Project Overview

Understanding how ruthenium-catalyzed hydrogenation reactions work

Faculty Sponsor

Anthony Chianese (




Research in the Chianese group focuses on organometallic chemistry, drawing on the fields of organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry. We use a combination of experimental and computational techniques to understand how important chemical reactions work at the molecular level. Currently, we are engaged in a National Science Foundation funded project to determine how catalysts for the hydrogenation of esters and epoxides operate. Working in the Chianese group, students learn a variety of techniques in synthetic organic chemistry, including handling air-sensitive compounds, running reactions under inert atmosphere, purification using chromatography, and characterization of compounds using NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography. Students also have the opportunity to learn how to use computational chemistry to probe the mechanistic pathways of reactions. Students interested in coding additionally have the opportunity to learn how to implement data analysis calculations in Python, although this is not required of all students in the group. Interested students are encouraged to join the Chianese group early in their Colgate career. Applications are welcome from students in any class, including first-years.

Student Qualifications

Students should have completed General Chemistry at least, and be majoring or intend to major in Chemistry or Biochemistry. Organic Chemistry is helpful but not required.

Number of Student Researchers

Four students

Project Length

10 weeks

Applications open on 10/03/2023 and close on 02/28/2024

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (