Joseph Merola

Professor

Inorganic Chemistry

Research Interests

The study of organometallic chemistry, an area that bridges inorganic and organic disciplines, has found remarkable utility in many diverse applications. Organometallic compounds themselves, which consist of metals bonded to organic groups, can teach us a great deal about fundamental bonding properties. The effect that binding an organic group to a metal has on that organic fragment's reactivity can be exploited in developing new catalysts for organic reactions. When it is difficult to study the reaction of a molecule on a metal surface in a heterogeneous catalyst system, it may be possible to infer how the reaction is taking place by studying suitably designed organometallic compounds as models. In our group, we try to take advantage of many of these properties of organometallic systems to study fundamental reaction chemistry, to design novel catalyst systems, and to use organometallic compounds as precursors to more complex materials.

  1. Morris, D.M.; McGeagh, M.; De Pena, D.; Merola, J.S. Extending the range of pentasubstituted cyclopentadienyl compounds: The synthesis of a series of tetramethyl(alkyl or aryl)cyclopentadienes (Cp*(R)), their iridium complexes and their catalytic activity for asymmetric transfer hydrogenation. Polyhedron 2014, 84, 120-135. (Invited paper for special edition in honor of John Bercaw.)
  2. Hobart, D. B., Jr.; Berg, M. A. G.; Merola, J. S. Bis-glycinato complexes of palladium(II): Synthesis, structural determination, and hydrogen bonding interactions. Inorg. Chim. Acta 2014, 423, 21-30.
  3. Merola, J. S.; Knorr, J. R., Synthesis and reaction chemistry of boryliridium hydride complexes formed by oxidative addition of catecholborane to iridium(I): Lessons for metal-catalyzed hydroboration. J. Organomet. Chem. 2014, 750, 86-97.
  4. Merola, J. S.; Ladipo, F. T., Alkyne reactions with trimethylphosphine complexes of iridium: Lessons for the catalysis of vinyl ester formation and alkyne dimerization. Polyhedron 2014, 70, 125-132.
  5. Karpin, G. W.; Merola, J. S.; Falkinham, J. O., Transition metal-α-amino acid complexes with antibiotic activity against Mycobacterium spp. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 2013, 57 (7), 3434-3436.
  • College of Arts and Sciences Certificate of Teaching Excellence, Virginia Tech, 1991
  • College of Arts and Sciences Certificate of Teaching Excellence, Virginia Tech, 1994
  • College of Arts and Sciences Certificate of Teaching Excellence, Virginia Tech, 1997
  • University Alumni Award for Teaching Excellence, Virginia Tech, 1997
  • Inducted into VPI Academy of Teaching Excellence, Virginia Tech, 1997
  • Special Citation from Virginia Tech President and Provost for Outstanding Planning and Leadership, 2003
  • B.S. Carnegie-Mellon University, 1974
  • Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1978
  • Research Chemist, Exxon Research and Engineering Company, 1978
  • Senior Research Chemist, Exxon Research and Engineering Company, 1982
  • Staff Chemist, Exxon Research and Engineering Company, 1985
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Virginia Tech, 1987-1991
  • Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Virginia Tech, 1991-1995
  • Professor, Department of Chemistry, Virginia Tech, 1995-present
  • Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Virginia Tech, 1998-2001
  • Acting Dean of the Graduate School, Virginia Tech, 2001-2002
  • Senior Administrative Fellow in Charge of University Restructuring, Virginia Tech, 2002-2003
  • Chair, Department of Chemistry, 2004-2010
Joe Merola

Contact

Email: jmerola@vt.edu
Office: 3109 Hahn Hall South
Phone: 540-231-4510
Group Website: http://www.merola.chem.vt.edu/

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