Professor Courtney Roberts selected for McKnight Land-Grant Professorship award

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (2/14/2024) – Assistant Professor Courtney Roberts has been awarded the 2024-26 McKnight Land-Grant Professorship. Created for highly-promising junior faculty members who have the potential to make significant contributions to their departments and to their fields of study, the award’s goal is to be a career booster.

Roberts joined the UMN faculty in 2019. Her group’s chemistry uses inorganic and organometallic chemistry and catalysis to solve fundamental problems in organic chemistry related to energy and pharmaceuticals. The group explores aryne functionalization, early transition metal catalysis and C-C, C-N, and C-X bond formation in order to improve the efficacy of pharmaceuticals and invent new drugs. The group’s fall 2023 paper “Ligand-Controlled Regioinduction in a PHOX-Ni Aryne Complex,” was published in a 2023 Rising Stars in Organic and Inorganic Chemistry special edition of ACS Organic & Inorganic Au. The paper is one of the journal’s most-read articles of 2023.

Just last month, Roberts received another honorary professorship, the 3M Alumni Professorship. That award recognizes comprehensive excellence in teaching, mentorship, and outreach and grants Roberts the honorary title for five years. In her four and a half years on the Department of Chemistry faculty, Roberts’ research and mentorship have been recognized numerous times. Her awards include the NSF CAREER Award, an Amgen Young Investigator Award, the ACS DOC Young Investigator title, and the 2024 Thieme Chemistry Journal Award.

The McKnight Land-Grant Professorship awards recipients with $50,000 and an honorary professorship title to be held for two years. The Department of Chemistry has a strong history of being home to McKnight Land-Grant Professors; Roberts is the sixth in the last 10 years.