Jeffrey Van Humbeck to join the department

March 3, 2014

Dr. Jeffrey Van Humbeck who is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, will join the department as an assistant professor on July 1, 2014.

The Van Humbeck laboratory will develop new methods for controlling catalytic reactions, and the structure of organic materials.  Encompassing many individual projects, three overarching research themes will direct its initial endeavors.  One area is selective oligomerization.  By incorporating catalysts within restrictive supramolecular volumes, size-selective oligomerization will be pursued in the context of energy applications (i.e. biofuels upgrading) and medicinal chemistry (i.e. polyketide synthesis).  In the area of catalysis, the effect of electrostatic elements will also be investigated.  The judicious inclusion of charged units into catalyst structures will be investigated with a view to improving both efficiency and selectivity in new reactions.  Ion pairing as a means of structural control has been explored to a much greater extent in polymers, with the typical units of charge resulting from proton transfer.  As an alternative, the inclusion of inherently charged units that lack protons will be pursued, for both functional and structural organic materials.  Additionally, the development of charge by electron transfer between redox active centers will be investigated for responsive materials.