Dr. Jerome Robinson, Brown University
Host: Dr. Sadow
Polymer waste has quickly become one of our society's largest looming environmental concerns, where an estimated 4.9 GTons of polymer waste currently exist in the environment. Central to addressing this challenge is the generation of polymers with robust materials properties that also embed or encode end-of-use. Oxygenated (co)polymers such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are naturally occurring and fully bioresorbable polymers with promising properties, yet their efficient and cost-effective stereospecific synthesis remains challenging. In this talk, I will share some of our group's recent advances in catalyst development for the synthesis of oxygenated (co)polymers. Specifically, we'll discuss new catalyst design strategies which fully leverage the unique properties of the rare-earth elements (group III and the lanthanides) to generate systems that are highly dynamic, reactive, and selective.