The Holland group studies compounds containing inexpensive metals like iron and cobalt, with the goal of understanding their reactions in detail and increasing their potential for use in catalysis. We do this by preparing new molecules that are highly reactive. In some cases, the compounds have weak metal-ligand multiple bonds, and in others there are open sites for reactions on the metal. We specialize in compounds where the metal has very few bonds, and have done many detailed studies on this rare and exciting type of compound.
A major part of our research program has focused on iron complexes for nitrogen fixation. This is relevant to the industrial Haber-Bosch process for fertilizer production, and to nitrogenase, the natural enzyme that converts atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia. Other research in our laboratory has addressed solar production of hydrogen, catalytic alkene and fluorocarbon reduction, redox-active ligands, engineered metalloproteins, and fundamental organometallic mechanisms. More detail on our research is available at the Holland Group Web site.
Our research provides an interdisciplinary training environment that develops students’ skills in synthesis, biological inorganic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, mechanistic techniques, and spectroscopy.
A.B. Princeton University, 1993
Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley, 1997
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota, 1997-2000
NSF CAREER Award, 2002
Sloan Fellowship, 2003
Fulbright Scholar, 2012
Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists, 2013
Fellow of the AAAS, 2014
Bessel Award from the Humboldt Foundation, 2016
D. E. DeRosha, V. G. Chilkuri, C. Van Stappen, E. Bill, B. Q. Mercado, S. DeBeer, F. Neese, P. L. Holland, “Planar three-coordinate iron sulfide in a synthetic [4Fe-3S] cluster with biomimetic reactivity,” Nature Chem. 2019, 11, 1019-1025.
A. L. Speelman, I. Coric, C. Van Stappen, S. DeBeer, B. Q. Mercado, P. L. Holland, “Nitrogenase-Relevant Reactivity of a Synthetic Iron-Sulfur-Carbon Site,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 13148-13157.
S. M. McWilliams, D. L. J. Broere, C. J. V. Halliday, S. M. Bhutto, B. Q. Mercado, P. L. Holland, “Coupling Dinitrogen and Hydrocarbons through Aryl Migration,” Nature 2020, 584, 221-226. Featured in Chem. Eng. News “Year in Chemistry 2020” as one of the “Sensational Syntheses of 2020.”
A. L. Nagelski, M. S. Fataftah, M. M. Bollmeyer, S. F. McWilliams, S. N. MacMillan, B. Q. Mercado, K. M. Lancaster, P. L. Holland, “The Influences of Carbon Donor Ligands on Biomimetic Multi-Iron Complexes for N2 Reduction,” Chem. Sci. 2020, 11, 12710-12720.
L. S. Yamout, M. Ataya, F. Hasanayn, P. L. Holland, A. J. M. Miller, A. S. Goldman, “Understanding Terminal versus Bridging End-on N2 Coordination in Transition Metal Complexes,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 9744-9757.
C. V. Wilson, D. Kim, A. Sharma, R. X. Hooper, R. Poli, B. M. Hoffman, P. L. Holland, “Cobalt-Carbon Bonding in a Salen-Supported Cobalt(IV) Alkyl Complex Postulated in Oxidative MHAT Catalysis,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2022, 144, 10361-10367.