Dalton Young Researchers Award 2013 Winner

Dr Rebecca Melen
Dr Rebecca Melen
University of Toronto

For advances in main group catalysed dehydrocoupling reactions and rationale of reactivity trends in p-block amido chemistry.  

About the Winner

Rebecca Melen was born in Nottingham (UK) in 1985. After gaining straight A grades at school she went on to read Natural Sciences at Magdalene College Cambridge in 2004. Her academic performance was recognised through a string of College and University Prizes, culminating in a prestigious Cambridge University Research Scholarship to undertake doctoral research in a field of her choice. 

Her undergraduate research project on sulphur-nitrogen chemistry inspired her interest in Main Group Chemistry and she elected to continue in the field of p-block chemistry with Prof. Dominic Wright, studying the reactivity of p-block amido-bases. 

During her doctoral studies she received an ERASMUS award for a 3 month placement to collaborate with Prof. Lutz Gade at the University of Heidelberg (Germany). After completing her PhD in 2012, Dr Melen moved to the University of Toronto (Canada) to work with Prof. Doug Stephan, developing new Frustrated Lewis Pairs (FLPs), i.e. molecules containing both Lewis basic and Lewis acidic sites and examining their use in catalytic hydrogenation reactions.

During her time at Cambridge, Dr Melen amassed many publications across a range of topics in main group chemistry. Her studies highlighted the redox (in)stability of p-block metal amido complexes in controlling their reactivity pathways, ultimately leading to the crafting of aluminium amido compounds as active catalysts for the dehydrocoupling of amine-boranes. These contributions add to the wealth of emerging evidence that p-block metal complexes can catalyse reactions which were previously considered to be the exclusive domain of transition metals. 

Related Links

Link icon Dr Melen's Webpage
University of Toronto

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