© 2018 by Janelle E. Letzen, PhD

 
Catalysis
Meet the Scientist

Teresa is an active science communicator and advocate of mental health in high education. She secured important collaborations with the most prestigious association within and beyond the chemistry world. You can find out more about her research and PhD advocacy on her website www.phdtosuccess.com

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Science Snack

I am excited to share my collaboration with Janelle and talk about my research on catalysis and C-H activations.

When we have to go from point 1 (C-H) to point 2 (C-X), we need to overcome a mountain of energy. We have two options: a) climbing the mounting (i.e., allowing the typical reaction to happen), but this is hard work and takes time, or b) we can dig a tunnel and overcome the mountain by taking a shortcut. Chemically speaking, the tunnel, or shortcut, is called the catalyst. A catalyst allows chemical reactions to occur faster and often in a more sustainable way.

In my case, I apply catalysis for the activation of the Carbon-Hydrogen (C-H) bonds. These bonds are quite stable and ubiquitous in 

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nature due to this stability. Hence, we need to find new catalytic ways to convert these abundant and cheap compounds into something more valuable and precious, for example, important drugs or pesticides.

Catalysis isn't a new concept. Nature has been applying it forever and chemists borrowed it from nature. ALL biological processes (e.g., photosynthesis, digestions) occur because of enzymes, which are natural catalysts.