Department Welcomes Prof. Kensha Clark

 Kensha Clark, Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Dr. Kensha Clark will join the University of Mississippi Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry in Summer 2022.  Her research interests include ligand design, development of transition metal-based electronic materials, synthetic organometallic chemistry, and catalysis.  Dr. Clark received her Ph.D. in 2010 under the direction of Prof. Alan Heyduk at the University of California Irvine, which was followed by an NIH Post-doctoral Fellowship under the mentorship of Prof. Amir H. Hoveyda at Boston College (2010-2011). After completing her postdoctoral studies, she began work as a Research Chemist in the Polyolefins Catalyst and Product Development Group at Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, LP (2011-2017). From 2017-2022 Dr. Clark was an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Memphis.  She was awarded a Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) starting July 1, 2022.  Clark’s award for $700,000, entitled “Exocyclic Imine Ligands for Electron Transfer,” capitalizes on redox noninnocence in transition metal complexes for the purpose of: (1) predicting electronic and magnetic behavior, (2) exploring ligand facilitated intermetallic interactions, and (3) the design of new functional molecules. This research will develop new synthetic strategies for metal ions with tailored electronic and magnetic properties to produce rationally designed multimetallic complexes that are engineered to manifest desired behavior. Development of these novel synthetic strategies will have an impact on a variety of applications, including sustainable chemical processes via artificial photosynthesis, computing, medical devices, and grid energy storage.  In addition to the proposed research, her Career award will provide increased opportunities for undergraduates in the STEM fields through a STEM major “boot camp” program. By introducing incoming students to exercises to help strengthen their critical thinking skills, support resources (e.g. learning centers and campus tutoring), STEM based clubs/activities on campus, and opportunities for undergraduate research in Clark’s laboratory, this program will facilitate a smooth transition into intensive, university level STEM coursework.