Stalking "Free" Energy: Two Decades of Biomimetic Studies of Hydrogenases
Professor Marcetta Y. Darensbourg is a native of Kentucky, USA, with a PhD from the University of Illinois. Following academic posts at Vassar College and Tulane University, she joined the faculty at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, in 1982. She holds the title of Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. Trained as an organometallic chemist at the University of Illinois in the laboratories of Professor Theodore L. Brown, and with earlier research programs in low valent transition metal hydrides, the possibility of metal hydrides in nature, specifically as intermediates in hydrogenase enzymes lured her into the new field of bioorganometallic chemistry. She has been a leader in the development of synthetic analogues of the diiron hydrogenase active site and the insight they bring to the catalytic mechanism of these natural fuel cell catalysts. Metalloenzyme active sites that catalyze carbon-carbon coupling reactions but use abundant metals such as nickel also inspire her research activities. She was an inaugural, 2009, Fellow of the American Chemical Society. Darensbourg was also elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011, to the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2014, and the National Academy of Sciences in 2017. Most recently, she was selected by the Southeastern Conference as the 2018 SEC Professor of the Year and the Gibbs Medalist from the Chicago Section of the ACS in 2019.