The Center for Sustainable Polymers is delighted to introduce two accomplished seed investigators who have recently joined us. We extend our warmest welcome and congratulations to:
Professor Jessica Hoover
Prof. Hoover joined the Department of Chemistry faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2023 after 11 years with West Virginia University. The title of Hoover’s seed project is: New Catalytic Strategies for the Selective Deoxygenative Functionalization of Anhydrides and Imides.
Hoover’s research in catalytic methods have widespread applications ranging from the large scale synthesis of commodity chemicals to the fine chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Many of today’s societal challenges, including those related to health, energy, and the environment, will be solved with catalytic strategies. Solutions to these challenges require a fundamental understanding of the catalysts and their mechanisms. The Hoover Group maps the mechanisms of organic transformations catalyzed by transition-metal complexes, with particular interest in catalytic redox reactions in which bond-breaking and -forming steps occur along with oxidation or reduction steps.
Professor Lynn Walker
Prof. Walker joined the faculty of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science at the University of Minnesota in 2023 after 26 years with Carnegie Mellon University. The title of Walker’s seed project is: Characterization of complex aqueous coacervates containing sustainably-sourced polyelectrolytes.
Prof. Walker’s research focuses on understanding and controlling complex, or structured, fluids in engineering applications. They use a wide range of experimental techniques to characterize the nano- through micro-scale structure of soft materials in non-equilibrium environments. Problems and materials of interest have included polymer blends, liquid crystalline polymers, interfacially dominated materials (emulsions and foams), self-assembled polymeric and surfactant systems, and colloidal dispersions. Walker’s current focus is on developing systematic methods for reformulating complex fluids, with the goal of facilitating and accelerating the incorporation of sustainable materials in formulated products. This effort will require fundamental engineering concepts, data science, novel characterization tools, and deep knowledge of colloid and polymer physics and chemistry.