CHEM 500 to be part of the HHMI CURE initiative

This past spring, the CHEM 500 - Inorganic Chemistry course converted the laboratory component into a CURE (course-based undergraduate research experience) through funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning. By transitioning to a CURE, students were able to learn new wet-lab and computational modeling chemistry techniques but with a focus on generating novel compounds and data rather than following a traditional lab manual. The goal of the CURE was to synthesize new transition metal complexes and explore their reactivity towards S-nitrosothiols, starting from designing their ligand of choice, developing a synthetic route using microwave and air-free techniques, making the metal complex, and then performing the reactivity studies; all while using various characterization methods to verify their work. Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was forced to shift from a wet-lab intensive curriculum to a computational modeling project that involved using the ORCA software package on the university’s CCV cluster Oscar to model the structure and spectroscopic handles of their proposed ligands and those of a Ruthenium complex. The data generated from the students’ work is now being used as a basis to further refine the CURE project for the spring 2021 semester.