About Us

The Kennedy Research Group is a team of enthusiastic and interdisciplinary scientists at the University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry. We are driven to tackle challenges in catalysis and synthetic chemistry that simultaneously advance society and improve our fundamental understanding of chemical reactivity. We use mechanistic elucidation and understanding to direct the development of chemo-, regio-, and stereoselective catalytic methods for the valorization of chemical feedstocks ranging from petrochemicals, to biomass, to anthropogenic waste. We strive to construct useful building blocks for applications in chemical synthesis (e.g. therapeutics, flavors & fragrances, agrochemicals, materials etc.) while advancing the frontiers of sustainable catalysis. Our pursuits lie at the interface of synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry and draw from state-of-the-art experimental and computational techniques in physical organic and inorganic chemistry. Students in the group can expect to gain experience and expertise in organic & organometallic synthesis & characterization, method development, and mechanistic study along with the critical analysis skills that will prepare them for careers in academia, the pharmaceutical/chemical industries, science policy/writing, and beyond!

Join Us!

The Kennedy Group is excited to team up with motivated and curious students. If you’d like to learn more about how you might fit in with our young group, please reach out!

Admitted Graduate Students: We are recruiting graduate students to join the group for fall 2020. If you are a first-year graduate student with an interest in Synthesis, Catalysis, & Mechanism, you are encouraged to connect with Professor Kennedy by email, Slack, or Zoom to discuss research opportunities.

Prospective Graduate Students: Prospective graduate students interested in the PhD program should apply according to the information on the Department of Chemistry webpage.

UR Undergraduates: If you are an undergraduate chemistry major interested in conducting research, email Professor Kennedy with a brief introduction, an explanation of your interests, and a current CV/resume. We do not have any further openings for undergraduate students this fall, but who knows what the future will bring.

Prospective Postdoctoral Scholars: Pending the availability of funding, highly qualified postdoctoral candidates will be considered on a rolling basis. Interested applicants should email Professor Kennedy and include a tailored cover letter detailing their research interests and career goals, a curriculum vitae including a list of publications, a brief research summary (1–3 pages), and contact information for two or more professional references including their Ph.D. and current research advisor(s). 


November 17th, 2020

Today we officially welcomed two talented, first-year graduate students—Medina Afandiyeva & Kaycie Malyk—to the team! We’re delighted to have you on-board and can’t wait to start doing science together!

August 20th, 2020

Welcome the 2020 cohort of graduate students beginning orientation this week! We are thrilled that you are joining us, and we look forward to continuing to interact throughout the fall and for the next 5 years as you continue your scientific training. We are enthusiastically recruiting graduate students to join our team, so please reach out if you are interested!

June 11th, 2020

We, as members of the Kennedy Research Group, condemn the opinions expressed in Hudlicky’s essay recently published by Angewandte Chemie (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, DOI: 10.1002/anie.202006717). The bigoted, closed-minded, and misinformed views exemplified in this manuscript are directly contradictory to our group’s values, and we find it reprehensible that this piece was allowed to proceed through the peer review and editorial process leading to its eventual publication in a prestigious scientific journal. However, this egregious incident underscores historic and ongoing patterns of exclusion and systemic discrimination within and beyond our scientific communities. We therefore view this incident and #ShutDownSTEM as opportunities to reflect on our own roles in perpetuating systems that marginalize those with diverse backgrounds, to define standards for our community that seek to address these patterns of harm, and to act in ways that reaffirm our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusivity, integrity, respect, and representation. Therefore, as we learn and conduct our work at the University of Rochester, on the ancestral lands of the Seneca (Onondowagah) Nation of the Naudenosaunee Confederacy, we commit to:

  • Seek out and share information about the historical and contemporary role of our field in the university, local, national, and global community.
  • Educate ourselves to recognize systemic discrimination and opportunities for anti-racist action.
  • Identify our own implicit biases and structure plans to counteract or control for them.
  • Engage our colleagues—especially those whose backgrounds differ from our own—with respect, open-mindedness, and a willingness to learn from their experiences. 
  • Recruit and support diverse colleagues.
  • Act as “upstanders” rather than “bystanders” upon witnessing microaggressions.
  • Nominate and advocate for manuscript reviewers, invited speakers, and awardees that are truly representative of the broader community. 
February 1st, 2020

We beat the clock, saved the world, and had a blast in our group-bonding (noncovalent) escape-room challenge. Way to go team!

January 16th, 2020

Dr. Abhishek Kadam joined our group today as a new postdoctoral researcher. Abhishek completed his PhD at Iowa State University working with Prof. Levi Stanley, and we are thrilled to have him join us here in Rochester!

December 5th, 2019

We welcomed our first students to the group. We are thrilled to have graduate students (Katie and Ryan) and undergraduate students (Aliza, Elliot, and Sarah) on the team! Such a group of thinkers…

November 21st, 2019

Check out some of Rose’s postdoctoral research from the Chirik Group, published in a special issue of Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis in honor of Professor Eric Jacobsen’s 60th birthday. Happy birthday, Eric!

Pyridine(diimine) Iron Diene Complexes Relevant to Catalytic [2+2]‐Cycloaddition Reactions
C. Rose Kennedy, Hongyu Zhong, Matthew V. Joannou, and Paul J. Chirik
Adv. Synth. Catal. Accepted Article. DOI: 10.1002/adsc.201901289

May 7th, 2019

Check out some of Rose’s postdoctoral research from the Chirik Group, out now in JACS.

Regio- and Diastereoselective Iron-Catalyzed [4+4]-Cycloaddition of 1,3-Dienes
C. Rose Kennedy, Hongyu Zhong, Rachel L. Macaulay, and Paul J. Chirik
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 8557–8573. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b02443

March 21st, 2019

We are excited to welcome prospective students to the University of Rochester for our inaugural recruiting visit! We can’t wait to meet our incoming cohort of talented, creative, and motivated chemists!

February 19th, 2019

Rose is thrilled to join the faculty at the University of Rochester as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, where the Kennedy group will be tackling challenges in catalysis and organometallic chemistry! Researchers (at all levels) interested in joining are encouraged to reach out.