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Melanie Sanford to speak at UNI Wilson Lecture series

September 20, 2012

Bill Harwood, department head and professor, chemistry and biochemistry, 319-273-2052,

Stacey Christensen, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa --Melanie Sanford, the Arthur F. Thurnau professor of chemistry at the University of Michigan, will present "Tackling Global Challenges in Sustainable Chemistry Using Transition Metal Catalysis" at the 2012 Leland Wilson Endowed Chemistry Lecture at the University of Northern Iowa. Sanford will present her lecture at 7 p.m., on Thursday, Oct. 4, in Lantz Auditorium, McCollum Science Hall.

Sanford has done ground-breaking research developing catalysts that make it much easier to conduct very difficult and important chemistry. Her catalysts allow chemists to more easily make new medicines and greener fuels. One particularly exciting development is her ability to convert carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, back into useful fuel. Sanford is a 2011 MacArthur Fellow for her research on activating carbon-hydrogen bonds using her palladium catalyst system.

The Leland Wilson Endowed Chemistry Lectureship was established in 2007 by a gift from Wilson's daughter, Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan and former president of the University of Iowa, and her husband, Kenneth Coleman. Wilson was the first department head of the newly formed Department of Chemistry at UNI in 1968, and he served in that capacity until 1975. He retired as professor of chemistry in 1979 and died in 1993 at the age of 79.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bill Harwood, UNI department head and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, at 319-273-2437 or