The Rybak-Akimova Group

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The main theme of our research is to understand the selectivity of small molecule binding and activation with transition metal complexes. Our group focuses on two approaches to this problem which are inspired by nature: (1) introducing specific substrate binding sites into transition metal platforms, thus mimicking selective substrate binding at the active sites of the enzymes; (2) investigating the detailed mechanisms of small molecule activation at the metal centers in synthetic complexes that model the active sites of metalloenzymes and assessing the reactivity of transient metal-containing intermediates formed in these processes.
Our research encompasses the fields of coordination chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, and supramolecular chemistry. The potential applications of our work include the design of new selective reagents and catalysts, design of selective receptors for sensors and separation processes, drug design, and design of new materials via self-assembly and self-organization.
The students are trained in synthetic methods (organic and inorganic syntheses) including manipulation of air-sensitive compounds as well as in a variety of physical methods of characterization of organic and coordination compounds (NMR, EPR, IR, UV-Vis, X-Ray crystallography) and in thermodynamic and kinetic measurements. Molecular modeling is also used in our research.
For more information regarding specific projects, please refer to the items listed under the Research tab.

Group picture 2013. From left to right: Garvey McKenzie, Guang Yang, Xianru Sun, Taryn Palluccio, Celeo Guifarro, Elena Rybak-Akimova, Anna Dukovich, Reza Latifi.