News Archive

Brandon Barnett receives NSF CAREER Award

January 29, 2024

Headshot of Dr. Barnett.

Congratulations to Brandon Barnett, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, for being a recipient of the 2023 Faculty Early CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF)! His proposal was titled “Cavity-Enforced Structure and Reactivity of High-Valent Iron Oxo, Nitrosyl, and Superoxo Complexes.”

Dr. Barnett and his group plan to continue their work synthesizing and studying bio-inspired complexes of iron that have the ability to break strong C–H bonds, which are ubiquitous in both common chemical feedstocks and complex organic molecules. Compounds that are sufficiently reactive to cleave such linkages are often times difficult to handle and study, and thus selecting for reactivity with one particular C–H over another is usually a significant challenge. Barnett and his team have devised a strategy to control both the stability and reactivity of such compounds and hope to use them to enable new efficient transformations of abundant feedstocks into value-added products. As part of the CAREER award, Barnett will also continue developing a professional development workshop series for UR undergraduates that he first organized in 2022.

Dr. Barnett earned his BA from Pepperdine University, where he began research in the lab of Prof. Joseph Fritsch and investigated the cobalt-catalyzed reductive dechlorination of chlorinated ethylenes and synthesized new zinc-based initiators for lactide polymerization. Afterwards, heheaded south to La Jolla and undertook doctoral studies in the laboratory of Prof. Joshua Figueroa at UCSD. As both a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a Department of Education GAANN Fellow, he studied the chemistry of reduced nickel, palladium, and platinum complexes bearing encumbering isocyanide ligands. Dr. Barnett next moved to UC Berkeley to perform postdoctoral work with Prof. Jeffrey R. Long. There, his work examined the use of metal–organic frameworks for applications in hydrocarbon separations and hydrogen storage. He accepted an offer from UR in 2020 and began his appointment in January 2021.

The NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide program that offers the NSF's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such support is expected to help build a firm foundation for a lifetime of faculty leadership in integrating education and research.