Catalyzing a career – my path into academia and a journey into main group catalysis

This talk will give an overview of my experiences in academia and my path to becoming an academic, hopefully offering advise and guidance for anybody thinking of going into a career in academia. I will also give an overview of my research on main group catalysis and how I developed my own research area given the skills I learnt as a PhD student and Postdoctoral Fellow.

Main Group chemistry has undergone a renaissance in recent years with the realisation that the reactivity of main group elements often closely resembles that of transition metals, with recent studies revealing that main group elements can act as homogenous catalysts for a range of transformations. The development of main group alternatives to conventional transition metal catalysts is an emerging ‘hot topic’.

Dr. Rebecca Melen (Cardiff)

Rebecca Melen photo

Previous research by Melen pioneered the use of Main-Group complexes in the catalytic dehydrocoupling of amino-boranes for which she received the RSC Dalton Young Researcher Award (2013). Her subsequent studies on heterocyclic synthesis via Main Group Lewis acid promoted organic transformations coupled with her dehydrocoupling studies led to her European Young Researcher Award (2014). Amongst her published research, she has several articles designated as ‘hot papers’ and/or reflected in Front/Inside Cover artwork. Research projects in the Melen group draw together several different areas of chemistry including organic and inorganic synthesis, main group chemistry, catalysis and implement a range of physical characterisation methods (including multinuclear NMR and X-ray diffraction) supported by computational studies.


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