Shabnam Hematian

Title: Assistant Professor
Field: Bioinorganic and Inorganic Chemistry
Biophysical and Environmental Chemistry
Room: 405 Sullivan Science Building
Phone: 336.334.5867
Research Website:

B.S., National University of Iran
M.S., Sharif University of Technology
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

My research interests include metal-mediated small molecule activation and using bioinorganic and materials chemistry to address fundamental challenges in biological and energy sciences including catalysis, sustainability, and renewable energy. I received my Ph.D. degree with Professor Ken Karlin from Johns Hopkins University. My graduate work was focused on investigating reactions involving synthetic heme/Cu assemblies and nitrogen oxides, particularly nitric oxide (NO), nitrite (NO2) and hyponitrite (N2O22).

After my Ph.D., I worked with Professor Jonas Peters in the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis on the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) to carbon-based fuels. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech in the laboratory of Professor Harry Gray where I have been since March 2017. My work in the Gray group focuses on a mechanistic study of multicopper oxidases (MCOs), specifically laccases that couple oxidation of a wide spectrum of substrates such as lignin to the four-electron reduction of dioxygen (O2) to water. These enzymes are of particular interest in biomass degradation for renewable and sustainable production of fuels and chemicals.

Hematian Research Group – Starting Fall 2018

“We are an inorganic chemistry research group with interests in biological and energy sciences. Our group combines a variety of research tools to address fundamental challenges related to catalysis, sustainability, and renewable energy. Our research is targeted towards manipulation of a broad range of redox processes that take place within protein scaffolds, synthetic coordination compounds, and on nanostructured electrocatalysts. We draw on expertise from a variety of areas including bioinorganic chemistry, inorganic synthesis, chemical biology, materials chemistry, and electrochemistry. Our group will be starting off in August of 2018 and our work will cover many different aspects of inorganic chemistry. We are looking for team members with enthusiasm for hands-on projects in the related areas including:

  • Biomass-Degradation by Copper Laccases: Revisiting Enzymatic Function, Substrate Specificity and Terminal Electron Acceptors
  • Mild Metal-Catalyzed C–H ActivationAlternative Synthesis for Oxoiron(IV) Species
  • Enhancing Carbon Dioxide Aqueous ElectrolysisTuning and Optimization of Electrocatalysts and Electrolyte Composition


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