Center for Green Chemistry

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Research Projects

Timothy Dransfield

Green chemistry projects in Prof. Dransfield's research group are focused on understanding the chemical fate of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the Earth's atmosphere. We need to know more about the lifetimes of these species in the environment and the terminal products of their oxidation chemistry. Of particular interest are by-products and intermediates of varying toxicity and water solubility. Current projects are looking at the oxidation products of acrolein, methacrolein and butanes, and the kinetics of the reaction of various cycloalkanes with the hydroxyl radical (OH).

Timothy Dransfield

Selected Publications:

"Experimental Study of the Kinetics of the Reaction of Acetic Acid with Hydroxyl Radicals from 255 to 355 K." Huang, Y.-W., Dransfield, T.J., Miller, J.D., Rojas, R.D., Castillo, X.G., Anderson, J.G. J. Phys. Chem. A, 2009, 113 (2), pp 423-430.

"Rate Constants of Nine C6?C9 Alkanes with OH from 230 to 379 K: Chemical Tracers for [OH]." Sprengnether, M.M., Dransfield, T.J., Demerjian, K.L., Clarke, J.S., Donahue, N.M., Anderson, J.G. J. Phys. Chem. A, 2009, 113 (17), pp 5030-5038.

"On the mechanism for nitrate formation via the peroxy radical plus NO reaction," Zhang, J.Y., Dransfield, T.J., Donahue, N.M. Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 2004, 108, 42, 9082.

Jason Evans

Two problems associated with the arsenal of antibiotics commonly used to treat infections are the evolutionary development of resistance and persistence in our environment, which presents risks to aquatic ecosystems, as well as, to human health. The Evans laboratory is interested in developing a strategy for discovering a new greener class of antibiotics, based on tunichromes extracted and isolated from anthropods.


Michelle Foster

Professor Foster's research is focused on surface chemistry and the current research involves collaborations with Marianna Torok, Bela Torok, Deyang Qu, and Tim Dransfield.

Deyang Qu

Professor Qu's research projects are focused on the development of renewable energy, which cover: 1) Metal air, 2) Fuel Cells, 3) Supercapacitors, 4) Hydrogen Storage Materials, and 5) Alkaline Batteries. Collaborators: Brookhaven National Lab, Naval Surface Warfare Center, UMass Lowe, ElectroChem. Inc., Aspen Product Inc. The research is funded by the Office of Vehicle Technology, Department of Energy; Naval Surface Warfare Center; NASA (ElectroChem Inc.); and the Army (Aspen Product Group).


Selected Publications:

C. Tran, X.Q. Yang, D.Y. Qu, "Investigation of the Gas-Diffusion-Electrode used as Lithium/Air Cathode in Non-aqueous Electrolyte and the Importance of Carbon Material porosity", J. Power Sources, accepted for publication.

D.Y. Qu, "Mechanistic Studies for the Limitation of Supercapacitor Voltage", J. Appl. Electrochem. 39(2009)867.

N. Ominde, N. Bartlett, X-Q Yang, D. Qu, "The effect of oxygen reduction on activated carbon electrodes loaded with manganese dioxide catalyst" J. Power Sources 185(2008)747.

D.Y. Qu, "Mechanism for electrochemical hydrogen insertion in carbonaceous materials", J. Power Sources 179(2008)310-316.

D.Y.Qu, "Investigation of hydrogen physisorption active sites on the surface of porous carbonaceous materials", Chem-EUR. J. 14(2008)1040-1046.

Jonathan Rochford

Green chemistry projects in Prof. Rochford's research group are focused on the development of nanoparticle-molecule architectures towards applications in solar driven catalysis. Fundamental processes such as proton coupled electron-transfer (PCET) and charge-separation in the solid state are investigated. Major interests include CO2 reduction and water oxidation catalysis.


Selected Publications:

“Characterization of Redox States of Ru(OH2)(Q)(tpy)2+ (Q = 3,5-di-tert-butyl-1,2- benzoquinone, tpy = 2,2’:6’,2”-terpyridine) and Related Species through Experimental and Theoretical Studies” Tsai M.-K.; Rochford J.; Polyansky D. E.; Tanaka K.; Fujita E.; Muckerman J. T., Inorg. Chem., 2009, 48, 4372.

"Photoelectrochemical Behavior of Polychelate Porphyrin Chromophores and Titanium Dioxide Nanotube Arrays for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells" de Tacconi N. R.; Chanmanee W.; Rajeshwar K.; Rochford J.; Galoppini E., J. Phys. Chem. C, 2009, 113, 2926.

"Zn (II) Tetraarylporphyrins Anchored to TiO2, ZnO and ZrO2 Nanoparticle Films Through Rigid-Rod Linkers" Rochford J.; Gallopini E. Langmuir, 2008, 24, 5366.

"Tetrachelate Porphyrin Chromophores for Metal Oxide Semiconductor Sensitization: The effect of Spacer Length and Anchoring Group Position" Rochford J.; Chu D.; Hagfeldt A.; Galoppini, E. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2007, 129, 4655.

Fast Electron Transport in MOCVD-Grown Dye-Sensitized ZnO Nanorod Solar Cells" Galoppini E.; Rochford J.; Chen H.; Saraf G.; Lu Y.; Hagfeldt A.; Boschloo G. J. Phys. Chem. B, 2006, 110, 16159.

Hannah Sevian

The Sevian Research Group studies how students develop conceptual understanding of chemistry and how research-based instruction and materials impact student learning, particularly in chemistry; how scientists and science teachers can communicate science more effectively; and how to improve the pipeline for students in K-12 and higher education, particularly in urban schools, to remain in science career pathways.

Bela Torok

Green chemistry projects in Prof. Torok's research group are focused on the development of environmentally benign synthetic methods for the preparation of fine chemicals and compounds of medicinal interests. The major directions include the application of catalysis and unusual activation methods. Within these areas we concentrate on (i) solid acid catalysis (ii) metal-catalyzed enantioselective heterogeneous catalytic hydrogenations, (iii) microwave-assisted synthesis and (iv) asymmetric organocatalysis.


Selected Publications:

Medicinal Chemistry: B. Torok: A. Rudnitskaya, K. Huynh, B. Torok, K. Stieglitz: Novel Heteroaromatic Organofluorine Inhibitors of Fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase. J. Med. Chem. 2009, 52, 878-882.

Solid acid catalysis: S. Dasgupta, B. Torok: Environmentally Benign Contemporary Friedel-Crafts Chemistry by Solid Acids. Current Org. Synth. 2008, 5, 321-342. (invited review)

Metal-catalyzed enantioselective heterogeneous catalytic hydrogenations: S. C. Mhadgut, M. Torok, S. Dasgupta, B. Torok: Nature of Proline-Induced Enantiodifferentiation in Asymmetric Pd Catalyzed Hydrogenations: Is the Catalyst Really Indifferent? Catal. Lett. 2008,123, 156-163.

Microwave-assisted synthesis: M. Abid, B. Torok, X. Huang: Microwave-Assisted Tandem Processes for the Synthesis of N-Heterocycles. Aus. J. Chem. 2009, 62, 208-222 (invited review).

Asymmetric organocatalysis: B. Torok, M. Abid, G. London, J. Esquibel, M. Torok, S. C. Mhadgut, P. Yan, G. K. S. Prakash: Highly Enantioselective Organocatalytic Hydroxyalkylation of Indoles with ethyl trifluoropyruvate. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2005, 44, 3086-3089.

Marianna Torok

The researchers in Prof. Torok's group focus on understanding the driving force, mechanism and control of the self-assembly of amyloid peptides. From the perspective of green chemistry, we would like to learn more on the environmental factors affecting this process, and how these results can be translated into biomedical and material science applications. We are also interested in finding alternative environmentally benign (green) methods for the synthesis of peptides and peptide-based biomaterials.

Selected Publications:

Datta S, Sood A, Torok M. Green Alternatives in Peptide Synthesis. Current Organic Synthesis (in preparation).

Sood A, Abid M, Hailemichael S, Foster M, Torok B, Torok M. Effect of Chirality of Small Molecule Organofluorine Inhibitors of Amyloid Self-Assembly on Inhibitor Potency. Biorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 19: 6931-6934, 2009.

Torok B, Dasgupta S., Torok M. Chemistry of Small Molecule Inhibitors in Self-Assembly of Alzheimer's Disease Related Amyloid-Beta Peptide. Current Bioactive Compounds 4: 159-174, 2008.

Torok M, Abid M, Mhadgut SC, Torok B. Organofluorine Inhibitors of Amyloid Fibrillogenesis. Biochemistry 45: 5377-5383, 2006.

Torok M, Milton S, Kayed R, Wu P, McIntire T, Glabe CG, Langen R. Structural and Dynamic Features of Alzheimer's A Peptide in Amyloid Fibrils Studied by Site-Directed Spin Labeling. Journal of Biological Chemistry 277: 40810-5, 2002.

Wei Zhang

The green chemistry research projects in Prof. Zhang's group are focused on the development of fluorous technologies for organic and medicinal chemistry applications. The unique phase separation-based fluorous technologies have been utilized in the development of a series of green techniques including chromatography-free separations, recycable reagents and catalysts, atom economic multicomponent reactions, energy-focused microwave reactions, metal-free organocatalysis, aqueous media reactions, and modified reagents.


Selected Publications:

Ding, S.; Le-Nguyen, M., Xu, T.; Zhang, W. "Fluorous Benzaldehyde-based Synthesis of Biaryl-substituted Oxazabicyclo[3.3.1]nonanes" Green Chem. 2011, 13, 847-849.

Li, D.-P.; Zhang, G.-L.; An, L.-T.; Zou, J.-P.; Zhang, W. "Solvent- and Catalyst-free Synthesis of 2,3-Dihydro-1H-benzo[d] imidazoles" Green Chem. 2011, 13, 594-597.

Zhang, Z.; Zhang, W. "Fluorous Organocatalysis - A Green Approach for Asymmetric Synthesis” Chimica Oggi (ChemistryToday), 2011, 29 (3), 32-34.

Zhang, W. "Green Chemistry Aspects of Fluorous Techniques - Opportunities and Challenges for Small-Scale Organic Synthesis" Critical review article, Green Chem. 2009, 11, 911-920.

Zhang, W. "Fluorous Linker-Facilitated Chemical Synthesis" Chem. Rev. 2009, 109, 749-795.