allegra liberman-martinCongratulations to assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry Allegra Liberman-Martin, Ph.D. for receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation! The NSF Launching Early-Career Academic Pathways in the Mathematical and Physics Sciences (NSF LEAPS-MPS) provides support for Liberman-Martin’s research titled, “Development of Carbodiphosphorane Catalysts for Organic and Polymer Synthesis.”

In this project, Liberman-Martin and Chapman undergraduates will study the catalytic activity of carbodiphosphoranes, which feature an electron-rich carbon center flanked by phosphorus groups. Although these compounds have been prepared previously, their catalytic behavior remains largely unexplored. This investigation will improve understanding of reaction pathways for electron-rich carbon catalysts while also providing new catalytic methods for ester substrates, which are found in biomass and plant-based oils.

This grant also funds efforts to improve the retention of STEM transfer students by creating an orientation program, research opportunities, and monthly workshop series for Schmid College transfer students. The grant will enable up to ten Schmid College transfer students a year to participate in research with faculty across the college. Liberman-Martin will personally invite up to two transfer students a semester to work in her research group to gain hands-on research experience in organic chemistry. This new initiative will start Fall 2022 semester.

Opportunities for high school students from neighboring Orange High School to contribute to the proposed research are also included.

I’m very excited to receive this grant because it will allow me to grow my research group to include more undergraduate researchers year-round. It is also the first grant my group has received to support our investigations of polymer chemistry,” shared Liberman-Martin.