Ian Tonks

portrait of Professor Ian Tonks

Ian Tonks

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry


Kolthoff Hall
Room 568A
225 Pleasant Street Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455


B.A. Columbia University, 2006 (Ged Parkin)

Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 2011 (John Bercaw)

Post Doctorate University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2012 (Clark Landis)

Research Interests

Research Page

Inorganic & Organometallic Chemistry: organometallic synthesis and catalysis

Organic Chemistry: organometallic synthesis and catalysis

Polymer Chemistry: polymer Synthesis

Environmental & Green Chemistry: CO2 conversion

Energy & Catalysis

Research in the Tonks group is focused on designing new and practical organometallic catalytic transformations for the atom-economical synthesis of complex chemicals from simple feedstocks. We currently have three major research interests:

  1. Using early transition metal catalysts for new redox reactions, and understanding how to access early transition metal redox manifolds. 
  2. Investigating cooperative effects in olefin polymerization toward new reactions such as CO2/ethylene copolymerization. 
  3. Exploring fundamental inorganic syntheses involving multimetallic and other potentially redox noninnocent regimes.

Our work involves a significant amount of organic, organometallic and inorganic synthesis, as well as detailed mechanistic studies. We regularly collaborate with theorists, organic chemists, and polymer chemists, with an eye toward translating our chemistry into practical, useful protocols.

Honors and Awards

Department of Energy Early Career Research Program award, 2019

American Chemical Society (ACS) Organometallics Distinguished Author Award, 2019

University of Minnesota McKnight Land-Grant Professorship, 2018-2020

Thieme Chemistry Journal Award, 2018

Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Chemistry, 2017

National Institutes of Health Outstanding Investigator Award (MIRA-Maximizing Investigators' Research Award), 2016

American Chemical Society new investigator program grant, 2014

Mailing Address

Ian Tonks
University of Minnesota
Department of Chemistry
B-17, 139 Smith Hall, 207 Pleasant St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0431