Resnick Institute Seminar

Wednesday November 4, 2015 3:00 PM

Mechanistic Insights into the Base Metal Catalyzed Reduction of Dinitrogen to Ammonia -AND- Cytochrome P450-Catalyzed Nitrene Transfer: A Platform for Green Amination Chemistry

Location: Guggenheim 133 (Lees-Kubota Lecture Hall)

Please join us for a seminar given by Resnick Graduate Research Fellow Niklas Thompson & Resnick Postdoctoral Scholar Christopher Prier

Thompson's talk: "Mechanistic Insights into the Base Metal Catalyzed Reduction of Dinitrogen to Ammonia"

The maintenance of global health is intimately linked with technologies for the reduction—or "fixation"—of dinitrogen to ammonia for the purpose of fertilizer production. However industrial fertilizer production depends on a nitrogen fixation process that requires enormous energy and natural gas inputs, and results in severe environmental pollution. As rapid population growth in the developing world continues to drive up the demand for fixed nitrogen, it is critical that we develop sustainable technologies for the catalytic conversion of dinitrogen to ammonia. Our research works to address this need by developing novel molecular catalysts for the direct conversion of dinitrogen to ammonia using protons and electrons that operate at low temperature and pressure. These catalysts represent the first examples of Fe- band Co-based systems capable of achieving such a transformation, and are thus ideal candidates for mechanistic investigation. This talk will highlight recent work characterizing these catalytic reactions by a combination of structure-function, kinetic, and spectroscopic studies. 

Prier's talk: "Cytochrome P450-Catalyzed Nitrene Transfer: A Platform for Green Amination Chemistry"

Biocatalysis – the use of enzymes in chemical synthesis – has emerged as a technology for the clean, high yielding, and highly selective production of complex molecules. Expanding the utility of biocatalysis, however, requires the development of new enzymes having functions that are absent from nature's catalytic repertoire. We have engineered cytochrome P450s to perform amination via nitrene transfer – a class of reactions for which there is no biological precedent. This talk will highlight the development of cytochrome P450s as catalysts for the synthesis of allylic and benzylic amines. As nitrogen is ubiquitous in pharmaceutical and agrochemical products, the efficient enzymatic synthesis of nitrogen-containing molecules may contribute to the greening of chemical manufacturing.

Series Resnick Institute Seminar Series

Contact: Heidi Rusina at 5956 hmrusina@caltech.edu
For more information visit: http://resnick.caltech.edu/events.php