Melanie Sanford

Melanie Sanford

Speaker: Melanie Sanford, Moses Gomberg Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Chemistry, University of Michigan

Date: Friday, February 16, 2018
Time: 3:10 PM
Place: Byker Auditorium, Chemistry & Biochemistry Building

Title: Challenges and Opportunities for Physical Organic Chemists in Grid Scale Energy Storage

Sponsoring department: Chemistry & Biochemstry


New batteries need to be invented that can more efficiently store the energy produced from renewable energy sources. Sanford will discuss her lab's approach to the design of improved batteries for energy storage. They are designing and studying new molecules that will work better than the compounds that are currently used in batteries. Desirable properties for these new molecules include stability to at least 1000 use/recharge cycles, they need to work well in harsh conditions that may exist when the renewable energy is created, and they have to dissolve well in the solvents that are needed for battery assembly. Sanford will describe their approaches to rationally designed molecules with this combination of desirable properties and demonstrate their use in a pilot project.

About the speaker:

Melanie Sanford received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Yale University where she worked with Dr. Bob Crabtree studying C-F bond functionalization. She then moved to Caltech where she earned her Ph.D. and worked with Dr. Bob Grubbs investigating the mechanism of ruthenium-catalyzed olefin metathesis reactions. In 2001, she began working with Dr. Jay Groves at Princeton University as an NIH post-doctoral fellow studying metalloporphyrin-catalyzed functionalization of olefins. Sanford has been a professor at the University of Michigan since the summer of 2003. She has received numerous awards, including election to the National Academy of Sciences, the Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award in Synthetic Chemistry, the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award and the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.