Theodor Agapie

Professor of Chemistry
B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2001; Ph.D., Caltech, 2007. Assistant Professor, 2009-2014; Professor 2014-.

Assistant: Margarita Davis

Research in the Agapie laboratory is targeted toward developing new, practical catalysts by using inspiration from biological systems. Some of the most fascinating catalysts in Nature display complex inorganic cofactors, sometimes in combination with organic cofactors, and perform chemical transformations (water reduction and oxidation, carbon dioxide reduction, dinitrogen reduction, dioxygen reduction) that are arguably prerequisites for the advance of society in the current context of limiting energy resources and environmental concerns. The group's approach to these chemical transformations is centered on the synthesis and study of metal complexes relevant to catalysis. Given the scale of the potential applications, we focus on studies of inexpensive and abundant first-row transition metals. To these ends we have developed new methodologies for the synthesis of complex inorganic targets and have performed mechanistic studies to understand the properties and reactivity of these compounds. Our research focuses on three general topics:
  1. aspects of metal oxide clusters relevant to water oxidation and dioxygen reduction;
  2. transition metal complexes supported by hemi-labile, redox and acid-base non-innocent ligands for small molecule conversion; 
  3. multimetallic catalysts for olefin polymerization.
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