Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Kelsey Zimmerman

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Autumn 2022

Research Project: C-H Bond Amination from an Iron Aminophosphine Selenide Complex

Project Description: My research focuses on iron molecular complex for carbon-hydrogen (C-H) activation applications. The development and study of transition metal complexes for catalytic applications is vitally important in diverse fields such as clean energy, and drug development. Additionally, understanding how earth-abundant metals, such as iron, can accomplish challenging chemical transformations will expand upon the knowledge of transition metal catalysis within enzymes. I have synthesized and characterized an iron complex, tested its reactivity with organic azides, and studied the reactivity of important iron-nitrogen intermediates.

What have you learned throughout your research project?

In addition to the variety of laboratory skills that I’ve learned, I have developed my scientific intuition and greatly improved my communication skills. Over the course of the past year, I have used and refined my critical thinking by designing experiments to test specific hypotheses and analyzing data to inform next steps. Working on this project, I was encouraged to explore the science that I find interesting, making me more passionate about the project, and a future career in chemistry.

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

Research is exciting and you can learn a lot more than you may expect! Coming in with patience and a willingness to learn will help you learn from your mistakes and persevere through setbacks.