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UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry - Catalytic & BioInorganic Chemistry

  • BS, summa cum laude, Hampden-Sydney College, 1992
  • Ph.D., Iowa State University, 1996
  • NIH PostdoctoralFellow, California Institute of Technology, 1996-1997
Contact Information:
Phone: 310-206-2602
Fax: 310-206-9130


Click here for the Abu-Omar Group Website

Research Summary

Mahdi Abu-Omar and his research group are interested in interdisciplinary research encompassing bioinorganic and catalytic/environmental chemistry. Our investigations of transition metal catalysts are aimed at defining the scope of their utility as well as the origin of their high reactivity and selectivity. We determine reaction mechanisms by studying chemical kinetics, characterizing intermediates, and developing structure-function correlations. Our studies focus on understanding the mechanism(s) of enzymatic and catalytic transformations sufficiently well that we could rationally design practical catalysts that either i) convert conveniently readily available reagents into valuable products, or ii) activate chemical bonds previously considered to be inert.

Over the past five years, our catalytic studies have focused on oxygen and nitrogen transfer chemistry mediated by oxo and imido complexes of rhenium, chromium, and manganese. New compounds are prepared and characterized by multinuclear NMR and by single crystal X-ray diffraction methods. An attractive feature of our research program is the ability to make and measure. Graduate students are often given the freedom to be innovative and design their own research projects.

On the bioinorganic front, we have been investigating oxygen activation and the reaction chemistry of non-heme oxygenases as exemplified by bacterial and human phenylalanine hydroxylase. Point mutants are rationally designed, prepared, and fully characterized by a variety of biophysical techniques in order define relationships between structure and function. Researchers in the group perform routinely cloning, protein expression, as well as spectroscopic characterizations. Most commonly employed biophysical characterization methods include DSC, CD, LC-MS, MS/MS, ITC, ICP-AE, and EPR.

Selected Publications

1. Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, "Swift oxo transfer reactions of perchlorate ions and other substrates catalyzed by rhenium oxazoline and thiazoline complexes" Chem. Commun. 2003, 2102-2111.

2. Sylvia Daoud-Kinzie, Mario Thevis, Khan Ngo, Julian P. Whitelegge, Joseph A. Loo, and Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, "Posttranslational Hydroxylation of Human Phenylalanine Hydroxylase Is a Novel Example of Enzyme Self-Repair within the Second Coordination Sphere of Catalytic Iron" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 4710-4711.

3. Rebecca A. Eikey and Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, "Nitrido and Imido Transition Metal Complexes of Groups 6-8" Coord. Chem. Rev. 2003, in press (available online 5/29/03).

4. Kimberly J. Miller and Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, "Palladium-Catalyzed SN1 Reactions of Secondary Benzylic Alcohols: Etherification, Amination, and Thioetherification" Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2003, 1294-1299.

5. Alon Volner, Jerome Zoidakis, and Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, "The order of substrate binding in bacterial phenylalanine hydroxylase and its mechanistic implication for pterin-dependent oxygenases" J. Biol. Inorg. Chem. 2003, 8, 121-128.

6. Rebecca A. Eikey, Saeed I. Khan, and Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, "The Elusive Terminal Imido of Manganese(V)" Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2002, 41, 3592-3595.

7. Gregory S. Owens, Armando Durazo, and Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, "Kinetics of MTO-Catalyzed Olefin Epoxidation in Ambient Temperature Ionic Liquids: UV-vis and 2H NMR Study" Chem. Eur. J. 2002, 8, 3053-3059.

8. Heidi Erlandsen, Joo Y. Kim, Marianne Patch, Andrew Han, Alon Volner, Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, and Raymond C. Stevens, "Structural comparison of bacterial and human iron-dependent phenylalanine hydroxylases- similar fold, different stability and reaction rates" J. Mol. Biol. 2002, 320, 645-661.

9. Susan E. Bailey, Rebecca A. Eikey, Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, and Jeffrey I. Zink, "Excited State Distortions Determined from Structured Luminescence of Nitridorhenium (V) Complexes" Inorg. Chem. 2002, 41, 1755-1760.

10. Armando Durazo and Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, "Deuterium NMR Spectroscopy is a Versatile and Economical Tool for Monitoring Reaction Kinetics in Ionic Liquids" Chem. Commun. 2002, 66-67.

11. Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, Lee D. McPherson, Joachin Arias, and Virginie M. Béreau, "Clean and Efficient Catalytic Reduction of Perchlorate" Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2000, 39, 4310-4313.

12. Gregory S. Owens and Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, "Methyltrioxorhenium-catalyzed epoxidations in ionic liquids" Chem. Commun. 2000, 1165-1166.

last edited 9/3/03

Dept. Home/ Inorganic Chemistry Home/ Contact Info/ Research Summary/ Selected Publications/ Group Website