Group News

Research of the Year

December 2020

Our research was listed in Chem. Eng. News “Year in Chemistry 2020” as one of the Sensational Syntheses of 2020. Earlier this year in Nature, we reported a reaction sequence discovered by Sean McWilliams and Danny Broere, and worked out in greater detail by Sam Bhutto, Connor Halliday, and Brandon Mercado, which converts benzene to aniline using N2

Welcome to new graduate students

November 2020

We are lucky this year to have three graduate students who have chosen the Holland Group for their Ph.D. studies. Alec Hegg comes to us from Knox College, Juan Serviano from Temple University, and Linda Zuckerman from Boston University. We look forward to their successes in graduate research, and they are already valuable members of the team!

Congratulations on graduations

October 2020

It is bittersweet to bid farewell to three group members who are graduating with their Ph.D. degrees. We will sorely miss them but of course recognize that they are on to more exciting chemistry in their careers! Dongyoung Kim in his graduate career moved our group into catalytic radical reactions of iron complexes, established multiple new collaborations with Phil Baran, Ryan Shenvi, and Rinaldo Poli, and was a source of enthusiasm and energy in the lab. He is going on to a postdoctoral position with Seung-Jun Hwang at POSTECH in his home country of South Korea. Daniel Kim also had a lot of success with the mechanistic elucidation of cobalt-catalyzed organometallic reactions, specifically alkene hydrosilylation and isomerization. His super hard work and endless ideas have been inspirational for his five years in the group. Daniel is moving on to a postdoc with Sukbok Chang at KAIST in his home country of South Korea. Last but not least is Gannon Connor, who was a joint student with Jim Mayer and enlivened both groups with deep insights and positive attitude. Gannon was the leader and progenitor of our now-thriving collaboration with Alex Miller and Alan Goldman, and also led numerous amazing outreach efforts with Common Ground, a local sustainability-based high school. Gannon is moving on to a consulting position, where he will share his great insights and encouragement with many others into the future. We are incredibly proud of all three of these awesome chemists, and look forward to their continued accomplishments.

Welcome to Dan and Erik

October 2020

We are very excited to welcome two new postdoctoral associates to the group! Dan Wilson comes to us from Oxford, where he did graduate research on synthetic inorganic chemistry with Jose Goicoechea. Erik Phipps arrived from Columbia University, where he did graduate research on catalytic methodology with Tomislav Rovis. We’re really looking forward to everything that these outstanding chemists will bring to our group efforts!

Welcome to Andrew and Quentin

September 2020

We’re happy to have two new researchers in the group, first-year undergraduate student Quentin Bertrand and third-year undergraduate student Andrew Qin. They will be working with Jeremy on PCET reagents for nitrogen reduction, an exciting area to push forward. It will be great to work with you!

Nature paper on N2-arene coupling

August 2020

We are gratified to report a milestone in our quest to form C-N bonds in organic products from N2: a paper that is appearing today in Nature and accessible at It was also covered in Chemical & Engineering News and Yale Today. This work, conceived and executed by Sean McWilliams and Danny Broere, shows that benzene and N2 can both interact with an iron complex to ultimately give a product with the components of both. Most importantly, it occurs through a new N2 migration mechanism that represents a new way of thinking about formation of organic products from N2. Support for the work came from Connor Halliday (visiting student from Edinburgh) and Sam Bhutto and Brandon Mercado, as well as financial backing from the Department of Energy.

Funding from CHASE Solar Energy

July 2020

We have learned that the Center for Hybrid Approaches in Solar Energy to Liquid Fuels (CHASE) will be funded by the Department of Energy, and we are excited to initiate new projects linking solar energy and nitrogen reduction! CHASE is a new Solar Hub that is led at UNC-Chapel Hill and also includes five PIs at Yale (Mayer, Hammes-Schiffer, Hazari, Wang, and Holland) as part of the efforts to convert the energy from sunlight into chemical fuels (“artificial photosynthesis”). This exciting development was also covered recently in Yale News.

Allie's paper in Chem. Sci.

July 2020

Congrats to Allie Nagelski, as we celebrate the acceptance of her paper describing an interesting series of diiron complexes with carbon bridges that give us insight into the role of carbon in the catalytic cofactor of nitrogenase. This paper had a winning combination of synthesis, N2 reduction to ammonia, electronic structure, and spectroscopy, and we benefitted from the contributions of our own Majed Fataftah on magnetism, Kyle Lancaster’s group on X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and Brandon Mercado on crystallography. This paper was chosen for a special 10th anniversary issue of Chemical Science.

Allie wins poster award

July 2020

Congratulations to Allie Nagelski, who won a prize at the Global Inorganic Discussion Virtual Poster Session! Allie gave a great poster describing her recent research on diiron compounds that model the structure and reactivity of nitrogenase.

Publication of Chem. Rev. issue

June 2020

The day has finally come! For the last two years, Pat has been planning a special issue of Chemical Reviews on nitrogen chemistry, and it has now come out (Editorial is at this link). The cover is splendid, and was designed, drawn, and managed by Allie Nagelski: check it out here. Thanks to the whole group for helping to brainstorm ideas, with special commendation to Kazimer Skubi for coming up with the issue title of “Reactivity of Nitrogen from the Ground to the Atmosphere” (as well as alternatives such as “Just N2 of Us: We Can Make It If We Try”).