Katrina Jensen, Ph.D.
- Assistant Professor, Chemistry
- Black Hills State University
- Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
- B.S., Chemistry, Black Hills State University, Spearfish
Current Research: The goal of this project is to develop new methods to synthesize chiral molecules, which are key building blocks upon which new disease treatments and chemical probes are built for biomedical research. This project is a part of a larger program that aims to develop methods that use energy from light to drive chemical reactions, referred to as photoredox reactions. Catalyst are designed to use copper, a significantly less expensive and less toxic metal than those currently used as catalysts, such as ruthenium and iridium. The copper catalysts are designed to work in concert with chiral catalysts, which control facial selectivity, to prepare chiral molecules that might otherwise take multiple steps to synthesize. These catalytic systems have proven successful in a particular reaction, the ?-alkylation of aldehydes. A student working on this project will focus on exploring new reactions that are hypothesized to proceed in a similar manner, specifically ?-benzylation reactions. This research opportunity will provide experience in advanced organic synthesis, proper handling or air and moisture sensitive compounds, and chemical characterization, including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), and high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC).