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Marcetta Darensbourg

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Marcetta Darensbourg

Professor of Chemistry
Texas A&M University

 Marcetta Darensbourg

Marcetta York Darensbourg was born and raised by her schoolteacher parents in the small hamlet of Artemus, Kentucky, on the banks of the Cumberland River.  As did her parents, she graduated from Union College in the nearby Barbourville, Ky.  Encouraged by her professors there, she pursued graduate studies in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, receiving a Ph.D. in 1967 under the mentorship of Professor Theodore L. Brown.  While in graduate school she met Donald Darensbourg, also an Inorganic Chemist.  Her first appointments were short term lectureships at Vassar College, followed by SUNY Buffalo; in 1971 she was appointed assistant professor at Tulane University where she and Don rose through the ranks, moving to Texas A&M as Full Professors in 1982.  She holds the title of Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.  She lectures undergraduate and graduate courses devoted to inorganic and organometallic chemistry.

 

Marcetta’s research trajectory has mirrored developments in transition metal organometallic chemistry, specifically in the synthesis and characterization of carbon monoxide-stabilized, electron-rich metal hydrides and mechanisms of hydride transfer to organic substrates.   Intrigued by the possibility of metal hydrides in nature, specifically in the active sites of the hydrogenases, she directed efforts towards biomimetics of those sites and towards using the tools of organometallic chemistry to link the synthetic analogues with the natural hydrogen processing biocatalysts.  Other metalloenzyme active sites that perform carbon-carbon coupling processes add additional inspiration for research into nature’s design for eliciting catalysis by earth abundant metals in cases where the chemical industry relies on rare and expensive noble metals.  Her research has resulted in >250 peer reviewed publications as well as multiple awards including the American Chemical Society’s Award in Organometallic Chemistry (2017), and the ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry (1996).  She is a member of the National Academy of Science (2017), and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Chemical Society.    She has mentored > 50 students to the Ph.D. degree in Chemistry.

Learn more about M.Y. Darensbourg Research Laboratories here.