include electronic absorption (UV-vis), electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), magnetic circular dichroism (MCD), and X-ray absorption (XAS) spectroscopies. We also employ NMR methods to probe the solution structures of paramagnetic complexes. These tools are particularly powerful when used in conjunction with computational methods, as they permit the characterization of the geometric and electronic structures of fleeting intermediates too unstable to be characterized using standard crystallographic methods. Our lab also used kinetic studies to probe the reaction mechanisms of our complexes. By applying this three-pronged approach to bio-inspired transition-metal complexes, we gain detailed insight into how nature uses molecular oxygen and earth-abundant metals to oxidize substrates and apply this knowledge to develop transition metal complexes that can perform green oxidation reactions.


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Jackson Group News
December 2021
We welcome first-year student Patrick Murphy to the lab!
December 2021
Controlling Selective Ozone Activation fo Phenanthrene in Liquid CO2 will collaborators from the CEBC and Exxon Mobil in RSC Advances
November 2021
Electronic Structure and Magnetic Properties of a Low-Spin CrII Complex: trans-[CrCl2(dmpe)2)] with Abraham Opalade and our wonderful team of collaborators (including Josh Telser, Eva Zolnhofer, and Karsten Meyer) in Inorganic Chemistry; and Mimicking Elementary Reactions of Mn Lipoxygenase Using Mn-hydroxo and Mn-alkylperoxo Complexes by Abraham Opalade and Liz Grotemeyer in Molecules
September 2021
Controlling the Reactivity of a Metal-Hydroxo Adduct with a Hydrogen Bond by Abraham Opalade, and Logan Hessefort in JACS
August 2021
Characterization and chemical reactivity of room-temperature-stable MnIII–alkylperoxo complexes by Abraham Opalade, and Joshua Parham in Chemical Sciences
Februrary 2021
Mechanistic insight into oxygen atom transfer reactions by mononuclear manganese(iv)–oxo adducts by Priya Singh, Eleanor Stewart-Jones, and Melissa Denler in Dalton Transactions
June 2020
Concerted proton–electron transfer reactions of manganese–hydroxo and manganese–oxo complexes by Jaycee Mayfield, and Elizabeth Grotemeyer in Chemical Communications
April 2020
Electronic Structure and Magnetic Properties of a Titanium(II) Coordination Complex by Gayan Wijeratne et al. in Inorganic Chemistry
Februrary 2020
Effect of Lewis Acids on the Structure and Reactivity of a Mononuclear Hydroxomanganese(III) Complex by Derek Rice, Elizabeth Grotemeyer, and Anna Donovan in Inorganic Chemistry
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