Latest News

New Theoretical Method Reveals Polarization Effects of Solvents Over Photoreactions

In a recent publication (Song, Journal of Chemical Physics, 2022) the Song Lab introduced state-averaged complete active space self consistent field (SA-CASSCF) coupled with polarizable continuum models (PCM), a new theoretical method that enables simulating polarization effects of solvents in non-adiabatic excited state dynamics for the first time.

Direct Conversion of Captured CO₂ into Fuel and Chemicals

A recent award from the University of California, Office of the President has established a new multi-campus Research Center focused on development of catalysts, methods and scaled-up prototypes for fundamental knowledge needed to convert captured CO₂ into fuels and commodity chemicals. The collaborative team is lead by UC Davis Chemistry Principal Investigator Prof.

2 + 2 = 3: Making Ternary Phases through a Binary Approach

New work from the Kauzlarich group in collaboration with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory looks to unveil the mysteries of solid-state reactions. The investigation into the formation of Yb₁₄MSb₁₁ (M = Al, Mn, Mg), a high efficiency thermoelectric material, from the elements and binaries revealed a pathway for the direct formation of high purity complex ternary phases in balanced stoichiometric reactions utilizing binary precursors.

Biosynthesis of the [FeFe]-Hydrogenase with an organometallic Fe2S2 cluster bypasses HydG and HydE maturases

In a study recently published in  JACS, collaborative work between Britt lab and Tom Rauchfuss lab (UIUC) presents the evidence that a synthetic organometallic Fe2S2 cluster can functionally replace two radical SAM enzyme maturases HydG and HydE to allow the biosynthesis of the [FeFe]-hydrogenase. This work unambiguously identifies the organometallic Fe2S2 cluster as an intermediate in the biosynthesis of [FeFe]-hydrogenase catalytic H-cluster. 


Toward Programmable Reactivity in Energy Conversion

In a recent Chemistry of Materials perspective article featured in the “Up and Coming” early career scientist special issue, the Velázquez lab shed light on the immense promise of multinary metal chalcogenides as tunable energy materials. These materials have applications in catalysis, advanced multivalent batteries, electronics, and many others.

Ultrafast dynamics of vibrational energy transfer in water

Water is the most abundant yet least understood liquid in nature.  A recent collaborative study published in Nature sheds light on the ultrafast process of vibrational energy transfer in water molecules.  “Hydrogen bonding, the molecular building block that gives water its special properties, is still not fully understood,” said Davide Donadio, professor of chemistry at UC Davis and a corresponding author on the paper.

Machine learning-assisted discovery of chevrel phase tellurides

In a recent JACS article, the Velázquez lab, in collaboration with the Musgrave lab from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at University of Colorado Boulder, showcased an interpretable machine-learned descriptor (Hd) capable of estimating decomposition enthalpy (ΔHd) to identify synthetically accessible molybdenum chalcogenides within the Chevrel Phase (CP) family from a set of 205,548 different CP compositions.

Crystal Structure of the [FeFe]-Hydrogenase Maturase HydE Bound to Complex-B

The collaboration of the Britt and Rauchfuss (UIUC) labs with the Nicolet group at Grenoble has revealed the structure of the Fe(II)(CO)2(CN)cysteine organometallic product of the HydG Fe-Fe hydrogenase “maturase” enzyme as bound and activated towards dimerization by HydE, the second radical SAM maturase enzyme in the hydrogenase H-cluster biosynthetic pathway.

Further information available at:


Rapid quantification of hydrogen bond acceptor ability published as article with cover in J. Org. Chem.

In a recent featured article in JOC, the Franz Lab has reported the hydrogen bond accepting (HBA) abilities of over 100 molecules quantified using rapid and simple 19F and 31P NMR methods. The article was also selected for cover art, which illustrates two female scientists working collaboratively to develop the method, reflective of the authors -- a diverse group of women, several who are BIPOC and/or first-generation college students.

A Novel Biosensor for Determining Hallucinogenic Potential

In a recent Cell publication, the Olson and Tian Labs describe psychLight—the first biosensor capable of measuring hallucinogenic potential.  They then used the sensor to identify AAZ—a non-hallucinogenic analog of psychedelics that produces sustained antidepressant-like effects after a single administration.

Hidden protein structures key to understanding neurodegenerative disease

The latest publication from the Murray Laboratory describes new structural characteristics of the transcription factor protein TDP-43 and provides insight into the pathology of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontal Temporal Dementia. The work has been honored by the American Chemical Society as an Editor’s Choice Article because it embodies the society’s goal of improving the human experience using the power of chemistry.