Welcome to Dr. La Pierre
The School of Chemistry and Biochemistry is pleased to welcome Dr. Henry S. La Pierre, who will join the faculty on July 1, 2016 as an Assistant Professor with a courtesy appointment in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the Nuclear and Radiological Engineering and Medical Physics Program.
Henry, also known by his nickname, Pete, was born in St. Louis, MO. He is currently a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) with Dr. Stosh Kozimor and Dr. David Clark. He is both an expert creator of functional molecules, and an expert analyst of their properties. His studies at LANL include ligand K-edge XAS of transuranic complexes and synthesis of f-element frustrated magnetic materials. During his undergraduate studies at Harvard University, he worked with Prof. Jared Shaw at the Broad Institute on the synthesis of antibiotics and with Prof. Masahiro Murakami at Kyoto University on main group organometallics. His graduate work, with Professors John Arnold, Robert Bergman, and Dean Toste at UC-Berkeley, focused on the development of a Z-selective alkyne semihydrogenation catalyst. Following graduation, he studied ligand control of reactive low- and high-valent uranium complexes as a postdoctoral scholar with Prof. Karsten Meyer at FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg.
Henry’s research program will develop the molecular and solid-state coordination chemistry of the f-elements for unique and scalable solutions to contemporary problems in energy use. Applications in energy conversion (photochemical, magnetic) and transport (electrical) and in information storage and processing will be sought. These goals will be split into three research efforts: (1) to establish predictive models of magnetic exchange in f-element systems in order to design functional materials based on correlated electron behavior such as superconductors and topological insulators through a combination of solid-state and molecular chemistry and rigorous XAS analysis, (2) to develop the solution and solid-state chemistry of non-traditional high-valent lanthanides, and (3) to understand the fundamentals of lanthanide and actinide photochemistry for the development of photosensitizers and photochemical small molecule functionalization. The group will also pursue methodologies for f-element separations and recycling as enabling technologies. For more information please see his faculty and research group pages.