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Diana Thornton

Assistant Professor
Diana Thornton
3105 Hahn Hall South

Research Interests

The Thornton group aims to combine synthetic inorganic and bioinorganic approaches to design systems that promote challenging transformations. We seek to leverage metal-metal and metal-ligand cooperativity using both synthetic and biological scaffolds to manipulate the electronic structure and reactivity of earth-abundant, first-row transition metals in the context of catalysis and small molecule activation. With an interest in C–H bond functionalization, we are targeting bimetallic complexes to (1) explore a polarization-induced mechanism for C–H cleavage and (2) fundamentally understand electronic structure requirements of bioinspired dimeric oxo motifs for C–H hydroxylation. Additionally, we want to investigate unique metallocofactors as models of organometallic complexes and explore the role of secondary coordination interactions in dictating reactivity and selectivity to inform the design of efficient catalysts. Synthetic, spectroscopic, and biochemical techniques will be employed in the lab.

  1. Iovan, D. A.; Betley, T. A. “Characterization of iron-imido species relevant for N-group transfer chemistry.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 1983–1993.
  2. Iovan, D. A.; Wrobel, A. T.; McClelland, A. A.; Scharf, A. B.; Edouard, G. A.; Betley, T. A. “Reactivity of a stable copper–dioxygen complex.” ChemCommun. 2017, 53, 10306–10309.
  3. Iovan, D. A.; Wilding, M. J. T.; Baek, Y.; Hennessy, E. T.; Betley, T. A. “Diastereoselective C–H bond amination for disubstituted pyrrolidines.” AngewChem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 15599–15602.
  4. Iovan, D. A.*; Jia, S.*; Chang, C. J. “Inorganic chemistry approaches to activity-based sensing: from metal sensors to bioorthogonal metal chemistry.” Inorg. Chem. 2019, 58, 13546–13560.
  • Life Sciences Research Foundation postdoctoral fellowship sponsored by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2018
  • Division of Inorganic Chemistry Young Investigator Award, American Chemical Society, 2018
  • B.S. Chemistry and Mathematics, University of Richmond, 2012
  • Ph.D. Inorganic Chemistry, Harvard University, 2017
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UC Berkeley, 2017-2020