Gwendolyn A. Bailey, Ph.D.


Gwendolyn "Gwen" A. Bailey, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar Research Associate in Chemistry
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Host: Ian Tonks


Inside the Catalytic Cycle: Understanding Mechanism and Deactivation in Important C–C Bond-Forming Reactions

To meet the world’s growing demand for chemicals and fuels, design of more efficient and sustainable catalysts is needed. Central to all catalyst design efforts, however, is an underlying knowledge of how catalysts behave: how they bind, transform, and turnover substrates, and (just as importantly) how they decompose. For example, Ru-catalyzed olefin metathesis has emerged as an exceptionally powerful C–C bond forming technology for the synthesis of important pharmaceuticals, including the blockbuster hepatitis-C virus inhibitor Simeprevir. However, catalyst deactivation plagues widespread uptake in industry, with attendant issues of low product yield, challenging purification, and swollen costs. The first part of this seminar will illustrate how pinpointing deactivation processes in Ru-catalyzed olefin metathesis can lead to informed process and catalyst redesign. In the second part, the C–C coupling reactivity and electronic properties of some rare and unprecedented examples of terminal carbide complexes will be examined. While posited as key intermediates in important industrial processes including the Fischer Tropsch conversion of synthesis gas (CO and H2) into long-chain hydrocarbons, terminal carbides have remained elusive in molecular form and hence have evaded detailed examination. Understanding the reactivity of these complexes can therefore inform on potential mechanisms in the industrial catalysts, as well as inspire de novo catalyst design. The first open-shell examples of these complexes will be presented, along with in-depth experimental and computational studies that shed light on electron delocalization and its consequences for reactivity.

Gwendolyn "Gwen" A. Bailey, Ph.D.

Gwendolyn "Gwen" A. Bailey, Ph.D.,  is a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council/Resnick Sustainability Institute Postdoctoral Fellow in synthetic inorganic chemistry at Caltech. She earned her doctorate from the University of Ottawa, and her Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia. Her research experience encompasses inorganic synthetic and catalytic methodologies; rigorous glovebox and schlenk techniques; and advanced inorganic characterization techniques, including multidimensional Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy, single-crystal X-ray diffraction, Ultraviolet-visible Spectroscopy, Electron Paramagnetic Resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and infrared spectroscopy. At Caltech, Bailey's research focused on new ways to activate carbon dioxide (CO2) using mixed-metal complexes. 

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Start date
Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, 11 a.m.
End date
Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, Noon