Megan Fieser, Ph.D.
Speaker's Institution
University of Southern California
Chemistry A101
Mixer Time
Mixer Time
Chemistry B101E
Calendar (ICS) Event
Additional Information

About the Seminar:

As we strive to support our busy and demanding lifestyles, our dependence on disposable polymer items has led to a global environmental crisis. The high stability of polymers to an array of conditions that was once highlighted as a value for commercialization has now become a serious flaw. Addressing this crisis is going to require collective efforts to recycle or upcycle the commercial products already produced at large scale and to develop more degradable or recyclable replacements. The Fieser group strives to achieve these ends through two research thrusts. In our polymerization thrust, rare earth metal catalysts are being developed for the synthesis of degradable polymers through the perfectly alternating copolymerization of epoxides and cyclic anhydrides and the block copolymerization of 1,3-dienes with cyclic esters. Through the use of a host of complementary techniques, we demonstrate the development of efficient synthetic methods, thorough characterization of physical properties of the resulting polymers, and proof-of-concepts for future recycling processes. In our depolymerization thrust, we are exploring environmentally-friendly catalytic methods for the dechlorination of polyvinyl chloride, with an emphasis on establishing control over product selectivity. Using both inorganic and organic catalyst systems, we show facile tunability of the organic polymer product for potential assimilation to varying applications. Recent advances from both research thrusts will be discussed.


About the Speaker:

Professor Fieser received a B.A. in chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Irvine, working with Prof. Bill Evans on the “Spectroscopic and Computational Analysis of Rare Earth and Actinide Complexes in Unusual Coordination Environments and Oxidation States”. She then moved to pursue postdoctoral studies with Prof. Bill Tolman at the University of Minnesota within the NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers. There she collaborated with Prof. Geoff Coates and Prof. Chris Cramer on mechanistic studies of the perfectly alternating copolymerization of epoxides and cyclic anhydrides with an aluminum catalyst and PPNCl co-catalyst. Megan started as a Gabilan Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern California in 2018. She has received the Cottrell Scholar Award and the 3M Nontenured Faculty Award. Her work strives to use catalysis as a tool to impact plastic pollution.