Up close image of a chemistry test tube

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (03/30/2017) — Five College of Science and Engineering chemistry faculty members will receive major awards from the American Chemical Society in 2017. The honorees are Associate Professor Erin Carlson, Professor Thomas Hoye, Regents Professor Lawrence Que Jr., Professor Theresa Reineke, and Professor and Department Chair William Tolman. Carlson, Que, Reineke, and Tolman will receive their awards on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at the ACS National Meeting in San Francisco. Hoye will be honored at the Fall 2017 ACS National Meeting in Washington, D.C. in August.

Erin Carlson

Associate professor Erin Carlson will receive a 2017 Rising Star Award. She is recognized as an early- to mid-career women chemist who has demonstrated exceptional promise for contributions to her field.

Carlson’s vibrant research program exemplifies the power of interdisciplinary science. She harnesses organic synthesis, analytical chemistry, microbiology, chemical biology, and biochemistry to make significant strides toward addressing the mounting threat of antibacterial resistant infections. Most known antibiotics are natural products discovered from microbes, which are organisms that interact with their neighbors through a complex web of communication and combat. To develop antibiotics that possess both potency and long-term efficacy, the Carlson research group unites tools from chemistry and biology to explore and exploit the master regulators of microbial behavior. This strategy is in direct contrast to traditional anti-microbial discovery efforts that have depended upon the identification of compounds that simply kill bacteria, which results in rapid evolution of resistance. Instead, Carlson focuses on the identification of proteins and small molecules that are required for microbial “conversations.”

She has published 34 manuscripts and patents in her independent career, with many more in preparation, and presented more than 70 invited talks about her research throughout the world.

Thomas Hoye

Professor Thomas Hoye will receive a 2017 American Chemical Society Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award. He is being recognized for his excellence in organic chemistry.

Hoye and his research group explore synthetic organic chemistry. Their studies are motivated principally both by what they make as well as how they make things. They synthesize compounds that have potential as active agents in, for example, new pharmaceuticals or organic light-emitting diodes (OLED). They also develop new reactions and new strategies that enable other synthetic chemists to improve the ways that they make the novel compounds that fuel their own research projects.

Members of Hoye’s research group have recently established that benzynes, arguably the most versatile of all the reactive intermediates in organic chemistry, can generally and practically be formed simply by heating appropriate triyne precursors. His group termed this the hexadehydro-Diels–Alder (HDDA) reaction, and generating and trapping benzynes, which has led to the discovery of the pentadehydro-Diels–Alder (PDDA) reaction.

Hoye has been recognized at the state, national, and international levels for his outstanding research, including receiving the 2016 Royal Society of Chemistry’s Robert Robinson Award.

Lawrence Que Jr.

Que will receive the 2017 American Chemical Society Award in Inorganic Chemistry. He is being recognized for his many contributions to the field of inorganic chemistry that have profoundly impacted the understanding of the nature and reactivity of high-valent iron centers.

Que’s research is aimed at elucidating the oxygen activation mechanisms of nonheme iron enzymes, designing functional models for such enzymes, trapping and characterizing reaction intermediates, and developing bio-inspired oxidation catalysts for green chemistry applications. His research efforts have strongly influenced the way scientists think about the activation of dioxygen by iron centers in non-porphyrin ligand environments and the nature and properties of the high-valent iron-oxo species involved in these oxidations.

His accomplishments have placed him among the most important practitioners of bioinorganic chemistry in the world with ramifications in biochemistry, homogeneous and heterogeneous oxidation catalysis, and organic synthesis methodology.

Theresa Reineke

Professor Theresa Reineke was honored with the 2017 Carl S. Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award. She is recognized for her accomplishments and innovations in the field of basic or applied polymer science by an individual younger than 45.

A leading researcher in the fields of polymer chemistry, drug delivery, gene therapy and diagnostics, and biomaterials science, Reineke is world renowned in the area of polymer/deoxyribonucleic acid nanostructures for medical applications. Her research group members specialize in the synthetic design, chemical characterization, and biological study of designer macromolecules. Her research group seeks to discover novel delivery vehicles for nucleic acids and drugs, elucidate cellular-level mechanisms of biomaterial function, and impart enhanced material performance through the use of sustainable feedstocks.

Reineke has played key roles in numerous collaborative teams across the University of Minnesota campus. These include a Partnership with Dow Chemical Company and two National Science Foundation Centers (NSF)—the Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP), a NSF Center for Chemical Innovation, and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). She leads one of MRSEC’s interdisciplinary research groups entitled Hierarchical Macromolecular Materials.

William Tolman

Tolman will receive the 2017 ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry.  He is being honored for his research accomplishments, excellent teaching and mentorship of students and post-doctoral researchers, and outstanding leadership and service in the inorganic chemistry community.

Tolman’s research program encompasses synthetic bioinorganic chemistry and catalysis relevant to renewable polymers, with an emphasis on synthesis of novel compounds, characterization of their properties, and detailed mechanistic studies of important reaction chemistry. Among his notable discoveries is the first identification of the bis(oxo)dicopper core, and the finding that it can isomerize to a (peroxo)dicopper unit, illustrating the reversible making and breaking of the O-O bond in a dimetallic system.

This award also honors Tolman for his commitment to the broader ACS community, which includes serving as editor-in-chief of Inorganic Chemistry.

Individual stories

Additional information about the award winners is available on the Department of Chemistry website: