Professor John Anderson


Professor John Anderson
Department of Chemistry
University of Chicago
Host: Professor Ian Tonks

Synthesis and Reactivity of a Terminal Co Oxo Complex

Transition metal oxo complexes, particularly those of later transition metals, have been cited as important intermediates in processes such as C-H hydroxylation and oxygen evolution. In general, however, these species are highly reactive and difficult to isolate and study. In this talk I will present our laboratory’s efforts at isolating and studying late transition metal oxo complexes. We have found that use of pseudo-tetrahedral geometries enables the isolation of an unusual terminal Co-oxo complex. The reactivity of this species towards C-H activation is markedly different than that observed for the majority of other systems and provides experimental evidence for a new mechanistic scenario dubbed "asynchronous" CPET. Finally, the possible relevance of related Co and Ni complexes in this system towards O-O bond formation will be discussed.

Professor Anderson

John was born in Downers Grove, a suburb about 40 minutes west of Chicago. He acquired his interest in chemistry at an early age from his grandmother, who was a chemist at Abbott Laboratories in North Chicago. Seeking to further his study of science, John matriculated at the University of Chicago. Once there, John quickly joined the laboratory of Professor Greg Hillhouse. It was in the three years that John spent in Greg's lab that he found his love for inorganic chemistry. During this time, John focused on researching phosphine complexes of Ni, specifically with respect to their reactivity with small molecules such as carbon dioxide and carbon disulfide. 

After graduating John began his graduate studies in Boston at MIT in the group of Professor Jonas Peters. His time in Boston was to be short-lived however, as the Peters group moved to the California Institute of Technology in sunny Pasadena, CA quickly thereafter. John also made the move and received his Ph.D. from Caltech. John's thesis centered around a discrete Fe complex that mediates catalytic nitrogen fixation to ammonia. 

After finishing his thesis, John came to Northwestern to work in the laboratory of Dave Harris. During this time, John has focused on materials, particularly metal organic frameworks. A central theme is the ability to stabilize reactive species, such as low coordinate dioxygen adducts, within metal organic frameworks thus allowing their characterization and study.

In his independent career, John and the Anderson group have been interested in linking the physical properties of transition metal centers, particularly their spin and radical character, to reactivity and bulk properties.

Departmental Seminar
Start date
Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 9:45 a.m.
End date
Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 11 a.m.