Dr. Elizabeth Papish (University of Alabama) will present “New proton responsive ligands for metal complexes as catalysts and for pH activated anticancer properties” to the department.
Elizabeth T. Papish was born and raised on Long Island in NY. She attended Cornell University, earning a BA degree in Chemistry in 1997, and thereafter she continued her education at Columbia University, earning a PhD degree in Chemistry in 2002. She has been a professor (teaching organic and inorganic chemistry) and has run a research group at Salisbury University, Drexel University, and since 2013 at the University of Alabama. Her research group studies bioinorganic and organometallic chemistry with an emphasis on designing new organic ligands for the use of transition metal complexes in energy related catalysis applications and for metal based therapies for health applications. She is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award and has been honored with the “Outstanding Research Mentor of the Year Award” at Salisbury University in 2007 and with the “College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Award” for excellence in teaching and mentorship from Drexel University in 2012. In 2013, Papish and her student received the “Division of Inorganic Chemistry Award for Undergraduate Research” from the American Chemical Society.
We aim to apply bioinorganic and organometallic chemistry to problems that relate to green chemistry and sustainability. In particular, we are interested in exploring how hydrogen-bonding groups impact catalysis. Within these broad goals, we have pursued reactivity inspired by the organometallic literature, specifically hydrogenation and water oxidation. Recently, we designed a new ligand (6,6’-dihydroxybipyridine) that places hydrogen bonding groups near the metal center on a bipyridine scaffold. This has allowed for formation of ruthenium and iridium complexes that perform catalytic hydrogenation in water and water oxidation. Hydrogenation and water oxidation are both of fundamental importance to the impending global energy crisis, as water oxidation is potentially a means of harnessing the sun’s energy, and hydrogenation chemistry can allow for energy storage. Furthermore, we have studied our hydroxyl substituted bipyridine ligands as a part of ruthenium based metallo-prodrugs. The ruthenium complexes are more labile with light under acidic conditions, which is similar to the conditions in cancer tumors. With collaborators Merino and Kim, we are studying the toxicity of these complexes towards cancer cells.