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Our research applies coordination chemistry, which enables the control of geometric and electronic structure at the atomic level, to develop and study functional molecules and materials. Students in our group receive broad training in synthesis, by designing and preparing molecular complexes and coordination solids, as well as in physical methods, by investigating compounds using techniques such as X-ray crystallography, magnetometry, and spectroscopy. More specifically, our research exploits chemical control of spin to synthesize metal-organic radical magnets and magnetic resonance probes that map temperature, redox environment, pH, and ion concentration, and we employ metal-organic frameworks as solid-state matrices to study the structure, bonding, and reactivity of unusual metal complexes relevant to biology and catalysis. For further information about these project areas of interest, please visit the “Research” tab on our website.


Recent group news

October 1, 2018

Welcome back Liang!

Liang Li is back to the Harris Group after getting his undergraduate degree from Nankai University. He will continue his work with Luke on making metal-organic magnets using novel synthetic techniques.

September 28, 2018

Jiayi’s good-bye lunch today

The group went out for a lunch today to thank Jiayi for his hard work in the lab over the past 3 months. Good luck with your senior year in college and graduate school applications!

September 13, 2018

Farewell lunch for Kang today

The group took Kang out for lunch today to thank him for all the hard work in the lab. Now all the starting members of the Harris group have graduated! We wish Kang all the best with his postdoctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

September 8, 2018

Harris group receives award in the inaugural RSSI Safety Walkthrough

The Harris group is recognized for their commitment to safe lab practices in the inaugural RSSI safety walkthrough competition (more information here). Congratulations and keep up the good work!

September 8, 2018

Kang Du defended his PhD thesis!

Congratulations Dr. Kang Du for successfully defending your PhD thesis yesterday on the design and development of responsive MRI probes, in particular those for ratiometric quantitation of redox status and calcium concentration. The Harris Group wishes you all the best with your postdoctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

August 21, 2018

Kang submits a paper about a cobalt-based MR probe able to quantitate calcium

Congratulations to Kang for submitting a paper on a cobalt-based PARACEST probe that is able to quantitate calcium in a concentration-independent manner under physiological conditions.

August 17, 2018

Scott is heading off to Ireland

Today was Scott’s last day in lab, as he is going to Ireland to study abroad for the next quarter. The group went out for a dinner to thank him for his hard work in the lab. We wish you good luck in Ireland and cannot wait to hear all the stories!

August 7, 2018

Agnes’s and Scott’s PARACEST pH paper accepted for publication in IC

Congratulations Agnes and Scott – keep up your hard work!

August 7, 2018

Welcome Youwei!

The Harris Group welcomes Youwei Shu, a visiting undergraduate student from Nankai University that will be working with David for the next six months.

July 31, 2018

Luke’s metal-exchange paper accepted for publication in JACS

Congratulations Luke and coworkers – keep up the good work!

July 13, 2018

Nina’s good-bye lunch today

The group took Nina out for lunch today to thank her for her hard work in the lab. We wish you all the best at Harvard!

July 12, 2018

Jordan DeGayner defended his PhD thesis!

Congratulations Dr. Jordan DeGayner for successfully defending your PhD thesis on the magnetic properties of 0D, 1D, and 2D metal-organic magnets. We wish you all the best in your future career.

July 7, 2018

Agnes and Scott submit a paper about the electronic effects of ligand substitution in a family of Co2 PARACEST pH probes

Congratulations Agnes and Scott for submitting your paper on the electronic effects of ligand substitution on the CEST properties and pH sensitivity of ratiometric Co2 PARACEST pH probes.

July 2, 2018

Welcome Jiayi!

The Harris Group welcomes Jiayi Li, a visiting undergraduate student from Peking University that will be working with Luke for the next two months.

June 28, 2018

Luke and coworkers submit a paper about metal-exchange in 2D benzoquinoid frameworks

Congratulations to Dr. Luke Liu and his coworkers in the magnetism subgroup who just submitted a paper on how metal-exchange from a 2D manganese-benzoquinoid framework can be employed to access compounds that cannot be prepared by direct syntheses.

May 23, 2018

Agnes Thorarinsdottir receives the Joseph Lambert Award for excellence in junior graduate research and the Donald E. Smith Teaching Award

Congratulations Agnes for being the recipient of the 2017 Joseph Lambert Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement and promise in academic research during the first two years of chemistry graduate studies. In addition, Agnes has been awarded the 2018 Donald E. Smith Award for excellence in 400-level teaching. Well done!

May 23, 2018

Nina Pappas receives the ACS Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry

Congratulations Nina for being the recipient of the Northwestern’s 2018 ACS Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry. This award is given to a senior undergraduate chemistry student that has shown excellence in undergraduate research within the field of inorganic chemistry.

May 18, 2018

Carol Hua accepts a new position at the University of Melbourne

Carol Hua has accepted a position at the University of Melbourne as a three year McKenzie Fellow. The Harris group wishes Carol best of luck on the next steps in her career and thanks her for the great work she accomplished over the past year in the group.

May 10, 2018

Harris group paper accepted for publication in JACS

Jordan’s and Kunyu’s paper about a ferric semiquinoid single-chain magnet that exhibits a thermally-switchable metal-ligand electron transfer has been accepted for publication in JACS. Congratulations guys!

April 12, 2018

Graduate student Jordan DeGayner and visiting undergraduate student Kunyu Wang submit a paper about a ferric semiquinoid single-chain magnet

Congratulations to our graduate student Jordan DeGayner and recent visiting undergraduate student Kunyu Wang from Nankai University in China. They just submitted a paper about a ferric semiquinoid single-chain magnet that exhibits a thermally-switchable metal-ligand electron transfer.

February 26, 2018

Good bye Kunyu and Ziyi

The Harris group thanks Kunyu and Ziyi for their hard work over the last 6 months and wishes them good luck with their graduate studies in the fall.

February 19, 2018

Welcome David Zee!

David Zee joins the Harris lab as a postdoctoral research fellow. David comes to Northwestern from UC Berkeley where he worked for Prof. Jeffrey Long.

December 1, 2017

Magnetic resonance contrast agent paper submitted in collaboration with the Meade lab

Congratulations to our graduate student Kang Du, who submitted a paper in collaboration with Laura Lilley from the Meade group about magnetic resonance T1 contrast agents with low background signals owing to intramolecular magnetic exchange coupling between lanthanide and transition metal ions.

November 10, 2017

Welcome back Ben and Ella!

The first year graduate students Ben and Ella officially join the group. They have been working in the lab before, as summer and visiting students, and will continue their work on developing metal-organic magnets with high ordering temperatures and conductivities.

October 16, 2017

Undergraduate student Nina Pappas joins the Harris group

The Harris group welcomes Nina Pappas, a senior undergraduate student that will be working with Agnes on making pH-responsive PARACEST MRI probes.

September 11, 2017

Graduate student Alex Gaudette defended her PhD thesis

Congratulations to Dr. Alexandra Gaudette who just defended her PhD thesis today. Alex’s work in the Harris group focused on manipulating the electronic spin of transition metal complexes to design bio-responsive MRI probes and metal-organic magnets. We wish Alex good luck at Ecolab.

September 9, 2017

Graduate student Audrey Gallagher defended her PhD thesis

Congratulations to Dr. Audrey Gallagher who successfully defended her PhD thesis yesterday, thereby being the first student that graduates with a PhD degree from the Harris group. Audrey’s work focused on the synthesis and characterization of low-coordinate metal porphyrin sites within Metal-Organic Frameworks and the study of their interactions with gaseous signaling molecules. The Harris group wishes Audrey good luck at Perkins Coie!

September 1, 2017

Dave’s tenure talk on September 5

Dave will give his tenure presentation on Tuesday September 5 at 4 pm in Tech LR3. The title of his talk is: “Chemical Control of Spin in the Synthesis of Metal-Organic Magnets and MRI Probes.” We hope to see you there.

August 25, 2017

Graduate student Audrey Gallagher submits a paper about Peroxomanganese(IV) Porphyrin within a Metal-Organic Framework

Congratulations to our graduate student Audrey Gallagher who just submitted a paper about reversible O2 binding to a manganese porphyrin site in a metal-organic framework affording peroxomanganese(IV) porphyrin species.

August 17, 2017

Welcome Kunyu and Ziyi

The Harris group welcomes our two visiting undergraduate students Kunyu and Ziyi from Nankai University in China. They will be with us for the next 6 months.

August 11, 2017

Graduate students Agnes Thorarinsdottir and Kang Du submit a paper about ratiometric pH imaging with a Co2 PARACEST probe

Congratulations to our graduate students Agnes Thorarinsdottir and Kang Du who just submitted a paper about ratiometric pH imaging with a Co2 PARACEST probe employing CEST effects of opposing pH dependences.

July 8, 2017

Welcome summer students

The Harris group welcomes our four summer students Alex, Ben, Peter and Qilin.

June 13, 2017

Postdoctoral associate Carol Hua honored by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI)

Congratulations to our postdoctoral associate Carol Hua for being the recipient of the Cornforth Medal, awarded by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI). An overview of recent awardees is featured in Angewandte Chemie and can be read here.

May 23, 2017

Postdoctoral associate Carol Hua joins the research group

The Harris group welcomes the postdoctoral associate Carol Hua.

February 16, 2017

Graduate student Alex Gaudette receives Kemin Industries 2017 conference travel fellowship

Congratulations to our graduate student Alex Gaudette for receiving Kemin Industries travel fellowship! This conference travel fellowship supports graduate students and postdocs who will attend and give an oral or poster presentation at the upcoming ACS conference in San Francisco.

February 16, 2017

Graduate student Audrey Gallagher receives ACS Women’s Chemistry Committee/Eli Lilly travel grant

Congratulations to our graduate student Audrey Gallagher for receipt of the WCC/Eli Lilly travel grant! This program aims to increase participation of women in chemical science and she will have the opportunity to present her research at the upcoming ACS conference in San Francisco.

February 2, 2017

Graduate student Audrey Gallagher submits her paper about CO binding at a Co-porphyrin site in a MOF

Congratulations to our graduate student Audrey Gallagher who just submitted her paper about CO binding to a four-coordinate cobaltous porphyrin site in a metal-organic framework.

January 20, 2017

Graduate student Jordan DeGayner submits his paper about conductive 2D iron–quinoid magnets

Congratulations to our graduate student Jordan DeGayner who just submitted his paper about 2D conductive Iron-Quinoid Magnets with high ordering temperature.

January 18, 2017

Scholarship awarded to graduate student Agnes Thorarinsdottir

Congratulations to our graduate student Agnes Thorarinsdottir, who has been awarded the Leifur Eiriksson Foundation Scholarship 2017-2018. This one year scholarship, starting in July, is intended to support scholars who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents from U.S. universities for graduate research or study at universities in Iceland, and scholars who are Icelandic citizens or permanent residents from universities in Iceland to conduct research or study at universities in the United States

January 9, 2017

Dave awarded the 2017 PECASE award

Congratulations to Dave, who has been awarded the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Dave was nominated by the Department of Defense. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach. The complete White House press release can be read here.